NBCU, Snap Tie Up For Originals; New Ad Fraud Same As Old Ad Fraud

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Networked Television

NBCUniversal is putting its $500 million investment in Snap to good use with a joint TV production studio creating scripted Snapchat programs. The studio has already inked a partnership with Donut Studios, which will create short-form shows with 10-second ad breaks. Some online media companies have spent hundreds of millions to buy their way into the original content market, but Snap partnered with legacy media companies to do so. “We want to be friends of media,” said Nick Bell, head of content at Snap. More at WSJ.

New Fraud: Same As The Old Fraud

A BuzzFeed ad fraud exposé is striking for its level of detail on bot-based audience fakery and the familiar methods used to perpetrate it. Networks of hastily assembled sites with random names (MomTaxi.com, anyone?), canned content and inexplicably huge audiences still siphon off major brand advertising. When brands are alerted to their ads running on garbage sites by press or fraud vendors, they raise hell with their agencies and the offending parties dissipate. Matt Arceneaux, CEO of offending ad net 301network, tells BuzzFeed that while it was shutting down already, “in light of recent clawbacks from advertisers and other SSPs … we decided to accelerate the wind down process.” But BuzzFeed presents records showing a long string of fraudulent media networks, including Monkey Frog Media, coming back to Arceneaux and some associates. It’s the exact same playbook as 2012. Read on.

Breath Of Fresh Airbnb

Airbnb revived a third-party affiliate program it had trimmed away in 2015. The expanded program will be open to sites with more than 1 million monthly visitors and that can embed Airbnb property listings, TechCrunch reported. Airbnb will offer potential third parties an undisclosed commission on rentals and host sign-ups. A drumbeat of recent news from Airbnb suggests the property rental startup is rallying for a push into metasearch and the travel marketing funnel. This week, Airbnb unveiled a suite of tools for vacation property managers, who often oversee hundreds or thousands of homes across many rental platforms, according to the travel industry trade Skift. Airbnb also just opened its first developer API. More.


Cable networks are in the early stages of a collaborative project, dubbed “Thor,” meant to attribute real-world business impacts to TV ads. Thor would require inventory and R&D buy-in from at least half a dozen major networks, according to Sean Cunningham, CEO of the cable ad trade Video Advertising Bureau. Except, “[w]ithout agency acceptance this wouldn’t do much for us,” one TV exec tells Jeanine Poggi at AdAge. Media companies are reluctant to front the costs for a product that might not bring any demand, and the demand won’t show until the product is in place. It’s a classic supply chain Catch-22. More.

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