PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP/Getty Images
Lou Reed was a capital-R Rock Star, but he was also very much a normal-sized human. If you lived in New York in the last couple decades, there was a good chance you’d bump into him doing something very normal, just like regular people do. Once I went to get sushi at an unremarkable place on 13th Street, and there he was, picking at something with Laurie Anderson.
So there’s my Lou Reed story.*
Anyway, just like millions of other people, Lou Reed had a Spotify account. Because he is also a capital-R Rock Star, Spotify occasionally encouraged its users to follow his activity on the streaming music service. So, if you did, you could see what he was listening to.
Or, at least, what whoever was using Lou Reed’s Spotify account was listening to. On the Internet, no one knows if your dog is controlling your playlist.
With that caveat in mind, here, via the Daily Dot, is what Lou Reed was listening to – and liking – in the past year or so. Reed also had other curated playlists, but this one is worth noting because so much of it will be familiar to the average music fan. Turns out Lou Reed listened to Paul Simon, David Bowie and … Lou Reed. Just like a regular human.
And here’s a tremendous Lou Reed performance from 1974. RIP.
* I do have a much better Alec Baldwin story. It is not risque, but it is sort of unbelievable. Yet there are many witnesses.
According to numerous sources inside Yahoo, CEO Marissa Mayer has ordered up two under-the-radar initiatives – well, not to me and now you! – that could potentially get the company back into algorithmic search as well as search advertising. The internal code names for the efforts – which are not actually being done together, though they are in tandem – are borrowed from sports. In this case, basketball and baseball: Projects Fast Break and Curveball, respectively. Sources said the plan is being done as part of a contemplation of how Yahoo can accelerate the end of – or actually end – its longterm search and advertising partnership with Microsoft. Currently, Yahoo only has control over the search experience, but Mayer clearly wants more purview over the business.
Read the full story at re/code.
Drawbridge, an ad targeting startup backed by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, is expanding its offerings today with a new feature allowing mobile advertisers to reach consumers with retargeted ads, regardless of whether they’re using an app or on the mobile web.
Founder and CEO Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan said that while ad retargeting (i.e., ads targeted based on your past visits and activity) is possible within apps, things get trickier when you try to cross the boundary between apps and websites: “It’s literally two devices on the same device, separated by an iron wire.” (I question her question use of “literally”, but I think you get the point.) App developers can also try to reengage their users through alerts and notifications, but users can always turn those off.
In order to solve that problem, Drawbridge is “piggybacking” on its core technology. That technology examines user activity to help advertisers identify when multiple devices are likely being used by the same person. That allows advertisers to use data collected on the desktop to target ads on mobile. The company’s two products launched last fall include PC-to-mobile retargeting and mobile app marketing. The mobile-to-mobile retargeting is intended to fill out the mobile marketing product, Sivaramakrishnan said.
Drawbridge has already run test campaigns with e-commerce companies, who were either trying to bring old customers back to the site or to convince current customers to buy more. Sivaramakrishnan said that in a campaign targeting lapsed users, the client reached 100 percent return on ad spend within three weeks. Another campaign targeted active users and reached 100 percent ROAS within a single day.
Advertisers will have a chance to test this out for themselves, Sivaramakrishnan said, because the new capabilities include an A/B testing framework. So advertisers can run part of their campaign with Drawbridge’s retargeting and part of their campaign without it and see which ads perform better.
Earlier this year, Drawbridge announced that it was partnering with TRUSTe to allow mobile consumers to opt out of its targeting. Since then, Sivaramakrishnan said that some users have indeed opt out, but that the rates haven’t been “heavy”.
Today Publicis and Omnicom, two of the “big five” global advertising and marketing agencies, announced a “merger of equals”, in which the two will combine to create the world’s biggest agency, with some $22.7 billion in annual revenues and a market capitalization of $35.1 billion. The pair say that the new Publicis Omnicom Group initially will be jointly run by the two existing CEOs, John Wren from Omnicom and Maurice Levy from Publicis, and headquartered both in New York and Paris, with a holding company HQ in the Netherlands.
The companies will trade publicly as ONC (currently Omnicom’s symbol) on both the NYSE and Euronext.
The confirmation – after reports of the deal swirled earlier this week – was delivered today in a press conference on a hot Sunday summer afternoon in Paris – a slightly oxymoronic setting for a megadeal.
“For many years, we have had great respect for one another as well as for the companies we each lead. This respect has grown in the past few months as we have worked to make this combination a reality. We look forward to co-leading the combined company and are excited about what our people can achieve together for our clients and our shareholders,” the co-CEOs said together.
If Google is the world’s biggest digital advertising network, the merger of these two will create an advertising megacorp that will be the world’s biggest provider of advertising to feed that machine. It will be twice the size of its nearest rival, WPP. While there are two other agencies in addition to these, Interpublic and Havas, they are significantly smaller. This will lead, inevitably, to antitrust scrutinty from regulators. Today, the companies, both already global operators, noted that they will need regulatory approval in 41-46 countries.
“We are not expecting anything that would prevent us from going forward,” Wren said at the press conference (according to Reuters). “We are confident that we will get regulatory approvals,” Levy also noted.
It may also spur more merger activities among other players.
Without a doubt, the history of the ad industry has been one of ongoing consolidation, and in that regard this seems like a logical and inevitable step. Some of the agencies that were once rivals and will now coexist under one owner will include BBDO, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Leo Burnett, Razorfish, Publicis Worldwide, Fleishman-Hillard, DigitasLBi, Ketchum, StarcomMediaVest, OMD, BBH, Interbrand and ZenithOptimedia, with clients covering some of the world’s biggest buyers of advertising, including mobile carriers like Verizon and AT&T, drinks companies like Coca-Cola, financial services companies like Visa, and many more. The companies say they will have “efficiences” of $500 million as a result of the deal; whether that will lead to layoffs or closures has yet to be announced.
But while this plays to type in some regards, the world of advertising and marketing is also up against growth of other disruptive forces, for example the change in consumer habits brought about by the internet. That has taken the rug out from some of the more traditional formats for advertising, such as print media, and pushed more spend towards digital formats like the internet and mobile advertising.
These are still relatively smaller players in the wider advertising ecosystem: worldwide there will be about $519 billion spent in marketing and advertising this year across all mediums. But if you break out a newer area like mobile advertising, it’s expected to be just under $9 billion this year globally, according to the IAB.
Still, the smart money sees the writing on the wall. TV advertising dominates today, Nielsen noted earlier this week, but it has grown by just 3.5% so far this year while Internet has gone up by 26.3%. The IAB estimated that mobile will go up by 83% this year.
Publicis and Omnicom’s rival WPP projects that by 2018, 40% of ad spend that it oversees will come from digital. That is driving a number of acquisitions and investments, but it is also fuelling the rise of a new kind of advertising company focused around advertising technology (ad tech) to better measure, leverage and distribute ads in these new mediums. The rise of digital media is also dovetailing with the growth of advertising and digital opportunities in emerging markets like China, South America, India and so on.
All of this plays strongly into the technology and startup ecosystem, both in terms of the companies that are growing up around these innovations, but also because such a large part of the tech world is built around the consumer internet, and much of the consumer internet is built on free, ad-based models. Consolidation of players like Omnicom and Publicis speaks to a growing desire to better scale and consolidate on the kinds of returns at can be made from newer platforms like the internet.
Omnicom Group Inc. and Publicis Groupe SA, the world’s second- and third-biggest advertising companies, respectively, are near a deal to merge, people familiar with the situation said, creating what would be a $30 billion behemoth.
If a deal is completed, it would be billed as a merger of equals. The two companies each have a market capitalization of about $16 billion. Omnicom Chief Executive John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy are expected to be co-CEOs of the combined company, the people said. An announcement could come as early as Sunday, the people said.
Read the rest of this post on the original site
New day, new bet on Web video. This one comes from ABS Capital, which is plowing $30 million into Alloy Digital, better known as the home to Smosh.
And if you’re not a teenage boy, here’s what Smosh is:
Seriously? Yup, seriously. This stuff is hugely popular, both on YouTube and on Smosh’s own site, which is a crucial part of the story: While lots of YouTube’s biggest stars are trying to figure out how to make money on the world’s largest video site, the Smosh guys — Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla, both 25 – figured out early on that they wanted a home that wasn’t owned by Google.
That has helped them create a business that Forbes thinks generated $10 million in revenue in the last year, and that’s why Alloy bought their services in 2011.
Now ABS is putting money into Alloy, which has an array of Web video stars following similar strategies. “The monetization model is Smosh,” says Alloy CEO Matt Diamond.
Which means: Attract eyeballs, and some ad money on YouTube, where Alloy says it has more than 12 million subscribers for the channels it owns (unlike other big YouTube players, it doesn’t spend much time representing other people’s clips on the site).
And then really blow things out outside of YouTube, via more ads, merch deals, iTunes tie-ins and stuff you create directly for sponsors, like this promo/parody paid for by the people behind the Assassin’s Creed videogame franchise:
Alloy and ABS won’t comment on the valuation that comes with the $30 million A round. But it’s worth noting that last year Maker Studios and Machinima raised rounds of $36 million and $35 million, both of which valued the companies in the $200 million range. It’s entirely possible this deal is even richer.
Yahoo — which I reported yesterday had named Laurie Mann as the new head of its key search unit — is not the only one making changes in leadership working with Microsoft on its limping search alliance. Longtime Microsoft veteran Greg Nelson is leaving his role as GM of strategic alliances, which includes the search partnership with Yahoo. Yahoo’s new interface at the software giant will be Bob Wyler, who has been with the alliance team since the deal was struck in 2010. Nelson will take on a new job as GM for a unit called “Display + Monetization,” working on digital advertising initiatives across the company in the advertising business group, under Online Services Division COO Rik van der Kooi.
Happy Super Bowl weekend! In case you missed them and are bored waiting for the kickoff, here are the top 10 stories on AllThingsD from the week of 1/28:
1.) Twitter Hacked; 250,000 User Accounts Potentially Compromised
2.) BlackBerry Reinvents Itself to Compete With All-Touch Smartphones
3.) HBO Go Is Coming to Apple TV. Why Isn’t Everything Coming to Apple TV?
4.) PSA: Unlocking Phones Without Carrier Permission Becomes Illegal on Saturday
5.) Time Inc. Braces for Layoffs This Week [Update: They happened -- here's the memo too]
6.) Twitter’s Vine App Doesn’t Have a Porn Problem. It Has a Porn Discovery Problem.
7.) iPhone Users Rack Up the Highest Carrier Bills
8.) Sales Talks Fell Through, So Ad Exchange AdBrite Shuts Down
9.) The Next Step for Computing: The Storage Fabric
10.) Apple Announces iPad Maxi