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The Australian Government Looks to Implement New Laws to Make Google and Facebook Pay News Publishers



In what could be a significant move in the broader regulation of the digital eco-sphere, the Australian Government has announced that it’s looking to provide financial assistance to struggling local news organizations by implementing a new, mandatory code of conduct which would require Google and Facebook to share any revenue they generate as a result of news content with the relevant publishers of such material.

As per Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg:

“The Government has instructed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to develop a mandatory code to address commercial arrangements between digital platforms and news media businesses. Among the elements the code will cover include the sharing of data, ranking and display of news content and the monetization and the sharing of revenue generated from news.”

Treasurer Frydenberg notes that the Australian media sector was already under significant pressure, but that’s now been “exacerbated by a sharp decline in advertising revenue driven by coronavirus”. This, along with inaction from the digital giants in working to provide a more adequate process of compensation for publishers, has prompted the Government to act.

The announcement stems from the ACCC’s 600+ page “Digital Platforms Inquiry” report which was released in June last year. The report covers all aspects of the online media industry, and concerns relating to data-sharing, misinformation, and consumer understanding of how digital platforms operate.

ACCC media consumption report

The report breaks down the shifting media landscape, and how Google and Facebook have come to dominate the local advertising market, at the expense, in particular, of print media.

ACCC report

That imbalance prompted the Government to seek alternatives, and with a significant amount of Google and Facebook’s content coming from news publishers, a case can be made for a more mutually beneficial arrangement between them.

As per the report:

“The content produced by news media businesses is also important to digital platforms. For example, between 8 and 14 per cent of Google search results trigger a “Top Stories” result, which typically includes reports from news media websites including niche publications or blogs.”

That said, the ACCC also notes that:

“Google and Facebook each appear to be more important to the major news media businesses than any one news media business is to Google or Facebook.”

That gives the online giants significant power, which is why the Government is now seeking to step in and facilitate an alternative arrangement.   

Among the many recommendations, the ACCC calls for both Google and Facebook to:

  • Within the limits of data protection and privacy laws, share data with media businesses about users’ consumption of the media business’ news content on the digital platform’s service(s). For example, data collected by Facebook on its platform, or Google on news content published in the AMP format and served from Google’s cache, derived from news content provided by media businesses.
  • Give media businesses early warning of significant changes to the ranking or display of news that would be reasonably likely to affect the referral traffic of media businesses.
  • Ensure that the digital platform’s actions will not impede news media businesses’ opportunities to appropriately monetize their content on the digital platform’s sites or apps, or on the media businesses’ own sites or apps.
  • Where the digital platform obtains value directly or indirectly from content produced by news media businesses, fairly negotiate with news media businesses as to how that revenue should be shared, or how the news media businesses should be compensated.​

The final point is the key focus here, though the advanced warning of any algorithm shifts is also significant. 

Within its additional notes, the ACCC also calls for the parties to negotiate such deals among themselves:

“The ACCC considers that determining such issues by commercial negotiation, taking into account the unique nature of each commercial relationship, is more appropriate than having a regulator determine aspects of the relationship such as an appropriate price or snippet length.” 

Initially, on the official release of the report in December, the Australian Government gave Google and Facebook eleven months to respond to its request for the development of voluntary codes to address these concerns, but as noted, with the COVID-19 pandemic further reducing the capacity for news outlets to generate revenue through traditional means, and a lack of engagement from the online giants with respect to the development of these agreements, the government is now looking to take action, and legislate official rules on news revenue sharing.

Various nations have attempted to implement similar regulation, with less than desirable results.

Last year, France implemented its ‘neighboring rights’ copyright laws, which stipulate that media firms be adequately compensated when their content is used on websites, including in search engine results and on social media platforms. Google responded by saying that it wouldn’t pay for links’, instead setting up an alternate process which meant that it would only display articles, images and videos in search results from media companies that had explicitly allowed it to use such for free. The dispute is still ongoing as to how to resolve the stand-off.

Spain, meanwhile, implemented its own laws around such usage back in 2014, which essentially required news aggregators to pay for a license to use news content. As a result, Google shut down Google News in Spain at the end of 2014, a move that reportedly saw many publishers experience double-digit drops in web traffic.

Given the precedent, it’ll be interesting to see what the outcome is in the Australian market. Based on past history, and its specific inaction in response to the Australian Government’s initial call for negotiation, there’s nothing to indicate that Google will be looking to alter its stance.

If anything, it seems that Google has sought to make a clear example of such cases – if Google negotiates, and allows other nations and publishers to see that such agreements are possible, that could end up costing it billions in fees around the world. As such, in all likelihood, neither Google nor Facebook will be intending to make a switch in their approaches, and will instead seek to alter their processes in accordance with revised local laws.  

That could lead to significant changes in the way content is displayed on the digital giants, which, if anything, will only take traffic away from the traditional media players, and provide more instead to less mainstream outlets.

The outcome then could be less reliable news coverage overall – which is another key area of concern raised by the ACCC’s report. As such, the initiative is interesting, and the logic behind the push has merit. But enforcement looks set to remain problematic.

The Australian Government plans to have a draft mandatory code by the end of July, with a final code to be settled soon thereafter.


Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long



Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

So, this is a thing…

Twitter has rolled out longer tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, with paying users now able to post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length.

If anyone needed or wanted that.

Longer tweets will be displayed in the main feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more…’ indicator pointing users to the remainder of the content.

Honestly, it’s sadly ironic that not even Twitter could come up with a good use of the extra characters in its example, but yes, Twitter Blue users – all 300,000 of them – will now be able to post super long rants about whatever they choose in the app.

As explained by Twitter:

“[Twitter Blue users] can also compose longer Tweets in a Quote Tweet or reply. Standard functionality like posting media, creating polls, and using hashtags still apply. Everyone will be able to read longer Tweets, but only Blue subscribers can create them.

I don’t know if anyone requested this, but Twitter 2.0 chief Elon Musk seems convinced that by enabling users to post long-form content, that will eventually open up new avenues to monetization, and will see more top voices posting more stuff to the app.

I mean, the recent Twitter Files are probably the best example – Elon’s hand-picked team of journalists have been trawling through Twitter’s archives to uncover accusations of corruption and Government meddling, all ended up posting their findings in ridiculously long tweet threads in the app.

It would make more sense to post them on a more long-form focused format, but Musk obviously wants all the attention on Twitter – and in instances like this, maybe having longer tweets could be valuable.

But I don’t know.

It also seems short-sighted to only provide this functionality to Twitter Blue users. As noted, only a small fraction of Twitter’s 250 milllion total user base is paying for a blue tick, and while Twitter is now expanding the offering into new markets, it’s hard to see it catching on in any real way.

That means that a lot of the most popular creators won’t even be able to use the option, which seems counterintuitive. But then again, Elon will probably look to add in a new monetization element, which you have to pay up to qualify for, which is probably his broader view for limiting access at this stage.

Who knows – maybe it ends up being amazing, and maybe it makes it way easier to post what would have been multi-tweet threads in a more engaging, interesting way in the app.

It’s different, for sure, very different from Twitter’s usual offering.

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade



Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.


DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.


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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads



YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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