Media faces upheaval – and deal opportunity

Hi and welcome to this weekly edition of Insider Advertising, where I break down the big media and advertising stories.

It’s also our last newsletter until Dec. 30. But you can always sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox daily.This week: Media deals heat up, tensions at Roku, and big tech privacy battles.

Ben Lerer

Steve Rogers Photography/Getty Images for SXSW

What’s next for media M&A The pandemic and rise of streaming video have wreaked havoc on the media and ad industries — and also paved the way for a lot of deal-making:

FILE PHOTO A video sign displays the logo for Roku Inc, a Fox-backed video streaming firm, in Times Square after the company’s IPO at the Nasdaq Market in New York


Tensions at RokuIt’s been a transformative year for Roku, which has gone a small-but-mighty maker of streaming boxes to aggressively growing a TV platform business.

But as Ashley Rodriguez writes, its shift from a pure-tech player to an ad-driven business has come at a price.Roku’s move into advertising has led to public spats with streamers like NBCUniversal’s Peacock and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, riled some publishers, and irked some of its tech-side employees.Read the details here: Roku insiders detail how it beat out Amazon and Google to dominate streaming TV and expand its ad business, but created new challenges and rankled some partners

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai

Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Google, Facebook, privacy battles The tech giants’ jockeying to position themselves as the most pro-privacy is resulting in some very public spats.Google has come under scrutiny for dominating in digital advertising, search, and how the web itself looks, Shona Ghosh reported. Critics’ central complaint has to do with Google’s features that potentially threatens people’s personal information.Facebook for its part is battling Apple over its anti-ad tracking plans, saying they’ll harm small businesses as well as its own ad revenue. (Facebook meanwhile is expanding tools to protect high-profile users’ accounts)

One short-term beneficiary of all this: The publishers getting ad dollars from Facebook’s lobbying effort.Other stories we’re reading:Happy holidays, and I’ll see you in the New Year!

— Lucia

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