Quibi calls it quits, and a final presidential debate looms: Thursday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.
Quibi, the short-lived streaming platform for short-form content, is shutting down just six months after launching. Founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and CEO Meg Whitman had promised millions of subscribers in the first year.
“Quibi is not succeeding,” the pair wrote in a blog post. “Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.”
When the pandemic hit, free time was no longer scarce, but the service launched as planned and never got off the ground. Upwards of 90% of users canceled after their free trial, leaving it just 72,000 paying subscribers in July, and only half a million now. With it goes $1.75 billion in capital raised from investors. In a conference call, Katzenberg said $350 million would be returned.
“Moving forward, Quibi’s demise—the first in the streaming wars—could call into question this model and push brands to strike deals with media companies that can offer makegoods elsewhere in their portfolios,” write Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi and Garett Sloane. “The more-stable media companies, with legacy businesses and TV networks, might offer more flexibility, where they could steer brands if one startup property stumbles. Quibi did not provide that kind of safety net, according to one media buyer.”
IPG CEO Michael Roth is stepping down at the end of the year to become executive chairman of the board. He will be succeeded by Philippe Krakowsky, who has long been expected to take over as CEO eventually.
“Krakowsky, an 18-year IPG veteran, is exec VP and chief operating officer at the holding company as well as chairman of IPG Mediabrands, overseeing Acxiom, Carmichael Lynch, Deutsch, Hill Holliday, Huge, Kinesso, Matterkind and R/GA,” writes Ad Age’s Judann Pollack.
The big reveal came during the holding company’s third-quarter earnings call. Net revenue dropped 3.7%, but that wasn’t as much of a hit as expected. IPG's workforce is down 7% from before the pandemic, with expenses down nearly the same amount. In the fourth quarter, expect the company to shed some real estate holdings as well, Roth said.
The final debate between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden airs tonight. It would have been the third such meetup between the candidates, but Trump pulled out of the scheduled second debate after it went virtual following his coronavirus diagnosis.
Trailing in polls both nationally and in crucial swing states, Trump will try to rattle Biden with the accusations levied in a New York Post story that even the paper’s own reporters questioned. The debate is an unpaid opportunity for the president to get his message out to millions of Americans—one his advisors hope he takes advantage of. According to the AP, the Trump campaign has already burned through more than $1 billion, with much of the funds going to dubious ad buys, like in the very blue market of Washington, D.C. and $10 million for 60 seconds during the Super Bowl, before he had a challenger to lambast.
The campaign is canceling ad buys in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ohio, states where the race is now a dead heat.
In an effort to curb hate speech on social media, Liquor giant Pernod Ricard has unveiled a “hate footprint,” calculated according to a brand’s ad spend on social media platforms and the amount of online vitriol appearing on those services.
“If Facebook scores high on hate speech, for instance, a brand will have a higher hate footprint if they spend a lot of ad money on the platform,” writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. “Brands can choose to offset their hate footprint by donating money to groups that fight hate speech—a process similar to how companies that emit a lot of carbon can buy carbon offsets, such as investing in renewable energy programs.”
One of us: Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitch Tuesday night to stream “Among Us,” an online game that’s blown up in popularity with gamers stuck at home for months on end. The get-out-the-vote event drew 430,000 viewers and also featured fellow “Squad” member Ilhan Omar, whose impressive gaming rig (actually her deputy comms director’s) drew jealous comparisons to Henry Cavill’s.
Mourning across America: The Lincoln Project has rolled out state-specific versions of its hard-hitting ad that recasts Ronald Reagan’s classic spot with scenes of death and economic decline. The new versions are running in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa, all of which went to Trump in 2016 but are now tossups.
Good grief: Apple TV+ gets the jump on the Halloween season this year, with Fall classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” only available on the paid service for now, writes CNN. For the last five decades, it has run on broadcast stations. For three days beginning Oct. 30, the special will stream for free on Apple’s platform before disappearing behind the hardwall again.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well. For more industry news and insight, follow us on Twitter: @adage.
From CMO Strategy to the Ad Age Datacenter Weekly, we’ve got newsletters galore. See them all here.
Subscribers make the difference. Individual, group and corporate subscriptions are available—including access to our Ad Age Datacenter. Find options at AdAge.com/membership.