1. Germany and France Oppose Trump’s Twitter Exile (Bloomberg)

Germany and France attacked Twitter Inc. and Facebook Inc. after US President Donald Trump was shut off from the social media platforms, in an extension of Europe’s battle with big tech. German Chancellor Angela Merkel objected to the decisions, saying that lawmakers should set the rules governing free speech and not private technology companies on Monday.

2. Facebook Freezes Political Ad Spending, Microsoft and Google Might Follow (Axios)

Facebook is halting political ad spending for at least the first quarter of 2021 following last week’s attack on the Capitol, and it is planning to review its political spending practices. Microsoft and Google are also tightening policies around political advertising.

3. Alternative Social Platforms and Private Messengers Top App Stores (TechCrunch)

A general backlash against big tech, which many feel has become too powerful, has led to a scramble for alternative social media platforms. Signal, Telegram, MeWe, CloutHub and other privacy-focused rivals to big tech are topping the app stores.

4. Hulu Launches $2 Monthly Streaming Plan for College Students (Variety)

Hulu is betting that the cut-rate plan for college students will produce incremental subscriber gains, as it continues to gain momentum under Disney’s wing. Hulu is partnering with Portland-based verification firm SheerID to confirm whether subscribers are eligible for the special deal.

5. Checkout.com raises $450 million and reaches $15 billion valuation (TechCrunch)

Payments company Checkout.com, which wants to build a one-stop shop for all things related to payments, has closed a $450 million Series C round. The company focuses on large merchants and tries to make its product as customizable as possible so that you integrate it as an infrastructure partner in your product.

6. Comscore’s Audience Targeting Tool Offers Cookies-free Data Solution (AdExchanger)

Comscore released an audience targeting tool that collects audience information using panel data and contextual crawler technology. Comscore creates predictive audiences based on demographic information tied to content consumed across the web, mobile and connected TVs. Comscore’s panel data is the basis on which TV and OTT viewership segments can be extrapolated based on context. Its contextual crawler can understand word associations and pair across roughly 350,000 different topics.

7. Dable Closes $12 Million Series C at $90 Million Valuation to Accelerate its Global Expansion (TechCrunch)

Launched in South Korea five years ago, content discovery platform Dable now serves a total of six markets in Asia. Now it plans to speed up its expansion, with six new markets in the region planned for this year, before entering European countries and the United States. Dable says it has 540 million unique users and recommends five billion pieces of content, resulting in more than 100 million clicks.

8. Advertisers must Change Their Priorities to Optimize Target Group Flocking to CTV (AdExchanger)

According to NBC Universal’s trend report, there is 95% growth year-over-year in CTV viewership; 80% of US households have at least one CTV device and 81% increase year-over-year CTV viewership. Yet, ad spending hasn’t followed consumer behavior. Roku recently reported that although adults aged 18 to 34 is now devoted to streaming, CTV ad spend is only about 10% the size of linear TV ad spend. Advertisers must flock to the places where the audience interests are centered on getting noticed.

9. Twitch Ended 2020 on a Wonderful Note (The Verge)

The Pandemic caused people to stay inside, and virtual events helped Twitch increase its numbers. The live-streaming site managed to clock 17 billion hours watched last year. This is 83% higher than 2019s 9 billion. Not only Twitch, but Facebook Gaming and YouTube Gaming also managed to get their best numbers ever in the previous year. YouTube got 10 billion watch hours, and Facebook Gaming hit 3.59 billion, a jump of 166 percent.

10. OpenAP Launches New SSP for the Advertisers to Buy Standardized Linear TV Audience Inventory (AdExchanger)

OpenAP, a consortium of TV networks that virtually reaches all US households, includes AMC Networks, Fox Corporation, NBCUniversal, Univision, and ViacomCBS as its members and is planning to avail more inventories from A+E Networks and The Weather Channel soon. This consortium launched a supply-side platform (SSP) that allows the advertisers to buy standardized audiences across their inventory.