U.S. jury hits Bayer with $81 million in Roundup cancer trial

U.S. jury hits Bayer with $81 million in Roundup cancer trial

FILE PHOTO: Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller atomizers are displayed for sale at a garden shop near Brussels, Belgium November 27, 2017. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

(Reuters) – A U.S. jury on Wednesday awarded $80.9 million to a man who claimed his use of Bayer AG’s glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup caused his cancer, in the latest legal setback for the company facing thousands of similar lawsuits.

The jury in San Francisco federal court said the company was liable for plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Reporting by Alexandria Sage in San Francisco; editing by Bill Berkrot

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Foxconn Ventures sells $398.4 million in Alibaba stock: sources

Foxconn Ventures sells $398.4 million in Alibaba stock: sources

The logo of Alibaba Group is seen inside DingTalk office, an offshoot of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China July 20, 2018. Picture taken July 20, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song

(Reuters) – Foxconn Ventures Holdco has sold $398.4 million worth of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s shares, in a block trade in the open market managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.

Foxconn sold 2.2 million Alibaba shares on Wednesday at $181.10 per share, the sources said, asking not to be identified ahead of any official announcement.

Foxconn and Goldman Sachs did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Reporting by Joshua Franklin in New York; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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Facebook lost 15 million users? Marketers remain unfazed

Facebook lost 15 million users? Marketers remain unfazed

Source: Edison Research 2019

Facebook has lost an estimated 15 million users in the U.S. during the last two years, according to a report from Edison Research. The firm’s “The Infinite Dial 2019,” surveyed 1,500 U.S. citizens age 12-years and older and found that Facebook usage overall has dropped from 67 percent to 61 percent in two year’s time, with the 12 to 34-years age segment down from 82 million in 2017 to 65 million this year.

Twitter usage is also on a downward slope, going from 23 percent to 19 percent between 2017 and 2019. The report found, overall, social media use has stagnated since 2016, with the number of respondents claiming to be on social remaining around 77 to 80 percent for the past three years. But social media marketing experts said they’re not seeing any impact from declining social media use.

People aren’t leaving social, just shifting platforms. While the report showed Facebook users numbers were dropping, Facebook-owned Instagram is experiencing a steady rise. Instagram’s audience reach is still much smaller than Facebook’s, but Edison’s survey found Instagram usage has climbed from 34 percent in 2017 to 39 percent.

Steve Weiss, CEO of digital marketing agency MuteSix, said he doesn’t believe Facebook users are leaving, but instead the current user base is simply aging.

“While the younger demographics may be shifting to Instagram and Snapchat, Facebook is also seeing increased gains from the 55+ segment. In other words, users aren’t exactly leaving, they are simply shifting,” said Weiss. According to Edison’s report, the 55+ age segment of respondents were the only group whose Facebook usage had increase since 2017.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of social media marketing platform Socialbakers, said his company doesn’t have any data indicating a drop in Facebook user numbers.

“In Q4, Facebook reported an increase,” said Ben-Itzhak, “As for Twitter, they have stopped reporting on users which could mean users did not grow.”

Ben Heiser, a content strategist for the Drum Agency, agrees with Weiss in terms of Facebook versus Instagram user numbers.

“Everyone likes to take shots at Facebook usage being down as the end of social media as we know it, but social media is more of a media channel now than ever before. Facebook has global saturation at this point and active users are just switching over to Instagram, which Facebook owns,” said Heiser.

“Here’s the thing – surveys are always skewing perception towards something. One survey cites the 15 million loss in young Facebook users as their rallying cry to jump to audio. However, if you look at the actual numbers, not survey results, Facebook reported that there were 1.52 billion daily active users in Q4, an increase of nine-percent year-over-year.”

Facebook advertising still delivering. Weiss said his ad agency is not seeing an impact from any drops in usage. He believes the Facebook’s Stories ad product, which the company rolled out in the News Feed last year, will drive more advertising on the platform.

“With Facebook’s continued investment in analytics across all its platforms, we also expect to see advanced engagement metrics for Stories, which will ultimately boost bottom-line revenue for Facebook,” said Weiss.

He is confident Instagram advertising revenue will continue to climb, also spurred by Story ads.

“As a matter of fact, advertising revenues on Instagram’s Stories are projected to increase as early studies demonstrate brands can expect to see higher ad recall and click-through rates than from previous ads that were posted on the Instagram feed,” said Weiss.

And then there’s WhatsApp. Edison Research’s survey did not include historical usage data on WhatsApp, the encrypted messaging app owned by platform, but did show 23 percent of the survey participants age 12 to 34 years old were using it this year.

“While Facebook doesn’t report on individual app growth regularly, you can easily infer that the growth is happening on WhatsApp and Instagram, which cater and are heavily used by a younger target,” said Heiser.

Facebook has been making subtle moves to get more people on WhatsApp — announcing in January that it plans to integrate its WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger platforms, making it possible for users to communicate between the three apps. Facebook also said it is planning to roll-out WhatsApp ads this year.

Why you should care. While the Edison Research may show declining user numbers, a loss of 15 million users on Facebook may not amount to much for a platform that has 1.5 billion daily active users. And recent reports show advertisers are ahead of the curve with Instagram, with lifts in incremental ad spending from loyal advertisers driving ad spend growth on the platform — money that is still going into Facebook’s pocket.

As Heiser noted, Facebook’s most recent earnings report isn’t showing any major impact from a drop in usage with ad revenue climbing to $16.6 billion during the fourth quarter of 2018. In fact, the company reported the average price of an ad decreased 2 percent, while ad impressions were up 34 percent. Twitter also saw increased ad revenue during the last quarter of 2018, up 23 percent year-over-year.

Overall, marketers shouldn’t make any knee-jerk reactions when it comes to their social media strategy based on one survey, marketers say.

“If you’re planning to use media, you shouldn’t be a fan of one or the other. The focus should be where your audience is most engaged: is it podcast? Instagram? Facebook? If so, that’s where you need to be,” said Heiser.


About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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U.S. podcast audiences keep growing, 62 million listening weekly

U.S. podcast audiences keep growing, 62 million listening weekly

For the first time, more than half (51 percent) of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast, up from 44 percent last year. Put another way, 144 million people, or 20 million more people than just a year ago, have listened to a podcast.

Frequency is on the rise, too. An estimated 90 million, or nearly one-third (32 percent) listen monthly, up from 26 percent.

And 22 percent are weekly listeners, up from 17 percent. That’s an estimated 62 million weekly U.S. podcast listeners. The numbers come from Edison Research and Triton Digital’s latest Infinite Dial survey.

Who’s listening? Numbers are increasing among men and women, but men are more likely to be listeners with 36 percent of male respondents saying they listen to podcasts monthly, compared to 29 percent of women.

Podcasts are reaching roughly 40 percent of people age 12 to 24 and 25 to 54.  While listening among those 55 and older is up from 13 percent last year, just 17 percent of this older demographic are monthly podcast listeners.

Weekly listeners said they heard an average of seven podcasts in the last week. More than half (52 percent) of them had listened to four or more podcasts that week.

Digital audio looks to podcast market. Spotify, which has made significant overtures in podcasting with the acquisitions of podcasting network Gimlet Media and back-end services company Anchor last month, is quickly gaining traction among younger audiences. Among monthly podcast listeners age 12-24, fifty-three percent were Spotify listeners, up from just 32 percent a year ago.

Why you should care. The marketing opportunities in podcasting continue to evolve from host-read ads and branded sponsored series. As companies like Spotify invest in growing their podcast businesses, the marketing opportunities — and measurement and attribution capabilities — will become more sophisticated. This is still early days for podcasting, but growing audiences and investment means it’s an area more brands will consider incorporating into their marketing strategies.


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all of our publications. Ginny writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, she has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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