Safari Taketh Away (Again); Another Facebook Competitor Rises

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Welcome To The Jungle

Safari introduced a new private browsing mode that disables the now-common tactic among news companies of blocking incognito traffic, which they do because readers use private browsing to avoid paywalls. “This will lead to a hard paywall for all readers and also make it more difficult to monetize content,” Danielle Coffey, SVP of strategic initiatives at the News Media Alliance, tells Digiday. It’s a slight change, but it is also one more example in a troubling trend for publishers that need to monetize Safari users and iPhone owners. The Apple News subscription service has had a lukewarm reception from publisher partners since launching this year. Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention, the browser’s built-in user-tracking blocker, has also undercut affiliate links (which, duh, rely on cross-site tracking) – a frustrating feature for news companies that need nonadvertising revenue streams. “While we’re interested in protecting our readers’ privacy, we still need a return on our investments to sustain quality journalism,” Coffey said. More.

Tik, Tok

Move over, Snap. Facebook has a new competitor on the rise. TikTok recently moved into an old WhatsApp office in Mountain View, California, and it has begun poaching Facebook employees, CNBC reports. The Chinese lip-syncing app has hired about two dozen ex-Facebookers since 2018 – partly by offering them as much as 20% higher salaries than Facebook – and has multiple San Francisco-based job postings on LinkedIn. Despite Facebook’s many employee perks, ex-Facebookers are drawn to the appeal of working at a high-growth social media company, which has allowed TikTok to draw talent from Snap, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon and Apple. Facebook hasn’t officially listed TikTok as a competitor in its financial documents, but Zuck is taking note. “TikTok … is really the first consumer internet product built by one of the Chinese tech giants that is doing quite well around the world,” the Facebook CEO said. “It’s starting to do well in the US, especially with young folks.” More.   

Holding On 

Omnicom’s revenue for Q3 2019 came in below expectations, down 2.4% to $3.6 billion. But organic growth increased 2.7% in the United States and North America, where other holding companies are struggling. The revenue decline was due to dispositions outweighing acquisitions and the negative effects of foreign exchange rates. On a conference call with investors, CEO John Wren touted Omni, Omnicom’s homegrown data and analytics platform, as growing across the group and being used by 4,000 employees globally. “It cannot be achieved simply by buying legacy data platforms that weren’t built with the flexibility required to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s marketers,” Wren said. Many investors asked about Publicis’ rocky earnings last week, which sent shares tumbling 12%, and whether Omnicom is facing the same pressures. “They probably have suffered more than we certainly have because of their CPG clients and some of the changes that are happening there,” Wren said. Read the release.

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