Home Daily News Roundup Will Congress Pass Kids Privacy Laws This Week?; Stop Demonizing Paid Traffic

Will Congress Pass Kids Privacy Laws This Week?; Stop Demonizing Paid Traffic

Comic: State Privacy Law Lab

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Bill Rush

Congress is scrambling to pass new children’s online privacy laws by Friday. The IAB and other organizations are voicing their opposition.

Since late last week, senators have proposed three bills as amendments to the unrelated Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act, a must-pass bill with a May 10 deadline.

The amendments include the updated Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0), the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and the Kids Off Social Media Act (KOSMA).

COPPA 2.0 would restrict how advertisers collect and use data from users under 16 and ban ad targeting for kids and teens. 

KOSA would require platforms to restrict algorithms from serving harmful content to kids and enable strict privacy protections by default. 

And KOSMA would prevent kids under 13 from creating social media accounts and ban algorithmic recommendations for kids under 17.

The IAB joined a dozen other orgs, including the American Civil Liberties Union, in signing a statement to Congress opposing the passage of these amendments as part of the FAA bill.

The IAB also listed its concerns in a previous letter, including that COPPA 2.0 would only be enforceable by requiring the broad use of age verification tech, and that KOSA does not preempt kid-focused privacy laws at the state level.

Don’t Ick Paid Traffic

It’s time to stop demonizing – not to say demonetizing – paid traffic as a publisher tactic. 

In the publishing world, paid traffic is associated with words like “ick,” “spam” and “chumbox.” But it should be one of the sharpest tools in a publisher’s monetization toolkit, argues Gareth Glaser in his blog, Gareth Hates AdTech

If publishers can buy a visitor to their site for less than what they’ll earn in likely revenue from the visit, shouldn’t they?

And what’s more, paid traffic gives publishers the chance to target potential audiences they desire or to connect readers with particular stories they might want to see. It’s not a crime to advertise content.

“Demonizing paid traffic is literally one of the worst things we could be doing,” Glaser writes. “Paid traffic is the method by which publishers can take control of their future.”

Scale Isn’t Everything

Netflix still lacks advertising scale.

Only 7% of its global subscribers see ads, according to research from Antenna. Disney+ is at 19% ad-supported viewing and introduced ads just one month after Netflix.

Although Netflix says its ad tier has 23 million monthly active users (defined as individual profiles within an account) – a shade higher than the 22.5 million ad-supported subscribers claimed by Disney+ – Netflix is actually behind. Grouping Netflix MAUs by household brings the number of paid accounts closer to 19 million.

But, hey, bigger isn’t always better.

Media professor and self-proclaimed “media universe cartographer” Evan Shapiro offers a breakdown of active streaming accounts that watch at least once a month. According to Shapiro, roughly 68% of Netflix subscribers are active (around 176 million accounts), compared to just 41% for Disney+ (62 million subs).

It’s unclear how many of those active accounts are ad-supported, but the point still stands: “The number of subscribers a service has is far less important than the number of subscribers who actually use it,” Shapiro writes on Substack.

The more time someone spends on a streaming app with ads, the more ad revenue the app can generate – and that’s what it’s all about.

But Wait, There’s More!

OpenAI is readying a search product to potentially rival Google. [Bloomberg]

TikTok sues the US government over alleged free speech violations for ordering parent company ByteDance to sell TikTok or face a national ban. [NYT]

What to expect at Disney’s TV upfront next week. [Adweek]

Apple’s ad for the new iPad Pro faces criticism for glorifying the machine takeover of creative expression. [NBC News]

You’re Hired!

Kinesso names Tom Amies-Cull as its global COO and Amie Owen as chief growth officer for its commerce business. [release]

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