Facebook Algo Change Could Boost Ad Revenue; Toy Makers Look To Content

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When Less Is More

Facebook’s recent algo change could lure TV dollars if it reduces the amount of publisher video content in the news feed. If pubs spend less on Facebook traffic, it “could lead to less inventory and push advertisers towards the more premium videos within Facebook Watch,” Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i, tells The New York Times. For Facebook, which is suffering a backlash to propaganda distribution and has maxed out news feed ad inventory, pushing marketers toward curated video could help with both problems. “Facebook has been studying TV for a few years now, and they see there is a certain equation to the size and success of TV,” says OMD Chief Investment Officer Ben Winkler. “It’s three elements: a high-quality user experience, prominent high-quality video and a curated, restricted supply of said video. What that equation results in is higher rates and stable, consistent ad dollars and growth – and Facebook is looking for ad growth.” More.

Some Assembly Required

Retailers saw a strong sales jump during the 2017 holiday season, but toy sales were off from the year before, even for hit franchises like Star Wars. The bankruptcy of Toys R Us last September makes the picture bleaker still for large toy manufacturers. Toy brands see digital media as a potential lifeline. Mattel is beefing up its digital content, including YouTube programming for its Barbie and Hot Wheels brands and a deal with Amazon Prime Video for a series featuring American Girl dolls as characters. Hasbro has invested $535 million in digital content since 2010, Bloomberg reports. Both toy companies are also “nurturing relationships with Amazon and Alibaba.” More.

From The Horse’s Mouth

Digital platform revenue is on the gallop, but who’s pulling the cart? News Corp. founder and CEO Rupert Murdoch issued a statement Monday calling for Facebook and Google to pay media companies a carriage fee similar to the cable TV industry because of their inadequate efforts to eradicate fake news. “Publishers are obviously enhancing the value and integrity of Facebook through their news and content but are not being adequately rewarded for those services,” he wrote. “Carriage payments would have a minor impact on Facebook’s profits but a major impact on the prospects for publishers and journalists.” Read it.

Amazon’s Retail Footprint

Kohl’s stock is up about 75% since last November, after it announced a pilot partnership with Amazon to sell the ecommerce giant’s home devices and accept product returns. The investment bank Jefferies sharply raised its price target on Kohl’s based on the partnership. Some of the optimism for Kohl’s comes from investors hoping Amazon buys the company outright, reports CNBC, since Wall Street doesn’t think Whole Foods is the end of Amazon’s brick-and-mortar ambition. Others in the retail industry think Kohl’s is “sleeping with the enemy,” but pressure to find common ground instead of fighting for old ground is an undertow that could drag more US department stores into the Amazon maelstrom. More. Related Amazon retail news: Inside Amazon Go, a Store of the Future (NYT)

But Wait, There’s More!

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