Morning Brew - ☕ Not kidding around

Online advertising and children’s privacy.
March 01, 2023

Marketing Brew


It’s Wednesday. Delta started offering free wi-fi last month, making it easier for travelers to watch Netflix get some work done while flying. The airline’s looking at the move as a way to boost customer loyalty, but getting there wasn’t exactly easy, according to Tech Brew, which recently spoke to some of the people behind the push.

Despite some bumps in the sky, the teams involved treated themselves to a pizza party following a successful test flight. Our question: Did they have Biscoff cookies for dessert?

In today’s edition:

—Ryan Barwick, Kelsey Sutton


At the COPPA, COPPA-cabana

White House on a colorful background Illustration: Dianna “Mick” McDougall, Photo: tunart/Getty Images

President Joe Biden hasn’t said much publicly about targeted advertising. But when he has, he’s usually talking about privacy. Specifically, children’s online privacy. In both State of the Union addresses he’s delivered, he’s called for a ban on targeted advertising to children, not to mention written a Wall Street Journal opinion piece on the topic.

This year, the president might get his wish, as Congress is reconsidering bipartisan legislation that would further regulate how social media companies and the advertisers that help fund them interact with young people.

  • The push largely stems from concerns centered on the effects of social media on children. Though they’re protected by some online privacy laws, legislators are taking more steps to crack down on digital advertising that caters to children, an industry projected to be worth $1.7 billion in the US in 2021, according to a 2019 estimate from PwC.
  • Online platforms are “vacuuming up tons of data they can use to build profiles and target our kids with even more ads and content,” Sen. Dick Durbin said in a recent Senate hearing dedicated to children’s online safety. “It’s a lucrative business at the expense of our kids’ privacy, safety, and health.”

In a House hearing dedicated to a proposed national standard for data privacy earlier today, Rep. Jan Schakowsky said that the “harmful targeting of advertising on social media has exacerbated the mental health problems that we face, particularly among our young people, our adolescents, our kids, are the most vulnerable…We have to make sure we’re protecting them.”

Read the full story here.—RB



What’s up(loading)?


Want a rewind of 2022’s video marketing highs and lows? We teamed up with Wistia to gather all the pertinent stats and best practices from their annual State of Video Report. Video marketing is booming, and you can get your biz in on all this growth by leveraging the right data, right here.


Highs and lows

a TV screen featuring dollar bills on fire Francis Scialabba

Streaming: It’s the future of the entertainment industry! It’s also kind of a money pit.

Making shows and movies is often expensive, and as legacy media companies continue to try to compete with streaming-native companies like Netflix and boost their subscriber counts, the losses on their balance sheets remain considerable, according to quarterly figures released by Disney, Paramount, Comcast, and Warner Bros. Discovery:

  • Disney, which lost 2.4 million Disney+ subscribers in Q4 after losing rights to cricket matches for its Disney+ Hotstar product in India and Southeast Asia, ended 2022 with 234.7 million streaming subscribers across Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. Streaming operating loss increased to $1.1 billion last quarter due to higher programming and production costs.
  • Paramount ended 2022 with more than 77 million subscribers across its streaming portfolio, which includes Paramount+ as well as Showtime OTT. Its streaming segment’s quarterly adjusted operating loss was $575 million.
  • NBCUniversal’s Peacock ended the year with more than 20 million paying subscribers as it phases out its free, ad-supported tier, which CEO Jeff Shell said has made the company “feel better” about delivering “a return on investment.” But the company reported an adjusted EBITDA loss of $978 million in Q4.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery reached 96.1 million streaming subscribers globally across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery+ as it prepares for a rebooted service later this year, but its streaming division incurred a $217 million operating loss in the quarter.

Netflix, meanwhile, ended its most recent quarter with more than 230 million subscribers worldwide. The rare profitable streamer, it reported $55 million in net profit, a fraction of its $7.85 billion in quarterly revenue.

Turn this ship around? As investors are no longer rewarding companies for subscriber growth at any cost and are instead increasingly focused on profitability, companies are continuing to look for places to cut costs and gin up revenue. Disney, which raised the prices of its streaming services late last year, said this month that it would cut 7,000 positions across the company, and Paramount+ plans to raise its prices while planning reductions at cable brand Showtime. (Netflix took the other tack, lowering the price of its service in some international markets as it aggressively pushes into advertising.)

Patience, please: But other companies reminded investors that success comes at a cost. Comcast executives, for instance, said Peacock’s losses will peak this year to as much as $3 billion before seeing an improvement, while Warner Bros. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels insisted that patience was key.

“As always, we are not managing this company for short-term financial performance, but rather with the next 100 years of this vibrant creative organization in mind,” he said last week.—KS



French press

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  • Rihanna’s Fenty x Puma collab is coming back.
  • TikTok is setting a default one-hour daily time limit for users under 18, though they can opt to turn it off.
  • Tinder is targeting Gen Z in a campaign that aims to position the brand as more than a hookup app.
  • McDonald’s celeb collab meals are “drawing criticism from franchisees who say some of the artists don’t reflect the company’s values,” per the Wall Street Journal.


Stat: $3+ billion. That’s how much Paramount reportedly turned down from a former executive who wanted to buy Showtime, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Quote: “Your product is too expensive and your advertising is an embarrassment.”—a comment on a promoted post from Oatly on Reddit that…didn’t exactly go over super well

Read:We Got Waited On by a Robotic Server To See How Some Restaurants Are Addressing the Staffing Shortage” (Retail Brew)


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Written by Ryan Barwick and Kelsey Sutton

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