Google Asks For Biden's Help In Europe; Pandemic-Related Discrepancies In Nielsen Measurement

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Please, Mr. President

Google is asking President Biden to take action as European regulators pursue more robust regulation of the industry. (Where did we leave our tiny violin?) According to CNBC, Karan Bhatia, Google’s VP of government affairs and policy, said in a blog post that the technology trade relationship between the United States and the European Union “is fraying,” and urged the Biden administration to join a technology and trade council with the EU. Specifically, Bhatia said US policy “has been largely reduced to pressing Europe to follow US supply chain initiatives” while Europe pursues more broad regulations, including taxes on digital services. Biden, of course, has been staffing his team with well-known critics of Big Tech, such as Lina Khan and Tim Wu, and Google is the subject of antitrust lawsuits from several states and the Department of Justice. Still, Google’s appeal to Biden might indicate that it sees the administration as a potential ally to help fend off tough legislation from the EU and prevent a splintered version of the Internet across continents.

Nielsen Vs. The Networks

Here’s an unlikely side effect of COVID-19: unreliable TV measurement. Variety reports that Nielsen has acknowledged it may not have been able to measure TV audiences during the pandemic as closely as it’s able to under normal circumstances, according to people familiar with the matter. Field agents often visit the home of Nielsen panelists to make sure the company’s measurement technology is functioning properly, but that didn’t happen last year. And there’s another somewhat more macabre reason for potential counting discrepancies, which is that some Nielsen households may no longer be reliable owing to deaths caused by the pandemic. On top of that, networks are worried they might not be getting the full credit they deserve for people who stream their content. This issue is coming to a boil as media companies get ready for the upfronts. Nielsen issued a statement that it has “full confidence” in the fidelity of its ratings estimates and that it’s working with clients to understand the true impact COVID has had on audiences. Read on.

Text Me!

Tech startup Community.com, the messaging platform that lets brands, celebrities and athletes – from Diddy and Sophia Bush to Kerry Washington, Tom Brady and even Sir Paul McCartney – text with consumers and fans, has clinched a $40 million investment from Salesforce Ventures. Per the Wall Street Journal, the funding comes as marketers, media companies and prominent individuals seek more direct ways to communicate with consumers as it becomes more difficult to precisely target digital ads. The investment brings Community’s funding to nearly $90 million. But not all of the buzz has been positive. If you’ve stumbled on a tweet from a celebrity that includes their phone number, it’s not really their phone number. And if you text it, you’re not actually going to be chatting with a famous person directly. You’ll be automatically signing up for Community, which manages direct messaging with large audiences on behalf of well-known figures. (So … Karli Kloss wasn’t really sending us a DM? Oh well.)

But Wait, There’s More!

After three years of herding kittens (sorry, wrangling universal identifiers), Jordan Mitchell has left IAB Tech Lab. [LinkedIn]

As theaters open up, studios are starting to promote theatrical movie marketing again. [Digiday]

Apple's upcoming privacy changes are sparking a wave of mobile advertising consolidation. Here are seven companies experts say could be acquired next. [Business Insider]

A Florida data privacy law tougher than California’s – including rules that would let marketers retain consumer data only for one year and let people sue over even relatively small infractions – is moving fast through the legislature. [Ad Age]

Approximately 81% of households that watched the NCAA March Madness championship game in 2019 on traditional linear TV did not return to traditional linear TV to watch the tournament in 2021, according to Roku. [blog post]

Mars has been elevated to vice chair of the Unstereotype Alliance, an effort it co-founded in 2017 with Unilever and UN Women to remove harmful stereotypes from advertising and marketing. [CampainUS]

You’re Hired!

Jatinder Singh has joined DDB North America as chief data officer. [release]

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