Defending Agencies; Shrinking The News

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In Defense Of Agencies

Writing for MediaBizBloggers, former PHD chief Steve Grubbs says adland is lost in a discussion on rebates, media kickbacks and arbitraging inventory. "My evolved point of view is that a) agencies must not violate any laws, b) they must be honest in their contracts and transparent in their fees and c) they must be very clear about conflicts of interest. All else should be fair game,” argues Grubbs, whose consulting business is called Second Act Media. “If agencies make money using their clients’ money… so what? If they act as media principals to arbitrage inventory or extract incremental value from media suppliers for agency use… ok, fine. What matters is that agencies are providing quality media services to their clients for a fair price.” Read it.

Media: Now Tinier

Publishers are preparing for a world where a reader’s first impression is via wearable devices. The New York Times is developing ways to produce “one-sentence stories, crafted specially for small screens,” that will let a user continue reading a full article on a phone or tablet through Apple’s Handoff tech. Elsewhere, Digiday reports that CNN will build its wearables services around personalization, aiming to be “the world’s alert platform.” The Economist is taking it one step further with plans to home in on audio engagement, eschewing the notifications and text other publishers are developing specifically for Apple Watch. Publishers, get small!

App-splosion

Google and Apple are poised to see their app store revenues double by 2018, with in-app ad revenues more than tripling during that time frame, according to forecast data from App Annie and IDC released on Tuesday. And App Annie CEO Bertrand Schmitt tells Re/code, “I would consider this projection conservative.” For the forecast, researchers only studied sales from Apple and Google, which excludes Amazon and Microsoft sales figures and also omits third-party stores. “The mix between paying for apps versus advertising continues to vary greatly by country, as well,” points out Re/code’s Ina Fried. “In-app advertising accounts for more than two-thirds of revenue in India and the United Kingdom, for example, but less than a quarter in Russia and Japan.”

Supercookie Opt-Out Starts Now

Verizon users will now be able to opt out of the wireless provider's “supercookies,” the NYT reported Tuesday. Verizon first agreed to ditch the heavy-duty tracking codes in January, after four Democratic congressional members from the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation wrote to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam demanding an explanation for the firm’s tracking and privacy policies. “As the mobile advertising ecosystem evolves, and our advertising business grows, delivering solutions with best-in-class privacy protections remains our focus,” Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis said in a statement. “As a reminder, we never share information with third parties that identifies our customers as part of our advertising programs.” Read AdExchanger’s “zombie cookie” coverage from January.

Ad Tech Firms Cooling On The Market

Ad tech share prices have taken a beating since the start of the year, according to data from LUMA Partners. The strategic advisory firm says that the overall value of ad tech stocks fell 12% during 2015’s first quarter. Rocket Fuel, which is scrambling to appoint a new chief executive (AdExchanger story), has suffered a 43% dip in its share price. Meanwhile, during that period, TubeMogul’s stock sank 39%, Tremor’s dipped 17%, Millennial Media’s dropped 12% and Criteo’s fell 2%. LUMA Partners CEO Terence Kawaja says investors are “confused” by the ad tech market and “probably won’t focus [on the companies] until some larger cap names come to market.” Read more via the WSJ.

SMG’s Addressable TV Tool

Starcom MediaVest Group released an addressable TV measurement tool on Tuesday, in partnership with PlaceIQ and Acxiom. The product, dubbed SMG Maps TV, builds on Starcom’s SMP Maps location analytics platform, which was released last year. “We have been both activating and providing insights to major brands using mobile media for years by connecting physical and digital consumer behavior through the lens of location," said PlaceIQ CEO Duncan McCall. The tool will launch on several addressable TV channels, though as MediaPost points out, it’s unclear which ones. Read the release.

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