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Future of Media: 5G conspiracies, SVODodo and the whitelist opp

The Drum's senior reporter and media correspondent John McCarthy rounds up the latest media trends and developments. Also available in your inbox every Thursday as The Drum's Future of Media email briefing. Sign up here.

This is an extract from The Drum’s Future of Media briefing. You can subscribe to it here if you’d like it your inbox once a week.

Welcome back. John McCarthy here.

As the second wave makes a right show of itself, I'm not alone in contemplating an immediate future crammed with media. I've completed Netflix, I'm addicted to gaming, and am now scavenging through Britbox for forgotten British comedy as dust gathers on my high-brow magazines and books. As the claustrophobia creeps in, I've been spending a lot of time on the internet, in my social bubble, researching CONSPIRACY THEORIES. And just hear me out...

Mast conspiracies

A couple of months (or years?) ago, Jacob Dubbins of the Conscious Advertising Network was talking me through ethics in advertising. Amid a pandemic, the cuts, the pressure for results, and the suffocating blanket of human trauma smothering society, it felt like the right time for the discussion.

Dubbins hinted that O2 was reconsidering its media spend. Had it, and telecom buddies, inadvertently funded sites spreading Covid-19 misinformation claiming 5G spread the disease, and in turn inspired conspiracy buffs to arson 4G masts and abuse engineers? Did we have a concrete example of bad media hurting a brand? The jury is out on that, but 5G's reputation is now mud.

CMOs from O2 and Vodafone explained how they are navigating these conspiracy theories and ensuring the infrastructure (of the future of media) can still be laid.

Read it here.

The SVODodo

If you’ve scrolled social media any time in the last decade, you won't have missed the explosion of cute animal videos. Perhaps you’ve indulged in them during your lunch break or forwarded them to an animal-loving friend – these videos were probably produced by The Dodo.

But don't let the fluffy kittens fool you, Group Nine's sub-brand means business and is using social to research, build and market a growing stable of shows for SVOD platforms like Netflix, Disney and even Quibi.

YuJung Kim, president of The Dodo, has explained its ambitions in the TV space and how to make the transition from short-form social virality to longer formats.

White lies

We've written much on advertising blocklists – blunt force brand safety systems that block ads from content pages with headline keywords deemed to breach brand safety. The lists are long, under-maintained, without many nuances, and are perhaps poorly conceived. They can hurt publishers' income, especially in the niche.

Consider now the opportunity in being one of the few brands bidding for and talking to the niche. APAC's Shawn Lim has explored whitelisting with a host of experts.

Check that here.

Facebook again

Weekly segment 'Facebook again' returns.

First, Facebook is removing restrictions on text in ad images – the limitations of old formats are gone. Text-heavy images apparently ruined the user experience. My hunch is that advertisers could have sneaked any rule-breaking promotions through in those images too.

Additionally, Casey Newton's pieced together leaked Facebook conferences to detail its ups and downs over the last three months. It is comprehensive and worth ten minutes of your time if you can spare it.

Catch up

OK, we're both running out of time here. Here are some more bits that might catch your eye.

Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed the last one, I’ve summarised it here. There are more stories below.

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I'm at john.mccarthy@thedrum.com or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.

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