Facebook's privacy focus, Netflix's threat to advertisers, and Instagram goes shopping


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about privacy during his keynote at Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, U.S., April 30, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam


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Lauren Johnson’s reporting from F8, Facebook’s biggest annual conference in San Jose, California. Facebook is trying to move past years of data and privacy scandals, and it used the event to detail how it’s shifting to a focus on privacy, with new features in its Messenger and WhatsApp apps for users to communicate privately with each other and with businesses. All the announcements are here. From Lauren’s reporting:

Facebook is taking aim at email and direct mail marketing with new tools and features it’s bringing to Messenger

  • Marketers have had mixed success with chatbots in the past, so Facebook is dropping the size of the app to encourage developers to build for it and rolling out a bunch of tools to enable businesses to interact with customers on the app.
  • It’s letting marketers do granular targeting on Messenger, similar to the way they’ve used email and direct marketing.
  • Advertisers worry Facebook’s focus on encryption and shift away from its news feed could limit advertising options, though.

Also going on this week are the Digital Content NewFronts, the annual digital advertising showcase, where a theme was the the implications for advertisers as people increasingly get their entertainment fix from ad-free environments like Netflix and Hulu, with more on the way.

People are flocking to Netflix and Hulu, and it’s a growing concern for advertisers needing to market to the rich

  • Advertisers blame the shift on years of marketers flagrantly pushing out ads without regard to the user experience.
  • It’s especially a concern for advertisers trying to reach high-income consumers who can afford to pay to avoid ads.
  • Companies like JPMorgan Chase are moving away from traditional advertising in favor of perks and customized messages.
  • But some see the pendulum swinging back to advertising because of subscription fatigue and Netflix needing to find other ways to fund its content bill outside of subscriptions alone.

Here’s what else we’ve been reporting. (To read most of the articles here, subscribe to BI Prime and use promo code AD2PRIME2018 for a free month.)

Instagram will now let influencers sell products directly on its platform
The Facebook-owned platform is expanding its move into e-commerce as it tries to take on Amazon and Pinterest. Commerce is the most direct way to show advertisers your platform works, and it could also benefit Instagram if it takes a cut of the sales one day.

Telecom and media M&A deals have sputtered to a 2-year low, but one area could heat up soon
After a transformational year in telecom and media deals, deal volume is shrinking as acquirers enter the integration phase, according to new research from PwC. One area of continued activity could be OTT streaming as players try and establish themselves as direct-to-consumer operators.

Disney will spend $500 million on original content to take on Netflix next year, but its strategy could actually risk billions
Ashley Rodriguez examined the conundrum legacy media giants like NBCUniversal, Disney, and WarnerMedia face as they weigh the demand to bring more content to in-house streaming services against the lucrative licensing revenue they’ve come to rely on from platforms like Netflix.

Here are other good stories from our tech, media, and entertainment verticals:

MoviePass rival Sinemia says it’s under ‘pending’ FTC investigation and files for bankruptcy

The CEO of dog-walking app Rover explains how expanding into cat care will help it reach $400 million in revenue this year

The growth rate of Amazon’s ad business is plunging but revenue is still up

Silicon Valley has set its sights on the classroom. Here are the startups on a mission to transform teaching.

The digital skinny-TV bundles that promised a cheap alternative to cable are getting more expensive. The CEO behind a $20 package explains why.

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