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Axios coast to coast: I'll be interviewing Edelman CEO Richard Edelman and Google SVP and General Counsel Kent Walker tonight in San Fransisco (RSVP). Mike Allen will host a lunch conversation Wednesday in D.C. with VP Mike Pence and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (RSVP).
Two of the biggest media conferences of the year are kicking off this week in California: The Interactive Advertising Bureau's Annual Leadership Meeting in Desert Springs and Recode's Code Media event in Huntington Beach.
The highlights so far from IAB:
The highlights so far from Recode:
One fun thing: CollegeHumor pulled together video footage for #CodeMedia of media animals battling it out in their natural habitat. Watch.
A new Interactive Advertising Bureau study finds that companies like Warby Parker, Blue Apron and Casper are growing in response to an “enduring shift" toward personalized, custom brands.
Why it matters: Major brands are being cannibalized by the rise of direct-to-consumer newcomers. And while many of these direct brands are small, the effect on incumbents has been "pronounced and severe," says IAB President Randall Rothenberg, who presented data about this at the IAB's annual conference in California Monday.
By the numbers:
We've got more about what it means for the media industry in the Axios stream.
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios
Researcher and technologist Aviv Ovadya, one of the first to identify the fake news catastrophe in early 2016, tells Buzzfeed he is worried about an “Information Apocalypse,” which could lead to “reality apathy,” or people just giving up on finding the truth because it is too indistinguishable from misinformation.
Why it matters: Red flags are being waved by engineers, academics, lawmakers and technologists about the dangers of big tech, yet very little is being done to actually stop the crisis:
"We're people. It affects us. Whether criticisms are from tech companies or former employees, or the media at large, we read all things and we stress about those things. It does affect us."— Facebook Head of News Feed Adam Mosseri at Recode's Code Media Conference
Our thought bubble: The information economy doesn’t incentivize marketers, web platforms, investors, etc. to prioritize consumer health and safety over innovation and prosperity. But some, like Facebook, are starting to see consumer safety and perception as a long-term way of sustaining its business.
Consumers are abandoning content that takes too long to load or is too long, according to a new Adobe Consumer Content Survey.
Why it matters: Consumption habits are being shaped by web platforms with expert engineering that are designed to maintain consumer attention and eyeballs. Less sophisticated consumer experiences, like slow websites or crappy apps, are being abandoned or intentionally avoided by consumers.
Facing saturation in the U.S., American social media companies are starting to focus on making more money abroad. Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat all hit record earnings last quarter and made more money outside of the U.S. than ever before.
Why it matters: The U.S. is by far the most lucrative digital media market in the world, so even if these companies must find paths for growth abroad, it won't be as easy to make money off of users there due to stricter data regulations (Europe), higher rates of mobile ad-blocking (southeast Asia) and less sophisticated ad infrastructure globally.
Most California residents think the tech industry is under-regulated, according to The 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer California Supplemental Survey.
Why it matters: The survey results show a trust gap between Bay Area and California residents and the companies that are driving innovation in their backyards.
Go deeper: More numbers in the Axios stream.
The Washington Post's Head of Innovation Jarrod Dicker is leaving the legacy brand to become the CEO of Po.et, a media blockchain company.
Why it matters: Dicker is considered one of the top engineers and product whizzes in the digital media industry. If he's making this bet right now, we should all be paying attention.
Blockchain is the technology that transparently tracks how entities flow through a supply chain. (For example, Blockchain is the tech that powers bitcoin).
Reality check: The idea is right, but execution will be difficult, especially for legacy media companies that can't afford to take short-term revenue hits in an effort to experiment, even if it's better for their businesses in the long term.
21st Century Fox president Peter Rice seems partial to a Disney merger than a Comcast merger, per his interview yesterday at Recode's Code Media event.
"Disney will be biggest, most powerful company Hollywood has ever seen."— Peter Rice
Why it matters: Fox could be entertaining a higher bid for a merger from Comcast, according to The Wall Street Journal. But it's unclear whether Fox would seriously consider the bid, given the regulatory hurdles it would face trying to get "vertical" merger approved versus a "horizontal" merger approved between two like-minded companies.
Across the pond, 21st Century Fox says it will create a fully independent board for Sky News to ensure its independence, should its $15 billion bid to take a majority stake in the Pay-TV company be approved, per Reuters.
Threading the needle: Upon completion, the Fox/Sky deal could give Disney majority ownership of major international broadcast and streaming audiences. Authorities have previously said that the merger would be taken into consideration as a part of the deal approval process.
The Skimm's first podcast, "'Skimm'd from The Couch,' reached #1 in the Apple App Store within just a few hours of launch last week and has remained in the top five for the past week.
#MeToo reminder: The Skimm is one of the only female (and millennial) founded and led digital media companies in its competitive set — Refinery 29, Bustle, etc.