Home Ad Exchange News HBO Taps Roku Because It Needs A Boost; The In-App Browser Abomination

HBO Taps Roku Because It Needs A Boost; The In-App Browser Abomination


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HBO Maxed Out

Warner Bros. Discovery is an awkward forced marriage between two streaming services.

But Discovery is already wearing the pants in this relationship. 

The original content slate for Discovery+ is going strong, while Warner Media’s HBO Max is taking cut after cut.

Except for “House of the Dragon,” the new “Game of Thrones” spinoff.

Warner Bros. Discovery is going big to back the potential tentpole, including a major marketing deal with Roku to promote the series on Roku smart TVs.

Roku launched an “Exclusive Fan Experience” home screen last week to hype up the “House of the Dragon” premiere on Sunday, including behind-the-scenes interviews, fun facts about the characters and “Game of Thrones” recaps.

There’s no telling what two days of marketing will accomplish, but under new ownership, HBO has to prove it’s a serious subscription driver.

Out, Out, Out With In-App Browsers

Facebook and Instagram faced PR blowback recently when Felix Krause, a security and privacy researcher, published a post showing how they collect data from their in-app browsers.


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In-app browsers feel like legit browser apps. They use open-source code and Apple’s WebKit infrastructure. But they’re not legit. They’re platform data collection vehicles. 

Krause updated his report with more detail on in-app browser code and, particularly, TikTok’s excessive data collection. 

TikTok is the only app reviewed by Krause (including the Meta suite, Amazon, Robinhood, Snapchat and Twitter) that doesn’t give users the option to open a site in the default browser. TikTok’s in-app browser is the only one that collects “all taps and keyboard inputs, which can include passwords and credit cards.”

Krause added that apps can block his code to monitor their in-app-browser tracking, so the coverage will disappear soon. 

But hopefully Krause helped to elevate the idea that apps should default to users’ preferred browsers. Apps prioritize short-term benefits from tracking in-app browsers to the true benefits of linking elsewhere. If Facebook and Instagram opened in third-party browsers, they’d be a meaningfully larger force in ecommerce. Many customer journeys die because the in-app browsers don’t function well. 

Heaven Helps Those Who Helpful Themselves

Google released a major update to its search algorithm, which it dubbed its first Helpful Content Update. 

Google says the changes favor “people-first” content over “search engine-first” pages, according to SEO and marketing consultant Glenn Gabe, who spoke to Danny Sullivan, Google Search public liaison. 

The new ranking signal has teeth, too. That’s because it’s a site-wide signal. Google mostly lets URLs compete for themselves. (An article or product page within a site can stand out even if the overall site doesn’t.) But now, if a publisher triggers the Unhelpful alarm too many times, Google will expand that classification to every URL under the site banner. 

Sullivan also cautions that coming back from the Unhelpful designation could take months of work producing good-faith content. So it’s a real blow to monetization. 

Content generated by software or API will be targeted. One such example is programmatic death sites that auto-populate obituary pages to collect search traffic because people Google someone who’s died.

“We are looking to surface content that will be viewed as helping and adding value to the topics searched,” says Sullivan. “Creators who are specifically creating content for search engines first, which include AI-based content, may be impacted.”

But Wait, There’s More!

Musk targets ad tech companies DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science in a legal dispute with Twitter over its takeover deal. [Reuters]

Snap scraps development of its Pixy flying selfie drone. [WSJ]

Unfazed by gaming’s slowdown, marketers await more robust tools. [Marketing Dive]

HBO Max’s content purge continues. [Variety] And CNN’s getting more cuts, too. [Insider]

Why DTC brand Sugarwish is dialing down its social media ad strategy. [Digiday]

Sports streaming waxes, while sports betting ad spend wanes. [Ad Age]

DoorDash dumps Walmart. [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired!

IPG Mediabrands brings on Isabelle Brenton as SVP of global corporate comms. [MediaPost]

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