Media snippets of the week – Meta out for Twitter's lunch

This week Meta launched Threads, a direct challenger to Twitter, and so far it seems to be a hit. 5m users signed up within the first four hours of launch, and the latest figure has since ramped to 30m and is still growing. Threads has many similarities to Twitter, and industry figures believe it can be the more stable alternative that users and advertisers have been seeking. Twitter has faced system outages and controversies over content moderation. The most recent incident sparking controversy was when Elon Musk’s tweeted last Saturday that he’s implementing temporary reading limits on Twitter users. Musk blames AI’s data scraping for Twitter’s recent outages, however some doubt whether they are caused by lack of maintenance after Musk sacked the majority of the workforce. Time will tell who will be the winner, but it’s clear that Meta is out to eat Twitter’s lunch. Another tech platform that has its eyes on expanding advertising dollars is Netflix. After launching its ad-supported plan late last year, it is now ramping up its advertising offerings, which includes ‘episodic’ campaigns tailored to each viewers. Elsewhere, Future has relaunched TechRadar which now has a better reader experience. In other news, STV acquired LEGO Masters’ production network Greenbird and marketers show mixed reactions towards upcoming privacy changes from Google and Apple.


News of the week

Meta launches rival to the troubled Twitter
Meta launched a new app called Threads this week, which attracted 5m sign-ups in the first four hours of the launch. This has since ramped to 30m sign ups and is still growing. It is now available in Apple and Google app stores in more than 100 countries including the US and UK. Threads is set to rival Twitter as it shares similar features which allow users to publish text based posts that can be commented on, liked and shared. Threads could pose a serious threat to Twitter given users and advertisers have been unhappy about Twitter’s uncertainties and frequent outages since Musk took over. Last Saturday, Elon Musk announced temporary daily reading limits on Twitter, claiming the measure is to cope with "extreme" data scraping by AI companies but did not specify the duration of the restriction. He ruled out the option of using emergency servers to resolve this issue, arguing that it would only facilitate AI firms to achieve sky-high valuations. This decision sparked intense debates among users and the error message ‘rate limit exceeded’ became a trending topic on Twitter. Advertising industry experts believe that this decision shows the platform's instability, which could hamper the efforts of the new CEO Linda Yaccarino to regain advertising clients. Amid Twitter’s ongoing controversies, Meta’s Threads has the potential to attract more users and advertisers as a more stable alternative of Twitter.  Reuters, FT, The Guardian
Netflix plans to offer more advertising formats
Netflix has seen a surge in popularity for its ad-supported subscription service, which launched last year. As a new player in the advertising industry, Netflix made its debut at the 2023 Cannes Lions festival, where it discussed its plans with ad executives. According to ad executives, Netflix aims to use its rich audience data to help brands reach their target customers more effectively. For example, Netflix could create 'episodic' campaigns, which show different but related ads to the audience across various shows, preventing ad fatigue. Netflix can also ensure that these ads are shown in the correct sequence, as it knows what the viewers have already watched. In addition, Netflix is said to extend its advertising services to its growing gaming business. With its partnership with Microsoft possibly coming to an end, Netflix could have more freedom in choosing its ad formats. FT
Future remakes TechRadar with a focus on reader experience 
TechRadar, one of Future's largest brands has undergone a major relaunch. The site has a new logo, colour scheme, and marketing tagline: 'The technology experts', highlighting its role as the consumers’ most reliable guide. The revamp aims to provide clear and accessible expertise and reviews for its readers. The navigation has been redesigned to make it easier for users to find the advice they need on the devices they want to buy or use. TechRadar has created new recurring features, such as How to choose (product category explainers for buying decision makers). It has also introduced Ask An Expert, where users can interact with TechRadar’s experts and get answers to their questions and problems. The revamp no doubt is to help tackle the weakness in Future’s audience trends in consumer tech. TechRadar
STV acquires Greenbird Media for c.£24m
STV announced the acquisition of Greenbird Media, the UK production network behind hit show LEGO Masters, for a total cash consideration of c.£24m. Greenbird is the UK’s largest independent network of producers with 2000+ hours of archive content and 350+ hours’ returning series to be produced this year. Strategically, this acquisition could expand STV’s existing IP catalogue and production pipeline, accelerating the growth of STV Studios. With this acquisition, management is confident of meeting its target of having at least 50% operating profit from outside of linear broadcasting by the end of FY23. Greenbird generated c.£28m of revenue and c.2.5m PBT in 2022, which means the acquisition will be earning accretive. The acquisition is also expected to bring £750k revenue and cost synergies from 2024. STV
Apple and Google are expected to implement new privacy changes
Apple and Google are expected to change privacy settings as they launch new versions of their platforms this month.  Apple is expected to automatically remove link trackers from URLs sent via Message, Mail and links in Safari Private Browsing, while Google will roll out new APIs to Chrome and start its 18-month roadmap for Privacy Sandbox. These changes could add to the uncertainties marketers are already experiencing since Apple’s IDFA change in 2021 and Google’s plan to completely fade out third-party cookies. There are mixed reactions in the industry. According to Digiday, some marketers are worried user-centric measurement will become less effective when the changes are applied. However, others are less concerned and believe that the industry will figure out new ways to get feedback. Digiday

Other news

•    Yahoo is planning a return to the public markets. FT
•    TikTok plotting to block Montana state ban enforcement. Reuters
•    London business newspaper City AM is open for sale. Pressgazette
•    7 big tech companies to meet EU’s ‘gatekeeper’ criteria. Reuters