News Corner February 21, 2018

News Corner

Lawyers with the Federal Trade Commission’s Competition Bureau say an administrative law judge was right to rule that 1-800 Contacts violated antitrust law by entering into agreements with rivals that restricted their ability to advertise on search engines. The attorneys are asking the agency to reject the contact lens retailer’s appeal of a finding issued last year by a judge who ruled that 1-800 Contacts’ efforts to restrict search advertising by competitors likely resulted in higher prices for consumers.

Video advertising platform Brandzooka unveils a self-serve ad platform for connected TV devices. Users choose a specific channel available through a streaming service like Sling TV, or a genre category like entertainment or sports, then Brandzooka looks for searches for inventory across different OTT bundles and standalone streaming services. 

eBay appoints Jan Pedersen as vice president and chief scientist, artificial intelligence (AI), who will lead computer vision, natural language understanding, and machine learning, and use results to deliver new customer experiences. 

Netflix inks a deal that brings Ryan Murphy, the creative guru behind “Glee,” “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story,” and others, into its fold. Bidding for Murphy’s services was reportedly competitive, with Netflix’s main competitor, Amazon, also in the mix.

Bill Gates warns tech giants not to fight government oversight: “The companies need to be careful that they’re not … advocating things that would prevent government from being able to, under appropriate review, perform the type of functions that we’ve come to count on.”

Twitter begins streaming local TV stations’ broadcasts of breaking news events like the recent school shooting in Florida. “We’re continuing to work on new ways we can surface credible and relevant information to help people stay informed. By pairing live video with the conversation on Twitter, there is no faster way to see what’s happening in the world,” says Twitter video general manager Kayvon Beykpour.

A study by the Foresight Factory says 51 percent of consumers see data as essential to the smooth running of the modern economy. In 2012, that number was 38 percent. 

Baird analyst Colin Sebastian predicts Amazon will make $4 billion in 2018 from advertising. This would surpass Snapchat’s take from ads in 2017. Amazon’s ad business doesn’t disclose how much revenue it makes.

Google says its “Exchange Bidding” initiative has been working with OpenX (and other ad exchanges and publishers) to test a more transparent way of auctioning digital audience impressions in a way that boosts yield for publishers and effectiveness for advertisers. Google reports that the more than 200 publishers working with OpenX improved the yield on their programmatic ad sales by an average of 48 percent.

The New York Times’ Advertising & Marketing Solutions Group launches “perspective targeting,” which lets marketers to target their ads against content predicted to evoke specific emotions in readers, such as self-confidence or adventurousness. 

Walmart introduces low-cost clothing brands to lure shoppers as Amazon gobbles up more apparel sales. The move is part of Walmart’s push to make its apparel business more streamlined and stylish – a response to consumers shifting more of their budgets to experiences such as travel and eating out, rather than clothing.

A new study from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) says marketers are “living in the dark ages” when it comes to recruiting women. A third of employers in the industry agree that it’s reasonable to ask women about their plans to have children in the future during recruitment, and 46 percent say it’s reasonable to ask women if they have young children. Rebecca Hilsenrath, chief executive of the EHRC, described the findings as a “depressing reality” about how women and new mothers are viewed in the workplace.