Ad Tech Execs Head To Walled Gardens; Is It Finally AVOD’s Time To Shine?

Comic: Things no one asked, ever.

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Movers And Shakers

Did you feel that? 

There have been some seismic moves lately in Ad Tech Land – not even counting M&A or privacy rules. 

Stephanie Layser, longtime leader of News Corp.’s advertising technology, is taking her talents to the cloud. She started as AWS global head of publisher ad tech solutions yesterday. 

Joey Trotz, the former global head of technology at IBM Watson Advertising, is Google’s new director of product management for Privacy Sandbox ecosystems. But eBay managed to pry its new product chief, Eddie Garcia, back from Meta, where he was head of commerce for the Facebook app. 

The trend, however, has been major platforms hiring key players from the programmatic ecosystem. Amazon in particular has laser-targeted leaders of standards development in venues like the IAB Tech Lab or W3C.  

Facebook nabbed IAB Tech Lab CEO Dennis Buchheim last year. 

But Amazon hired Neal Richter, an indie ad tech OG, as “Director of Science” for the Amazon DSP. (A week ago Richter was reelected IAB Tech Lab chairman.) Also in 2021, Amazon poached Jamie Fellows, formerly Amobee chief product officer, and Google ad tech group product manager Sam Cox, who now leads Amazon DSP technical product management. The trend is true across the ranks. Ask anyone in ad tech to check on LinkedIn the number of their once-indie peers who have joined the ranks of Amazon, Google or Meta. In the parlance of content recommendation engines, the answer may shock you.

Subscription Conniptions

Many companies need ad-supported CTV to take off as a way to justify their own valuations (a group that includes practically every ad tech company that isn’t all-in on the commerce media opportunity instead). Their hypothesis is that subscriptions must fizzle out, with new winners emerging from free ad-supported TV (FAST). 

Let’s be real, Pluto TV has done well, but there’s not enough supply for the open ecosystem. Especially considering CTV deals tend to go through GoogleTube, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Disney and other broadcasters, without outside vendors in the mix. 

There is hope, though. 

Belt-tightening in the UK meant 215,000 fewer homes carry at least one streaming service, “ending a decade of almost uninterrupted growth” in the category, the Guardian reports. 

The US market experienced a similar “two steps forward, one step back” for streaming subscriptions, per Kantar data. The US market is making the FAST over SVOD trend more explicit. Ad-free apps Netflix, Apple TV+ and Amazon Prime Video lost ground, while HBO Max, Discovery+ and free ad-supported TV (FAST) apps like Crackle gained share. 

Because You’re Worth It

As jilted lovers are wont to do, ad agencies are begging and cajoling workers they lost to the Great Resignation to return.

That approach means higher pay, better benefits and more flexible work-from-home policies for rank-and-file agency employees, Insider reports.

Tech companies with the means to pay premium salaries, like TikTok and Instacart (not to mention Amazon, Microsoft, Meta or Alphabet), are luring talent with bigger paychecks and hybrid work rules. The agency Terri & Sandy says it’s seen people request 20% to 30% higher salaries.

Another agency, Anomaly, now offers a five-week sabbatical and $5,000 travel allowance for employees who stay five years.

Glow’s full-time employee roster dwindled from 55 pre-pandemic to only 17 at a low point in 2020. After going fully remote, making allowances for freelance side projects and adding a $2,000 bonus for new hire referrals and a $500 stipend for home offices, the agency has returned to its former hiring levels.

And agencies like Glow and Preacher are relaxing hiring requirements to recruit talent from other industries. GSD&M has had particular success hiring and mentoring military veterans with no previous advertising experience.

But Wait, There’s More!

Publishing the Facebook Papers document dump. [Gizmodo]

MRC revokes accreditation for Triton Digital’s webcast metrics. [MediaPost]

The Counter, a food industry news source, has money. So why is it shutting down? [Gawker]

Web scraping is legal, US Appeals court confirms. [TechCrunch]

The prospects for DOOH in a cookieless future. [Billboard Insider]

The pandemic was supposed to push all shopping online. It didn’t. [WSJ]

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