AdExchanger Announces Awards Finalists; Disney Plus Hits 50M Subscribers In Five Months

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The Ad Tech Oscars

The 2020 AdExchanger Awards finalists were announced on Thursday. “Best In-House Media Operation” pits some of the best-known brands in the world: Bayer, Disney Parks and Experiences, Sprint, Nestlé and Uber. It’s also no surprise that finalists exhibiting the best “Leadership in Advertising” know their way around TV, with Scott Rosenberg (Roku), Jeremy Helfand (Hulu) and Nicolle Pangis (Ampersand, a joint venture co-owned by Comcast, Cox and Charter). Though don’t sleep on LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe or Dotdash programmatic revenue and strategy SVP Sara Badler, who are finalists as well. In other categories, such as “Best Measurement or Analytics Capability,” Davids take on the Goliaths. Do attribution startups Measured and LoopMe have what it takes to surpass Oracle Data Cloud, Altice-owned Teads or Google’s creative analytics product Project Gaudi? Check out the full list.

The Disney Effect

Disney Plus hit 50 million subscribers in its first five months. Subscriptions have doubled since February, as people shelter at home. “We’re truly humbled that Disney Plus is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney DTC and International, in a statement. Disney Plus’ success is welcome news for the media and entertainment giant, which closed theme parks and cruises and delayed movie releases. The streaming service now has nearly a third of the subscribers as its biggest rival, Netflix, and is well on pace for its five-year goal of between 60 million and 90 million subscribers, Adweek reports. Though it’s unclear how many Disney Plus subscriptions are paid, or are free promotions that could easily churn.

Paper Hearing

The Senate is social distancing. On Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee held what it’s calling a “paper hearing” on the topic of using data to fight the coronavirus, and related privacy concerns. Privacy is particularly top of mind as policymakers debate using location data from smartphones to track the coronavirus. But what the heck is a “paper hearing,” you ask? Since it’s impossible to hold a physical hearing right now, the witnesses, including executives from the IAB, the Future of Privacy Forum and the Network Advertising Initiative, were asked to post their testimony online. Lawmakers submitted questions based on the presentations, and those organizations have four days to respond. The committee posted the written testimony. But it’s a shame. Everyone loves live congressional hearings.

Snap To It

Snap is bringing on Peter Naylor as its first head of ad sales in the Americas. Naylor joins Snap  from Hulu, where he was SVP and head of ad sales. Hulu’s ad sales team currently reports into Rita Ferro, Disney’s president of ad sales, and it’s unclear if Naylor’s role will be replaced, Ad Age reports. Naylor oversaw Hulu’s $1 billion-plus ad sales business for six years, during which the company rolled out innovative streaming ad formats such as Pause Ads and Binge Ads. Snap is looking to expand its roster of premium mobile shows and to sell ads against the content. Naylor will report into Jeremi Gorman, Snap’s chief business officer.

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