Consortiums Take On The Duopoly; Pivotal Analyst Downgrades Four Agency Holding Companies

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News Media Vs. Duopoly

A consortium of news publishers spearheaded by the industry trade group News Media Alliance is leading another charge against Google and Facebook. The group includes titans like The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many local and regional papers that have lost revenue to the duopoly. The NMA publishers want Congress to step in and allow a “safe harbor” for collective bargaining between newspapers and Google and Facebook, claiming their online ad dominance represents a societal concern around a viable free press. Groups like the Local Media Consortium already do some bargaining with the big platforms on behalf of their 1,500 member publishers without the anti-trust exemption, but stop at setting prices for ad inventory to avoid violating anti-trust statutes. “There is a symbiotic relationship between Facebook and Google and what we bring to the table,” said executive director Rusty Coats. “Our experience has been positive.”  More at The New York Times.

99 Problems

“It’s a difficult time for the agency holding companies,” writes Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser in an investor note downgrading Pivotal’s value target for the four agency holding companies he covers: Omnicom, WPP, IPG and Publicis. Among the challenges, Wieser cites slow growth, zero-based budgeting, more aggressive account reviews, programmatic in-housing, competition from consultancies and fee compression stemming from transparency. In particular, media agencies, longtime growth engines of holding companies, suffer from these problems. While Wieser reminds investors that agencies are still growing and have solidified their value prop in a splintering media world, there are long-term concerns and “not a lot of good news to point to for the sector.”

The Apple Hedge

Apple’s iTunes store is losing ground on video content. “The company’s market share for renting and selling movies has been falling for several years, tumbling to between 20% and 35% from well over 50% as recently as 2012,” as consumption shifts to content libraries from Amazon and Comcast, sources tell The Wall Street Journal. An Apple spokeswoman didn’t dispute the market-share estimates, but said the company is “focused on providing customers with video content across subscription services such as Netflix and HBO.” So if iTunes sales flag, Apple takes at least a 15% cut of streaming subscription services delivered over iOS. The world’s biggest company is trying to shift its reliance on iPhone sales and the iTunes music and content store that drove its growth for 15 years. More.

This Stage Of The Game

Demand for ads in mobile game apps may be softening, Mike Shields reports for Business Insider. The top developers are doing better than ever, but that’s part of the problem. App store gaming leaders are so entrenched “they no longer have to spend purely on user acquisition, but on ROI,” according to InMobi VP KC Srinivas. And while mobile games curb their own video budgets, brand dollars are abandoning app games in favor of platforms like Facebook and Snapchat that now offer a range of video options. “Our clients were never comfortable with mobile gaming, but they wanted to run video in apps,” says Jeremy Sigel, global director of partnerships and emerging media at Essence. More.

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1 Comment

  1. The notion that Google and Facebook own a news duopoly is ludicrous. There has never been a time when more publishers had access to content distribution and attracted significant audiences.

    Legacy news publishers need to make the tough choice to abandon their previous business models or become as irrelevant as the yellow pages someone still occasionally dumps on my stoop.