Super Bowl Millions, Google policy change and the Coronavirus + tech

Updated: Jul 24, 2020

Here is what happened this month in ad tech.

1. Super Bowl Ratings

What Happened? Football fans didn’t tune into this year’s Super Bowl coverage on TV in as large numbers as in years past. According to Nielsen, the big game drew an average televised audience of around 98.2 million viewers. CBS, however, said the big match was watched across all platforms — including digital and streaming — by a combined total of 100.7 million viewers. In addition, the streaming coverage of the game broke new records this year, which helped to make up for the TV audience decline.

What does this mean? The live stream’s record-breaking numbers were aided by the fact that the stream itself was available unauthenticated across, the CBS Sports app,, the NFL app and Verizon mobile properties — including Yahoo Sports, Yahoo, AOL, AOL Sports, and Tumblr. According to the measurement firm’s preliminary results released Monday evening, the telecast of Super Bowl LIII on CBS drew an average TV audience of about 98.2 million viewers.

That’s down 5 percent from last year when 103.4 million people watched the Super Bowl on NBC and a 12 percent drop from 2017’s game on Fox. The New York Times attributed the decline to the forgettable game, New Orleans fans tuning out, NFL boycotts over Colin Kaepernick’s treatment, and other factors.

2. The Value and Cost of Super Bowl Commercials 

What Happened? Fox earned roughly $400M from advertisers that aired their ads during the live sporting event.

What Does This Mean?

This suggests that the NFL is still the most powerful media platform in all of the sports and all of the television and companies that purchase spots in the big game have worth, value, and products so strong that they can buy a Super Bowl ad.

3. Local TV Fighting to Evolve

What Happened? Buying local tv ads is a very manual process. Advertising in local is also becoming challenging due to a decline in ratings and viewership making it harder to meet the demands of advertisers.

What Does This Mean? Local media sellers will have to evolve beyond antiquated systems and measurement by embracing automation, packaging local inventory with OTT and adopt CPMs as the standard currency and.

4. Comcast Acquires a Streaming Service You Probably Never Heard of!

What Happened? Comcast bought Xumo an over-the-top streaming service with a paid and ad-supported free tier for both live and on-demand programming.

What Does This Mean? In addition to Peacock, which is expected to launch in March, Comcast is looking to use Xumo to appeal to cord-cutters. Additionally, Xumo will put Comcast in a strong position to reach customers through Smart TVs—Xumo has partnerships with smart TV manufacturers like Samsung and is available in 45 million U.S. households. This will create a path for Comcast to use Xumo prime placement on Smart TVs to market or showcase Xfinity, other Comcast services and build future streaming products.

5. How Google's Policy Change and It's Impact on Publishers

What Happened? Publishers have long developed ad server hacks to get around advantages Google created for itself through the close integration of its ad server, ad exchange and DSP. Google changed the rules on how publishers could prioritize different ad exchanges and buried them in a help guide.

What Does This Mean? The new rules were introduced to close a loophole where some publishers would use line items as a way to circumvent pricing restrictions for their inventory. Any time Google makes a Google Ad Manager policy change, publishers tend to lose a degree of freedom and control.

6. How Publishers are Planning for Life After Third Party Cookies

What Happened? The death of 3P cookies challenges how publishers deliver targeted ad forcing them to find other ways to monetize their inventory.

What Does This Mean? Publishers and all the key player (SSP, DSP, DMPs) will need to work together to figure out how to make money using their 1st party data. One thought is Publishers can create and sell audience segments with very little complexity.


The Coronavirus and It’s Impact on the Tech Industry

What Happened? Many tech companies abroad were forced to shutter their doors due to the virus, and companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon lost more than $238 billion so far.

What Does This Mean? The virus is disrupting manufacturing and the tech supply chain and It’s still too early to understand the financial impact of the virus on the tech industry, analyst are saying it doesn't look good.


  • CPM – the cost an advertiser pays for one thousand views or clicks of an advertisement

  • DSP – Demand Side Platform

  • DMP – Data Management Platform

  • OTT – Over-the-top tv refers to content provided via a high-speed internet connection rather than a cable or satellite provider (i.e. Netflix, Hulu, Disney+)

  • Ratings – Measures who is watching TV

  • SSP – Supply Side Platform

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