French Publishers Take On The Duopoly; App Store Algorithms Gone Wrong

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In France, publishers are joining forces to stave off the Facebook-Google duopoly. A consortium called Gravity Alliance pools data from 15 national media brands, magazine publishers and ecommerce sites to offer buyers a more comprehensive view of audience identity. The group reaches 44% of the French population and is on pace to reach 50% this fall, according to French financial news site Les Echos. France has a history of publisher consortiums, but Gravity Alliance claims its scale and ecommerce data will allow it to go further, as it combines reading and interest data with ecommerce transactional history and location data. More at eMarketer.

Network Effects

Thousands of Trump supporters frustrated by CNN’s coverage of the president flooded the network’s iOS and Android versions with withering one-star reviews, bringing the app’s overall rating to one star and likely sapping installs until (or unless) Apple and Google step in. “This is where algorithms fail society,” tweeted Jason Kint (thread), CEO of the media trade group Digital Content Next. The sabotage was only the latest salvo in a war of words (and memes) between the Trump camp and the cable network. “I will say CNN has really taken it too seriously,” President Trump said in reference to the edited clip showing him wrestling a man with CNN’s logo imposed over his head. “And I think they’ve hurt themselves very badly.” Another point of leverage for Trump: the pending $85 billion merger of AT&T and CNN parent company Time Warner, which must be approved by the Justice Department. More in The New York Times.

CPG Uncertainty

CPGs, especially those that have relied on grocery store distribution for decades, face market disruption on multiple fronts. Many niche brands promoting unprocessed ingredients took over high-end markets before giant CPG holding companies were able to respond. And cheaper, private-label store brands have taken an additional 3.5% of US grocery shelf space since 2012 (driving up shopper marketing prices for CPGs while undercutting them). “Back then, (CPGs) could advertise and promote their way out of a problem,” food historian Andrew Smith tells The Wall Street Journal. Now they face more difficult choices, like acquiring high-growth rivals and selling off former pillar businesses. More.

Clock’s Ticking

Ad tech and mar tech companies have a big job ahead of them before the GDPR goes into effect across the EU in May, Kyle Gibson of Pegasystems writes in a Medium post. Many are violating the regulation’s stringent rule that businesses must gain consumer consent in order to collect their personal data. Ad tech and mar tech companies will have to explicitly spell out to consumers what data they’re collecting and how they intend to use it, and, in turn, will have to explain their complicated services to an audience that is largely blind to the underbelly of online advertising. More on Medium.

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