Five key media tech trends from May

GDPR opens up a rift

​The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) finally came into play on May 25th, although you’d never know it amidst the barrage of emails to hit inboxes. Many commentators complained that the updated policy, particularly around emails, had actually led to an increase in spam, rather than a decrease. 

Meanwhile, the new regulations appear to have caused a further rift between publishers and Google. Digiday reports that four trade groups (News Media Association, European Publishers Council, News Media Alliance, Digital Content Next) met with Google the day before the new regulations came into play, and were not impressed with what the alphabet-owned company had to say. To what extent GDPR actually affects traditional practice within the industry remains to be seen, but right now publishers and indeed wider industry players appear to be faced with more questions than answers.


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Not so enchanting Musk

​There was further friction last month between the ‘media’ and ‘tech’ sectors as Elon Musk hit the headlines again. The Tesla and SpaceX inventor landed in hot water in May when he took to Twitter to announce plans to “create a site where the public can rate the core truth of any article & track the credibility score over time of each journalist, editor & publication.” Many saw this as a step too far by Musk, who later became embroiled in a further spat with the media, leading some critics to go so far as to point out the swell of antisemitism that has erupted around his comments. The proposed name of the fact-checking site is Pravda, the Russian word for ‘truth,’ and this is also the name of a newspaper linked to the Communist Party in the Soviet Union.



Time Inc. rebrands

​Time Inc. UK unveiled a rebrand in May and brace yourself for the result because it may shock you! The new company will be called… TI Media. The move comes on the back of the company’s acquisition in March 2018 by private equity firm, Epiris, and does not represent so small a change as may initially appear. Marcus Rich, Time Inc UK chief executive, said:

“We are proud of all we have achieved as Time Inc UK over the last four years and, before that, as IPC Media over many years. While we wanted our new name to speak to that successful past – with the T of Time Inc. and the I of IPC – we also wanted it to be adaptable to suit the ways we will evolve and look to extend that success under our new ownership. We are now looking forward to exploring those new opportunities as TI Media.”



4. Sorrell re-emerges

​Sir Martin Sorrell has taken charge of shell company, Derriston Capital, which will become a new advertising venture, S4 Capital. Many could be forgiven for thinking that a man who stepped down from his own company, following a third party investigation into financial misconduct, was perhaps not best placed to lead a similar venture in the same sector. But Lo an industry rejoices, with 4,000+ Google news articles listed for ‘Martin Sorrell S4’ at the time of writing.

The BBC quotes the former WPP CEO: He said S4 Capital aimed to build a “multi-national communication services business”. “There are significant opportunities for development in technology, data and content. I look forward to making this happen,” added Sir Martin, who will be executive chairman of S4 Capital.



5. YouTube rolls out music streaming service

YouTube began to roll out its new music streaming service in May, preliminary becoming available to some users in the US, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. The two main options are free-with-ads, or US$9.99 per month without. There is also an additional opportunity to subscribe to YouTube Premium (previously YouTube Rad) at $11.99 per month, which includes original video content. As reported by The Verge, anyone who already has a Google Play Music subscription gets YouTube Music as part of that membership.


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