House Members Threaten Antitrust Overhaul; NBCU Sells Addressable Campaigns On Charter

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Big Tech Taken To Task

Big Tech was in a familiar yet uncomfortable role Thursday: Another tongue-lashing from Congressional members alarmed by its outsize market power. MarketWatch reports that the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law held the first in a planned series of hearings over legislative “proposals to address the rise and abuse of market power online and to modernize the antitrust laws.” The hearings are intended to build on the committee’s 16-month bipartisan investigation into competition online – mainly the business practices of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. The Justice Department and state attorneys general have sued Google over its dominant search business, while the FTC has sued Facebook for “illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a yearslong course of anticompetitive conduct.” A slate of business executives, public-policy experts, and antitrust experts were scheduled to testify during Thursday’s hearing. The core argument, as outlined by subcommittee chairman David Cicilline, is “whether our economic future is going to be defined by the success of the best businesses with the best ideas, or simply the biggest companies with the biggest lobbying budgets.”

Addressable Alliance

NBCUniversal can now sell addressable campaigns against its own inventory on Charter’s Spectrum video on demand platforms. The deal increases NBCU’s addressable household footprint in the US by almost 40% - giving the broadcaster 45 million households. As Andrew Blustein writes for Adweek, content owners like NBCU and distributors like Charter typically bicker over carriage agreements - who’s allowed to carry what show, etc. But the streaming wars have made friends out of adversaries. Charter Communications EVP David Kline said in a statement, “This partnership will provide NBCU an opportunity to make their networks more impactful to advertisers, while also furthering our goal to bring scale and accessibility to addressable TV.” If you’re interested in how NBCU is thinking about its advertising offering as the entire TV industry undergoes a shift, check out AdExhanger’s Industry Preview podcast with NBCU Chief Business Officer Krishan Bhatia.

Diverse Audiences

With more than 1.7 million podcast titles available, advertisers looking to add podcasts to their marketing plans are faced with a dilemma: how to ensure that their programs and messages align with who’s listening. A new report from Nielsen portrays an increasingly diverse audience, Inside Radio reports. Forty one percent of US podcast listeners are non-white, more diverse than the country’s total population. Further, annual growth rates among non-white podcast listeners notably outpaced the growth of white listeners over the past decade. Hispanics have gravitated to podcasts more than any other group, Nielsen says, as the reach among this population segment increased six-fold, from 1.1 million in 2010 to 6.8 million in 2019. That’s well above the four times rate of growth among white listeners. The report also makes the case that podcasting has withstood the effects of COVID-19. Along with everything else, the pandemic altered traditional audio listening habits. Yet despite the reduced time consumers spent in their vehicles, “the pandemic has proven the resiliency of podcasts.”

Comfort Zone

The Ad Council is ramping up what it says is one of the largest public education efforts in United States history to educate Americans about the COVID-19 vaccines. The organization is kicking off an effort to educate the American public with factual information, working with the top vaccine and public health experts to move people from “vaccine hesitancy” to “vaccine confidence.” Per CNBC, with so many distinct communities to reach, the organization is working with many different groups so people can hear from the individuals and groups they trust most. The Ad Council said it’s working with more than 300 major brands, media companies, organizations, faith leaders, medical experts and other groups to reach different audiences. The reach of the campaign will be broad, with dozens of brands, media companies and social platforms making content and donating media to extend the “It’s Up To You” message.

 But Wait, There’s More!

Facebook’s ad campaign promotes personalized advertising. [WSJ] Meanwhile, the company’s fight over media payments shifts focus to Europe. [WSJ]

Terminus secures $90 million Series C led by Great Hill Partners. [release]

Kochava Collective and InfoSum partner to help brands drive growth. [release]

JW Player partners with PulsePoint to deliver health-first contextual video solution for healthcare marketers. [release]

Yeah, Clubhouse is cool, but its swift rise means it’s facing problems that usually plague mature social media networks. [The New York Times]

Lob raises $50 million in Series C funding to scale its  direct mail platform. [release]

Walmart and eko have expanded Walmart Cookshop, a shoppable interactive video hub for cooking enthusiasts, by seamlessly integrating entertainment with shopping, which includes 22 new episodes. [release]

You’re Hired!

Lifesize appoints former 8×8 president – and Cisco and Polycom senior executive – Kim Niederman as its new CEO. [Martech Series]

NextRoll hires Roli Saxena as the new president of its AdRoll ecommerce marketing division. [Martech Series]

 

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