1. President Joe Biden may act firmly on Privacy, Consumer Protection and Antitrust Policies (AdExchanger)

Apart from addressing the immediate challenges of the COVID vaccine distribution, economic depression and polarization of society, President Joe Biden would act firmly on privacy policies and issues related to antitrust, observe marketing and industry sources. While incoming VP Kamala Harris is known for her pro-consumer privacy policies as California Attorney General, both Senate Republicans and Democrats are keen in resolving challenges related to third-party content under Section 230 and data security.

2. Home Depot and Omnicom Investigate if their Ads showed up on Pages Promoting Violence & Misinformation (AdExchanger)

Home Depot Inc, the largest home improvement retailer, and Omnicom, an American global media marketing and corporate communications holding company, have filed resolutions with Open MIC to investigate whether their Ad dollars spent and ad policies fueled hate, disinformation, white supremacist activity, and voter suppression efforts, according to The New York Times. Open Mic is an entity keen on shareholder engagement to promote diversity and privacy.

3. Microsoft Invests in Autonomous Vehicle Company Cruise $2B Round (Tech Crunch)

Cruise has raised $2 billion in a new equity round that has pushed its valuation up to $30 billion. It has also delivered Microsoft as an investor and partner. The partnership with Microsoft might provide equal and long-term value for Cruise. Cruise plans to use Azure, Microsoft’s cloud and edge computing platform, under this long-term partnership for its yet-to-be-launched autonomous vehicle ride-hailing service.

4. Simpli.fi’s Acquires $100 Million ERP Platform to Facilitate Effective AD Buying Decisions (AdExchanger)

According to AdWeek, Omnichannel DSP Simpli.fi has acquired the Advantage Software Company, an enterprise-level software provider for advertising agencies and marketing companies, for more than $100 million. This would help Simpli.fi deliver more integrated omnichannel workflows to satisfy ad buyers effectively and efficiently across planning, buying, tracking, accounting, and reconciliation. Automating buying processes for both digital and traditional media attains significance in the wake of changing viewership towards CTV.

5. South Korea’s Naver is Acquiring Wattpad for $600M (The Verge)

A South Korean conglomerate, Naver, is acquiring Wattpad in a $600 million cash-and-stock deal. Wattpad is a Toronto based storytelling platform established 14 years ago. Naver plans to incorporate a part of the business into its publishing platform Webtoon, which had more than 67 million monthly users until last August.

6. Ads.txt Failed and Now IAB Should act decisively to Win Publisher’s Confidence (AdExchanger)

Ads.txt is an IAB initiative to fight advertising fraud, detect hidden fees and enable publishers to clean up their digital ad supply chain. Although 45% of the top 1,000 domains have adopted it, Ads.txt failed to achieve its goals. 

7. Time Spent with Ad-Supported Media Hits All-Time Low (MediaPost)

Consumer time spent with media has surged during 2020; however, the share of time spent with media supported primarily by advertising dollars fell to its all-time low. The average American spent with all forms of media rose 2.9% to 73 hours weekly in 2020, primarily due to the global pandemic’s impact. Nevertheless, the share of time spent with ad-supported media fell to 44.8% in the US.