The festive period provided The Drum's readers a much-needed respite to wind down and celebrate the conclusion of 2014. However, the biggest players in marketing, media and technology barely took a moment to rest.
Below are ten vital stories you may have missed last month:
1.Facebook is stepping up its rivalry with Google, planning the launch of its own internal demand-side platform - a move which would see its ad serving platform Atlas better compete with Google's Doubleclick stack. Facebook already has an ad exchange (FBX) but it uses independent DSP providers to provide the technology needed to let advertisers run programmatic campaigns. This latest move would see it take that technology in-house, and could put the social network in a better position to battle Google for a larger share of the digital advertising market, while better monetising its mobile proposition.
2. Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by a disruption to the PlayStation Network on Christmas Day, resulting in hordes of children (and adults) being gifted unusable machines.
Hacker group ‘Lizard Squad’ claimed to be responsible for the outage, bringing upon it the wrath of thousands of disappointed gamers. Xbox One’s Live network was also affected by a denial of service attack.
3.Amazon gathered 10 million new Prime subscribers under its wing during the festive period, with consumers attracted to the e-commerce giant's free shipping, streaming and reading services.
Notably this came as the firm announced it is trialling a one-hour delivery service, through its mobile app, to certain regions of New York City.
4. Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo came under fire for his leadership of the social network. Harvard Business School professor Bill George was among his critics claiming that the chief executive does not “really understand product the way a Larry Page or a Mark Zuckerberg does”.
He added that Twitter needs to clear its ranks at the top if it wants to truly compete with tech giants Google and Facebook.
5. As the dust of the infamous Sony Pictures Entertainment hack settled, the studio u-turned on its decision to pull comedy ‘The Interview’ from cinemas despite demands from hacking collective Guardians of Peace purporting to represent North Korea.
The movie, which shows DPRK supreme leader Kim Jong Un killed by a rocket- propelled grenade detonation, saw a limited release in cinemas on Christmas Day but also quickly became the firm’s most-downloaded movie - with its digital distribution making back a third of the production costs within days.
Sony also demanded Twitter remove a number of user-uploaded tweets featuring embarrasing emails stolen from the firm in the Guardians of Peace cyber-attack.
Ultimately, the tweets remained on the site as the leaked information was widely accessible online and in the public domain.
7. Media watchdog the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso) announced that it had overseen 3,000 complaints in the three months since it was formed in September.
It added that most newspapers and publications had dealt with complaints internally within the 28-day deadline.
8. Boris Omelnitskiy, the president of the International Advertising Bureau Russia, told The Drum that interactive advertising will play a major role in flipping the fortunes of the nation’s slumping business sector as it edges closer to recession.
As consumer purse strings tighten, and the ruble halved in value against the dollar in 2014, Omelnitskiy asserted that the scarcity will help drive digital advertisers to new levels.
9. Facebook pops up again, this time in a less positive light.The social network’s well-meaning ‘Year in Review’ feature provided users with a look back at their biggest posts of the year.
However, swathes of complaints were issued to the site as the algorithm dragged up bitter memories for many. In one instance, images of one father’s dead daughter were touted as some of his top moments causing him undue distress.
9.Google unveiled the first fully functional prototype of its long-awaited self-driving car. It could soon be transporting US passengers after the firm subjects it to rigorous road safety tests.
The Google team asserted that the product will help make roads safer, planning to remove human error from the roads altogether.
10. And finally, following the news of Google News pulling out of Spain, experts told The Drum that Spanish publishers could be forced to renegotiate online ad deals as a result of the likely traffic drops from which they will now suffer.