TikTok Distances From China; Data-Driven TV Ads Are Expensive

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China Who?

TikTok wants to distance itself from its Chinese ownership as it faces scrutiny from US lawmakers and regulators. Its senior-most executive, Alex Zhu, gave an interview to The New York Times, dismissing concerns that the social app could help China spy on the United States. Asked what he would do if Chinese President Xi Jinping personally asked him to take down a video or hand over user data, Zhu said, “I would turn him down.” More. Separately, The Wall Street Journal reports that advisers have suggested the company rebrand in the region and expand operations in Southeast Asia and Singapore to separate its image from that of China. The app has already reduced the amount of Chinese content it shows to US users in an effort to obscure its ties to the country. All that said, it may be tough to shake its Chinese roots. “We’re a Chinese company,” a former TikTok employee said. “We answer to China.” Read that.

CTV Sticker Shock

Big advertisers may love the idea of data-driven TV, but many balk at the costs of data and OTT inventory. In the United Kingdom, CPMs for addressable VOD ads range from $30 to $45. Linear CPMs are often a third of that price, Digiday reports. The limited reach can also be a sticking point. “Improved data could mean further reduction in scalability, at least until addressable inventory increases across the wider TV market,” said Sam Taylor, head of group commercial marketing at the British insurance company Direct Line Group. For now, linear campaigns are cheap and broad enough to overpower the allure of data-driven channels, said Kelly Davis, marketing communications manager at Dreams, a mattress brand. ”There’s no real benefit for us in paying the premium.” More.

Slapped By Sir Martin

Martin Sorrell’s spat with WPP reportedly got physical last week in Lisbon, where the former CEO was accused of slapping an old colleague, Superunion CEO Jim Prior, in a speakers’ lounge at Web Summit. The S4 Capital CEO denies the incident, which was allegedly in response to Prior’s comments in a recent Campaign article that Sorrell was “a long, long, long way behind in the [WPP] rearview mirror,” Financial Times reports. Despite remaining one of its largest shareholders, Sorrell has been antagonizing WPP since he stepped down as CEO in April 2018. This most recent altercation sparked a complaint from WPP lawyers, on which Sorrell and his lawyers have pushed back, claiming it’s all part of the holding company’s agenda to “undermine what we are doing at S4 Capital,” Sorrell said. Prior declined to comment on the incident. More.

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