Another Telco Merger; DailyMail Invests In Taboola

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Yet Another Telco Merger

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A telco and broadcaster are looking to hook up. This time, it’s T-Mobile hoping to tie the knot with Dish Network. Federal regulators can attend that wedding after they’re done ministering the AT&T/DirecTV and Charter Communications/Time Warner nuptials. According to The Wall Street Journal, the merged company will have Dish CEO Charlie Ergen as company chairman and T-Mobile chief John Legere as CEO. The other important aspect of the merger – the money part – is much less defined and still in a “formative stage,” according to a WSJ source.

Investing In Recs is betting on content recommendation with a $3 million investment in Taboola. Taboola, currently in a turf war with archrival Outbrain, received $117 million in funding from investors earlier this year. Though Daily Mail America CEO Jon Steinberg had hoped to strike an exclusive partnership with the content rec firm, that effort was a non-starter. “This money is a kind of handshake that we think won’t move [the] needle for them or us [immediately] but over time will deliver an economic return,” Steinberg told the WSJ. Steinberg also alluded to future collaborative plans to develop a native video ad unit. Taboola chief Adam Singolda said his firm has promoted more than 3 million pieces of sponsored content.

Data Mining Tug-Of-War

According to data from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, consumers dislike data mining but feel powerless to stop it. The NYT reports a majority (55%) of survey respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed that it’s all right for retailers to use information about shoppers to improve the services they provide consumers. And 84% of respondents claim they’d like more control over the data marketers collect about them, but 65% said they have little power to amend current practices. Mike Zaneis, the chief counsel for the IAB, argues the inverse. “People are always willing to trade privacy and information when they see the direct value of sharing that information,” he said.

Snap Crackle Metrics

Sony’s VOD platform, Crackle, is partnering with analytics firm Moat and Comcast’s video-management company, FreeWheel, to offer advertisers real-time viewability metrics. René Santaella, SVP of global ad strategy and operations at Sony, tells Variety the move aims to boost digital video viewability. “With more and more linear TV networks announcing streaming plans and entering the digital space, it’s important to ensure the premium experience is properly valued,” he said. The move responds to broadcasters clamoring for a higher digital viewability standard, many of whom (*cough* GroupM) would like to see the MRC’s standard of 50% in-view for two seconds amended.

Castle On A Swamp

As Facebook and Google push more mobile video, eMarketer predicts spend in the format will go up 70% this year to a total of $2.62 billion. But that still pales in comparison to what brands are spending on desktop digital video or mobile advertising overall. Ad Age reports that YouTube, which is the preeminent player in online video, already gets more views on mobile than desktop, but it still can’t get advertisers to invest in mobile as a platform despite the supply. Either companies are getting mobile video spend at bargain bin prices or everyone who relies on mobile traffic could face structural problems.

Taking The High Road

In emails to AdExchanger, executives at Shine and Adblock Plus, two of the most prominent ad-blocking companies, emphasized that despite reports to the contrary, they want to improve the digital advertising ecosystem, not ruin it. Interestingly, Google CEO Larry Page seems to agree, saying about ad blockers at a shareholders meeting, “Part of it is the industry needs to do better at producing ads that are less annoying, and that are quicker to load, and all those things.” Maybe Google just minds paying the Adblock Plus whitelisting fee less than everyone else. Read the article at The Drum.

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