States To Investigate Google Ad Dominance; TV Ratings To Incorporate Out Of Home Viewing

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Trust Me, This Is Bad

Fifty – count ’em, 50 – attorneys general are planning to work together on a sweeping joint antitrust investigation into Google. Google’s dominance over the online ad market will be the probe’s first priority, the Republican Texas AG told reporters Monday. “It’s going to be a very bad day for Google,” tweeted Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, who’s been introducing anti-Big Tech bills left and right for the past year. But not all 50 states are represented – Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia round out the group, while Alabama and California, Silicon Valley’s home state, are notably absent. Read on. Related: Google isn’t the only one having a bad time. Multiple states, led by New York AG, Leticia James, announced on Friday a parallel but separate investigation into anticompetitive behavior by Facebook, including unfair ad pricing. AdExchanger has more on that. Both Google and Facebook also face antitrust investigations led by the federal government.

Measuring TV Everywhere

Networks could see a major boost to their tumbling ratings in the fall of 2020, when Nielsen integrates out-of-home viewing into its national TV viewing metric. The change, which comes after more than a decade of development, will allow networks to count the large amount of TV viewing that happens in venues like restaurants, bars and watch parties and leverage them in pricing negotiations with advertisers. Networks have long lobbied for the change, as out-of-home viewing makes up a significant portion of their audiences. Nielsen estimates that roughly 11% of sports audiences and 7% of news audiences are viewing out of the home. “We just want fairness,” CBS chief research and analytics officer Radha Subramanyam told Variety. “Let the chips fall where they may, but we just want all the different ways our consumers are consuming content to be measured and part of currency, so we can get paid for them.” More.

Rediscovering Group Nine

Some digital media darlings are still raising cash. Group Nine Media raised $50 million from existing investors Axel Springer and Discovery on Monday, valuing the company at more than $600 million, The Wall Street Journal reports. Group Nine owns digital brands such as Thrillist, NowThis News, Seeker and The Dodo, and it was launched in 2010 with $100 million from Discovery. After gaining popularity for its viral Facebook videos, the company has expanded into TV and video, with Discovery Channel and streaming series deals. Group Nine isn’t profitable, but revenue is twice what the combined properties yielded independently three years ago. “They have category-defining brands that connect with young audiences through the best short-, mid- and long-form storytelling on mobile,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery, which has invested $150 million into Group Nine over three rounds. More.

A Snap Turn

Snap has a chance to extend an already strong growth streak this year. The stock was trading below $6 at the beginning of the year, following some tumultuous executive changes and a painful engagement decline after an app redesign. Tech stocks across the board have had a tough week, but Snap has still almost tripled in value this year. Snapchat is on pace for between 5.5 million and 10 million downloads this quarter, according to the Nomura Investment Bank’s social media data tracker. That’s up from the bank’s previous estimate of 2 million to 4 million new users this quarter, Bloomberg reports. More.

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