More Ad Tech Firms Specialize; Pharma Budgets Surge

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Pick A Side

As more brands and agencies demand transparency, ad tech dynamics are shifting in favor of pure-play DSPs and SSPs. “Straddlers have a conflict of interest as they need to fill that inventory for their own financial reasons,” Dan Davies, SVP at agency MullenLowe, tells Digiday. Read it. The most notable “straddler,” AppNexus, is rumored to be unmooring some of its demand-side business in favor of sell-side growth [AdExchanger coverage]. The exception to these market-squeezing trends is, of course, Google, which is the category leader on both sides of the exchange and offers “no real transparency into the financials of its ad tech business,” said Pivotal analyst Brian Wieser.

Good For What Ails You

Pharma brands have been the fastest-growing ad category for the past three years, according to data compiled by Axios. But a lot of that spend goes to older media like TV and magazines and is driven by a large, aging group of baby boomers in the market for drugs like arthritis and erectile disfunction. (Critical health conditions are heavily regulated in advertising due to privacy concerns.) Digital pharma advertising was flat in 2016, reported MM&M, a medical marketing trade pub, earlier this month. But Condé Nast, Time Inc. and Vice have all recently rolled out health content verticals. “It doesn’t surprise me that media companies are getting into pharma advertising, given the total value at stake,” said McKinsey senior partner Brian Fox.

Caught On Video

New media standouts like Mic and Vice revamped their newsrooms and business models for a video-first future, but do people actually want all that video? The Pew Research Center found last year that younger consumers in particular preferred reading the news to viewing it. “It’s alarming,” eMarketer analyst Paul Verna tells Bloomberg. “Publishers are throwing their hats into a ring that’s unproven.” More.

Speaking Up

Google is making it easier for Chrome users to mute video content with an “info-bubble” in the browser that can mute an entire website. “This will give you more control about which website is allowed to throw sound at you automatically,” Chrome developer Francois Beaufort wrote in a Google+ post. Silencing sound on a website isn’t new, but executing at a browser level is – and marks another step in browsers’ path to taking more ownership over user experience and services like ad blocking. More at MediaPost.

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