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Twitch's record views aren't from gamers, and unemployment makes an unsettling rise: Friday Wake-Up Call
Brand integrations on Twitch usually lean into the streaming platform’s reputation as a place to watch other people play video games. But the most popular genre on the site isn’t gaming at all, but people just hanging out and talking to viewers.
“Twitch’s Just Chatting—think YouTube vlogger channels—has been the most-watched category in the second quarter with 498 million hours streamed, a 175 percent upswing year-over-year,” writes Ad Age’s George Slefo. “Its rise is significant, as the general category beat out popular gaming channels such as Fortnite and League of Legends.”
The content in Just Chatting streams runs the gamut, from prank calls to diet advice to livestreams of Black Lives Matter protests. Overall, viewership on Twitch is up 2,662 percent over last year, with a record-breaking 5 billion streamed hours in the second quarter of the year, when much of the world was stuck indoors.
For the first time in 16 weeks, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose, endangering hopes of a quick economic recovery. More than 1.4 million people filed for benefits last week, up over 100,000 from the previous week, in the 18th straight week that saw filings from more than 1 million people. The Labor Department says nearly 32 million people are on unemployment, about 1 in 5 American adults.
Meanwhile, the additional $600 weekly stipend added to unemployment benefits by the CARES Act is set to expire at the end of the month, though for most people, the final payment will be this week. Payments are tied to weeks ending on a Saturday or Sunday, and Jul. 31 is a Friday.
The chances that the full stipend will be extended are low, and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has said Republicans are aiming to cut the additional benefit based on a percentage of lost salary, dropping the $600 weekly payment to somewhere around $200 to $300 per week. With less money in their pockets, the unemployed will of course cut back on discretionary spending, so expect a ripple effect at restaurants, salons and other retailers that have just reopened as more people opt to stay at home and spend less online.
A wave of evictions could also follow, as moratoriums are lifted and renters and homeowners struggle to pay rent and mortgages, furthering the downward economic spiral.
Publicis Groupe reported a 13 percent drop in organic sales in the second quarter, driven by a 23.5 percent drop in Europe, largely due to lockdown measures implemented un EU countries to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The holding company’s overall revenue in Q2 was up 2.6 percent, though.
"That is mainly due, if not all due, to the U.S.," Chairman-CEO Arthur Sadoun told Ad Age’s Lindsay Rittenhouse. "’Creative and media activities in the U.S. were still positive at the end of May,’" he says, helped by recent wins like Sephora's $250 million North American media account.”
Aside from its healthcare division, Sadoun said all areas of Publicis' business have been negatively impacted, and he didn’t rule out further cost-cutting measures, like the staff and salary cuts and furloughs Publicis implemented at agencies like Spark Foundry, Arc Worldwide and BBH. Of course, if the U.S. was the bright spot in recent months, it may not stay that way, given a continued rise in cases in most of the country and a reimposition of lockdown protocols.
The Washington football team has finally selected a new name—sort of. For the rest of the season, it will be known as the “Washington Football Team,” which won’t cause any confusion with the city’s soccer team, D.C. United. After years of insisting that a name change would be too costly (as well as insisting that the obviously racist franchise nickname actually honored Indigenous people), owner Dan Snyder has instead opted to change the name twice. Once the team settles on a permanent name, they’ll change it again. At least they’ll be able to sell three times the merchandise.
A different D.C. team made a better move Thursday at a home game on the first night of major league baseball’s return for a shortened season. Every player and coach on the Nationals and the New York Yankees kneeled before the national anthem, and Yankees manager Aaron Boone wore a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during the pre-game press conference.
TikTok founder Zhang Yiming is looking into options for selling the company or parts of it as President Trump continues to threaten to shut it down in the U.S. Even as some Gen Zers joke that their personal data is just the price they must pay to access the wildly popular video app, concern over the Chinese company’s wide-ranging access to American phones is one of the few issues people on both sides of the political spectrum seem to agree on.
In the meantime, TikTok continues to hire U.S. staff. The company has created a $200 million fund to be distributed to U.S. users with large followings as encouragement to keep producing content, despite its uncertain future.
Supply-side economics: The Association of National Advertisers released a list of diverse suppliers that brands, agencies and production companies can work with in order to improve representation throughout their supply chains. This first iteration includes 104 companies. Additional suggestions can be sent to suggestions to [email protected].
RNC you later, alligator: The parts of the Republican National Convention that had been scheduled to take place in Jacksonville, Florida next month have been canceled due to concerns about large gatherings in the midst of a pandemic. This, after the convention was moved out of North Carolina with much vitriol and fanfare when Trump was unable to get exceptions for social distancing requirements in that state. The Democratic National Convention, scheduled for earlier in August, has already been planned as a nearly all-virtual event.
Out with the old: Hearst Magazines President Troy Young resigned on Thursday, just a day after the New York Times published accounts of sexist and sexually graphic remarks he allegedly made to employees. “Troy Young and I have agreed that it is in the best interest of all of us that he resign his position as president of Hearst Magazines, effective immediately,” Hearst President and CEO Steven Swartz told employees in an email.
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.
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