FreeWheel Takes On Google; CMOs Expect Budget Increase

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Big Guns Vs. Google

Comcast’s FreeWheel unit told a congressional task force last month that Google used privacy concerns to limit FreeWheel and other video advertising companies from selling ads for its clients on YouTube. Other ad tech and cable companies have spoken out against Google’s practices, and Comcast is the latest player to pile onto antitrust concerns over big tech. With massive lobbying power in DC, Comcast is drawing a line to keep Google from monopolizing the video ad business like it did with digital, Reuters reports. Comcast has contacted two other tech companies to discuss the threat posed by Google, according to sources. “FreeWheel would embrace a solution that allowed it to continue to meaningfully serve its clients when they publish their content on YouTube, as it had for over a decade on that platform,” Comcast said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the actions to remove or degrade FreeWheel’s capabilities on YouTube fall well short of that.” More.

CMO Confidence

Despite an ongoing trade war and looming predictions of a recession, marketers expect their budgets to grow next year. Gartner found that 61% of senior marketing leaders expect their marketing budgets to expand in 2020, and 86% said the political and economic environment would have a positive impact on their business. That optimism is in contrast with recent trends, The Wall Street Journal reports. Marketing budgets have been flat or declining in recent years, dropping from 11.2% of company revenue in 2018 to 10.5% this year, according to Gartner. Marketers are isolating themselves from global concerns, said Ewan McIntyre, VP and analyst at Gartner. But CMOs argue that marketers will need to expand their budgets to invest in more technology. More.


In a two-hour long Q&A with Facebook employees, published by the Verge, CEO Mark Zuckerberg sounded off on the prospect of an Elizabeth Warren presidency and a new rivalry with TikTok, among other things. Zuckerberg acknowledged that a Warren presidency would likely result in a legal challenge to break up Facebook, but one Facebook would win even though it would still “suck for us.” He also noted that TikTok is the first consumer product from a Chinese company that has caught on outside of China, and that it’s very similar to Instagram’s Explore Tab. Facebook is testing a TikTok imitator called Lasso in countries like Mexico, where TikTok hasn’t proliferated: “We’re trying to first see if we can get it to work in countries where TikTok is not already big before we go and compete with TikTok in countries where they are big,” Zuck said. More.

Pay For Play

A California law signed this week makes it legal for student athletes to be paid for endorsements and to hire agents. The law is sure to be challenged in court by the NCAA, which opposes student athlete compensation, and called the new measure “unconstitutional.” The law won’t be enforced until 2023, The New York Times reports. Though it could be a boon for recruitment to California universities, since prospective athletes could only earn money there. The big winner, (as always) is social media. “Every single student in the university can market their name, image and likeness; they can go and get a YouTube channel, and they can monetize that,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. “The only group that can’t are athletes. Why is that?” More.

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