HBO calls on Roku because it needs a boost; The abomination of the in-app browser

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HBO to the max

Warner Bros. Discovery is an awkward forced marriage between two streaming services.

But the discovery is already wear the pants in this relationship.

The original content list for Discovery+ is go hardwhile Warner Media’s HBO Max takes cut after cut.

With the exception of “House of the Dragon”, the new spin-off of “Game of Thrones”.

Warner Bros. Discovery is going big to back the potential tentpole, including a major marketing deal with Roku to promote the series on Roku smart TVs.

Roku spear an “Exclusive Fan Experience” welcome screen last week to liven up the “House of the Dragon” premiere on Sunday, including behind-the-scenes interviews, fun character facts and “Game of Thrones” recaps.

It’s unclear what two days of marketing will accomplish, but under new ownership, HBO needs to prove itself a serious subscription driver.

Out, Out, Out with in-app browsers

Facebook and Instagram recently faced a press setback when Felix Krause, a security and privacy researcher, published an article showing how they collect data from their in-app browsers.

In-app browsers look like legitimate browser apps. They use open source code and Apple’s WebKit framework. But they are not legit. They are platform data collection vehicles.

Krause updated his report with more details on the in-app browser code and, in particular, excessive data collection by TikTok.

TikTok is the only app Krause reviewed (including Meta Suite, Amazon, Robinhood, Snapchat, and Twitter) that doesn’t give users the option to open a site in the default browser. Only TikTok’s in-app browser collects “all taps and keystrokes, which may include passwords and credit cards.”

Krause added that apps can block his code to monitor their tracking in the app’s browser, so the cover will soon disappear.

But I hope Krause has helped elevate the idea that apps should be users’ preferred browsers by default. Apps prioritize the short-term benefits of in-app browser tracking over the real benefits of linking elsewhere. If Facebook and Instagram opened up in third-party browsers, they would be a significantly greater force in e-commerce. Many customer journeys die because in-app browsers don’t work well.

Heaven helps those who help themselves

Google released a major update to its search algorithm, which it dubbed its first helpful content update.

Google says the changes favor “people-focused” content over “search engine-focused” pages, according to SEO and marketing consultant Glenn Gabe, who spoke with Google Search Public Liaison Danny Sullivan.

The new ranking signal also has teeth. This is because it is a site-wide signal. Google mostly lets URLs compete with each other. (An article or product page within a site can stand out even if the entire site doesn’t.) But now, if a publisher raises the Unnecessary alarm too often, Google will extend that classification to each URL under the site banner.

Sullivan also warns that returning from the Useless designation could take months of work to produce bona fide content. So it’s a real blow to monetization.

Content generated by software or an API will be targeted. One such example is programmatic death sites which automatically populate obituaries to collect search traffic because people Google someone who has died.

“We’re looking to surface content that will be seen as helping and adding value to researched topics,” Sullivan says. “Creators who specifically create content for search engines first, which include AI-powered content, may be impacted.”

But wait, there’s more!

Musk is targeting ad tech companies DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science in a legal dispute with Twitter over its takeover deal. [Reuters]

Snap is abandoning development of its Pixy flying selfie drone. [WSJ]

Unfazed by the game’s slowdown, marketers are waiting for more robust tools. [Marketing Dive]

The purge of content from HBO Max continues. [Variety] And CNN also gets more discounts. [Insider]

Why the DTC Sugarwish brand is cutting back on its social media advertising strategy. [Digiday]

Sports streaming is increasing, while ad spending for sports betting is decreasing. [Ad Age]

DoorDash empty Walmart. [TechCrunch]

You are engaged!

IPG Mediabrands taps Isabelle Brenton as Senior Vice President of Global Corporate Communications. [MediaPost]

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