Brands Brief: Snap’s Loss Deepens on Slowing Revenue and User Growth

Top Stories

  • Snap Inc. saw revenue increase in the second quarter to $182 million from $71.8 million in the same quarter last year, but its quarterly loss nearly quadrupled as growth slowed in both in revenue and users. Snap’s shares hit a new low in after-hours trading. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital sued former Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Travis Kalanick. If successful, the lawsuit, which accuses Kalanick of fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty, could unseat him from the company’s board of directors. (Axios)
  • Google canceled a companywide meeting about a memo that questioned the company’s efforts to diversify its workforce after staff expressed fear for their safety if they were to ask a question during the session. (The New York Times)

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Why Brands and Agencies Are Preparing for the Era of 6-Second Ads
Christopher Heine, Adweek

Let the upcoming fourth quarter be known as the incubator phase of the six-second video ad unit, a few industry players echoed in recent days. Next year, they say, it’s go time. The format has built up buzz since Google threw its stake in the ground when the best examples of its six-second hackathon were highlighted at Sundance in January.

Asos adds search-by-photo to its fashion ecommerce app
Natasha Lomas, TechCrunch

Computer vision continues to find its way into all sorts of apps as the underlying tech powering convenience-oriented image searches. Latest — and it must be said late — to the party is fashion ecommerce player Asos, which has just added a visual search feature to its iOS app.

Move over, millennials: Gen Z agencies are on the rise
Ilyse Liffreing, Digiday

Millennials, which have been called the most studied generation to date, have gotten so much of the spotlight that Gen Zers, those born in the mid-1990s and early 2000s, are often left out of marketers’ target audiences or bundled with millennials. That’s evolving. As Gen Z heads to college, marketers are realizing they’re a whole different animal than millennials.

Walmart Apologizes for Sign Advertising Guns as Back-to-School Item
Matt Stevens, The New York Times

Walmart officials are apologizing after a photograph surfaced online of a company sign that appeared to promote guns as essential back-to-school purchases. The image, which came to the retailer’s attention on social media on Wednesday morning, shows the sign placed directly above a glass case filled with firearms; it urges customers to “own the school year like a hero.”

Media and Entertainment

New York Times Editorial Writer Must Testify in Sarah Palin Lawsuit
Sydney Ember, The New York Times

The author of a New York Times editorial will have to testify under oath in a defamation lawsuit filed by the former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, a federal judge ruled on Thursday. The Times filed a motion last month seeking to dismiss the case, and the judge, Jed S. Rakoff of Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York, said the testimony was necessary to help him determine whether to grant that motion.

Fox News Competitors Look to Capitalize on Trump Era
Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter

“You’re seeing the end of the Fox News Channel,” Glenn Beck told his radio and TV audience earlier this year, after Megyn Kelly left for NBC, Bill O’Reilly was about to be fired, and leadership was in flux after the ouster of chief Roger Ailes. “It’s not going to go right away, but you’re seeing a significant weakening,” the former Fox host predicted.

HBO Hackers Leak Email From Network That Offers Them $250,000
Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter

The hackers behind HBO’s recent breach have leaked a screenshot of an email that shows a senior vp for the network offering the hackers $250,000 as a “bug bounty payment.” In what appears to be an effort to embarrass HBO, the email dated July 27 and obtained by The Hollywood Reporter indicates a negotiation going on between the network and the hackers. But the HBO executive’s missive to the hackers is carefully worded and avoids language that would be construed as paying off the hackers and instead is framed as an offer for a reward for discovering vulnerabilities in HBO’s system.

CNN severs ties with Jeffrey Lord
Brian Stelter, CNN

CNN severed ties with Jeffrey Lord on Thursday, hours after he ignited controversy by tweeting the words “Sieg Heil!” at a prominent liberal activist. “Nazi salutes are indefensible,” a CNN spokesperson said in a statement. “Jeffrey Lord is no longer with the network.”

Change in tune from iHeartMedia creditor
Josh Kosman, New York Post

The biggest creditor of iHeartMedia is close to blinking in its nearly six-month stare-down with America’s largest owner of radio stations, The Post has learned. Mutual fund Franklin Resources is working with investment bank PJT Partners on a restructuring plan that could save iHeart from bankruptcy — although it may ask for more cash guarantees and possibly a controlling equity stake in return, a source close to the situation said.

SoundCloud plans to replace its CEO as part of a new funding deal
Peter Kafka, Recode

Investors want to replace the CEO of SoundCloud, the troubled music-streaming service, as part of a new round of investment. Under terms of a proposed funding deal circulated this week, former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor would run SoundCloud in place of founder and current CEO Alex Ljung, who will stay on as chair of the company’s board.

Social Media and Technology

Snap’s Loss Nearly Quadruples as Revenue and User Growth Slow
Georgia Wells, The Wall Street Journal

Snap Inc. said its quarterly loss nearly quadrupled amid slowing revenue and user growth, sapped by intensifying competition from larger rival Facebook Inc. The parent company of messaging app Snapchat said Thursday that revenue more than doubled in the second quarter to $182 million from $71.8 million a year earlier.

Benchmark Capital sues Travis Kalanick for fraud
Dan Primack, Axios

The battle between Benchmark Capital and Travis Kalanick just went nuclear, with the venture capital firm suing the former Uber CEO for fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. The complaint was filed earlier today in Delaware Chancery Court.

Uber’s Longest-Running Executive to Step Down Amid Turmoil
Olivia Zaleski, Bloomberg

Ryan Graves, the first employee at Uber Technologies Inc. and a longtime board member, is stepping down from his management role after a tumultuous year. Graves serves as senior vice president of operations at Uber and is on the executive leadership team tasked with running the business in the absence of a chief executive officer.

Here Are the Shows Coming Exclusively to Facebook Watch, Its New Original Video Hub
Sami Main, Adweek

Late Wednesday night, Facebook announced the roll-out of its TV-like programming slate for its new vertical called Watch, which will feature original shows from dozens of publishers and companies. NASA, Mashable, MLB and more will produce episodic content for viewers to like, comment and keep up with.

Google Image Search Loses Market Share As Amazon, Facebook Rise
Laurie Sullivan, MediaPost

A breakdown of searches on major web properties found that Google’s core search grew in market share from 58.84 percent in October 2016 to 64.8 percent in May 2017, according to recent data. Jumpshot collaborated on the analyses with Moz cofounder Rand Fishkin.

Uber adds in-app messaging between riders and drivers
Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch

Uber is starting to roll out a new in-app chat feature globally today, which will allow riders to send text messages directly to their driver once they book a ride, and vice versa. The new feature replaces the somewhat clunky mechanism of SMS for text communication between rider and driver, helping to preserve privacy for both sides in all markets, and cutting down on potential confusion.

Didi is chasing Uber around the world
Johana Bhuiyan and Rani Molla, Recode

If Uber thought the days of fending off Didi Chuxing’s advances were over, the company was wrong. Didi, China’s local ride-hail player that bought Uber’s assets in the country, has been busy investing in Uber competitors around the world.

YouTube on Android TV will pick up support for brand accounts ‘in the coming weeks’
Ben Schoon, 9to5Google

Over the course of the past few weeks, Google has updated Android TV’s YouTube app with a massive redesign. For many, this new design was a major step backward, breaking crucial elements and ditching the previous perks of the older layout.

BuzzFeed is launching a live news show on Twitter
Sara Fischer, Axios

BuzzFeed’s live Twitter morning show — premiering September 25 and called “AM to DM” — will aim to break news in real time in a way that’s like television, but produced for digital audiences and consumption. The show concept, originally announced at Twitter’s newfront in May, will take viewers through the day’s top stories, bringing headlines from BuzzFeed News reporters and editors all over the world.

PR and Marketing

Macy’s Hopes Revamped Marketing Will Win Back Shoppers
Sarah Mahoney, MediaPost

Macy’s, which just released yet another quarter of declining sales, says it is counting on reinvented marketing to win shoppers back to its stores. Macy’s, which just released yet another quarter of declining sales, says it is counting on reinvented marketing to win shoppers back to its stores.

Target is betting on dog toys to help it stave off Amazon’s charge
Tanya Dua, Business Insider

Target has announced that it will start carrying products from Bark, the pet company behind the pet subscription service Barkbox, starting Sunday. This is the first time that Bark’s products will be sold at retail stores.

Google Cancels Employee Meeting Because of Harassment Fears
Daisuke Wakabayashi, The New York Times

Google on Thursday canceled a scheduled companywide meeting at which executives had planned to discuss a memo that questioned the Silicon Valley giant’s diversity efforts after employees expressed concern that they would be exposed to harassment online.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

TV’s Ad Apocalypse Is Getting Closer
Derek Thompson, The Atlantic

Disney announced on Tuesday that it will stop selling content to Netflix by 2019 and will instead launch two streaming services—one with sports content from ESPN (which it owns) and another for movies. It is a dramatic announcement with far-reaching implications for the future of television and, pulling back the lens even farther, the U.S. tech and media landscape.

Forget Ratings. ‘Orphan Black’ Had the #CloneClub.
John Koblin, The New York Times

“Orphan Black” never had huge ratings. A July episode on BBC America, for example, garnered just 645,000 viewers, ranking it 33rd among scripted cable TV series that week.