Spotify Rolled Out A Video Product; IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg Equates Ad Blocking To Extortion

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Lend Me Your Eyes

Spotify rolled out its long-awaited video product this week, starting with its Android app, reports Mike Shields at The Wall Street Journal. Digital video is a tempting prize – the platforms that do it best get the biggest budgets – but Spotify is admittedly out of its element. “Obviously our primary user is a music fan, and they are not necessarily leaning in and looking into the app,” said Spotify product VP Shiva Rajaraman. “So there are no particular recipes for how to get this right.” Video content won’t have advertising for the time being, though CEO Daniel Elk said eventually video ads would be an important revenue source. Read on.

No Love Lost

In his keynote speech at the IAB’s annual leadership meeting, CEO Randall Rothenberg sought to recast ad blocking as a freedom of speech issue. “It is the rich and self-righteous, who want to tell everyone else what they can and cannot read and watch and hear – self-proclaimed libertarians whose liberty involves denying freedom to everyone else.” He calls Adblock Plus “an old-fashioned extortion racket.” Read his full comments. Related AdExchanger comic: King Pub.

Toll Roads

Politico takes a dive into publisher micropayments, once thought of as too much a of a hassle to constitute a viable revenue strategy, but now getting a second wind as sites fortify paywalls and get (a little bit) tough on ad-blocking users. The story profiles Blendle, a Dutch publishing tech platform that lets media companies charge small amounts for readers to access individual stories. Blendle has The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post in its investor portfolio. More.


Weeks after several outlets reported on Snapchat’s ad tech ambitions, a  developer forum picked up on some new features embedded in the app’s mobile code. The features include audio and video calls, stickers and new ways for users to chat, per an article from TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez. It’s a potentially consequential product update, as the social-messenger hybrid prepares to more directly take on the likes of Facebook Messenger, Viber, Line, Kik and WhatsApp. Perez writes, “It’s not surprising that the app may be going more in the direction of Asian messaging apps, and their in-app commerce potential.” Remember, Snapchat has investments from Alibaba And Tencent (which owns WeChat). More.

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