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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

New players are taking on Google and Facebook in the ad-supported video space in an attempt to break down what has been an overwhelming dominance by those two companies.

Why it matters: "Video is the thing that will ultimately chip away at the duopoly," says Mike Kelly, former President of AOL Media Networks and current CEO of Kelly Newman Ventures. "Walled gardens are brought down by movements like this. Massive fragmentation in the digital video space has created an opportunity for other companies to take advantage of strong demand and lack of supply."

  • Amazon is developing an ad-supported video streaming service, per Ad Age. "To get its new effort off the ground, Amazon may share both audience information and ad revenue, even linking payments for content to the number of hours people watch it, executives familiar with the conversations say."
  • Twitter has launched dozens of ad-supported live video sponsorships ranging from news shows to entertainment shows to sport highlights. In Q3, it streamed more than 830 events (up from 625 in Q2), with 74% of those reaching a global audience. Those videos are supported by ad revenue, and Twitter says engagement with video ads is up 99% year over year.
  • Musical.ly, an ad-supported lip-syncing video app, was bought by Toutiao, a Chinese personalized news app, last week. Musical.ly is one of the first big Chinese social apps to gain traction in the U.S. As Recode's Peter Kafka points out, "It may be the most successful video app not owned by an internet giant like Facebook or Google."

For many of these platforms, selling brand-safe video content has become a sticking point in competing for premium video dollars.

  • Oath, a conglomerate of media brands formed under Verizon, launched its first ad campaign around brand safety specifically. ""I think the days of scale without trust, scale without brand are waning," Oath chief marketing officer Allie Kline told AdWeek.
  • TrustX is also building momentum, per Business Insider's Mike Shields. "Media players ranging from CBS, to ESPN to Hearst and News Corp. are pooling together their ad space. The vision is to create a centralized digital outlet where ad buyers can find the best, safest, places to run their ads outside of the Google and Facebook domain."

Sound smart: Google and Facebook's overwhelming grip on digital advertising won't be seriously threatened for a long time, but as video becomes more democratized, those companies will have to fend off competitors more aggressively than ever before.

Go deeper

Why made-for-TV moments matter during the pandemic

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Erin Schaff-Pool, Biden Inaugural Committee via Getty Images

In a world where most Americans are isolated and forced to laugh, cry and mourn without friends or family by their side, viral moments can offer critical opportunities to unite the country or divide it.

Driving the news: President Biden's inauguration was produced to create several made-for-social viral moments, a tactic similar to what the Democratic National Committee and the Biden campaign pulled off during the Democratic National Convention.

Updated 8 hours ago - World

Over 3,000 detained in protests across Russia demanding Navalny's release

Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.