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The real fate of your personal data, plus a deeper dive into digital video performance: Datacenter Weekly

4 Mar 2020

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Forever and a day

In the latest installment of its “Giz Asks” column, Gizmodo offers some expert answers to the question “Will My Data Be Online Forever?”

For instance, Meg Leta Jones, a Georgetown University professor, says that “Nothing is ‘forever’” and notes that “Most of what was online in the 1980s and 1990s is gone, as is most of the early web. Sites, forums, and platforms come and go. Link rot and bit rot plague archives, historical records, and everyday inquiries. Digital data is incredibly fragile...”

Columbia Law School prof Anu Bradford, meanwhile, neatly sums up the effects of the European Union’s GDPR and “right to be forgotten” law, both of which tip the paradigm in a way that incentivizes tech companies to engage in data-erasure overkill.

The experts Gizmodo rounded up don’t offer a clear consensus, which makes the net effect of their responses all the more unnerving. It’s a thought-provoking read for anyone who works with data, collects data and/or has had their personal data collected (i.e., everyone).

Holding patterns

With WPP’s (not-so-good) financial results out last week, Datacenter’s Bradley Johnson says we now know what the very top of the ranking for agency holding companies will look like in Ad Age Agency Report 2020 (coming May 4), based on 2019 worldwide revenue.

Top 3 in 2019:
 1. WPP $16.9 billion.
 2. Omnicom $15.0 billion.
 3. Publicis $12.3 billion.

WPP’s revenue factors out Kantar; WPP in December sold a 60 percent stake in its research business to Bain Capital, removing Kantar from WPP’s accounting for continuing operations.

The 2020 order is the same that we showed in Agency Report 2019 (based on 2018 revenue), but the delta has shrunk between WPP (excluding Kantar) and its rivals. Here’s Datacenter’s year-ago ranking of the top three based on 2018 worldwide revenue:

Top 3 in 2018:
 1. WPP $20.8 billion (including Kantar).
 2. Omnicom $15.3 billion.
 3. Publicis $11.7 billion.

P.S. Brad notes that WPP and Publicis stocks on March 2 slumped to 52-week lows amid the coronavirus market selloff; Omnicom hit a 52-week low Feb. 28. Investors seem rather unexcited about prospects for agencies.

To get the must-read Ad Age Agency Report 2020 on the day it’s released, you’ll want to be a Datacenter subscriber if you aren’t one already. Click here to sign up.

Super specific

Tubular Labs, which serves up video analytics for companies including Microsoft, CBS Interactive, BuzzFeed and Twitch, has just launched its new AI-powered ContentGraph technology, which it calls a “next-generation taxonomy that helps media producers and advertisers to more easily surface and transact on audiences in a deeply targeted way against niche, subcategory concepts within social video original programming.”

That’s quite a mouthful! But the basic idea is to better parse video-content types using roughly 1,500 new tags. At this point, for instance, there are so many food-related videos that “food” as a video category is overly broad. Is your video an eating contest? A how-to? A cooking hack? A brand-sponsored product demo? Now video producers will be able to see how their niche video content competes against similar content in the same exact niche.

You can find out more about Tubular’s newly granular video analytics in, yes, a brief video in which Tubular CEO Rob Gabel explains what’s what.

Just briefly

Unity: “mParticle raises $45M to help marketers unify customer data,” per TechCrunch.

Sporty: “How Big Data Bowl winners used machine learning to better understand the game,” via The Athletic.

Hubby: “Largest gift in Berkeley’s history will create a ‘hub’ for advancing data science,” per Berkeley News.

Coming up

In this section in the first three editions of Datacenter Weekly, we highlighted upcoming data-centric events. Last week, for instance, we flagged conferences coming up in Denver and New York City.

But the coronavirus crisis has been throwing a monkey wrench into the events space, and at least one big gathering we previously noted is now canceled; see: “Adobe cancels its own summit amid coronavirus fears.”

So we’re pausing “Coming Up”—for this week, at least—and we encourage you to keep an eye on as more news breaks about conference cancellations.

The newsletter is brought to you by Ad Age Datacenter, the industry’s most authoritative source of competitive intel and home to the Ad Age Leading National Advertisers, the Ad Age Agency Report: World’s Biggest Agency Companies and other exclusive data-driven reports. Access or subscribe to Ad Age Datacenter at

Ad Age Datacenter is Kevin Brown, Bradley Johnson and Catherine Wolf. This newsletter is compiled and written by Simon Dumenco.

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This content was originally published by Advertising Age. Original publishers retain all rights. It appears here for a limited time before automated archiving. By Advertising Age

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