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Rigorous Fearless Independent

Jamie MacEwan, senior media analyst at Enders Analysis, agreed: “It does look odd on the surface that Google would take this long to reassure the CMA on down-ranking.” But, he said, that could be because Google doesn’t want to close down its options on the way it rates the quality of a website — and those factors often have nothing to do with advertising. “Since some of the APIs cover user protections like fighting spam and fraud, Google might be concerned that, should Sandbox be the sole alternative to cookies in some cases, giving up down-ranking powers could be a problem down the line,” he said.

“It’s almost a victim of its own success,” says Enders Analysis senior media analyst Jamie MacEwan. “It’s always there in the background. And you don’t think, you just type in YouTube and you find whatever you need.”

That ubiquity is obvious in the numbers. Upwards of 2.5bn people worldwide use YouTube each month, and US users spend around 45 minutes on the service on average every day. “When you’re looking at social media platforms, YouTube’s got that unparalleled reach and time spent viewing,” says MacEwan.

But for those actually creating new content for YouTube, the shift to shorts has been disruptive and often painful. “It’s been tough, as YouTube shorts are definitely less monetizable at the moment,” says MacEwan. “It’s got so many products, and with creators you’re trying to convince them to do many different formats.”

But while competing in web-based, ultra-short form is clearly a priority for YouTube, it’s also doing pretty well going the other way. “A huge chunk of YouTube’s business and the revenue it is generating is from sitting on the TV screen alongside Netflix or broadcasters,” says MacEwan. “The latest figures from Nielsen show that YouTube was getting about 10% of US TV viewing, which is more than Netflix.”

Niamh Burns, a senior analyst at Enders Analysis, says there will be a stream of new products as companies, backed by multibillion-dollar investments, try to win over consumers. “We’re going to keep seeing these flashy releases, because the tech is new and exciting, and because the actual consumer use case hasn’t been landed on. New models and even just new interfaces – simply put, things to do with the models – need to be released until something sticks from a user perspective,” she says.

“Any commentary on advertising by EA ultimately remains a reflection of its desire to be acquired by another major media and entertainment company, specifically by demonstrating its flexibility in generating revenue from a passionate fanbase,” said Gareth Sutcliffe, the head analyst covering the games industry for market research service Enders Analysis. “While any advertising option is unlikely to provide a material uptick in revenue, EA’s audience remains valuable and it assists in its positioning as a full-stack operation across all development platforms and nearly every conceivable revenue model.”