The Commerce Department reported a slight increase in retail sales (+0.8% vs. June) in August, “highlighting an uneven pace for the economic recovery as spending behavior swings month over month.” This follows both a 1.8 percent decline in July as well as earlier summer gains. The August results were higher than expected, and were fueled by increased spending on clothing, electronics, and furniture & home goods. Other categories seeing growth included those geared to back-to-school like musical instruments, sporting goods, book stores, and e-commerce. Declines were seen in sales at bars and restaurants, following a rise in July, due in part to “the end of the summer” as well as “fear of the virus”. (New York Times: 9/16/21)



The lines between linear and streaming are becoming more blurred every day. Adage reporters took an “ask me anything” approach to streaming by gathering “answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the rapidly evolving (and crowded) streaming industry”, including a definition of OTT, a comparison of “who is winning”, a lok at the shifts from linear, opportunities for new ad formats, insights on fraud protection, and ways that brands are breaking through the clutter (Adage: 9/21/21).



New research out of Whip Media asked streaming customers “If you could only keep one, Which one?” and the response was a resounding “Netflix” at 41%, followed by Hulu (21%), HBOMax (13%), Disney+ (9%), and PrimeVideo (6%), rounding out the top 5. Respondents, on average, subscribed to 4.7 services, with intentions to add one more. However, 70% agreed there were already too many subscription services, while 85% thought streaming was too expensive, and 60% preferred ad free-services. (Mediapost: 9/17/21, NextTV: 9/20/21)



Following in the wake of Nielsen’s TV measurement issues and general advertiser dissatisfaction, the ANA issued a list of five imperatives, to “clarify” their membership’s needs, including 1) a system that’s objective, independent, neutral, and third-party verified” 2) reinforcement that the Media Rating Council is “indispensable” 3) the requirement of cross-media measurement as a “paramount objective” 4) recommending that trade bodies lead the commitment, and 5) “open to all” measurement standards, regardless of budget. (NextTV: 9/20/21)



Last year, Raising Men Lawn Care awarded thirteen-year-old Phoenix Browne with new lawn equipment for winning their challenge and cutting the lawns of 50 elderly, single-parent, disabled, and veteran families in his community. This year he took up photography, and he’s donating his services to his school by capturing priceless moments, updating their social media, and mentoring other students. Now he’s challenging others to join him and cut 500 lawns in 2021. The Chesapeake station’s profile on the middle-school student shows that community leadership can start at any age. (WAVY: 9/21/21)