This week has been stuffed to the brim with news, thanks, primarily, to The Donald.
Here’s some stuff in digital that you may have missed.
‘Father of Pac-Man’ dies
Masaya Nakamura, the founder of Namco and the ‘father of Pac-Man’, died this month at 91.
The game was apparently inspired by the sight of a partially eaten pizza, and was one of the first that appealed to women and children.
A Trump bounce for the New York Times
The New York Times added 276,000 digital-only subscriptions in the last quarter of 2016, a record since its paywall was raised.
Despite Trump’s repeated attacks on the paper, it seems he is in part contributing to its success, with CEO Mark Thompson saying, “There’s plenty of kinetic energy in the news cycle, and it’s likely to continue for many years.”
Indeed, the Washington Post and The Atlantic have also seen subscription surges. However, the Times still has lots of work to do, with revenue and profit both declining in the same quarter and for 2016 as a whole, on the back of a big print advertising drop.
Budweiser Super Bowl ad raises eyebrows
US companies have a big decision to make about whether to stand with or against Donald Trump. Budweiser’s latest ad feels particularly topical.
Facebook is making more money than expected
Facebook’s Q4 2016 results were widely covered and very impressive. Revenue hit $8.8bn, up 51%. Mobile accounted for a staggering 84% of revenue, as Facebook has reaped the rewards of filling our newsfeeds with ads.
Facebook strikes a note of caution though, saying mobile ad supply may reach a peak in the middle of 2017.
The social network currently has 1.9bn users, 1.2bn of which are active daily.
Lego launches its own social network
LegoLife is an Instagram-ish network where kids aged 13 and under can share pics of their Lego masterpieces.
There are restrictions on comments (emoji or stock responses only) and advertising (apart from for Lego products), designed to keep the network safe and fun.
AI home assistants are getting screens
Though voice input is three times quicker than typing (a 2016 study by Baidu and Stanford), voice output is a pain if you want to hear what your local Chinese restaurant has on the menu.
That’s why home intelligent assistants will be getting screens, as Andrew Ng of Baidu told MIT Download.
Baidu has been working on a device called Little Fish, which includes a screen. Amazon is also rumored to be going the same way.
AI beats humans at poker
Read ’em and weep, humanity. More from the Guardian.
P&G’s chief brand officer sticks it to the ad men
Marc Pritchard, in a speech to the IAB, announced that P&G was adopting the Media Ratings Council (MRC) standard. All its agencies and media suppliers will have to follow suit by year end.
Pritchard said, “We serve ads to consumers through a non-transparent media supply chain with spotty compliance to common standards, unreliable measurement, hidden rebates and new inventions like bot and methbot fraud.”
His avowed intention to change this was, Mark Ritson reckons, the biggest marketing statement of the past 20 years.
Snapchat ad platform 2.0
Snapchat will open its advertising API more widely, allowing agencies and brands to license it in order to do their own buying. This is basically a self-serve ad tool.
Snapchat has added new partners such as Kenshoo, with the new automated system set to increase demand.
Facebook must pay $500m in Oculus lawsuit
The jury ruled that Oculus execs who had previously worked for ZeniMax (a video game publisher) violated an NDA they had signed, though Oculus was not guilty of misappropriating trade secrets.
$500m in damages awarded to ZeniMax includes $50m for copyright infringement and a $50m award against Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey for false designation.
Line to launch Slack competitor
Line will compete with Facebook, Microsoft and Slack, by offering a messaging platform for the office. Line Works is offering a 30 day free trial.
#deleteuber has big implications
As New York cabbies decided to strike and avoid JFK airport in support of the protests against Trump’s immigration order, Uber suspended surge pricing.
Whilst this move kept Uber prices down for fares at JFK, it was seen as effectively breaking the strike, and the hashtag #deleteuber went crazy on social media.
So many requests came in that Uber had to expedite the creation of an automated process back-of-house, as deletions were previously a manual affair.
Uber has spoken out against the executive order by Trump and has also committed $3m to Uber drivers whose ability to work is effected by the travel ban. Travis Kalanick has now also distanced himself from the administration by withdrawing from Trump’s business advisory group.
The company had to act quickly after seeing daily Lyft downloads on the App Store beating those of Uber for the first time.
Netflix and YouTube are in top 10 UK brands
Netflix and YouTube enter YouGov’s BrandIndex list of the UK’s top brands for the first time, hitting numbers six and nine respectively.