Mozilla Pivots; Programmatic And Demand

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Mozilla’s Change Of Heart

On Friday, Mozilla pivoted from its previous “experiment” - announced by Darren Herman in February - to test browser tab ads known as “Tiles.” Mozilla VP Jonathan Nightingale said in a post, “A lot of our community ... worried that we were going to turn Firefox into a mess of logos sold to the highest bidder; without user control, without user benefit. That’s not going to happen. That’s not who we are at Mozilla.” Read it.  CNET has more. And see these stats on Wikipedia regarding Mozilla’s declining global browser share. Where does Mozilla go next? “Mobile!” But isn’t that everyone’s answer these days and is it enough? Late Sunday, TechCrunch claimed that in spite of the Mozilla blog post’s tone, this isn’t the end of sponsored “tiles” - the experiments will continue.

Programmatic Hurts Demand

Programmatic media had its fingerprints all over last Thursday’s Q1 2014 earnings results released by publisher Demand Media. For example, according to the earnings call transcript, a Wall Street analyst pressed about programmatic’s negative effects - RPM decline, to be precise - on the publisher. Demand Media interim CEO and founder Shawn Colo responded, “Our team has done a lot of work to get ready for programmatic. Our systems and processes have been built out. Our team is getting built out. ... Obviously, there's a lot of real interest in the market for premium programmatic, right? And again, the things that we talk about from a premium programmatic standpoint are things like reserved inventory, better segmentation and product enhancements.” “Premium” to the rescue. Demand CFO Mel Tang added that programmatic CPMs are 50% less than direct for his company. Read more on Seeking Alpha. Demand Media revenue slid year over year in Q1. And Demand stock dove Friday to an all-time low as the company’s market cap dipped to $337 million.

Twitter’s Change Of Heart

On Friday, Twitter pivoted from its previous policy demanding exclusivity from data companies and TV networks looking to access Twitter’s data. Twitter originally took this stance in March, hoping to edge Facebook and other social media competitors out of the TV picture. As companies look to leverage social media content for display on TV, Twitter’s terms of business caused quite the hurdle for television networks. By reversing its stance, Twitter hopes to improve and expand business within the television ecosystem.  Re/code’s Peter Kafka has the story. Score one for Facebook.

I Have A Native Exchange, Too

Independent mobile ad network InMobi is launching its own native ad exchange. InMobi has raised more than $500 million to date and its new exchange brings the company into competition with Google and Facebook, says PandoDaily’s James Robinson. He writes, “The best thing InMobi’s exchange has going for it is the ability to offer seamless delivery of an ad format that is in demand. ... But if InMobi wants this platform to be seen as the Facebook alternative, [CEO] Tewari is setting himself up to confront the longest of long odds." Read on.

DoubleClick Display Move

The WSJ’s Rolfe Winkler reports that DoubleClick VP of engineering for display and video Joerg Heilig is moving on -- but staying at Google. Winkler adds, “Heilig’s departure comes a few months after Sridhar Ramaswamy took full control of Google’s ads and commerce division. Ramaswamy had been sharing responsibility for the group with Susan Wojcicki until Wojcicki took the top job at YouTube in February.” Read more (subscription).

Dear Clients

In a note to Omnicom’s major clients, CEO John Wren explains the failed merger with Publicis. In his own words, “Over the past nine months it has become increasingly apparent, to both parties, that it is not clear how long it would take to resolve the open issues. As you know a good concept is worth nothing unless it can be brilliantly executed in a timely way.” Read the note in full at Ad Age.

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