Welcome to Ad Age's Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. What people are talking about today: Is Netflix the most valuable media company, worth more even than mighty Walt Disney Co.? Investors apparently think so. The streaming service's stock market value has hovered for days over $150 billion in market capitalization, while Disney's has been just under that, Bloomberg Opinion writes. As Bloomberg says:
Let that sink in: An 11-year-old app that charges $11 a month is worth more to investors than the legacy conglomerates that earn billions more from TV advertising, box-office hits and cable and internet packages.
Yes, let that sink in, and happy Monday.
More questions for Facebook
Once again, Facebook is facing questions about its sharing of user data. The New York Times examines Facebook's data-sharing deals with dozens of device makers, including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung, some of which remain in effect. Facebook started working out such partnerships in the days before app stores, to help get the social networks onto smartphones. But the Times says Facebook let device makers access data of users' friends "without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders." Also, the report adds: "Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users' friends who believed they had barred any sharing, The New York Times found." That allegation in particular sparked befuddlement:
"It's like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission," Ashkan Soltani, former FTC chief technologist, told The Times.
The response: Facebook wrote a long post explaining that it "disagrees" with the Times' take. It says it controlled the device-specific APIs very tightly, and adds, "we are not aware of any abuse by these companies." In April, Facebook also said it was winding down access to them (because they're not necessary any more). But Facebook will probably have some more explaining to do here.
More on Facebook: Some candidates for elections in California, Florida and MIssissippi say they are hitting roadblocks amid Facebook's tougher new vetting process to approve political ads. Read more by Ad Age's Garett Sloane.
Last week, two advertisers, Autotrader.com and State Farm, said they were suspending ads or sponsorships with "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee" because of the host's vulgar slur against Ivanka Trump. (Bee called the first daughter a "feckless c---.") Ad Age's Anthony Crupi dug a little deeper and found that the loss of Autotrader isn't a huge deal, since "the online car bazaar hasn't advertised in the show in nearly two-and-a-half years." Autotrader says it was referring to a digital ad deal that it shut down after Bee's "feckless" comment. The loss of State Farm will have more impact, though as Crupi writes,
Advertiser boycotts are generally ineffective, inasmuch as they don't tend to have much of an impact on the targeted network's bottom line. Brands that walk away from a show typically just re-allocate their money elsewhere on the same network.
FYI: Merriam-Webster informs us that the word "feckless" is in the top 1 percent of lookups. It can mean "weak, ineffective" or "worthless, irresponsible," in case you were wondering. (You're welcome.)
ODing: Philip Khosid, co-founder of Battery, argues against too many titles (and too much entitlement) at ad agencies. "A client walks into the room and they are introduced to the CCO, ECD, GAD, GCD, ACD, a couple of CDs, maybe a VP CD and then planners, strategists and account people," he writes in Ad Age. "The client looks around the room and wonders, 'Why do I need all of these people?'"
Scrapped: Viacom's Paramount Network has scrapped plans to air a "Heathers" remake and will try to sell it elsewhere, The Hollywood Reporter says. "This is a high school show, we're blowing up the school, there are guns in the school, it's a satire and there are moments of teachers having guns," Keith Cox, Paramount Network president of development and production, told THR. "It's hitting on so many hot topics."
ICYMI: Apple is looking to expand its "small-but-growing business selling promotional ads for search terms in its App Store, which delivered nearly $1 billion in revenue last year," The Wall Street Journal reports. (That's apparently despite CEO Tim Cook's recent criticism of some digital ads as "creepy.")
Diversity: "Recently, companies and brands like JPMorgan Chase, Humira, State Farm, Smile Direct Club, Coors Light, Macy's, Tide and Cadillac have featured multiracial couples or families in their advertising," The New York Times writes.
Worth reading: New York magazine's Select All has a good read about the early days of programmatic. (Seriously! Even people who bluff their way through conversations about ad tech will be able to follow.)
Ad of the day: Restaurant chain Pei Wei is taking a shot at much bigger rival Panda Express in an ad starring a talking panda and tiger. And there's quite an interesting backstory here. "If a talking panda sounds familiar, that's because Panda Express used the tactic a few years ago, in work from the same creative agency, Siltanen & Partners, that is now Pei Wei's creative agency," writes Ad Age's Jessica Wohl. Huh. Read more on Pei Wei's strategy, and watch the spots here.
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