What you need to know in advertising today

Getty Images, Kevork DjansezianComcast CEO Brian Roberts.

The summer of 2018 produced blockbuster activity for media M&A.

AT&T won an antitrust trial to secure its acquisition of Time Warner, and followed the victory up closely with the purchase of ad platform AppNexus. Nearly $US90 billion and an ad business – newly named Xandr – later, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson boldly declared his ad ambitions at the company’s multi-day Relevance conference, and to an auditorium full of investors at Goldman Sach’s annual Communacopia conference.

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts also had an impressive media-buying summer, acquiring the British broadcaster Sky for $US39 billion. Comcast adds Sky to its solid arsenal of assets, including NBCUniversal and the ad tech that makes up FreeWheel.

But the way the two companies talk about their ambitions is very different.

Click here to read more about how Comcast and AT&T’s ad ambitions compare.

In other news:

Oath has gutted its leadership team over the past year – and former employees say it’s a cause of dysfunction. A team of 13 is now five, only two of whom were on the team last year.

JPMORGAN: Amazon’s ‘fast-growing’ ad business is putting pressure on Google. Amazon’s rapid rise in digital advertising has spooked Google investors, according to a note from a JPMorgan analyst.

Inside Maybelline’s plan to fight back against beauty upstarts like Glossier and Fenty that are winning over hordes of millennials. The L’Oreal-owned brand plans to lean heavily into its marketing centering on New York City and is investing in technology like chatbots to compete with upstarts.

‘It has not yielded a great monetisation strategy’: Refinery29 is laying off 10% of staffers, citing challenges with making short-form videos for Facebook and Snapchat.The digital publisher is on track to miss its 2018 earnings by 5%, according a memo obtained by Business Insider.

Facebook is giving Messenger an overhaul to try and cut down on bloat – and adding a dark mode. Messenger has got horrendously bloated in recent years, as ever-more features are added to it, from face filters to games to Stories to bots.

Apps installed on millions of Android phones tracked user behaviour to execute a multimillion-dollar ad fraud scheme, according to BuzzFeed News. The investigation found a fraud scheme with more than 125 apps and websites.

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