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.
According to my calculations, January is nearly concluded. One step closer to some form of normality. Time passes fast in lockdown.
But what do the next few months hold in store? This week, we've been busy running our annual Predictions festival - online, naturally - with workshops spanning how brands can handle being cancelled to mastering CTV buying and the one that I hosted and is obviously the best, how to nail marketing personalisation.
On that note, Spotify tells me I consumed 29 days' worth of podcasts in 2020. You've probably been listening to a lot too, which brings me neatly to this week's lead story...
The podcasting goldrush
Every other week my inbox tells me a big tech company has thrown some money into podcasting. Amazon is the latest.
So we've taken a look at why big tech companies have suddenly fallen in love with podcasting. It's a goldrush driven by the evolution of the advertising technology and audience boom. But in expanding, will it lose the very traits that make it so great?
One-in-five digital US radio ad dollars are predicted to go toward podcasts in 2021. It is the first time it will breach the $1bn mark. 38% of marketers polled by Warc are planning to increase podcast spend in 2021.
I talked to Conal Byrne, head of iHeartPodcastNetwork and a handful of buyers and producers to learn how big tech will rock the space.
What the F**K is FLoC?
Google has opened up on FLoC solution, its approach to delivering and measuring ads sent to Chrome users once it finally rests the third-party cookie. It's a big deal. A very unscientific poll of this newsletter's media readers put this as the top concern.
And Google's announcements are proving decisive to say the least. Everyone's got a vested interest - which perhaps hints at Google having too much power.
Anyway, you're going to be hearing a lot about FLoC this year, so best getting up to speed with this quick explainer.
Speaking of a post-cookie world, Alex Steer, chief data officer at Wunderman Thompson EMEA, pitched me an op-ed about ripping up the rule book and integrating an ethics framework into media buying (a theme we'll continue next week...).
From experience, I've noticed that 'ethics' stories don't get so well-read... I wonder why that is? You all seem like quite an ethical bunch to me.
Steer wrote: "Few people thought about the ethics of data technology 25 years ago when the industry was in its infancy. Over time, this lack of attention to data ethics has led us down paths that now threaten the basis of digital advertising. It is time to do the hard work of getting it right so that we don’t find ourselves in a similarly uncomfortable position a decade or so down the road."
Let's try and hit all the Facebook news as fast as possible. The quarterly earnings are out. Revenue is up but under threat. It is now complaining about Apple, whose privacy push threatens to bite into Facebook's huge income. It also launched a news fund thing and said it would give its 2020 US election ad data to academics.
Another year, another dollar
Dentsu says ad spend won't reach pre-pandemic levels until 2022. 5.8% growth is expected globally - if major sporting events such as the Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics and the Euros go ahead... fingers crossed.
Twitter acquires newsletter platform Revue [It allows people to publish and monetize email newsletters - watch out Substack]
How Forbes is harnessing the “Substackization of media” with a new paid newsletter platform [Writers are being empowered, but media brands carry many benefits too]
The Road To The Capitol Insurrection Was Paved With MAGA Disinformation [And guess what platform it was organised on...]
Apple TV Plus’ Freeloader Problem: 62% of Subscribers Are on Free Offers [Surely these services are for added value and to drive device sales? It doesn't need as many subs?]
Well, that’s this week’s round-up. If you missed the last issue, read it here.
I'm always looking to improve this briefing. Get in touch and let me know what you'd like to see more of, or if you'd like to feature. Do share it with friends and colleagues if you think it is relevant. I'm at firstname.lastname@example.org or @johngeemccarthy on Twitter.