Google gets a $57 million fine from France for GDPR violations


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Alphabet Inc.'s Google received a hefty fine of $56.8 million from France's privacy regulator, which used its new powers to levy much higher penalties for the first time under European Union data protection rules. France's data authority CNIL said the amount of the fine was "justified by the severity of the infringements observed regarding the essential principles" of the EU's General Data Protection Rules, or GDPR. They are "transparency, information and consent," it said Monday in a statement. The EU rules took effect across the 28-nation bloc on May 25, and gave national privacy regulators equal powers to fine companies as much as 4 percent of global annual sales for the most serious violations. Google has come under CNIL's scrutiny many times before, but under the old rules, fines couldn't exceed the maximum of 150,000 euros. While this is the first time CNIL has benefited from the new Continue reading "Google gets a $57 million fine from France for GDPR violations"

Netflix CEO interrupts quarterly earnings with product placement


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Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings interrupted his quarterly investor interview for what amounted to a product placement, holding up a Kellogg's box and a Quaker box for the camera. Hastings was discussing the company's financial and performance data, but he also revealed that the Kellogg's Frosties was the most popular choice among viewers of "Bandersnatch," the choose-your-own adventure installment of "Black Mirror." The groundbreaking show invited the audience to control the outcome by letting viewers decide between multiple possible pathways, and one of the choices asked whether the main character should eat Kellogg's Frosties or Quaker Sugar Puffs. "There is one piece of data that didn't make the [financial] release and that's what percentage of people chose Frosties versus Sugar Puffs," Hastings said, holding up both boxes. "And the answer is 73 percent for Frosties." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Netflix crowns itself king of TV, but loses to ‘Fortnite’


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Netflix claims to command 10 percent of America's TV time in its latest quarterly report on Thursday, which also called out "Fortnite" as its biggest competitive concern. The streaming behemoth said fourth-quarter earnings increased 27.4 percent to $4.19 billion, which was slightly below Wall Street analyst forecasts. However, subscriber growth was 8.8 million, beating expectations and bringing its subscriber base to 139.3 million. "In the U.S., we earn about 10 percent of television screen time," Netflix announced in its shareholder letter, "and less than that of mobile screen time." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Snapchat CFO departs after less than a year on the job


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Snapchat is losing its chief moneyman, the latest in a string of high-profile departures in the past year that dented the company's stock price on Tuesday. Tim Stone, Snapchat's chief financial officer, was on the job less than a year when he handed in his resignation on Tuesday, Snapchat announced in a regulatory filing required of public companies. Snapchat was careful to note that Stone's departure was not an indication of any malfeasance. "Tim Stone, our chief financial officer and principal financial officer, notified us of his intention to resign to pursue other opportunities," Snapchat's filing said. "Mr. Stone has confirmed that this transition is not related to any disagreement with us on any matter relating to our accounting, strategy, management, operations, policies, regulatory matters, or practices (financial or otherwise)." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Roku pulls new Alex Jones and InfoWars channel after backlash


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UPDATE: Hours after this story was posted, Roku tweeted that it would delete InfoWars from the platform. After the InfoWars channel became available, we heard from concerned parties and have determined that the channel should be removed from our platform. Deletion from the channel store and platform has begun and will be completed shortly. Roku (@Roku) January 16, 2019 Continue reading at AdAge.com

Alex Jones and InfoWars open new channel on Roku


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Months after being banned by major platforms like Apple and YouTube, Alex Jones and InfoWars have found a new home on Roku, where a streaming channel for the site was discovered this week. A spokeswoman for Roku said that the company does not have a financial relationship with InfoWars and does not deliver any ads to the channel, but that so far Alex Jones' network, which has been widely criticized for promoting conspiracy theories, has not broken any rules to warrant a ban. "While the vast majority of all streaming on our platform is mainstream entertainment, voices on all sides of an issue or cause are free to operate a channel," a Roku spokeswoman said by e-mail on Tuesday. "We do not curate or censor based on viewpoint." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Amazon launches new IMDb that has free movies, shows


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Amazon on Thursday launched a new video streaming service on its Hollywood website IMDb which allows viewers to watch free movies and TV shows supported by commercials, opening a new wealth of ad inventory to sell to brands. Amazon has been developing the free video streaming offering for more than a year, and it is distinct from Amazon Prime, the subscription service that costs $120 a year, and is mostly without ads. (Amazon Prime does show commercials during Thursday Night Football games it streams as part of its deal with the National Football League.) The catalogue of shows on the service, called IMDb Freedive, includes "Fringe," "Quantum Leap" and "The Bachelor," meanwhile feature films include "Memento," "True Romance" and "Look Who's Talking." Users can watch on IMDb's website or Amazon Fire TV devices, with the offering to be available on more platforms in the near future. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Square deepens e-commerce push with in-app payment processing


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Square Inc. is rolling out a feature that allows developers and sellers to process payments within mobile apps, deepening the company's push into online commerce and increasing its competition with rivals Stripe Inc. and PayPal Holdings. Known for helping small brick-and-mortar businesses accept credit cards, Square's system now will expand to let businesses accept payments in mobile apps, the company said Wednesday in a statement. The new software tools are part of Square's move into a one-stop-shop for businesses that helps with payroll, loans, accounting, inventory tracking, website building and other services. The San Francisco-based company is operating in an increasingly crowded market for payments technologies that work across platforms. The new feature is targeted at large merchants such as multistore retailers and restaurant chains that create their own apps for buyers to order food or make purchases. It's also targeting online-only companies that are prime customers of payments processors Continue reading "Square deepens e-commerce push with in-app payment processing"

Mark Zuckerberg’s 2019 resolution is to tackle tech debate


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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his personal challenge for 2019 is to host regular public discussions about the future of technology in society. The chats will focus on "the opportunities, the challenges, the hopes and the anxieties" of how technology will shape human behavior, Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday. He said the chats will help him expand his thinking beyond engineering. "Every few weeks I'll talk with leaders, experts, and people in our community from different fields and I'll try different formats to keep it interesting," he wrote. "These will all be public, either on my Facebook or Instagram pages or on other media." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Sex toy maker blasts CES over award flip-flop


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The Consumer Electronics Show stripped a sex toy of its innovation award, and the maker of the robotic stimulator is not taking the snub lying down. The hardware firm behind the sex toy is called Lora Dicarlo, and its founder Lora Haddock issued a strong rebuke of CES and its leadership on Tuesday regarding their decision to take back the awarding of the honor, pointing to it as evidence of the ongoing issue of gender-bias in tech. The firm had submitted its Os personal massager into the robotics and drone product category. "Our almost entirely female team of engineers is developing new micro-robotic technology that mimics all of the sensations of a human mouth, tongue, and fingers, for an experience that feels just like a real partner,"" Haddock wrote in a blog post. "We're talking about truly innovative robotics." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Why TV will undergo a year of rapid marketing evolution


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From changes in consumers' use of technology to data advancements and corporate consolidation, 2018 brought a pace of change that was both unprecedented and unforgiving. I often describe the marketing business as existing in alternative realities. While rapid change and innovation continues, some parts of the industry remain largely unchangedalternative realities locked in a bit of a time vortex. The linear TV business continues to operate in the upfront and scatter models, locked into age/sex demographic currencies and largely measured the same way it has for decades. This will not be the case much longer. Addressable TV is finally starting to get traction. Over-the-top (OTT) and connected TVs are scaling faster than predicted. Mobile is the predominant platform for certain consumers. Google and Facebook continue to dominate the digital landscape. And, for $12 a month, consumers can binge on nearly endless (ad-free) premium content on any device they choose. Continue Continue reading "Why TV will undergo a year of rapid marketing evolution"

Ad Age grades its industry predictions for 2018


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It's that time of year when pundits -- including Ad Age's own reporters and editors -- make predictions about what will happen in the coming year. You can find our prognostications for 2019 here. In the meantime, we look back at what we suggested would happen in 2018 to see how accurate we were. Jeanine Poggi, senior editor, media & technology Continue reading at AdAge.com

Facebook sees stories as the ad future and is schooling brands


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.news-img-left h4 { margin: 0; font-family: 'Retina'; font-size: 16px; line-height: 19px; text-align: left; color: #000; margin-bottom: 0; padding-top: 19px; } p { font-family: 'ExchangeBook'; font-size: 20px; line-height: 32px; text-align: left; } .sidebar-headline { font-family: 'Retina'; font-size: 24px; line-height: 22px; } .sidebar-deck { font-family: 'ExchangeBook'; font-size: 20px; line-height: auto; margin-top: 12px; margin-bottom: 17px; } .sidebar { padding: 20px; background-color: #eeeeee; } The Color Factory in New York is made for Instagram, like Willy Wonka's factory was made for chocolate. But every exhibit at the Color Factory is designed for selfies instead of candy. There's one room with a pond-sized ball pit, and another with a rainbow staircase. It's a true playground for the senses. And on one night in November, it also turned into a classroom for what Facebook calls "story school." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Walmart and Pepsi go big at the Golden Globes. And Apple trolls competitors at CES: Monday Wake-Up Call


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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app. What people are talking about today If you skipped last night's Golden Globes on NBC, you not only missed Lady Gaga's matching blue gown and hair, you missed a few big-budget commercials loaded with special effects. Walmart plugged its grocery pickup service in four spots featuring beloved movie cars, from the Batmobile to the DeLorean from "Back to the Future" to Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine, writes Ad Age's Jack Neff. The work is from Publicis Groupe-led Department W; check it out here, and be prepared to have "Cars" from Gary Numan be your Monday morning earworm. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Industry executives predict what will happen in 2019 and beyond


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We asked industry executives to predict the trends that will affect ours work, and our lives, in 2019. Jean-Paul Burge, chairman and CEO, BBDO Asia "More clients in more places will ask for better work. Our work, and worth to our clients, is not solely dependent on either technology or great ideas; it's dependent on us delivering the two combined. Now that for many the machine is in place, we'll see clients demand great creative ideas like they have never demanded them before." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Roku Channel busts out of its box with new streaming subscription deals


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The Roku Channel is expanding beyond ad-supported programming into pay TV by offering subscriptions to networks like Showtime and Starz. Roku announced on Wednesday that it would offer subscriptions to more than 25 video services, which viewers can access via its streaming channel. The free Roku Channel, which debuted in September 2017, is filled with Hollywood movies, shows and live TV that come with advertising. The subscription packages would make paid programming, ad-free, available to stream from one main channel, with one bill, as opposed to subscribing to each service individually. It's a business model that Amazon has deployed through Amazon Prime, where viewers can subscribe to pay-TV channels like HBO, Showtime and CBS. Apple is also negotiating with media companies to provide subscription services through a one-stop channel on Apple TV. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Instagram backpedals on horizontal scrolling after user outrage


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Facebook's Instagram redesigned its platform for horizontal scrollingand the plan almost immediately went sideways. The popular social media app's unannounced refresh, which Instagram has since labeled a bug, took users by surprise Thursday. Instead of scrolling through posts vertically, some people were forced to swipe and tap left and right through their feeds, similar to how the app's "stories" feature works. Users went berserk on social media, with #instagramupdate trending on Twitter. Instagram quickly reverted back to the original top-to-bottom scrolling feature even before everyone had seen the update. "That was supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident," Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, tweeted alongside a grimacing emoji. "Should be fixed now." Continue reading at AdAge.com

Not everyone is buying this ad exec’s call to boycott Facebook


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Not everyone is picking up what Mat Baxter is putting down. On Thursday, the CEO of the agency Initiative took to LinkedIn to berate Facebook over this week's revelations it had shared more data with certain other platforms than previously disclosed. He made headlines for saying he's advising clients to pull ads from the social network. "It's about time we take a collective stand against the egregious behavior of Facebook," he wrote. Initiative is a media agency owned by Interpublic Group of Cos., which distanced itself from Baxter's LinkedIn post. Continue reading at AdAge.com

Google remakes ‘Home Alone,’ and Budweiser’s owner gets into cannabis: Thursday Wake-Up Call


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Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. You can get an audio version of this briefing on your Alexa device. Search for "Ad Age" under "Skills" in the Alexa app. What people are talking about today Just in time for the holidays, Google made a funny, charming remake of "Home Alone," with a 38-year-old Macaulay Culkin reprising the role he played as a kid. This time, he's a little less alone, though, because he has a Google Assistant to entertain him and help with household tasks. As Ad Age's Ann-Christine Diaz writes, the ad is a way for the tech giant to insert itself into a classic holiday tale. As the nostalgia washes over you, you might even forget momentarily about 2018's big backlash against Google and Facebook. Who doesn't have fond holiday memories of "Home Alone"? Continue reading at AdAge.com