Is mobile data really ‘unlimited’ if it’s basically unusable? Plus, the long road ahead for the travel industry: Datacenter Weekly
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Where the travel industry has been—and where it’s going
“Worldwide ad spending for 23 travel companies analyzed by Ad Age Datacenter tumbled 60.2% in 2020,” Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson reports. “The drop in ad spending tracked closely with revenue, which sank 61.5%.”
Johnson goes on to offer a deep dive into ad spending by a range of travel-related sectors, including airlines, hotels, car rental companies, cruise lines and casinos. Keep reading here.
A key takeaway: “There are hopeful signs for travel this year, including an increase in airline traffic and rising bookings at major theme parks,” Johnson adds. “Stocks have rebounded as investors bet on a recovery in travel.”
See also: Focusing specifically on New York City, “STR, a data firm that tracks the hospitality industry, found that hotel occupancy reached 47% in the week ending March 13, the highest the city has seen since June 2020,” Ilyse Liffreing notes in today’s Ad Age Wake-Up Call, pointing to data cited in a Wall Street Journal story about the slow-mo return of NYC tourism.
“Boost Mobile has been told to stop advertising messages that say it offers unlimited data, as well as SD and HD streaming for its 4G LTE plans,” Bevin Fletcher of FierceWireless reports. “The National Advertising Division (NAD) made the recommendations after a challenge by AT&T, finding Boost’s unlimited claims couldn’t be verified because of throttling after reaching monthly data limits, or fixed by new disclosures.”
The parties involved: The NAD is part of the BBB (Better Business Bureau) National Programs. In the U.S., Boost Mobile is operated by Dish Network’s Dish Wireless subsidiary.
The bottom line: The NAD maintains that Boost’s data throttling from 4G to 2G speeds makes many data-intensive smartphone apps essentially unusable, thus making the “unlimited” claim a moot point. At 2G speeds, the NAD’s decision notes, “consumers will be unable to stream video, surf the web or do any other activity that requires substantial data usage at speeds that meet consumers’ expectations for an unlimited plan.”
Keep reading here.
See also: In its press release about the decision, the NAD notes that Boost Mobile plans to appeal.
That’s the asking price for a one-of-kind slice of “pixelated pizza” from Pizza Hut. Ad Age’s Garett Sloane has the story on how the restaurant giant got in on the NFT (non-fungible token) craze as a marketing stunt.
That’s the estimated net worth of a flurry of deals the NFL just signed, per a Bloomberg tally. As Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi, Garett Sloane and E.J. Schultz write,
The National Football League’s new massive media rights deals will shape the sport for decades while giving brands new opportunities for audience targeting, e-commerce and consumer interactivity. The multibillion-dollar TV deals, announced Thursday, represent a new streaming era for football in which more of the games will be accessible digitally, including Amazon as the exclusive home for Thursday Night Football.
Keep reading here.
Car 54, we already know where you are
“A surveillance contractor that has previously sold services to the U.S. military is advertising a product that it says can locate the real-time locations of specific cars in nearly any country on Earth,” reports Joseph Cox of Vice/Motherboard. “It says it does this by using data collected and sent by the cars and their components themselves, according to a document obtained by Motherboard.”
The contractor is The Ulysses Group, which claims to have access to more than 15 billion vehicle locations globally per month.
Keep reading here.
“Employment in advertising, public relations and related services rose by 3,500 jobs in February, a positive sign for agencies following a sharp drop in January,” Ad Age Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson reports. “The job gains came as U.S. employers last month added a stronger-than-expected 379,000 jobs, according to the monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
Johnson has specific industry employment data across three BLS classifications: advertising, PR and related services; ad agencies; and internet media. Keep reading here for those breakdowns.
• The bigger picture: “Why hate crime data can’t capture the true scope of anti-Asian violence,” per CNN.
• Toward ending the pandemic: “‘Very promising’ data shows vaccines may stop Covid transmission, but big questions remain,” per NBC News (via Yahoo News).
• Vax skeptics: “More than 4 in 10 health-care workers have not been vaccinated, Post-KFF poll finds,” The Washington Post reports.
• Closing in: “F.B.I. Investigating Whether Cuomo Aides Gave False Data on Nursing Homes,” per The New York Times.
• ICYMI: “Small Agency Awards entries are now open,” from Ad Age.
The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at AdAge.com/Datacenter.
Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf.
This week’s newsletter was compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.