Walmart May Sell Vudu; G/O Media Editors Rebel Against Autoplay Video

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Scary Vudu

Walmart is considering a sale of Vudu, its on-demand service, The Information reports. On the one hand, Vudu Is Walmart’s only OTT foothold. On the other hand, Vudu isn’t much of a foothold. The inventory and audience opportunities are limited – though its ad business benefits from Walmart’s data and brand relationships. Vudu is not really an answer to Amazon Prime Video. Walmart would “have to invest substantially in the business to compete,” so instead will partner and license its way into entertainment, according to The Information’s sources. It’s a big question mark in the industry how critical the huge media investments by Amazon and Alibaba will be for their commerce businesses, and whether those bets (unprofitable, for now at least) make sense for legacy retail giants. More.

Editors Sound Off

Journalists and editors don’t usually get involved in the business side. But at G/O Media Inc., the owner of former Gawker Media properties Deadspin and Gizmodo, editorial is pushing back against a campaign that’s running sound-on, autoplay video ads on their sites. The publisher began running the autoplay ads against 6% of its audience to boost the number of impressions it could deliver in a $1 million deal with Farmers Insurance Group, The Wall Street Journal reports. While the tactic worked in delivering impressions – G/O Media delivered 43.5 million impressions through September 2020, which is much higher than its ad ops team expected – the poor user experience led editors to publicly decry the practice on the company’s website. More. It’s only the latest instance of bad blood between G/O management and editorial staff, who have bridled under numerous decisions imposed by the new ownership. More on the conflict.

Subscription Trap

The UK advertising watchdog said Amazon misled consumers on its checkout page, leading some to inadvertently sign up for its Prime subscription service. Before paying, users were presented with two boxes that said “Order Now With Prime” and “Continue with free one-day delivery – pay later,” both of which signed the users up for Amazon Prime subscriptions. The option not to sign up for Prime was presented in a much smaller, faintly colored box on the left-hand side of the page that “could easily be missed,” The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said. The ASA said both sign-up boxes were “likely to be seen by the average consumer as separate options," and that Prime sign-ups must be “presented clearly” in the future, the BBC reports. "The ASA has based its ruling on a handful of complaints and a subjective opinion of the page,” according to a statement by Amazon, which intends to continue discussions with the ASA. More.

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