NEW YORK, September 2, 2016 — By Mike Shields, Wall Street Journal
DEAL MEMO: When Viacom and Sumner Redstone’s National Amusements ended their warfare and agreed to oust CEO Philippe Dauman, his last act was going to be presenting a deal to the board to sell a stake in Paramount Pictures. Well, there isn’t any specific deal on the table and there won’t be a formal presentation in person. Instead, on Wednesday Mr. Dauman submitted materials to the board outlining potential options with would-be bidders, but didn’t name any interested parties, The Wall Street Journal reports. The deal memo effectively ends Mr. Dauman’s involvement in Viacom — and his sale of some $60 million worth of stock in recent weeks underscores the point. A Paramount deal seems increasingly unlikely anytime soon, given how skeptical National Amusements has been about it. But the stake sale was viewed among investors as an obvious way for Viacom to raise much-needed cash. The way this saga has gone, who knows.
BROWSER BEWARE: Are some web browsers more ad fraud prone than others? A new study issued by the ad fraud detection firm FraudLogix found that some versions of Microsoft IE and Google’s Chrome had elevated ad fraud activity compared to other browsers, CMO Today reports. Over a seven day period in July, FraudLogix looked at 135 million individual online ad impressions, and 50% of those served to IE were determined to be “non-human.” That was the case with 20.5 % of the impressions served to Chrome. To be sure, both companies don’t agree with the study’s results — they challenged the very methodology, saying that fraudulent “bots” can impersonate browsers, skewing the findings. Plus, it’s possible that fraudsters simply target the browsers with the broadest reach in the market. Mozilla’s Firefox, Apple’s Safari, and Microsoft Edge each recorded low levels of bogus impressions in the study.
YOUTUBE OVER: YouTube is letting some creators know that their videos are not safe for advertisers, and they are not happy about it. The Google-owned company has long had a policy that allowed it to block ads from certain videos it deemed inappropriate for marketers, but it has become more open about the practice, reports Ad Age. And that’s led big name creators like Phil Defranco–who got ads blocked from his recent video rant about political correctness–to speak out. By Thursday, the chorus of complaints had led to the hashtag #YouTubeisover to trend on Twitter. This isn’t a good look for YouTube, which has often weathered complaints from its creator community that its share of ad revenue is too high and its ad prices are too low. YouTube might argue that it’s been paying such creators for years and helped make them stars, but that’s a tough message to stuff into a hashtag.
PERISCOPE ANYONE: Twitter has been criticized for moving slowly when it comes to innovating on ad products. So it’s refreshing to see that it’s moving a bit faster with Periscope, its year-plus-old live streaming app. Starting on Thursday night, Periscope started running some of its first ads for Chase and Grey Goose as part of a live stream for the U.S. Open hosted by former U.S. men’s tennis player Andy Roddick, reports Variety. During the live streams, Mr. Roddick provided commentary on matches and engaged with fans on Periscope and Twitter, which also carried the live stream. As part of the initiative, the brands will promote the live streams with Promoted Tweet ads, and some sponsored highlight videos will be shared by the marketers and Mr. Roddick. Starting with an event like the U.S. Open, which has long had a base of high-end advertisers, is probably smart. But it will be interesting to see if Twitter opens this up to its nascent community of non-pro Periscope creators as it races to keep up with Facebook Live in both usage and ad possibilities.
Diageo PLC has installed Sophie Kelly as its new senior vice president of marketing for whiskey brands in North America. Ms. Kelly is the former CEO of the digital ad firm The Barbarian Group. [CMO Today]
Facebook made a fix to its Graph API feature and access to share data has resumed, Jack Marshall reports [Twitter]
Facebook will now let people share live video streams with friends within Facebook Messenger. [BuzzFeed]
Brian Williams will begin hosting a new daily half hour 11:00 p.m. show on MSNBC next week, dubbed “The 11th Hour With Brian Williams.” [TV Newser]
Melania Trump has filed a defamation lawsuit against Mail Media, parent company of the Daily Mail, and blogger Webster Griffin Tarpley, over articles that implied Mrs. Trump, wife of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, was a sex worker in the past. Both articles have been removed. [Hollywood Reporter].
Chinese regulators are launching an antitrust probe into ComcastCorp.’s recent acquisition of DreamWorks Animation after receiving unspecified complaints. The country’s antitrust watchdog has recently been tough on companies that don’t seek prior approval to make deals. [Reuters]