Google Inserts A Promotion Into Home; Rubicon Project Stocks Took A Hit This Week

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AI, Meet Paid Media

As part of a deal between Google and Disney, Google’s voice-activated assistant Home slipped a promo for the upcoming “Beauty & The Beast” premiere into its morning recitation (weather forecast, schedule, commute, etc.). Google maintains it’s not an ad, “but it’s definitely an out-of-the-ordinary cooperation,” writes Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land. Google has previously added messages to its daily update, but only as a reminder on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. More.

Rubicon’s Stock Project

Rubicon Project stock took a pounding this week, with news of a CEO switch [AdExchanger coverage] doing little to raise sentiments on Wall Street after the ad exchange issued worse-than-expected guidance on 2017 earnings. Rubicon had traded pretty consistently between $7.50 and $9 since last summer (after peaking above $20 in April), but shares dropped to $5.76 at the end of trading Thursday. Rubicon’s Q1 guidance suggests the business is not yet close to bouncing back, which may be the issue. Read more.

Programmatic Sky

Sky Media has launched its second phase of testing for programmatic TV. Buyers can now purchase audiences in real time on Sky’s VOD and broadcast TV properties from an expanded pool of inventory and platforms on the Sky Audio Visual Exchange, which it launched with Videology in 2015. The UK network launched its programmatic solution for TV with Omnicom’s Accuen earlier this year. Under that deal the agency bought ads against audience targets on Sky Go’s live linear channels. More.

The AI Age

Baidu spent most of its $2.9 billion R&D budget on AI over the past two years. It hopes to gain on Alibaba, which recently surpassed it as the leader in China’s digital ad market. Baidu’s revenue dropped 6% last year as its streaming, ecommerce and food delivery services lagged behind competitors. It hopes that funneling investments toward AI projects like its Deep Speech English translator can put it back on top. “The era of mobile internet has ended,” said CEO Robin Li. “We’re going to aggressively invest in AI, and I think it’s going to benefit a lot of people and transform industry after industry.” More at Bloomberg.

ComScore, Hold My Beer

Nielsen’s primary data facility in Florida suffered a power outage last weekend, and it’s turned into a bit of a saga as hit shows like “The Walking Dead,” “The Bachelor,” “Saturday Night Live” and “The Voice” wait in audience rating purgatory. “It’s been a nice break for us, and all business, including sales, has proceeded very nicely without them,” one unnamed Big Four broadcast exec told Deadline. Nielsen has been mum on the issue.

A Word Of Advice

After merging two of its digital agencies under the SapientRazorfish brand, Publicis Groupe unveiled a “business transformation” offering. The agency will help clients in areas like digital business strategy, customer experience, data and AI. Sounds like a consultancy, huh? “Our clients want skills and capabilities across the entire spectrum, from customer experience to deep technical implementation and strategy and consulting expertise for transforming in the connected age,” said SapientRazorfish CEO Alan Wexler in a statement. Read the release.

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