Who Knows What The Future (PLC) Holds; Google Pilots Third-Party Billing Option With Spotify

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What The Future Holds

Future PLC acquired entertainment news company WhatCulture and social analytics service Waive on Thursday. The acquisitions aim to improve Future’s video monetization and its ability to adapt to early trends in news and social media.

Waive specializes in using machine learning to predict trending topics on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Reddit. That provides a finger on the pulse for a pop culture publisher. Speaking of, WhatCulture makes most of its money from monetizing content on YouTube, which is also becoming an important tactic for other publishers in Future’s portfolio.

Bringing WhatCulture under Future’s umbrella – which encompasses a wide range of niche publications – marks a further shift for the company, which has historically been known for B2B media. But lately, Future has invested in developing audiences across non-B2B verticals, including women’s lifestyle, entertainment and technology, through the acquisition of titles such as Marie Claire US, CinemaBlend and Tom’s Guide.

Spot The News

Two app stores, both alike in dignity, in fair payola where we lay our scene.

Spotify announced “a new chapter” in its relationship with Google this week. Users who download Spotify via Google’s Play Store can now pay through either Spotify’s system or Google Play Billing. Sounds innocuous, but developers have never been able to use outside payment services in the native sign-up experience before. 

Developers often try to divert users away from the habitual app install process to sign up on the web, so they can log in without having to pay Apple or Google. But even powerhouse apps like Spotify, Netflix and Fortnite struggle to make it work.

The important unspoken context for the announcement is that Google is diverging from Apple’s App Store.

The two app store operators can’t synchronize policies, yet they always seem to make the same changes at the same time. Both almost simultaneously reduced subscription commissions from 30% in the first year to 15% afterward, and both introduced the same 15% fee for apps that make $1 million or less per year.

Apple was ordered by a court in the Netherlands to allow outside payment processing and cut its developer fee. It conceded a three-point cut to 27%. Google faced a similar case in South Korea … and gave up 4%.

Will Apple follow Google’s lead this time, too?

“This step is an important milestone for mobile app stores,” said Sameer Samat, Google’s VP of product management. (Notice how he’s speaking in the plural.)

Fact Or Fraud

Fraudsters are getting smarter.

DoubleVerify unmasked an ad fraud scheme spanning five million devices that affected both CTV and mobile campaigns, which the company says siphoned $8 million per month out of the ad ecosystem.

The scheme, called “ViperBot,” is “one of the most sophisticated DV has ever identified,” CEO Mark Zagorski says in a release. It uses a method DoubleVerify calls “verification redirection.”

Fraudsters strip away the code that verifies ad impressions, then launder those impressions through cheap, low-quality and/or plagiarized content.

Even though high CPMs make CTV a target, this “redirection tactic” can still be applied across other environments, according to Jack Smith, DV’s chief product officer.

DoubleVerify customers are shielded from the fraudulent impressions, apparently, but the company claims other verification services are still being hoodwinked.

But Wait, There’s More!

Miroma Group has acquired in-housing agency Maker Lab. [Campaign]

Britain’s advertising regulator, the Advertising Standards Authority, will pilot an accountability and transparency initiative for online advertising with IAB UK members, including Google, Amazon Ads, Twitter, Meta, Yahoo and TikTok. [Adweek]

The web is for everyone: Mozilla’s vision for the evolution of the web. [blog]

What we’ve seen so far from Google Product Reviews search rankings update. [SE Roundtable]

The DOJ is accusing Google of withholding documents from antitrust investigators through a willful misreading of attorney-client privilege. [Politico]

Brian Morrissey @ The Rebooting: The rebirth of native advertising. [blog]

The IAPP dives into the data provisions in the EU’s upcoming Digital Markets Act. [blog]

Twitter might start bundling TweetDeck, its power-user account feature, with the Twitter Blue subscription. [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired!

Robin Wheeler has been named VP of US client solutions at Twitter. [Adweek]

ArcSpan Technologies hires Kathryn Burns as VP of product. [release]

Precise TV names ex-Google exec Andy Tress as SVP of sales. [B&C]

Horizon Media hires Joe Koller as EVP and managing partner. [MediaPost]

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