Kantar Media Newsroom: Facebook’s No Good Very Bad Week

Welcome to this week’s Kantar Media Newsroom, your weekly summary of the news that matters in the media and marketing industries. To learn more about how we can help you monitor both paid and earned media and make informed decisions, please contact us at info-us@kantarmedia.com.

Facebook’s Monumental Mess

WPP’s Sorrell explains the complicated nature of privacy breach

One of the big questions begged during this whole situation is why it took Facebook so long to come forward with the news of this massive data issue? CNBC interviewed WPP’s CEO and Founder Martin Sorrell who was able to put some context around the complexity of this problem, “’I think it was fair that they spent time looking at what exactly happened. It's quite complex the issue they're at … Firstly, they've been misled so ... they're responding to that, trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. They're looking at all the possibilities.’” Knowing the sheer heft of Facebook’s footprint, he added, “’with power comes responsibility. They have the resources. In essence, they're media companies, they can't say that they're technology companies not responsible for their content,’ he said. ‘They need to step up to the mark.’ Sorrell said new media companies account for about 30 percent of worldwide advertising — Google and Facebook together make up 75 percent of that market share. Their sheer size means they're obligated, he said, to make sure users know how what they're getting themselves into.”

CEO Zuckerberg took to newsprint to apologize, but will it matter?

Funny, Facebook has done nothing but take away precious ad dollars from print, only for it to take out full-page ads in key US and UK pubs to apologize for the Cambridge Analytica privacy breach. Do they think if the apology is on its own site, it won’t be authentic? For the “sorry” to be heard, it needs to be in black and white? Seems like an interesting twist on trust and the media. Over the weekend, a poll conducted found that less than half of Facebook users surveyed believed Facebook policy followed privacy laws. This gap might make it nearly impossible for the social media giant to regain the trust it needs to continue its reign. That being said, its deep-rooted in peoples’ lives, potentially making it hard for those #QuitFacebook diehards to completely shake their usage.

The latest SMH development

SMH. Short for “shake my head” as Facebook is accused of scraping Android users’ data for their own “research purposes.” Likes, friends list, hometown details you’re thinking, right? No, it’s well beyond that, apparently. “The website ars technica reported that users who checked data collected by Facebook found that it had two or more years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and text messages. Facebook says the information is uploaded to secure servers and comes only from users who opt-in to allow it. Spokeswomen say the data is not shared with friends or any outside apps. They say the data is used ‘to improve people's experience across Facebook’ by helping to connect with others.”

What does this all mean for media and digital advertising?

Those in the digital media arena have become dependent on the large swath of data they receive in order to better target their programs. Now that regulation, distrust and uncharted territory have descended, what will the media industry at large do? “In interviews, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, and Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, seemed to accept the possibility of increased privacy regulation, something that would have been unlikely only a few months ago. But some trade-group executives also warned that any attempt to curb the use of consumer data would put the business model of the ad-supported internet at risk. ‘You’re undermining a fundamental concept in advertising: reaching consumers who are interested in a particular product,’ said Dean C. Garfield, chief executive of the Information Technology Industry Council, a trade group in Washington whose members include Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter.”

In Other News

Potential for fake news rise in Japan

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is looking to remove a law requiring news outlets to broadcast news impartially, potentially opening the door to sensationalized, “fake news” type stories. “The sources, who asked for anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said the draft includes repealing the law's article 4, which requires license holders to show contrasting political views and is considered Japan's version of the U.S. Fairness Doctrine. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission decided to repeal the doctrine in 1987 after criticism that it restricted broadcasters' freedom. The move, finalized in 2011, is widely credited with helping give rise to politically charged radio talk shows and news programs. ‘Without having these safeguards, media outlets become more susceptible to market forces,’ said Victor Pickard, associate professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. ‘The U.S. could serve as a cautionary tale.’”

March for our lives reaches the ad world

A massive show of force converged in Washington D.C. and other metropolitan areas, with children and adults marching in support of gun control in order to end school violence. The buildup on social media was palpable, opening the door for discussions across the globe. Ad Age decided to take a stand as well, “When we put out a call to the creative community to create posters and social media imagery to help amplify the March for Our Lives message, the community answered. We received more than 100 powerful pieces of art calling for an end to gun violence in our schools. All week, Ad Age has been sharing these posters and social media imagery.” This conversation points to a very touchy subject, which has proven a tricky path for PR departments at major corporations everywhere. Ad Age made sure to make their point clear, “This is not an anti-gun initiative. It's about protecting our kids. Never again should a single shot be fired in their schools.”

A trial that could change the course of media as we know it

A little dramatic, but at least partly accurate. AT&T wants Time Warner, and now they’re fighting for their lives in court. “The government's historic trial to block the two companies from merging is underway. Federal regulators argue such a combination would violate antitrust laws, in part because cable customers' bills would rise. But for AT&T and CNN parent company Time Warner, joining forces is all about survival. The media industry has been upended in recent years by a handful of internet and tech companies — most prominently Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google.” Other media companies are waiting with bated breath, looking at the outcome of this trial to forecast future potential mergers. Mergers of this kind are nothing new, which is what is so unprecedented about this development. At the end of the day, the government argues that the consumer loses – with AT&T’s ability to charge more for Time Warner content (think CNN, TBS, etc) to other cable companies. On a larger scale, if this merger goes through, the fear of more mass consolidation, "It will be almost a nuclear race to combine all the top networks, all the most popular programing, with the few transmission companies who are left."


Who's on Top? - March 12 - March 18, 2018

March Madness scores big with advertisers

NCAA March Madness kicked off on March 13th, and with it came increased ad revenues for networks. Brands spent an estimated $110 million on airing new ads during the games, accounting for 34 percent of all new expenditures.

State Farm used 40 percent of its new ad budget this week to debut the latest in a series of ads featuring NBA players Chris Paul and James harden, along with actor Oscar Nunez. Keeping March Madness in mind, the ad has been placed almost exclusively during NCAA games.

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