Vox Releases Audience Data Platform; Comcast Might Buy Xumo

Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

It’s Vox’s Forte

Are you an advertiser in need of publisher first-party data? Then Vox has a holiday gift for you! The company, which made a big-scale play in 2019 when it merged with New York Media, has launched an advertising platform called Forte that, according to the press release, “combines first-party data across 125-million monthly unique visitors from 13 topically diverse editorial networks.” Company CRO Ryan Pauley told CNBC that Forte helps advertisers take advantage of data amid new regulations and consumer wariness around how their data is used. As per the release, Forte lets Vox’s ad partners take advantage of the publisher’s “direct-to-consumer relationships,” including subscriber and commerce data. Advertisers can message consumers based on how they got to Vox’s sites, and how they engaged with the editorial content. More from CNBC.

Zooming In On Xumo

Comcast is in advanced talks to acquire the TV service Xumo, according to The Wall Street Journal, though talks could break down. Read more. Xumo bundles content from digital channels into an app that’s embedded in smart TVs like those manufactured by LG, Hisense and Panasonic. Meanwhile, Comcast is on the eve of launching its big streaming service, Peacock. So if Comcast goes through with this acquisition, it would have its own streaming platform as well as hooks into TV manufacturers, which it could use to push Peacock into more households and drive up subscriber numbers. Also, Xumo uses viewer data to power advertising, so there’s alignment with NBCU’s audience selling capabilities. Read AdExchanger coverage.

The Politics Of Streaming

Spotify is the latest digital platform to ban political advertising, Ad Age reports. The music streaming giant, which has aired ads from candidates including Bernie Sanders and organizations like the RNC, said it will pause political advertising starting in early 2020 as the election cycle heats up. “At this point in time, we do not yet have the necessary level of robustness in our process, systems and tools to responsibly validate and review this content,” Spotify said in a statement. “We will reassess this decision as we continue to evolve our capabilities.” Spotify did not disclose how much money it makes from political ads but said it does not account for a significant share of revenue. Unlike Twitter, which permanently banned political ads on its platform, and Google, which is banning micro-targeting for political ads, Spotify will work on its political ad system to ensure it’s able to vet the ads well enough before reintroducing the feature later on. More.

Au Revoir, Marcel

Publicis Groupe’s grand plan for an AI platform connecting its 80,000 employees has fallen flat. Business Insider investigates what happened to Marcel, a project launched almost three years ago with much fanfare that still hasn’t materialized. Publicis made a big show in 2017 when it backed out of industry award shows to invest in Marcel, which CEO Arthur Sadoun claimed would transform the holding company it into a “platform.” But internal politics got in the way. Sapient employees contracted to work on Marcel felt they were doing client work for themselves. Other executives resented Sadoun’s decision to partner with Microsoft instead of Google in order to maintain relationships. Marcel was meant to launch at the end of 2019, but executives say the attention at the firm has now shifted toward swallowing Publicis’ $4.4 billion acquisition of Epsilon. The story highlights the difficulty agencies have in launching technology initiatives that actually stick. "Something about being creative makes you think you can do anything, because you're so used to selling the idea of being able to do anything that you start to believe it," a former Publicis executive said. More.

But Wait, There’s More

 

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