TV Cancellation Impact; Etsy Tries Ads

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Not Very Sporting

The sudden absence of live sports in television schedules has thrown broadcasters for a loop, with billions of dollars in rights fees and ad commitments on the line. But the most consequential effect may be a swing of users from linear-TV subscriptions to ad-free streaming services. Netflix and Amazon are regularly cited as relative business beneficiaries of the coronavirus, since people are stuck at home during the day and, in Amazon’s case, more likely to be ordering online than going to a store. Sports are the most compelling (or expensive, at least) part of a TV bundle – and they’re disappearing just as households around the country start turning the TV on during the day. “We worry about seasonal churn,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson tells The Wall Street Journal. “We think sports is the glue for subscribers.” More. AdExchanger has more about how sports marketing budgets and sponsorships are affected by the coronavirus and the cancellation of all pro competitions. Read that.

Crafty Ads

Etsy has been cranking up ecommerce fees: It raised seller fees for the first time in 2018, from 3.5% to 5%, and shifted all transactions to its own payment processor instead of open options such as PayPal. But the newest marketplace fee is its toughest pill yet: An advertising program that takes a 15% cut of sales from small sellers (under $10,000 per year) and a 12% cut for larger sellers. Small sellers can opt out, but larger sellers have no choice but to allow Etsy to advertise on their behalf and take a 12% cut of sales. Etsy pays to promote products on Google, Facebookagram and Pinterest, and the Etsy sellers pay when the ads convert on a sale. On Etsy forums, sellers call the new terms “outrageous,” “unconscionable” and “absolutely absurd,” The Verge reports. The system is nontransparent, so sellers can’t confirm the ROI or see if Etsy is crediting itself for loyal customers. “Etsy has been wonderful to work with,” since signing up in 2012, said one seller. “But we don’t want to work for them.” More.

Magic Merger? 

Rosenblatt analyst Bernie McTernan resuscitated some age-old speculation on Friday that Apple could be interested in a deal for Disney – a dream that seems to have bounced around since Steve Jobs sold Pixar to Disney in 2006, before he was renamed Apple CEO. Disney shares were hammered last week (its main revenue lines – sports and TV, ads and hotels and theme parks – are heavily affected by coronavirus), dropping from $141 to a low $91, before bouncing back up to about $100. Still, at that discount, Apple could “take advantage of the volatility” with a takeover attempt, McTernan said in a research note. But! Apple targets relatively small, strategic acquisitions and has never dropped more than $3 billion at a time (that’s what it spent on Beats headphones in 2014), according to the Apple news site Apple 3.0. Maybe in some cartoon fantasyland. More.

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