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Mornin' from Vegas, where the hashtag #VegasBorn is trending as the Golden Knights become the first NHL expansion team to make the playoffs. I'll be interviewing HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes about brand safety on social media at Adobe's annual Digital Marketing Summit, where partnerships execs from Twitter and Facebook are also slated to speak.
Illustration: Caresse Haaser, Rebecca Zisser/Axios
The Advertising Research Foundation will announce an initiative tomorrow to develop industry guidelines on consumer data privacy and protection. The move comes as regulators and consumers start to pay closer attention to data privacy and security in light of recent revelations about the abuse of user data on big tech platforms.
Why it matters: Obscure data practices have been used for years in the ad tech industry to monetize as much user data as possible. Efforts by industry groups and regulators to rein in those practices could have a significant impact on the way advertisers spend their marketing budgets online.
A recent eMarketer poll suggests that the percentage of ad spend that will go to Facebook and Google this year will decline.
The shifts could signal that marketers are ready to move dollars from open platforms that rely mostly on user-generated content to companies with tighter content scrutiny, like Apple, Amazon and Snapchat.
Lawmakers are calling on the CEO's of Google and Twitter to testify before Congress on April 10, as well as Mark Zuckerberg.
Meanwhile, sirens are going off in Europe. Regulators are threatening that the EU is considering breaking up Google. "We are not there yet but it is important to keep an awakened eye," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told The Daily Telegraph Monday.
Go deeper: How digital advertising became a total mess
Despite market hype about user privacy and brand safety in digital advertising, marketers around the globe are still pouring more money into digital advertising.
Global ad agency Zenith forecasts that advertisers will spend 40.2% of their budgets on online advertising this year, up from 37.6% in 2017.
"Zenith has found no evidence that advertisers as a whole are shifting budgets away from online advertising – in fact, its share of global advertising expenditure continues to rise rapidly," the report finds.
Zentih suggests that growth in digital advertising over the next four years will be driven mostly by the U.S. and China. Developing countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, will also contribute to digital growth, mostly via mobile.
Despite dodging scandals around fake news and user privacy, only than one third of U.S. adults surveyed have a favorable view of Snapchat, according to new Axios/SurveyMonkey polling. By comparison, an overwhelming majority of adults have a favorable view of YouTube.
Celebrity effect? Chrissy Teigen Bails on Snapchat, and Snap Stock Sinks
Groups of internet websites are forming in clusters so that they can share resources and leverage their collective size to negotiate better deals with digital content distributors and offer better advertising solutions.
Some of the new digital networks that have formed over the last few years:
Some networks, like CBS and NBCUniversal, also own and/or invest in a handful of digital media sites. CBS owns sites like CNET and TV Guide. NBCUniversal has partnered with Refinery29 on content and invested in sites like BuzzFeed, Vox Media and Axios.
Editor's note: This piece has been corrected to show that NBCUniversal has partnered with Refinery29 on content, not invested in the brand.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios
John Landgraf, the CEO of 21st Century Fox-owned cable network FX and FX Productions, which produces hits ranging from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia to The Americans, tells Axios he's worried that media consolidation with other industries (tech, telecom, etc.) could lead to less quality storytelling.
Meanwhile ... A contentious start to the AT&T/Time Warner trial suggests there's no sure bet that consolidation will continue to happen, anyway. Axios' David McCabe takes you inside the drama in courtroom, where Dish Network executive Warren Schlichting became the second DOJ witness Monday to say the merger would hurt his business. (Cox Communications argued this last week.)
Roughly half of digital display ads (on mobile and desktop) aren't viewable, meaning they aren't actually seen by real people even though advertisers pay for them to be. Instead, they are "viewed" by bots or they don't load properly.
But, there's good news: According to Integral Ad Science's 2017 H2 Media Quality Report, out later today, efforts to make ads more viewable on both desktop and mobile have improved over the last six months.
Between the first half of 2017 and the second half of 2017, viewability increased across desktop display and video formats, as well as mobile web.
Note: Mobile App viewability methodology changed and therefore cannot be accurately compared to previous reports.
Why it matters: This improvement reflects the heavy pressure big brands are putting publishers and tech providers to take action and improve ad quality.
Revenues from recorded music in the U.S. increased materially for two years in a row for the first time since 1999, according to a new Recording Industry Association of America 2017 year-end report.
Why it matters: The growth is being driven by increases in new subscription-based streaming services, like Pandora Premium and iHeartRadio All Access, as well as the growth of older subscription music services, like Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal, and others.
But, but, but: Subscription revenues are not a finite opportunity (most people only subscribe to one subscription music service), so music streamers are now looking for ways to beef up their ad technology to make more money from serving users as on their tiered or free platforms.
“Any publisher worth their salt won’t sign it."— An industry executive about GroupM's contract.
Why it matters: Publishers are already struggling to manage confusing and difficult GDPR compliance procedures. Now, new contracts and partnership agreements that seem to be forced on publishers and are surfacing just two months before the law goes into affect, further complicating the process.
A team of scientists is calling on sports organizations — including NFL and the Little League — to have healthier foods and drinks shown by their sponsors, in an effort to help cut childhood obesity, Axios' Eileen Drage O'Reilly reports.
Watching today: NBC will host its fourth annual Innovation Day at 30 Rock for top execs in marketing and advertising. We're told Jeffrey Katzenberg will share details about his new video upstart, Wndrco. Facebook is also expected to be a hot topic. Variety’s Brian Steinberg (@bristei) will be in the room and is a good follow for updates.