TV Ad Spend Tanked In 2020; Facebook Signs Content Deals In Australia

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Hyperlocal Hyperdrive

TV advertising was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. According to market and media research firm Kantar, TV advertising experienced a 9% drop to $66.8 billion in 2020. Only spot TV advertising witnessed an uptick in ad dollars last year. Cable TV, network TV, Spanish language programming, syndicated television and total national TV media were all down. Broadcast TV networks slipped 10% to $15.8 billion. But there was one bright spot in TV Land: Local TV seems to have come out ahead. Advertising in local TV was up 8.3%, hitting $16.25 billion, driven by record-high political ad spend. Based on Kantar’s estimations, 2020 political advertising on broadcast TV was $3.5 billion – a record amount. Still, TV stations suffered somewhat from the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics being postponed until this year to the pandemic. Elsewhere, national TV media paced worse than the market overall – down 13.3% to $50.5 billion for the year – while cable TV networks had the biggest drop in 2020, down 17% to $28.7 billion. MediaPost has more.

Facebook’s (Out)back

One week after it began, Facebook’s Australia news blackout is over. Reuters reports that Facebook has “preliminary commercial agreements with three small local publishers.” Who are the lucky three? Schwartz Media, Solstice Media and Private Media, which together own weekly papers, online magazines and specialist pubs. Facebook didn’t disclose the financial terms of the deals, which will become effective within 60 days if a full agreement is signed. Although these non-binding arrangements allay some of the fear that small Australian publishers would be left out of revenue-sharing deals with Facebook and Google, they’re also evidence that when Facebook throws its weight around, it often sees results. On the eve of the Australian government’s plan to pass a law forcing big platforms to pay local media for using their content, both Facebook and Google threatened to yank their services from Australia. Google later reneged and struck deals with a bunch of publishers, including News Corp. But Facebook dug its heels in and blocked all news content from the land down under. A few days later, Facebook got its way. Its hardnosed stance led to the addition of several amendments to the law, including one giving the government power to exempt platforms from mandatory arbitration. Facebook began restoring Australian news sites on its platform on Friday.

Snapping It Up

Snapchat may look like grandpa’s social media to a TikToker, but it hasn’t lost its edge with advertisers. DTC brands are increasing their spending on Snapchat this year as part of an ongoing push to diversify their media budgets, Digiday reports. Spending on Snapchat has increased roughly 10% year-over-year, and the app currently accounts for anywhere between 10% to 25% of media budgets. But why is Snap so, well, snappy right now? Beyond looking to reduce their reliance on other larger platforms (ahem, Facebook and Instagram), brands are doing their damndest to get ahead of potential fallout related to Apple’s forthcoming privacy moves on iOS 14. Facebook has stated publicly that its ability to target and measure advertising will be impacted by these changes. Snapchat is also generally more sophisticated than TikTok when it comes to targeting and DR and does a better job of pitching DTC brands on its e-commerce capabilities.

But Wait, There’s More!

WarnerMedia parent AT&T has sold its stake in DirecTV to private equity firm TPG for $7.8 billion. [Deadline]

Facebook reported more than 20 million child sexual abuse images on its platform in 2020, according to a new report by the National Council for Missing and Exploited Children. [Business Insider]

Here’s how Ukonwa Ojo, CMO of Amazon Prime Video, is positioning the brand in the streaming wars. [Ad Age]

Cision is acquiring Brandwatch for $450 million in a deal that’s expected to close in Q2 2021. [TechCrunch]

Netflix will spend $100 million to improve diversity on film following an equity study it commissioned to study the level of diversity in its movies and TV shows. [CNBC]

LiveRamp is committing $15 million to help minority and Black communities access financial resources and services. [release]

Viewers will have a new way to follow Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, as well as the Grammys and Oscars in the coming weeks, on streaming service Haystack News. [Deadline]

You’re Hired!

Merkle has three new execs on its tech team: Matthew Mobley, EVP and CTO of the Americas, Pete Rogers, technology consulting leader and Mark Engelke, growth officer. [release]

Caroline Connolly is joining Kantar Public as head of international development. []

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