IAB, 4A’s Ad Terms And Conditions Updates Offer Long-Form Video Guidelines

For the first time in nine years, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) have updated their advertising terms and conditions for long-form digital video content. These changes, developed over the past year by a joint agency group, seek to clarify advertiser-publisher negotiations on subjects from high-level brand safety concerns to granular ad cancellation policies.

The new terms and conditions apply to all long-form digital video, which it defines as professionally produced digital content that lasts eight minutes or longer and is served ads dynamically, rather than including ads directly in the video itself. The addendum consists mostly of fairly dense legalese, but contains a brief checklist on the first page that breaks down the updated ad buying process.

“Video continues to grow as both a driver of revenue and ROI for buyers and sellers alike,” said Randall Rothenberg, CEO of IAB, in a released statement. “Coupling that with the scarcity of long-form video puts pressure on the marketplace—and makes transactional guidance an imperative.”

The addendum adds guidelines for canceling unified, up-front and scatter ad buys, as well as covering implementation of viewability and fraud measurement controls to digital ads.

The updated advertising terms and conditions are still entirely voluntary, but the IAB and 4A’s promise that adhering to their guidelines will “markedly reduce the delay and expense inherent in preparing multiple, custom agreements,” especially for advertising newcomers like small businesses.

Though the IAB is currently taking public comments on the addendum, businesses need not comply with any guidelines with which they disapprove.

“As the media landscape continues to evolve with the convergence of TV and digital, there’s a need for faster, more agile processes,” said Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of 4A’s. “This addendum for long-form video will enable buyers and sellers to begin with a common point of reference, which they can choose to evolve or refine based on their own needs.”

The draft for the update will be available for public comment until February 5.

Driven By Enterprise Applications, Virtual Reality On Track To Grow In 2018

As we enter the third year of VR, the industry will look to grow its adoption beyond technology and video game enthusiasts to include a more mainstream audience. Enterprise VR will be a major driver for the industry, which may lead to stronger consumer adoption in the coming months. The road to growth will include less expensive and more portable hardware, backed by a broad library of compelling content.

Enterprise To Drive Growth

Stephanie Llamas, SuperData VP of research and strategy, told AListDaily that enterprise will continue growing at a rapid pace, which will help communicate VR’s value. Over $4 billion was invested in VR business applications in 2017 alone, much of which came from R&D.

“The companies looking for solutions are also getting headsets on a whole group of people that might never have otherwise had access to them,” said Llamas. “There are also already a lot of lessons learned from consumer products that have translated into elements of successful use cases.”

“Virtual reality will continue to change the computing landscape with consumers and businesses alike in 2018,” Tony Parisi, global head of VR/AR strategy at Unity Technologies, said in agreement. “With VR investments only increasing, more industries across the board will be developing not only exciting consumer VR experiences but practical business applications as well. With enterprise VR moving from proof-of-concept to deployment, fields like automotive, architecture, creative and others will use VR to create immersive user applications that will change the way things are done.”

On the consumer side, Llamas predicts that VR revenues will increase to $7.2 billion, over twice what 2017 brought in, largely thanks to device penetration and new content that entices a more mainstream audience.

“Already, we are seeing Hollywood, AAA publishers and big-name theme parks get involved, and that will keep increasing,” said Llamas. “Also, China is booming with promise. In November 2017 alone, Xiaomi announced its Mi VR headset has sold 1.2 devices, a massive VR theme park is opening in Guiyang, and HTC Vive’s unveiling of their new premium standalone VR headset, the Vive Focus, to be released in China.”

“VR is in the trough of disillusionment, which is completely natural and expected for every tech cycle,” said Maureen Fan, CEO at Baobab Studios, which makes VR films. “Believers like us and the platforms will do heavy lifting to create the content and make the headsets more accessible to take VR to the mainstream. Narrative creators will experiment even more with interactivity. As new companies enter the market, headset price points will drop, and more creators will experiment with both VR and AR.”

Frank Azor, VP and GM at Alienware, gaming and XPS at Dell, said that the Alienware brand remains committed to supporting VR. He points to how Alienware made all its computers VR capable in 2016, then reduced the price points for some of its systems in 2017 in addition to introducing the Dell Gaming brand.

“You can get a VR-ready notebook for $899. That’s disruptive,” said Azor. “I think by the end of 2018, those prices will probably come down one or two hundred dollars further. We’re committed, and it’s not a question of ‘if’ for us, it’s a question of ‘when.’ When does VR become as mainstream and popular as the internet, smartphones and tablets have become? I don’t know that answer to that, but we think that’s going to happen, and we want to help it happen by doing everything we know how and can.”

VR Is On Course

“In many ways, VR is right where it should be,” said Parisi. “Historically, when you look back, enterprise and business are the first to adopt new technologies because they have the means, resources and problems to solve. We’re seeing that now with VR now across medical, training, entertainment and more. Now that we have some untethered all-in-one VR devices at lower price points, I expect to see a lift this holiday season and the growth trend continue in 2018.”

“In many ways, VR is right where it should be.” — Tony Parisi, global head of VR/AR strategy at Unity Technologies

“I think the headset makers and content developers are doing a great job, with a lot of companies both big and small investing in VR to move the industry forward,” Azor said. “The only way VR will die is if Dell, Oculus, HTC, Valve and content providers stop investing in it. If one of those companies stop, it all starts to crumble unless someone comes in to fill that space.”

Parisi also noted that mass adoption always comes down to compelling content and access to affordable devices. Llamas agreed, stating that VR still needs a “killer app” to draw consumers in by offering a high value proposition—convincing audiences to pick up headsets—followed by more accessibly priced and easier to use VR headsets.

Lower priced wireless VR headsets such as Oculus Go, which is expected to release later this year, may have a major impact on the industry. However, Llamas said that the devices need to offer quality experiences, otherwise they will end up hindering the growth of VR.

“If they do not provide experiences that do not impress consumers, this could pollute consumer expectations for the industry as a whole,” Llamas explained. “Whatever entry point we use to get consumers inside headsets needs to be strong, otherwise they will have a long lasting negative impression that is far more difficult to dispel than if they had none at all. But I think in the end, the response will be positive.”

Both Fan and Parisi remain optimistic about the device’s potential, and they both emphasize content as the key.

“We are excited that Oculus Go will introduce VR to a new group of consumers who are attracted to the lower price point and all-in=one native VR wireless device,” said Fan. It all comes down to having great content to attract consumers, however.”

“I think these devices will have a huge impact on driving consumer adoption of VR, and the proliferation of untethered, all-in-one VR devices like these can only help move us closer to the promise of VR,” Parisi added.


Oculus isn’t the only company developing wireless VR headsets. The HTC Vive Focus was announced in November, but release plans are currently limited to China. Additionally, hardware companies including Dell, Lenovo, Acer and others partnered Microsoft for its Windows Mixed Reality program, with each creating their own relatively low-cost and portable headset.

But even with these devices entering the market, Azor affirmed that Dell isn’t looking to disrupt the VR industry with its Dell Visor headset.

“I’ve always said clearly, speaking with HTC, Oculus and other headset providers, that we’re not in the VR headset business. That is not a key or core strategy of ours right now,” said Azor. “Microsoft came to us and said that they were doing a VR headset and gave us an opportunity to build one that could marry our machines better than a third-party headset, and we said ok. It’s just another product offering, and we continue to have strong partnerships with Oculus and HTC.”

Movies Still Lack Director Diversity, Says USC Annenberg Study

While marketing films to women and minorities should start with representation at the studio level, the annual diversity survey by the USC Annenberg School For Communication and Journalism suggests that more diverse hiring is still overdue. In 2017, there was no meaningful or sustained change for female, black or Asian directors in Hollywood.

A total of 109 film directors were associated with the 100 top movies of 2017, but only eight of these directors were women. Domestically, the top three grossing movies of 2017 (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Beauty and the Beast and Wonder Woman) included female leads and one female director (Patty Jenkins)—no coincidence, according to USC Annenberg.

“Consumers have voted with their dollars in extraordinary ways this year,” the report states, “propelling films like Wonder Woman and Beauty and the Beast to the top of the box office charts.”

In recent years, theater audiences have become more diverse. Women made up 52 percent of all moviegoers in 2016, according to the Motion Picture Association of America, and Asians/Other Ethnicities reported the highest annual attendance per capita—going to the movies an average of 6.1 times in the year. Despite the increased diversity in audiences, a majority of 2017 films were directed by white men.

Across the 100 top movies of 2017, only six (5.5 percent) of directors were black, USC Annenberg found. Of these, five were male and one was a female director. The percentage has not changed across the 11‐year sample. USC Annenberg observed that 81 percent of 2017 films with a black director also had a black actor attached as one of the two top‐billed talents.

“This finding suggests that the vast majority of directing opportunities for black directors are linked to the race of the story’s leading characters,” said the report.

In 2017, five (4.6 percent) of the 109 directors were Asian, all of whom were men. Across the survey’s 11‐year sample, only 3.2 percent of all directors were Asian.

Across all nationalities, females are the least-represented group to sit in the director’s chair, and women are twice as likely to direct only one film compared to their male counterparts. This revelation does nothing to help Hollywood’s reputation amid accusations of sexual abuse, harassment and hiring bias.

“The evidence reveals that despite increased attention, there has been no change for women behind the camera,” the report’s author, Stacy L. Smith said in a statement. “Mere conversation is not the answer to these problems—and the time for conversation is up. Until major media companies take concrete steps to address the biases that impede hiring, nothing will change.”

Change, it seems, may become the latest trend in Hollywood this year as studios distance themselves from sexual predators and reevaluate diversity as it relates to box office success. USC Annenberg warns that diversity behind the camera is vital to the industry’s continued success.

“[Consumers] have turned away from film and to other platforms and different content to fulfill entertainment needs,” the report states, “issuing a strong warning to the film industry that business as usual is simply unacceptable.”

American Adults Prefer Legacy Media; Gen Z Embraces Streaming Video

American Adults Haven’t Forgotten About Legacy Media

According to research by eMarketer, the increasing shift to digital media has not entirely left other formats behind. In 2017, US adults spent significantly more time with non-digital radio than with social media. On average, consumers spent 96 minutes per day listening to radio, compared to only 51 minutes on social media.

Tablet usage is likewise underappreciated, per eMarketer’s analysis. Though tablets make up a minority of content consumption, it is still a significant figure. On average, American adults spend 72 minutes per day using tablets for non-voice activities.

EMarketer predicts that these ratios in media consumption are unlikely to drastically shift in the near future, declaring the era of “wild volatility” over. In the next year, eMarketer predicts only single-digit changes to any media consumption rates.

Teens Move On To Streaming

Among Gen Z, those born between 1996 and 2011, only the most cutting-edge media platforms will do. Per a study by Awesomeness, 71 percent of teenagers’ entertainment consumption comes from streaming services. Teenagers prefer to consume on mobile devices, watching 34 percent of their content on smartphones, compared to 26 percent on PCs and 24 percent on televisions.

“Creating mobile-optimized content that’s platform specific, direct, and entertaining is essential for brands to reach Gen Z,” said Harley Block, senior vice president of brand partnerships for Awesomeness. “They watch 68 videos in a day—meaning this audience has the ability to sort through content faster than ever before.”

YouTube provides the plurality of this entertainment at 34 percent of the total content consumed, with Netflix in second place at 27 percent. Television significantly lags, with live TV making up 14 percent of total video consumption and premium TV representing just 5 percent.

Streaming Video And TV Steadily Diverging

Pricewaterhouse Coopers has released its annual US internet user poll, revealing a steady decline in interest in linear television, with only 73 percent subscribing to traditional TV providers. By comparison, in 2016 that figure was 76 percent, and in 2015 it was 79 percent. Streaming video services have reached equal saturation, with 73 percent reporting a Netflix subscription.

However, one cohort is growing faster than cord-cutters or cord-nevers: cord-trimmers, or consumers scaling back the amount they pay for linear TV packages. In 2017, 37 percent of cable subscribers self-identified as cord-trimmers.

Even though time spent with non-digital television is steadily declining, it still takes up much more of the average day than digital video, with an average of 238 minutes watched daily.

While ad breaks during paid-for cable television are something consumers have come to expect, they are far less tolerant of them on streaming video platforms. According to a survey by IBM Cloud Video, 72 percent of consumers believe that any ads will detract from their viewing experience, with 60 percent disliking even relevant, targeted ads. This means that advertisers likely won’t be able to use Netflix’s movie-recommendation algorithm to target pre-roll ads anytime soon.

Gift-Giving Drives Smart Speaker Adoption

Smart home products are often “recommended” in the form of gift-giving, according to a new study by Scripps Networks Interactive made available to AListDaily.

Research by VentureBeat backs up this analysis. The Amazon Alexa and Google Home apps were the first and second most-downloaded apps on the Google Play store on Christmas Day, indicating heavy adoption as gifts. By comparison, the apps ranked seven and 37 on Google Play charts at the same time in 2016, respectively.

For consumers who purchase connected appliances for themselves, three key lifestyle milestones trigger smart home adoption: home renovation, moving to a new home and an increase in household income.

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly reports post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, January 5. Have a new report, study or insight to share? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Insightful CES 2018 Events Off The Show Floor

There is nothing better than decompressing during a holiday break only to jump straight into the world’s largest tech show in CES shortly thereafter—in Las Vegas no less. Sin City will soon turn into a weeklong, cross-town gathering for a boatload of brands, C-suite executives and celebrities for the 51st installment of CES.

For marketers whose calling card is to thrive on the business of consumer technologies, the annual show offers a comprehensive look into transcending industries and stimulating emerging markets.

Tech, brands, Hollywood and marketing will collide—mostly at C Space in Aria—throughout the entire week as leaders will explore topics like how the business of content distribution is changing the future of media, marketing, advertising and entertainment industries.

If you ever find yourself lost, distracted or splurging life savings on the slot machines, point yourself back to Aria, since most of the CES programming there is likely up your alley.

Marketers have already prognosticated that this year’s CES will serve as a springboard to monitor how disruptive innovations like blockchain, voice assistants, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, among others, are going to shape consumers and industries alike.

Since a wide majority of marketing executives are not in town for the press conferences and gadgets, they mostly skip the show floor and instead opt for more private sessions with panels, conference programs and meetings. With arranged libations seemingly within arm’s reach at all times, CES also somewhat doubles as a booze-filled party.

AListDaily will be soberly reporting from CES throughout the entire week (and attending a few parties at night, if the lithium body batteries allow). Come along for the ride.

Sunday, January 7

Unless you decided to celebrate the New Year in Las Vegas and already have MoneyGram on speed dial, this is likely your first official day in town to conduct business.

Grab your badge from any of the locations listed here and get ready for CES Unveiled if you’re an industry analyst (or member of the press). Brands like Liberty Mutual, LG and Johnson & Johnson and a slew of start-ups will showcase their new tech products.

CES Unveiled
5 to 8:30 p.m.
Shorelines Exhibit Hall at Mandalay Bay

Monday, January 8

If you haven’t scrubbed through the Advertising, Entertainment & Content sessions yet, do so—now. There is a smorgasbord of panels in marketing, advertising, gaming, VR, AR, music and more throughout the entire week that begin today. Sessions kick off at the Las Vegas Convention Center and Sands Expo (inside The Venetian) and later carry into C Space at Aria.

If you’re still exploring VR and AR as a strategy to see if it’s the best relationship between your brand and consumer, then head over to Digital Hollywood and check out:

VR/AR as a Branding Strategy
1 to 2 p.m.
Tech East, LVCC, North Hall, N258

MediaLink CES Kick-off Party
8 p.m. 12 p.m.
Encore at XS Nightclub
*By Invitation Only*

Senior executives who buy and sell media from creative and media agencies, chief marketing officers, media inventory holders, investment banking, private equity and venture capitalists, leading entertainment studio and entertainment executives, and select talent, will be in attendance.

Tuesday, January 9

Exhibitors at Tech East at the Las Vegas Convention and Tech West at Sands Expo officially open doors to the jam-packed showroom floors, and it will most definitely require a sanitizer bath and quarantine soon after. There are over 3,900 exhibitors, so channel into your inner Douglas MacArthur if you plan on seeing new products and map an efficient plan of attack that will win you many medals—maybe even at Cannes if you do it right.

Just one note: if you had intentions of sitting in on Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai, the chief dismantler of net neutrality protections, re-do your schedule because Pai has bailed on his CES speaking engagement.

Instead, you should check out the CMO panel featuring executives from Turner, Panasonic, Mastercard, Deloitte and The Economist, as they explain their approach to technology and share best practices in data, analytics and transparency as part of their business plan. For those who will not be at CES, this session will be livestreamed.

C Space Storytellers: CMO Panel
3:30 to 4:15 p.m.
Tech South, Aria, Level 1, Pinyon Ballroom

CES Opening Party
10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace

What can happen at an open bar inside one of the city’s hottest nightclubs . . . on a Tuesday? You’re just going to have to hail a self-driving taxi to Caesars Palace and find out.

Wednesday, January 10

Variety’s Entertainment Summit
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tech South, Aria

If looking to produce, monetize, market and distribute content for digitally savvy audiences, this day-long event featuring over 40 speakers from top companies will be worth your time. The summit is open to all CES registrants.

MMS After Hours
11 p.m.
Chandelier Bar at The Cosmopolitan
*By Invitation Only*

The occasional booze fest may be fun every once in a while, but if you’re a senior brand and agency marketer looking to connect with executives in the digital marketing industry in a more intimate manner, this mixer made possible by the Mobile Marketing Summit may be right for you.

Thursday, January 11

Social Innovation Summit
9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Tech South, Aria

The full-day event—billed as the Tech for Good conference—unites over 500 corporate executives, grantmakers, celebrities, investors and social innovators for a series of programs, discussions and networking events centered around the role of technology in driving social impact. Themes include: 

Tech & Impact: Corporate pioneers achieving the bottom line of profits, people and the planet.
Inclusive Entrepreneurship: Creating platforms to diversify innovation for entrepreneurs, investors and corporations.
The Future of Work: The role of emerging technologies in educating new generations and creating the jobs of the future.

VR Fest
10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Hakkasan Nightclub at MGM Grand

If you’re taking advantage of the VR, AR, mixed reality programming curated by the Virtual Reality Festival, head over to the VR Arcade at Hakkasan Nightclub.

Friday, January 12

C Space—one of the several marketer safe havens, remember?—is closed because it’s no longer offering programming. The Advertising, Entertainment & Content calendar is bone dry. There are just three conference sessions in total taking place across town (esports is one them). There are no more press conferences and news to take in. Las Vegas is a little darker than it was yesterday.

However, bleary-eyed exhibitors who burnt the midnight oil all week are in for business for one last day, so if you missed out on anything particularly special, now is the time.

Dig through the couch of your hotel room for any left behind bitcoins, and head over to McCarran International Airport. It’s time to go home.

Augmented Reality And Innovation To Drive Mobile Gaming In 2018

Mobile has been the fastest growing area of gaming for the past few years, and it doesn’t look like 2018 will be an exception. But with the mobile market becoming increasingly saturated, developers and publishers will need to innovate in order to stand out, and that could mean taking advantage of the latest technological offerings.

Last fall, Apple and Google individually announced support for augmented reality (AR), and at the same time, extremely high-end mobile devices such as the iPhone X and Razer Phone were introduced to the market. Combined, these technologies open the potential for more powerful gaming experiences in the coming year.

Although it’s impossible to tell for certain what the main driver for mobile growth will be in 2018, SuperData senior data analyst Alec Nezin told AListDaily that the main driver for game growth will come from porting popular PC games to mobile devices. He explains that the trend is already in full effect in Asia with the success of games such as Honor of Kings (aka Arena of Valor), a League of Legends clone. Furthermore, the Asian market has popular massively multiplayer online (MMO) games such as Fantasy Westward Journey, Lineage and others. Additionally, there are first-person shooters like Crossfire and battle royale games such as Rules of Survival inspired by Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds.

Meanwhile, Newzoo’s head of mobile Jelle Kooistra believes the industry will mainly benefit from an increase in smartphone users, particularly in emerging markets including the Middle East, Latin America, South East Asia and China. He predicts that the market will see 300 million additional smartphone users in the coming year, reaching a total base of 2.9 billion.

As consumers in the West grow more accustomed to paying for services and games, which Kooistra says is still considered taboo in many countries, the overall effect will be greater demand for quality mobile games. This will lead developers to innovate with new genres, interesting gameplay experiences and crossovers with franchises from pop culture.

Lawrence Koh, general manager at Nexon M, agrees that innovation will be key, stating, “If I think about what has been driving step function growth of the mobile game space over the last few years, my belief is that it’s the new, unique and innovative games that are able to create a new category of gameplay.”

Koh cited Clash Royale—which became one of the highest grossing games of 2017—as an example, as well as Pokémon GO, which helped ignite excitement for augmented reality and geolocation tracking games.

Although fans might be excited for upcoming augmented reality games such as Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, made by Pokémon GO developer Niantic, opinions are divided on whether AR will be a major trend in 2018.

“[AR] has yet to truly take off on mobile in a meaningful way,” said Nezin. “The AR market is most definitely expanding, but not yet at a pace that it will drive mobile market revenue significantly. Top games in this category still pale in comparison to other categories, and they have yet to fully monetize.”

But having a Harry Potter-themed mobile AR game releasing in 2018 along with Apple’s entry into the space with the iPhone X and ARKit development tools has the others more optimistic about the near future of the technology.

“I believe we will start seeing not only an increasing number of AR gaming apps but AR gaming apps becoming commercially successful,” said Koh.

Bernard Kim, Zynga’s president of publishing, explained that Zynga is already taking advantage of AR with its game CSR Racing 2, which brings virtual cars to real world environments.

“We’re excited by how AR has captured the imagination of gamers around the world,” said Kim. “It’s still early days for AR, but we believe long-term AR and other next-gen platforms like chat have the potential to reshape the accessibility and social nature of mobile gaming.”

Kooistra added that he hopes to see the first mobile AR success stories in 2018, but is even more curious to see how the technology will impact platforms outside of gaming.

“Snapchat’s filters are only a small preview of what is possible with today’s technologies, and I can’t wait to see what developers will bring to the table next,” Kooistra said.

Augmented reality was backed by the introduction of some extremely high-end mobile devices, particularly the iPhone X and Razer Phone, to drive more powerful gaming experiences. But whether or not these premium phones will make a lasting impact on the mobile market remains to be seen.

Both Kim and Koh see the introduction of the iPhone X as a major event that may have lasting impacts on the mobile industry.

“Any type of hardware that brings with it new excitement about apps will have an impact on the mobile gaming market,” Kim explained. “Anything that increases device time is generally good for the mobile gaming business. With new devices like the iPhone X, people are spending more time on their phones, and the technology on these devices helps to underscore the quality of some mobile games on the market.”

Koh said that high-end specifications will help developers make mobile games look and play better, narrowing the gap between mobile titles and console/PC games, which speaks to Nezin’s earlier point.

Kooistra is less convinced. He said high-end mobile devices—such as the iPhone X, Samsung Galaxy Note and Razer Phone—are powerful gaming platforms, but they appeal to relatively small audience.

“Users with these devices will be more inclined to try out the latest and greatest apps, but in the end, they will only reach a small subset of consumers—most of which will be upgrading from a different high-end device,” he said. “Because most mobile games want to reach as many potential players as possible, developers tend to find a sweet spot for good graphics and compatibility with devices that are at least two-to-three years old.”

Nezin agreed, saying free-to-play mobile games will always depend on having huge user numbers.

“Game makers will invest in making games look as good as possible on the latest hardware (e.g., Vainglory supports high frame rates on devices like the Razer Phone),” Nezin said. “However, we’re not about to see many games focus on high-end devices at the expense of the vast majority of mobile gamers.”

Daily Harvest, Chicago Cubs, WGN Expand Marketing C-Suite


Patrick Yee, former CEO of Laird + Partners, has joined food subscription start-up Daily Harvest as its CMO, which recently secured $43 million in funding from investors.

“It’s really about standing for something more than just our products,” Yee told WWD. “I think I’m bringing a content approach with my background with Refinery and certainly my stint at Laird as well.”

Before joining Laird + Partners, Yee served as executive vice president of marketing and strategy for Refinery29 for eight years.

The Chicago Cubs have hired Lauren Fritts as vice president of marketing, where she will oversee all of the team’s branding initiatives.

Prior to joining the Cubs, Fritts worked at Gatorade as director of consumer engagement, a role in which she led branded content and experiential marketing efforts.

WGN America has promoted Brian Dollenmayer to the position of chief marketing officer, an expanded role in which he will handle marketing efforts for both the network and Tribune Studios, WGN America’s original content arm.

Dollenmayer first joined WGN in 2013 as executive vice president of marketing and promotions, playing a part in the company’s transition from a Chicago-specific TV station to a national cable network.

Ron Perry has joined Columbia Records as its latest chairman and CEO, the record label announced.

“Ron is an immensely dynamic and forward-thinking executive who excels at bringing the best out of artistic vision,” said Rob Stringer, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. “After his enormous success in recent years, we are thrilled to have Ron join Sony Music and lead the great team and unparalleled roster at the legendary Columbia Records label.”

Before signing on with Columbia, Perry served as president for Songs Music Publishing, signing Grammy-award winning artist Lorde, among others.

The Rest Of The C-Suite

(Editor’s Note: Our weekly careers post is updated daily. This installment will be updated until Friday, January 5. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Global information and analytics firm IHS Markit has announced the appointments of two new company directors, Lord Browne of Madingley and Nicoletta Giadrossi.

“We believe Lord Browne’s financial and energy industry expertise will enable him to contribute significant managerial, strategic and financial oversight skills,” said Lance Uggla, the company’s president and chief operating officer. “Similarly, Nicoletta’s extensive business experience in the industrial and energy sectors in Europe and her consulting and private equity background bring a unique perspective to the board.”

Lord Browne had served as the CEO of British Petroleum from 1995 to 2007, and since then served a joint head of renewable energy practice at Riverstone. Giadrossi most recently served as a senior advisor for Bain Capital Partners in Europe, since 2015.

Snap Inc. has hired Rahul Chopra as head of Stories Everywhere content, a product that has not yet been announced. According to a report from Cheddar, it will make Snapchat Stories available outside the app. No details on when or in what form Stories Everywhere will be released are currently available.

Chopra most recently served as CEO of Storyful, a social data agency subsidiary of News Corp, a position he departed in September.

Steve Butts, IGN’s editor in chief, has been dismissed from his position at the gaming news website after accusations of harassment.

“IGN initiated an investigation into alleged misconduct involving Steve Butts,” said Mitch Galbraith, IGN’s general manager. “As a result of the investigation, the company has appropriately determined to part ways with Mr. Butts.”

Butts has been with IGN since 2012.

Two Vice Media executives, president Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano, have been placed on leave shortly after the publication of an expose about sexual harrassment at the company by The New York Times

“Let’s be frank,” Sarah Broderick, Vice’s chief operations and financial officer, said in an email to staff, “we need more women and diversity throughout the organization.”

Hulu has promoted Julie DeTraglia to the newly created position of head of research, centralizing its insights and analysis teams under a single executive.

Before her promotion, DeTraglia served as head of ad sales research.

DJ Khaled announced a partnership with Weight Watchers, wherein he will serve as a social media ambassador for the brand’s new “Freestyle” program.

“DJ Khaled has an incredibly authentic drive and passion to inspire others through his wellness journey and experiences on WW Freestyle,” said Mindy Grossman, president and CEO of Weight Watchers. “By capturing and sharing his process, he will enliven and inspire his community, showing that it’s possible to integrate healthy habits into your life.”

Rob Lowe announced that he will serve as a brand spokesperson for Atkins Nutritionals, creators of the low-carb Atkins diet.

“The new campaign follows our ‘Today’s Atkins’ creative launched this past fall and continues to show that Atkins extends way beyond a diet,” said Scott Parker, chief marketing officer for Atkins Nutritionals. “Rob is a great representative of this lifestyle, as he has followed an Atkins low carb approach for years.”

Roku has tapped Scott Rosenberg to fill the now-vacant position of general manager of platform business, as the current one, Steve Shannon, has announced his departure.

“Steve joined Roku in the early days of our monetization strategy and was instrumental in developing key advertising, content and services initiatives as well as recruiting top talent like Scott,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood.

Rosenberg has been with the streaming platform since 2012.

David White has joined Accolade Wines as its United Kingdom marketing director. Previously, he served as director and general manager for Moët Hennessy Diageo Singapore.

Job Vacancies 

Product Manager – APIs Ayzenberg Pasadena, CA
VP of Marketing GE Healthcare Chicago, IL
Sr. Director, Sports Partnerships and Marketing Initiatives SiriusXM New York, NY
Sr. Director, Brand Marketing Capcom San Francisco, CA
Sr. Director of Partner Marketing The Walt Disney Company New York, NY
Director of Global Strategic Marketing  Johnson & Johnson Raritan, NJ

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

Do Subscription Boxes Work For Marketers? Studies Say It Depends

Right now, there seems to be a subscription box for every interest from hygiene to Japanese snacks. Subscription retail has gained popularity over the past several years, but is it an effective marketing tool?

Case studies point to “yes,” depending on the intended result.

For the uninitiated, subscription boxes offer specially-curated collections of products that correspond to a specific theme or category. Brands like Dollar Shave Club and Birchbox helped pave the way for marketers to reach consumers through risk-free samples.

“The subscription and retail businesses are very important to who we are today,” Bark & Co. founder Matt Meeker told the New York Business Journal. Meeker’s New York company is the startup behind dog-themed subscription service BarkBox.

Anime website and community Crunchyroll recently partnered with LootCrate to provide discounts on streaming video subscriptions and exclusive merchandise.

“We’ve purposefully ventured into new areas where we know our audience is engaged,” Eric Taylor, senior manager of marketing for Crunchyroll told AListDaily. “Loot Crate was a logical partner given its demographic and the content of its products, particularly its anime subscription box. As we continue to grow and seek out new audiences, companies like Loot Crate make strategic sense to engage with and discuss how we can work together to super serve each of our audiences.”

Crunchyroll would not divulge any new subscription metrics related to the partnership, but Taylor said it observed positive feedback from both the Crunchyroll and LootCrate communities as a result of the activation. The anime site has also partnered with JapanCrate for a free giveaway. In this case, Crunchyroll was looking for new ways to engage with their community and the subscription box delivered.

As retail goes digital, department stores are feeling the pinch. JC Penney has partnered with subscription service Bombfell to custom-pick clothing with the help of a stylist. The first subscription boxes will cater to Penney’s big and tall customers, a demographic the company says is quickly growing across the US.

“We think this demonstrates we are meeting the evolution of the next phase of retail,” a JC Penney spokeswoman told CNBC. “We’re definitely becoming more digital . . . [and] we are leveraging the strength of our stores.”

While the activation is still in the beginning stages, JC Penney may find its subscription model effective if it taps into an underserved demographic and moves merchandise that might otherwise collect dust in a dying mall.

Analyst firm NPD Group identifies fashion is a particularly lucrative space for subscription retail. In a recent survey, consumers told NPD about their interactions with and awareness of subscription box services. While only 15 percent of consumers had ordered subscription boxes, another 14 percent hadn’t yet ordered them but planned to, and 35 percent didn’t even know what these services are.

NPD also explored whether this business model would raise awareness within target demographics compared to the retail industry as a whole. The company found that beauty subscription service Birchbox increased its penetration among 18- to 24-year-olds from 2.3 percent in Q4 2014 to 4.1 percent in Q4 2015. This share point increase was stronger than that of Amazon, Nordstrom, Macy’s, and Ulta.

“We have entered a new world of retail where the traditional leaders are faced with unconventional channel competition, and subscription services are the newest player,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst with The NPD Group.“Consumers are more critical about the purchases they make today and no longer purchase just for the sake of purchasing. The personalized approach of subscription services complements the shift toward more prioritized spending.”

Spotify Reportedly Files For IPO

Spotify has confidentially filed for an IPO with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Axios first reported Wednesday. This is a further step in the music-streaming service’s plan to become the largest company in the US to ever pursue a direct listing for selling its shares later this year.

Taking advantage of recently relaxed SEC rules that permit companies of any size to get feedback and work out kinks for their IPO before notifying the public, Spotify will not have to publicly disclose its financial information until just two weeks before its shares become available. This private filing will also permit the brand, reportedly valued at $19 billion, to renege on its IPO entirely in the case of a market downturn, or fears over volatile stock.

Spotify may end up having to exercise this right, as its approach to its IPO is unprecedented for companies of its size. Rather than offer large, long-term investors first dibs on company stock, Spotify will put its shares directly on the New York Stock Exchange for anyone to purchase.

There’s a reason that large companies haven’t attempted direct listings before. Large investors interested in long-term gains are significantly less likely to quickly dump stock at the first sign of trouble, which keeps the company value much more stable. By sidestepping this cohort, the Spotify IPO is likely to see more volatile stock prices, especially early on.

But this tactic also carries a number of advantages—it’s much cheaper than the traditional IPO method and the current Spotify shareholders will not need to dilute the value of their own holdings.

It remains to be seen exactly how or when the Spotify IPO will play out, but its circumstances have been fairly shaky of late. Last week, Wixen Music Publishing filed a $1.6 billion lawsuit against the company for allegedly using thousands of its songs without paying licensing fees.

Spotify has not commented on the legal matter and will proceed with the IPO nonetheless, according to Reuters.

Watch Loot Boxes, Snapchat For Game Marketing Trends In 2018

The new year has just started, but video game console trends that began in 2017 are already continuing to play out in 2018.

As we dive into 2018, developers and publishers will need to pay close attention to game monetization systems, particularly loot boxes, which came under high scrutiny last fall. Game companies such as EA gained revenues through add-on content that exceeded the initial sales of the games themselves. So even though players might lash back against practices they deem unfair, it’s likely that figuring out the formula for ongoing monetization will be a trend that will continue for the foreseeable future.

In the meantime, the industry has been seeing the increased presence of social media platforms, particularly Facebook, become more involved with video games. This could pave the way for other platforms such as Snapchat to join in.

Don’t Count Loot Boxes Out

According to Newzoo market consultant Tom Wijman, it will be vital for marketers to engage with the community. This is especially the case as more publishers and developers use the “games as a service” approach, prolonging a game’s lifespan and revenues almost indefinitely through additional content.

Although there were some stumbling blocks last year, most notably with the controversy around using “loot boxes” in games such as Star Wars: Battlefront II—which forced the game to (temporarily) remove its in-game microtransactions—Wijman believes that these kinds of problems may be avoided with better communication with the community.

SuperData Research senior analyst Elena Fedina agrees, naming loot boxes the biggest trend to keep an eye on in 2018.

“With all the controversy happening and with more governments and regulation agencies starting to look into it, developers need to be extra careful with how they approach monetization in their games,” said Fedina.

Wijman adds that as the rift between gamers and publishers widens, there could be major opportunities for independent and smaller game developers to quickly rise to success in 2018. This trend began in 2017, with Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds being a prime example of an independent studio finding near overnight success. Wijman also noted the success of Cuphead, Divinity 2: Original Sin and Hollow Knight. Meanwhile, Horizon: Zero Dawn, a new IP developed by the relatively small studio Guerrilla Games, was the PlayStation’s best performing exclusive last year.

Wijman also stated that hardware brands may also become an essential aspect of video game marketing. He said that while gamers may shift their attentions from one individual game or brand to another and split their time between watching and playing games in different ways, gaming systems and peripheral brands remain independent of these changes—creating long-term brand engagement.

He specifically names Razer as a brand to keep a close eye on. The PC and console gaming peripheral maker launched a gamer-oriented smartphone in October, which will test to see if the brand’s power can be extended into the mobile market.

“Razer is bringing its unique ability to design products that appeal to gamers to a market that has not shown much innovation in terms of design in recent years,” said Wijman.

Snapchat Could Become A Player

With Facebook’s increased gaming involvement over the last few years, it should be no surprise that Snapchat could be getting into the video game industry too. Tencent acquired a 12 percent stake in the platform last year, and the media giant implied that video games and ad sales could help the struggling platform rebound.

Although video game support on Snapchat may be a little unorthodox, it’s not completely unheard of, as the platform once hosted an 8-bit game called Serena Williams’ Match Point as part of a Gatorade promotional campaign for the 2016 US Open.

More details need to be worked out in the coming year, but Tencent has been operating games on its WeChat platform for years, so Snapchat may reasonably adopt a similar strategy. Fedina and Wijman are divided on whether such a move will significantly impact the industry.

“Snapchat already has an audience, so the important part to focus on will be making games that will click with its audience,” said Fedina.

Wijman doesn’t expect much from Snapchat’s service yet, but he does see it as interesting milestone for the future of games, given the current involvement of social networks such as Facebook.

“Ultimately, I don’t think the effect will be massive in the next year, but we might see casual gamers transitioning from dedicated game apps on their phones to playing games within popular apps such as Facebook and, potentially, Snapchat,” said Wijman.