US TV Ad Spend To Shrink; A Quarter Of Web Traffic Isn’t Human

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Over-The-Top Growth

TV ad spend will shrink in the US this year by 0.5% to $69.9 billion, according to eMarketer’s updated forecast. TV’s share of US media spend will decrease as a result, from 33.9% in 2017 to 31.6% this year. TV ad spend will rise slightly in 2020 thanks to the Tokyo Olympics and presidential election, but will be back in the red the following year and dwindle to less than a quarter of total US ad spend by 2020. TV’s decline is thanks to digital, which will grow 18.7% this year to $101 billion, and to OTT, which  “is changing the climate of the TV ad market,” writes eMarketer senior forecasting director Monica Peart. Roku’s US ad revenues will surpass $293 million this year, a 93% increase from 2017, while Hulu sees ad revenue increase 13% to $1.2 billion. More.

Neither Human Nor Bot

Twenty-eight percent of all website traffic shows “non-human signals,” according to a study by Adobe, but not all of that traffic is fraudulent. Software that scrape websites for information, such as search engines or travel aggregators, can register as web traffic. Marketers often use web traffic to measure the success of their campaigns, and those who don’t know what they’re measuring could be misevaluating spend or overpaying vendors. “In the long term, real humans at real browsers will be a diminishing portion of traffic,” said Dave Weinstein, director of engineering for Adobe Experience Cloud. More at WSJ.

Damage Control

Facebook is adjusting its privacy tools to make it easier for users to access their data and manage their ad preferences. The changes, announced Wednesday, come in the wake of Facebook’s ongoing Cambridge Analytica data scandal. Facebook is mostly just streamlining existing controls into a centralized hub, but there is one new thing: a feature called Access Your Information lets users view, download and delete all of the data they’ve shared with Facebook, like photos and comments, and all the data that’s been generated as a result of the things they’ve done on Facebook, like searches and location history. The tweaks will roll out in the coming weeks, as will a revamped data policy that Facebook says will “better spell out what data we collect and how we use it.” But these features don’t address what’s already slipped away into the ether. And no word yet on how Facebook will implement Zuck’s promise to investigate third-party developers and crack down on unauthorized data sharing.

Turn The Screws

Turner Broadcasting chief John Martin was questioned by the Department of Justice on Wednesday over whether Turner networks like CNN and TBS could be used to drive up prices of pay-TV competitors. The government focused on Turner sports rights, like March Madness and NBA games, which according to The New York Times have more influence than news or scripted programming to drive people from subscription packages. Martin argued that distribution is more important than the marginal potential subscriber pick-up if basketball viewers ditch rival Dish Network. Cord cutters are undermining subscription revenue, making distribution more important, and with AT&T data, Turner will improve the value of its ads – further increasing the relative value of distribution over subscriptions. The DOJ countered that Turner can improve its own advertising, pointing to internal data showing the cable company was considering buying startups for its own ad services before entering negotiations with AT&T. More.

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