NEW YORK, Dec. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As cable TV subscriptions continue plummeting, digital advertising is growing its dominance as the default medium for companies looking to get eyes in front of their products. Online advertising is expected to reach an incredible $1.08 trillion by 2027. Meanwhile, digital advertising companies are getting better and better at reaching targeted audiences for maximum engagement. With new trends in influencer marketing, mobile advertising, programmatic marketing, and more set to gain further momentum in 2021, digital marketing is cementing its place and boosting companies like BBTV Corp. (TSX:BBTV), The Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD), AcuityAds Holdings Inc. (TSX:AT) (OTCQX:ACUIF), ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAC) and IZEA Worldwide (NASDAQ:IZEA).
Digital media technology company BBTV (TSX:BBTV) has built a multi-million dollar business by helping content creators and influencers grow their audiences and generate revenue from their content. The company helps content creators of all sizes, like independent YouTubers and Esports gamers. BBTV also works with media companies like Viacom and Sony Pictures, offering an end-to-end solution that combines content optimization, digital rights management, content collaboration and monetization. In addition to helping content creators, BBTV is able to sell digital advertising through the video views it generates working directly with brands and agencies.
BBTV Continues to Grow Its Revenue and Reach
COVID-19 has accelerated a pre-pandemic shift towards digital media consumption, creating some serious growth for companies on the right side of the change. Throughout 2020, BBTV has demonstrated significant size and scale in its operations given its large and growing base of over 40 billion monthly views. On December 14, the company provided a business update that highlighted a 46% increase in direct advertising revenue year-over-year in the last 12 months ending October 2020. BBTV also experienced a record month in direct advertising in November 2020 with over 50% revenue growth compared to the year before.
The revenue growth adds to an already successful nine months. In November, BBTV reported its Q3 2020 financial results with record quarterly revenues of CA$120.7 million, a 31% increase YoY. According to the release, the increase was driven by growth in views, which jumped 18% to 121.2 billion in Q3, and improved ad revenues. During the third quarter, BBTV also raised CA$172.4 million in proceeds, offering additional cash to execute on the company’s growth strategies.
BBTV believes the fourth quarter of 2020 to be its strongest to date and expects to see that upward trend continuing into 2021 as it continues to grow its partnerships and reach.
Digital Advertising and Influencer Marketing See Growth Despite Health Crisis
When the health crisis began this spring, market watchers expected to see a large decline in overall ad spend in the US as businesses slashed their marketing budgets to preserve capital at the height of the outbreak. Luckily, the industry experienced a rapid turnaround in the third quarter, buoyed by digital advertising. The COVID-19 pandemic may have been the last nail in the coffin for traditional media; however, connected TV advertising is estimated to grow 19% YoY, while digital ad spend could rise by 6% in 2020.
AcuityAds Holdings Inc. (TSX:AT) (OTCQX:ACUIF) is another digital media tech company that posted gains in the third quarter. AcuityAds reported Q3 revenue of $26.1 million, which is a modest 3% increase YoY but an encouraging 33% jump from Q2. The company also increased its gross margin to 52% from 48% YoY and increased its adjusted EBITDA by 150%.
Global marketing technology company The Trade Desk Inc (NASDAQ:TTD) has also been faring well this year. Trade Desk took a hit in Q2 along with several other digital advertisers; however, the company has since come back with a bang. In Q3 2020, The Trade Desk reported revenue of $216 million, a 31% increase YoY, and an adjusted EBITDA of US$77 million.
ViacomCBS Inc. (NASDAQ:VIAC), reported in third-quarter earnings that video ad revenues have more than doubled for Pluto TV, which ViacomCBS acquired nearly two years ago. Pluto TV now has 36 million users worldwide, and it appears the company will continue to increase video-advertising revenues as a product of the growth of the ad-supported streaming service as it has announced deals with Sony for Pluto TV distribution on the Sony Playstation platform and LG smart televisions.
Influencer marketing tech company IZEA Worldwide (NASDAQ:IZEA) is another company that is still weathering the COVID-19 storm, but slowly gaining ground. Despite garnering over 15 billion TikTok campaign views during the pandemic, the company reported a 20% decrease in revenue in the second quarter. Luckily, IZEA Worldwide has since announced a surge of new customers in Q4 2020, doubling its managed services customers from the previous quarter.
BBTV has also continued to sign on new content creators at a rapid pace. In early November, the company added four major content creators of note, who together added 267.8 million monthly views and 12.5 million subscribers organically. Weeks later, the company announced the signing of another five international gaming partners who collectively boast over 23 million YouTube subscribers and receive 217 million monthly YouTube views.
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TikTok debuts new voice after Canadian actor sues
After noticing a new female voice narrating the videos on , users of TikTok were baffled as to why. It actually turns out that the Canadian actress behind the old voice filed a lawsuit against the platform for copyright violation as her voice was apparently being used without her permission.
Bev Standing, , is taking China-based ByteDance to court. TikTok’s parent company has since replaced her voice with a new one, with Standing reportedly finding out over email after a tip-off from a journalist. On the matter, Standing said: “They replaced me with another voice. I am so overwhelmed by this whole thing. I’m stumbling for words because I just don’t know what to say.”
TikTok is said to be considering a settlement for Standing outside of the courts, but nobody knows whether or not this is true. According to legal experts, the fact TikTok now has a new voice on the popular social media app suggests they acknowledge Standing’s case and potentially understand that she may have suffered as a result of the company’s actions.
Thanks to the emergence of the powerful smartphone devices of today, alongside taking high-quality images for Instagram, getting lost down YouTube wormholes, and , people are turning to relatively new platforms like TikTok. The service has 689 million monthly active users worldwide and is one of the most downloaded apps in Apple’s iOS App Store. This latest news could harm the platforms future, although many of its younger users potentially aren’t aware that this type of scenario is unfolding.
For Bev Standing, the ordeal is a testing one. She wasn’t informed of the voice change, there is no mention of it in TikTok’s newsroom online, and the development is news to her lawyer also.
This all comes after her case was filed in a New York State court in early May after the voice actor noticed a computer-generated version of her voice had been seen and listened to around the world since 2020. Speculation is rife as to how TikTok managed to obtain the recordings but Standing believes the company acquired them from a project she took part in for the Chinese government in 2018.
The Institute of Acoustics in China reportedly promised her that all of the material she would be recording would be used solely for translation, but they eventually fell into the hands of TikTok and have since been altered and then exposed to a global audience.
According to Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor with Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and an expert in copyright law, the fact that the hugely popular social media platform has now changed Standing’s voice could result in a positive outcome for the distraught voice actor. She said: “It’s a positive step in the way that they are mitigating their damages. And when you’re mitigating, you’re acknowledging that we did something wrong, and you’re trying to make things better.”
When assessing social media etiquette and how both companies and users should act, this type of news can only do more harm than good. Not only does it make the company look bad, but it could have an effect on revenues and, ultimately, TikTok’s reputation.
With a clear desire to move on and put this whole process behind her, Bev Standing is eager for the case to be resolved and get back to the daily work she loves and has been doing for a large part of her life. TikTok has until July 7 to respond to her claim.
Nigeria orders broadcasters not to use Twitter to gather information
Nigerian television and radio stations should not use Twitter to gather information and have to de-activate their accounts, the broadcast authority said following the move to suspend the U.S. social media giant in Africa’s most populous country.
Nigeria’s government on Friday said it had suspended Twitter’s activities, two days after the platform removed a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari that threatened to punish secessionists. Nigerian telecoms firms have since blocked access to Twitter.
International diplomats responded with a joint statement in support of “free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria”.
Buhari, who was Nigeria’s military ruler in the 1980s, has previously been accused of cracking down on freedom of expression, though his government has denied such accusations.
Twitter has called its suspension “deeply concerning” and said it would work to restore access for all those in Nigeria who rely on the platform to communicate and connect with the world.
The National Broadcasting Commission, in a statement dated June 6, told broadcasters to “suspend the patronage of Twitter immediately”.
“Broadcasting stations are hereby advised to de-install Twitter handles and desist from using Twitter as a source of information gathering,” it said in the statement, adding that “strict compliance is enjoined”.
The statement comes two days after the attorney general ordered the prosecution of those who break the rules on the ban.
The foreign minister on Monday held a closed door meeting in the capital, Abuja, with diplomats from the United States, Britain, Canada, the European Union and Ireland to discuss the ban.
It followed the statement by their diplomatic missions on Saturday in which they criticised the move.
“These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue…. as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said in their statement.
Nigeria’s information minister on Friday said the ban would be “indefinite” but, in a statement late on Sunday, referred to it as a “temporary suspension”.
The minister did not immediately respond to phone calls and text messages on Monday seeking comment on the altered language.
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh and Abraham Achirga in Abuja; Writing by Alexis Akwagyiram; Editing by Alex Richardson)
Lisa Kudrow discusses impact of ‘Friends The Reunion’
Comedic actor Lisa Kudrow is set to return to television comedy in the second season of “Feel Good”, hot on the heels of appearing in “Friends: The Reunion”.
The reunion of the classic sitcom “Friends” cast became a hot topic on social media and saw a surge in subscriptions for the show’s platform HBO Max.
Kudrow told Reuters via Zoom she found it “a little bit mind-blowing because you don’t really fully get the impact that the show had on people internationally and the personal stories that you would hear about over the years. It’s really nice. I go to sleep now thinking ‘Ah, I did a good thing’.”
In the series “Feel Good”, which is entering its second and final season, Kudrow plays the mother of Mae, a non-binary comedian who is struggling with the demons of her past while trying to keep up a relationship with girlfriend George.
The first series was critically acclaimed and Mae Martin, who based the series on her own experiences, won two Royal Television Society awards for Best Writer – Comedy and also the Breakthrough Award.
“Once I was sent the script … I loved it. I loved every episode, I loved what it was about,” said Kudrow.
However, her attachment to the project meant that the “Friends” star would have to travel to the United Kingdom where most of the series was shot during the pandemic.
“I was anxious about it but then forgot it once I was there on their set with the COVID protocols. I felt perfectly safe,” Kudrow said.
As the show is based on Martin’s own experiences, she suffered from a lot of anxiety leading up to the launch of the first series.
Martin said she’s still a little apprehensive about the second season. “It was all such an unknown with series one. I had no idea how people would feel about it … last time I was just terrified about my parents watching it but now I know they love it, that’s a huge weight off so yeah I do feel a lot less freaked out.”
“Feel Good” will begin streaming on Netflix on Friday.
(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Diane Craft)