|News Round Up
TV Killed The Video Star?
Videology, a video ad network that tried to reinvent itself as an advanced TV company, plans to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, The Wall Street Journal reports. Amobee has offered $45 million for the company’s assets, which likely will mean transferring customer relationships. That’s a steep descent from the $500 million the company was purportedly holding out for back in January, when Business Insider revealed it was on the market. But the company’s problems are not new. Two years ago it laid off 8% of its staff as part of its advanced TV pivot, and in recent months publishers have complained in an online forum about not getting paid by Videology.
Be My Traffic
Publishers are searching for traffic sources to replace Facebook in the wake of its algorithm change. Twitter has been the most active news media partner, standing up daily programming by Bloomberg and BuzzFeed. And Apple is surging too. Apple’s device notifications and access to a huge audience make it an immediate player. Its acquisition in March of Texture, a digital magazine subscription bundling service, also points to the company’s focus on news publisher revenue. Publishers “are quickly falling hard for Apple News,” Mike Shields writes for Business Insider. But Apple still can’t match the duopoly’s monetization capabilities. Publishers want to see Apple succeed – or, rather, see someone aside from Google or Facebook succeed. “They just hope that this new love leads to new revenue.” More.
Around The Block
The next generation of ad-blocking technology raises new questions and concerns for digital media. Pi-hole, an open-source ad blocker built for the Raspberry Pi computer system, only has about 140,000 installs, Bloomberg reports. But with support from committed (often volunteer) developers, the software is kept fresh and blocks advertising more aggressively than incumbent ad blockers like AdBlock and Eyeo’s Adblock Plus, both part of the Acceptable Ads paid whitelisting program created by Eyeo. Other ad-blocking newcomers like uBlock and uBlock Origin found a niche among users philosophically opposed to online advertising and who saw Acceptable Ads as an unacceptable compromise with ad tech. Aside from tightly controlled online environments like YouTube and Hulu, browser code to shut down ad tech is freely available. More.
Dark Side Of Voice
Researchers have figured out how to send sounds cloaked in music or spoken text that voice-enabled phones and home devices register as commands, Craig Smith reports for The New York Times. Amazon and Google have tested ways to send inaudible frequencies picked up by smart devices, a potentially valuable way to run attribution for streaming and linear TV campaigns. But it’s open to exploitation. “In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online – simply with music playing over the radio,” the story asserts. Nicholas Carlini, a computer security Ph.D. student at Berkeley who just published a paper demonstrating how sound embedded in plain language or music could add items to an Amazon shopping list, says, “My assumption is that the malicious people already employ people to do what I do.” More.
But Wait, There’s More!