2. Media fails to take on Google and Facebook
The only competitor challenging Google and Facebook's digital advertising dominance of late is Amazon, Axios' Sara Fischer reports.
Why it matters: A years-long effort by major media companies to take on "the duopoly" has mostly fizzled.
Catch up quick: In 2017, media companies, eager to reclaim their share of the digital advertising pie, began to invest in pricey ad tech deals and mergers that they hoped could help them attract dollars from marketers looking for an alternative to Google and Facebook.
Driving the news: Today, most of those companies have backed off from those investments.
Disney on Monday sold ad tech provider TrueX, which it's been looking to offload since acquiring the property under its deal to buy most of Fox, per the Wall Street Journal.
- Disney was never trying to develop a major ad tech business, although it does have ad tech that helps power its ESPN and Hulu streaming platforms, as well as its digital assets.
AT&T is exploring the potential sale of its ad-buying unit Xandr, per the Journal.
- Xandr was created through the acquisitions of the ad tech firm AppNexus and the merger with Time Warner.
- During the trial to buy Time Warner, executives argued that the deal made sense because it would help AT&T compete with Google and Facebook for ad dollars.
Verizon has written down half of its investment in its mostly ad-supported media arm, and reports suggest it is looking to offload HuffPost, which was once considered a traffic goldmine for an ad-supported business.
- Verizon is still investing in its advertising technology, but its business has taken a hit due to the coronavirus.
By the numbers: Google and Facebook still control an overwhelming percentage of the U.S. digital ad market, even though they are losing some ground to Amazon.
- Jason Kint, CEO of digital media trade group Digital Content Next, tweeted in July that he still expects Facebook and Google to bring in 88% of all new digital ad dollar growth this year.
- Google and Facebook combined will own 52.8% of the U.S. digital advertising market this year, predicts eMarketer, with Amazon poised to take another 9.5%.
What's next: Smaller media companies are trying to collectively offer advertisers an alternative to Google and Facebook, instead of competing with those firms head-on.
- Vox on Tuesday launched Concert Ad Manager, a self-serve tool in the vein of Google and Facebook's ad platforms that will help marketers buy ads across Vox's network of websites.
- The Washington Post earlier this year also launched a platform that allows companies to buy automated ads in real time.
- Hearst started building a self-serve ad platform last year.