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And The News Gets Nothing; Build It Blox By Blox


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Spelling “New” Without News

Online news revenue is being throttled around the web.

Google freaked out some news industry folks earlier this year when it removed the News tab from search query response pages as part of a test. That’s ominous.

X, meanwhile, muffles the distribution of tweets with a link, because it wants news writers to post longer tweets within its feed instead of linking to articles.

Facebook and Instagram now explicitly eschew news distribution. It’s a third rail in terms of brand safety, PR headaches and the like, and their pivot away from news doesn’t affect the bottom line.

Apple’s new version of Safari will include an ad blocker that appears uniquely well-suited to diminish journalism revenue.

Which is all a lead-in to news on Wednesday that LinkedIn is creating a new video unit called “Sponsored Editorial Content” – 15-second video ads publishers place in front of their own content on the platform.

According to Jack Marshall at Toolkits, publishers bring the advertisers and LinkedIn takes a 50% cut. Oh, and apparently it’s sold on a fixed $50 CPM (which is bonkers – that’s where Netflix started, before returning to more earthly $30-$40 CPMs).

Next Level

Roblox is on a mission to build a $1 billion ad business.

The game developer opened its video ad platform to programmatic buyers and struck a deal with Walmart that lets the retailer deliver purchases made in the game – a first for Roblox. Not to mention staffing up on ad tech expertise.

“We are working with different social teams, digital investment teams, beyond gaming is where the Roblox audience engagement sits,” Stephanie Latham, Roblox’s newly appointed VP of global partnerships, tells Business Insider. “That’s an opportunity, but it’s also a challenge as we continue to evolve, and there’s a lot of education required.”

For Roblox, the road to having a billion-dollar ad business is more about tempering ad revenue than rushing after it. If the company wanted to crank up ads, it has an ample amount of attention to monetize.

“If you literally just slap ads within the game, people are going to run a mile. It does need to feel intuitive,” says Michael Litman, senior director of emerging tech strategy at Media.Monks.

Coin Of The Realm

TikTok is circumventing the Apple App Store’s 30% fee by directing users off iOS to purchase TikTok coins. A notice on iOS devices informs users that they can save more than 25% by jumping to the web to “recharge” their coins. TikTok coins are the app’s currency, which users buy with real money and use on the platform for assorted things like actual purchases, as well as tipping other creators, for instance.

The notice is only being issued to some iOS users, The Verge reports. It could be that TikTok is probing what Apple will and won’t allow, especially now that there is much more scrutiny on how Apple leverages its operating system in potentially anticompetitive ways. As Apple grows its ad business, TikTok and other apps become more direct competitors, which makes moves to quash them more fraught.

Whether TikTok is forced to entirely remove its notification that users can transact elsewhere more cheaply or changes the language in some way could be an important bellwether for where Apple will draw a line in the sand.

But Wait, There’s More!

Advertisers at this year’s upfronts zero in on retailers (and their data). The biggest star is Amazon. [Business Insider]

Yahoo and Kroger Precision Marketing team up to allow advertisers to target Kroger’s audiences programmatically through Yahoo’s DSP. [Adweek]

Beehiiv, a newsletter publishing and advertising startup, raises $33 million. [Techcrunch]

Agencies are rebranding in an attempt to shed their bad rap. [Ad Age]

Amazon-owned Twitch has launched a short-form video platform called Discovery Feed. [Bloomberg]

You’re Hired!

Seedtag hires Amanda Pui as national sales director in Canada. [release]

Stagwell agency Code and Theory dubs Craig Elimeliah its first chief creative officer. [Ad Age]

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