The Duopoly Is Really Real; The Telco Space Is Active

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Duopoly Daze Of Summer

In case you weren’t sure, The Duopoly is very real. While both Facebook and Google parent Alphabet raked in billions of dollars in ad revenue this quarter, next-tier competitors like Twitter and Snap are struggling to keep up. The Duopoly controls more than 60% of the global digital ad market, according to eMarketer, with no other digital platform at market share of more than 5%. The giants are poised for success with TV as well. YouTube’s “fastest-growing screen” is the home television, CEO Sundar Pichai announced on the company’s earnings call last week. Bank of America recently pegged YouTube’s independent value at $70 billion. Facebook will debut its first original TV-style programming in August, on top of its sprawling video empire across its news feed, Instagram and Facebook Live. One of the likeliest mechanisms to undercut the platforms’ growth is courts and regulations, but “as long as they toe the line and stay in the market position they’re in, it’s going to be kind of hard to go after them under the existing antitrust laws,” says Herbert Hovenkamp, a University of Pennsylvania professor of antitrust law. More at Reuters.

The Other Ad Giants

Telcos accelerated their M&A activity in the final years of the Obama administration, like Verizon snapping up AOL and Yahoo and AT&T proposing to merge with Time Warner in a deal that’s still pending. But under the new FCC – where any deal that hinges on regulatory approval is likely to get it – cable and TV network operators are in a headlong rush to consolidate the supply chain. Sprint just emerged from parallel negotiations with Comcast and Charter over wireless reselling with no deals to show, but now reportedly wants a full-blown merger with Charter. “The idea is that adding mobile-phone service to bundles of TV, phone and broadband internet service would make the offerings more essential and cost-efficient,” writes The Wall Street Journal. More.

Writing On The Paywall

Facebook said that it will not take any of the revenue or data generated when readers sign up for subscriptions on Instant Articles. Instead of operating its own subscription service, Facebook will operate a paywall publishers can turn on after non-subscribers view 10 articles per month in order to help publishers monetize on the platform. “Quality journalism costs money to produce, and we want to make sure it can thrive on Facebook,” says head of news partnerships Campbell Brown. More at Recode.

The Sell-Around

Birkenstock built its reputation in America on “hippies” and counterculture movements, and is once again throwing itself into the gnashing teeth of American capitalism. This time around, that means Amazon. Birkenstock pulled all licensed apparel off Amazon earlier this year due to counterfeits and unauthorized sellers. Amazon responded by reaching out to thousands of authorized retailers with offers to buy Birkenstocks directly and resell on the platform. “I will state clearly, any authorized retailer who may do this for even a single pair will be closed FOREVER,” wrote Birkenstock USA CEO David Kahan in a letter to retailers obtained by The Washington Post. “This is modern-day piracy on the high seas,” he later told the Post. “This is a middle finger to all brands, not just Birkenstock.” More.

In A Good Placed

Investors worry about Snap’s ability to maintain and grow its user base and, ultimately, ad revenue. But the platform’s $125 million acquisition of location data company Placed last month may give it another revenue stream outside of advertising. By the end of Q3, Snap advertisers will be able to tap into Placed to see how well their ads performed on the channel versus others in driving traffic to stores, Adweek’s Lauren Johnson reports. And Placed’s own deals, like the one it just inked with STX Entertainment to measure how media channels across TV, out-of-home and digital drive ticket sales for two upcoming movies, will ultimately result as money in Snap’s pocket. More.

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