Oh, 2018, you've exhausted us already

05 Jan 2018  |  David Pidgeon 
Oh, 2018, you've exhausted us already

Yikes, so much can happen in less than a week.

Four days into the New Year and already there are so many major media and advertising talking points - which means the editorial team's only prediction for 2018 is that it will be another year of challenge and change.

For starters, the Meltdown and Spectre security flaws uncovered this week could pose a major problem for online advertising: part of the advice coming from experts is to counter the threat by installing ad-blockers. This is not about removing annoyances - it's about plugging serious security gaps. So, just to kick off the year, the ad-blocking headache - which seemed to settle down by the end of 2017 - could potentially get much, much bigger.

How big? Well, nearly every device made in the past 20 years is impacted - amounting to billions of systems.

YouTube starts the year pretty much like it ended it

Meanwhile, there's no end in sight for YouTube's brand safety woes. Following a series of often horrendous issues last year, 2018 began with the claim that YouTube moderators had approved a video that showed a vlogger making jokes while filming the body of a man who had killed himself in a Japanese forest.

Millionaire vlogger Logan Paul, who has more than 15 million subscribers, many of them children, eventually removed the video and apologised - but only after it was viewed 6.5 million times. Volunteers in YouTube's 'trusted flagger' programme said that the clip was reported but moderators on the payroll decided to leave it up.

This entire sorry story raises so many questions, but the obvious one for advertisers is this: which media owners will you trust in 2018?

With YouTube seemingly unable to get a grip of the situation, some advertisers are even developing their own methods to ensure they're brand safe - indeed, JPMorgan said this week it had built a tool to make sure its ads don't end up next to unsavoury content on the platform. Perhaps they'll also want to patent and flog it to boot...

Trouble at Vice

Elsewhere, is the media industry going to experience its own Weinstein moment? In the US, two senior Vice Media directors have had sexual misconduct allegations made against them. President Andrew Creighton and chief digital officer Mike Germano, who were both named in a New York Times report last month examining Vice Media's workplace culture for women, have been placed on leave.

It's not right to speculate, but given the wave of allegations seen elsewhere, it could mark another tipping point for another high-profile industry.

Snap lols

To soften the mood, we loved that Snap's lavish New Year's Eve party was a strict camera free-affair.

According to The Daily Beast, tickets and wristbands came with a warning that said "no photos", while those entering had their mobile phone cameras covered with tape.

Weird, given what Snap implores the rest of the world to do with its app. But perhaps they just wanted the LA party - which cost a reported $4m - to look a little low-key given the third-quarter loss of $443m.

Titbits

Katie Hopkins is back. She's launched 'Hopkins World' on far-right platform The Rebel, alongside EDL founder Tommy Robinson. Sounds horrible. And apparently, according to often-hard-to-trust journalist Michael Wolff, Rupert Murdoch once called Trump a "fu*king idiot".

Happy New Year, readers.

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