Sinclair Broadcasting Withdrew Its Political Spend Forecast; Recounting Mode Media’s Downfall

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Out Of The Race

Sinclair Broadcasting has withdrawn its political spending forecast for the year, due to unorthodox election advertising patterns. Gray Television Inc. also withdrew its guidance. According to The Wall Street Journal, political TV ad spend is down 42% since 2012, largely due to Donald Trump’s historically low number of TV ads. The broadcast industry is grappling with whether or not this is a Trump-fueled anomaly or part of a broader trend. “It seems to be more of a Trump story than a general story,” said Washington State professor Travis Ridout. “This presidential campaign, everyone knows too much about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and thus the ability for advertising to have any impact is really quite small.” More.

Mode Implode

What happened to Mode Media? How did a publisher which once seemed flush with cash suddenly find itself flushed down the toilet? Despite the suddenness of its fall, a scoop from Business Insider depicts a company that slowly crumbled – “less of an out-of-the-blue collapse than the culmination of a long-running struggle against a changing market and bitter infighting that pitted a flashy, smooth-talking founder against increasingly wary overseas investors.” One big issue, according to BI’s report, is that Mode just couldn’t adapt to programmatic. It launched expensive advertorial initiatives, but at the end of the day its cash flow stopped and the company couldn’t halt the hemorrhaging. It’s a tale as old as time itself. Read more.

Falling Behind

The old-school holding company model isn’t just nontransparent, it’s also hindering agencies from taking full advantage of big data, according to a white paper released by the IAB and DMA. The paper reveals that of more than 200 advertisers, marketers and vendors surveyed, a mere 5% are “extremely confident” in their team’s ability to support data-driven initiatives. “Despite rampant enthusiasm for the potential of ‘Big Data,’ many enterprise-class marketers and media providers remain saddled with infrastructure, technology and internal processes designed for yesterday’s business needs, thus hindering their ability to capitalize on data and its potential,” the IAB and DMA found. Read it.  

rAMPing Up

Google is expanding its AMP product beyond news publishers. Now users searching for things like recipes and lyrics will be greeted with AMP’s super-speedy load times on the mobile web, reports TechCrunch. Users are more likely to click on an AMP link than a regular one, according to AMP lead product manager Rudy Galfi (though, duh, because Google pushes AMP pages to the top of search results in a special carousel). Google’s faster load times have even convinced Microsoft to show AMP results in its Bing mobile search. While Google won’t factor AMP into its mobile search results rankings, the product’s popularity is supposed to convince more publishers to hop on board. More.

Overbilled, Over Hot Coals

Dentsu’s Japanese performance marketing subsidiary, DA Search and Link (DASL), is in the midst of a crisis after admitting it overbilled its long-standing, blue chip client Toyota for digital media work. Anonymous industry sources passed the allegations to AdNews, which reports DASL has been overbilling for at least five years and Toyota has already begun pulling business from the agency. This comes at a bad time for Dentsu, as brands have developed an itchy trigger finger when it comes to auditing their agencies. And AdNews writes there are rumors that other flagship Japanese Dentsu brands, like Honda and Sony, are likely to scrutinize their own billings. More.


The next generation of search budgets won’t be about connecting online users with links. Instead, Google is betting it’s all about services. As such, it’s baking an AI-driven search service called “Google assistant” into a range of products. One such product is Google’s late-to-market messaging app Allo introduced in a blog post yesterday. There’s also Google Home, a voice-activated connected home service, that will employ the assistant tech. “Google search has been largely a way that people typed queries in a one-way conversation to get information that they themselves used to complete tasks,” writes Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land. “Google assistant is going beyond that, to a two-way conversation, one that aims to fulfill tasks as well.” More.

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