FAST Channels Pick Up The Pace Of Original Content; Google Play Store Removes Defense Contractor

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FAST channels have been slow to develop original content.

Most free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels are feasting on the scraps of linear TV. It works because old shows are still new for millions of viewers who didn’t catch them over the set-top box. It’s why FAST channels can make “big money” serving old content, an anonymous source tells Digiday.

But leftovers don’t stay appetizing for long. That growth will plateau once reruns hit a saturation point, and the logical next step is original content.

The challenge is offsetting high production costs against the viewer and revenue growth it will create. Original content also holds marketing value, since channels that can promote original content draw in new viewers.

The strategy is working for Fuse. It saw a fourfold increase in viewership and revenue in the past year. Some of that growth comes from its recent foray in original programming, Fuse’s head of digital, Patrick Courtney, told Digiday. Polaris, a FAST channel featuring stories by BIPOC creators, is another example – it plans to ramp up its ratio of original content from 40% right now to 70% by the end of Q3, COO Nathaniel Clark told AdExchanger.

Defense Is A Strong Offense

Google removed dozens of apps carrying an SDK by Measurement Systems, a Panamanian tech company linked via corporate records to a US defense contractor that works with national-security agencies, The Wall Street Journal reports. 

The SDK was planted in several Muslim prayer apps and a popular weather app in Iran, as well as highway speed-trap detection apps and general consumer apps.

American security and intelligence agencies “purchase publicly and commercially available data,” says a Pentagon spokesperson. 

The Measurement Systems SDK stood out for invasive practices and “without a doubt could be described as malware,” said Serge Egelman, one of the two researchers who documented the data collection. 

For small and midsize developers, it’s difficult to refuse an SDK willing to pay above-market rates. The developer of one of the prayer apps says it had been told the SDK collected location data on behalf of internet service providers, energy and financial services companies. 

“This saga continues to underscore the importance of not accepting candy from strangers,” Egelman says. 

The apps were removed a month ago, and some have returned – they’re free to do so as long as they ditch the SDK.

What’s The Harma In Pharma? 

Doceree, a programmatic startup that targets pharma and life sciences messages to doctors, raised $11 million

Doceree says its identity resolution service can segment physicians based on diagnoses they make, prescriptions they write or procedures they perform. The startup says it targets those profiles in “physician-only channels,” such as professional medical resources or networking services, as well as online healthcare portals. 

The thing about programmatic pharma marketing is that patients don’t realize it’s happening – the campaign is between the pharma advertiser and the physician, not general web users. If Google inappropriately targets search users with pharma ads based on known profile data, it would be apparent because Google is … targeting them. A pharma conquesting campaign can rage in the background of physician-only online media channels. Patients have no idea; they just get the prescription for the medication that’s on the top of the doctor’s mind. 

Doctors are attached to many deterministic identifiers. There are addressable IDs associated with medical school graduation, physician certification, state practicing license and DEA prescribing rights, all tied back to an individual with a known medical specialty, prescription history, schooling and hospital residency. 

Physician-only media supply is hard to find. But doctors are shockingly easy to target.

But Wait, There’s More!

AMC Networks will bring shoppable ads to this year’s upfronts. [Ad Age]

Ecommerce and payment services company Productsup raises $70 million. [release]

You’re still being tracked on the internet, just in a different way. [NYT]

L’Oréal eyes impulse sales on TikTok. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

Sharethrough makes Richard Ottoy GM of EMEA and opens a London office. [release]

Publishers Clearing House hires Google vet Bill Masterson as president of PCH Media. [release]

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