Home Daily News Roundup Uber, Roblox And The Gray Lady Walk Into A Bar; Give TV A Sporting Chance

Uber, Roblox And The Gray Lady Walk Into A Bar; Give TV A Sporting Chance

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Here’s today’s AdExchanger.com news round-up… Want it by email? Sign up here.

The Ad Angles

Three unrelated companies all reported earnings on Wednesday: Uber, The New York Times and Roblox.

But they do have something in common. They all have ad businesses, albeit in different flavors.

The New York Times is an age-old ad seller, unlike Uber or Roblox. Yet its ad revenue is down YOY. The Times attributes its advertising underperformance primarily to advertisers being skittish about appearing alongside certain news topics, such as reporting on the war between Israel and Hamas.

Still, advertising is where it’s at for the Times, which plans to refocus on digital advertising as a result of plateauing subscriber growth.

For Roblox, advertising is a marginal revenue line, but one that’s important for monetizing players as they get older. (About 42% of players are under 13.) Roblox, which is starting to invest more in its ads business, bragged that it had 69 brands on the platform in Q4 during the holiday season. (Guess you’ve got to start somewhere.)

Uber’s ad business, meanwhile, is firing on all cylinders. The company will reach a more than $1 billion advertising run rate in 2024, according to CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Uber’s strength is in numbers. While Roblox may have 69 large brand advertisers, Uber has 550,000 accounts, mostly made up of restaurants and local shops carried by Uber Eats.

Stronger Together

Say hello to yet another sports streaming service (as if the fragmentation of inventory isn’t already bad enough).

Earlier this week, Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery announced plans for a joint-venture streaming TV service to pool sports airing rights, potentially beginning later this year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The three media companies still need to hash out the details, so there’s no guarantee this is even happening, let alone a name for the service or a price.

But the idea is to create a standalone streaming app, in addition to making the service available as a bundle to consumers who already have a subscription for Disney+, Hulu or Max.

The premise makes sense considering how heated the competition is for sports broadcast rights. After all, Disney, Fox and WBD stand a better chance together against the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple. The new purported joint service would encompass about 55% of current US sports rights, according to Citi analysts.

Notably missing from the joint venture, however, are NBCUniversal and Paramount, which perhaps have enough invested in sports rights to go it alone.

Temu Turf Wars

Ecommerce platforms like Temu, Shein and TikTok Shop that ship ultra-cheap goods from China to the US are gaining on Amazon, The Information reports.

Or at least they’re prompting some uncomfortable self-reflection.

Previously, Amazon could easily undercut companies that attempted to compete on price.

But Amazon now sees that Chinese platforms can sink way lower. Temu, Shein and TikTok have substantial financial backing. They’ve demonstrated a willingness to spend big and lose billions to win even a small share of US ecommerce sales.

Bernstein, an investment bank, estimates that Temu’s parent company, Pinduoduo, spent $3 billion on marketing last year, making it one of the largest US online advertisers.

And the advertising bombardment paid off: Temu was 2023’s most downloaded iOS app in the US.

Possibly in response to its growing competition, Amazon lowered its third-party apparel seller fees last month and is considering revamping its fulfillment costs. It’s also tossed around the idea of adding a second buy box that offers a discounted price with slower shipping.

But Wait, There’s More!

Publishers assess Amazon’s role in their post-cookie ad businesses. [Digiday]

Target considers a paid membership program to compete with Walmart and Amazon. [Bloomberg]

Sports bundling is due for an upgrade. [NextTV]

What is the “fediverse”? [The Verge]

You’re Hired!

Data Axle appoints former Epsilon CEO Andrew Frawley as its new chief executive. [release]

Affiliate marketing platform Impact taps Dale Lynch as CFO. [release]

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