Direct digital holding on why small pubs need programmatic

Mark Walker, CEO and co-founder, Direct Digital Holdings

Prior to co-founding Ad Tech and Mar Tech Holding Group Direct Digital Holding in 2018, Mark Walker was the Chief Operating Officer of Ebony Media.

His experience towards sales was constructive. A big part of Walker’s work was helping Ebony with its digital transformation and digital transition front print, programmatic monetization.

Walker quickly realized there was a “hole in the market.”

“We’ve seen small, medium-sized companies find it difficult to integrate into the programmatic ecosystem due to a lack of resources and skills,” Walker said. “We saw firsthand that if we did not have Ebony’s brand name, we would not have attracted the attention of SSPs for monetization.”

The idea behind Direct Digital Holdings, which is a mix of acquired and indigenous buy-sell-side technology, is to help medium-sized publishers access the same opportunities as larger media owners.

In February, Direct Digital Holdings IPO came under the ticker symbol DRCT on the NASDAQ. The company’s stock popped strong after strong revenue growth and its first earnings report last week projected above the guidelines. Q4 revenue rose 95% YoY from $ 6.3 million to $ 12.9 million, with first quarter revenue expected to hit between $ 11 million and $ 11.5 million, compared to analysts’ expectations of $ 8.42 million.

Walker, who is the company’s co-founder and CEO, spoke with AdExchange.

AdExchanger: Why house-buying and cell-side technology under the same roof?

Mark Walker: There are many tools in the toolbox that you can use to optimize campaign performance if you understand the buyer’s purpose. You can do anything on behalf of the publisher or SSP in a positive way, from the position of the ad on a page to how you rank an ad inside the stack.

When I was on Ebony, a lot of the time, if a campaign didn’t perform, buyers would cut it instead of figuring out how to optimize it. With Direct Digital, we’re on both sides of the equation, so we have the opportunity to curate.

In the past, this type of setup may have been seen as a conflict of interest, but do you think it could be an advantage?

We mainly trade in the middle market. We have clients in Colorado Springs, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, Nashville – Flyover County. If they spend $ 1, they want a refund of $ 1.10 or $ 1.15 or $ 1.20. But how can you get there? They are not really worried about it.

They just want to make sure they’re getting the final results, and so if you work directly with a big brand you won’t see the same kind of channel conflict towards purchases.

So, I think it’s an advantage, but also a missed opportunity. However, with the acquisition of Criteo’s BidSwitch and Unruly’s acquisition of Tremor, these pieces began to come together.

What are all the different pieces in your stack?

On the buying side, we have Huddled Masses and Orange 142, two companies that operate independently. Both are profitable and have been excellent acquisitions for us. And on the sales side, we have SSP Colossus, which we own. That business has become the engine of growth for our company.

There are many more long established DSPs and SSPs. How do you differentiate?

It’s double. First, we have a focus on multicultural publishers. We’ve spent a significant amount of time and effort identifying small and medium-sized publishers trying to attract multicultural audiences, which we define as Hispanic American, African American, LGBTQ, and Asian American.

We offer shoppers a one-stop shop to reach those market densities with the general market.

We have a friendship with publishers as a whole and we want to be an advocate for publishers. Since being on that side, I know it’s hard to make money in this place.

The market is small. Strange at the moment. Why the decision to IPO this year?

It’s about accelerating growth. We have no private equity sponsors, we are not VC-supported and we have bootstrapped this company. My co-founder is Keith [Smith] And I am the majority shareholder.

We feel that reaching out to the public can help us gain market credibility, which is very important. Being ruthlessly honest, being a minority-owned company, credibility may not be what we give it to other companies.

But we also wanted access to public markets to help raise capital so that we could grow faster. We run a store that can sustain that growth, and we think that’s the right way to go, even if you fall in love with Wall Street.

Are you planning to raise any of that capital for more M&A?

I am not able to make any visionary statement – I have learned this tagline.

But, broadly speaking, probably yes. I think it’s safe to say that we have an organic growth strategy that we are very confident in, but if an opportunity presents itself, we must explore.

This interview has been edited and summarized.

Testing Revs Up in Chrome Privacy Sandbox; Facebook’s ‘Massive Ranking’

Comics: Privacy Sandbox Field Guide

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Go to the sandbox

Here is the moment you are waiting for. (No, not all of the streams you show are the latest season releases.) On Thursday, Google launched developer Origin trials in Chrome for three privacy sandbox offers: Topics, FLEDGE and Attribution Reporting.

As a refresher, Topics aims to enable privacy-safe interest-based advertising, FLEDGE looks to do the same thing but to rediscover, while the Attribution Reporting API is a way to measure when clicks or ad views towards a conversion without using cross-site. Takes the identifier

Original trial, as Google explains Blog postChrome methodology for a limited group of developers (followed by a limited group of beta chrome users) to test experimental technology for a limited time and make sure the technology is baked properly.

Finally, once everything is working smoothly, a stable version of Google Chrome will provide Origin Trials for a slightly larger group of beta testers.

It’s a slow process, with Google waiting to say when or when it will return to the drawing board.

Google killed the FLOC API and replaced it with issues earlier this year because, rather ironicly, during those trials it became clear that the FLOC proposal was not as confidential-protected as advertising.

Feed the Beast

A “massive ranking failure” uncovered by Facebook engineers has promoted malicious content in news feeds. Here we go again.

Over the past six months, more than half of all Facebook users have experienced “integrity risk” (i.e., misinformation) in their feeds. Edge Report

Engineers have tracked the up-and-down swings of some misinformation schemes, sometimes up to 30%.

The problem was a software bug, not a strategy to slip meta content by moderation, and it didn’t affect the advertiser or publisher metrics in the feed, according to spokesman Joe Osborne.

Saha Masachi, a former member of Facebook’s Civic Integrity Team, said, “In such a complex system, bugs are inevitable and understandable.” How do we know? We need real transparency to build a sustainable system of accountability. ”

After all, the problem was tracked for six months and came to light soon after an engineer leaked it. Facebook users may appreciate the fact that the error was distributed as a result of the error, and what we will say, as part of a personalized experience, knowing the obvious misinformation, violent images, nudity or other problematic content in their feeds.

‘MOAR’ cannot be spelled! Without AR

Expect to see a wave of in-store augmented reality setups

In a study of how consumers sample lipstick tubes compared to lipstick AR displays, researchers in Hong Kong and Singapore found that AR users sampled an average of 7.5 times more products.

The researchers also found that physical product testers clustered one or two of their known brands. In contrast, AR user buyers prefer to sample new brands, accordingly Harvard Business Review.

The retailer featured in the study went on to incorporate AR technology into its app, giving the researcher clear data on the connection of transactions with mobile app buyers who did not or did not use the AR function. App users who have tried AR Sampling are 19% more likely to make a purchase.

But AR is not the magic key to attracting young consumers, as one might expect for members of the SnapTik (TokSnap?) Generation, they are familiar with AR overlays. The data shows that AR pays the best money for new online shoppers who have never shopped online before. This makes them more comfortable buying something they haven’t caught or seen before.

But wait, there’s more!

IAB Tech Lab has released new ad format guidelines for digital video and CTV. [blog]

Apple and Meta have leaked user data to hackers who have used fake legal requests. [Bloomberg]

Twitter has begun pilot testing for three new ad formats. [Adweek]

The pain of Facebook iPhone ads is the benefit of Google. [The Information]

Apple has filed a 5 5.5 billion class action lawsuit in the Netherlands over its App Store policy. [engadget]

Senate Democrat Alvaro Bedouin has advanced the nomination, which would break the 2-2 stalemate in the FTC. [Deadline]

You got hired!

Extreme Rich hires Patrick O’Donoghue as VP of business. [B&C]

News startup Semafor has hired New York Times veterinarian Rachel Goldstein as CRO. [Insider]

Performance agency WITHIN taps Hillary Reid as the new VP of marketing. [release]

AI is transforming the customer experience across all industries – but what will happen

Stefanos Kapetanakis, GVP, Data and Technology, at Publicis Health Media.

Data-driven thinking”Written by members of the media community and has new ideas about the digital revolution in the media.

Today’s column is written by Stefanos Kapetanakis, GVP, Data and Technology, at Publicis Health Media.

Primary care such as your parents knew it was no more.

There is a growing consumption in healthcare, and many patients are opting for benefits with the promise of more (and more flexible) care options than ever before. Patients jump from one physician to another based on their needs. A Recent Surveys It has been found that 35% of millennials do not even have primary care physicians.

Patients are driving their energy as consumers, and the healthcare industry needs to adapt to meet their needs and expectations. Artificial intelligence can be the key for healthcare marketers to unlock new patient economies.

The Rise of AI: From the Price Chain to Marketing

Over the years, artificial intelligence has proven to be a potential diagnostic tool in healthcare. The technology has not yet delivered. So far, it has been used primarily Streamline common tasks Across the industry.

But recent developments suggest that industry stakeholders are beginning to recognize the potential of AI to improve other processes. Recent GlobalData The analysis found that, in 2015, only four pharma companies were working with an AI vendor. But by 2020, that number has risen to 27 – a 575% increase in just half a decade. In fact, over the last seven years, nearly 100 partnerships have been formed between pharmaceutical companies and AI providers.

The goal of many such partnerships is to implement machine learning to streamline R&D processes. The discovery of medicine.

While AI remains present in the rest of the value chain, its marketing potential remains largely unnecessary. Consumer packaged products have used AI to sell what people want, but the use of AI in the pharma space has not reached that sophistication. The power of personalization is still undiscovered. If used, patients will be better served and their care path can be made much shorter.

Unwrapping marketing opportunities

Currently, the pharma marketing model relies on a product-specific approach. Direct-to-consumer marketing can often focus on products that have traditionally been largely successful for the population but not for the vast majority of patients.

In addition, the number of promotional channels, combined with increased competition, has made it difficult to measure the impact of marketing efforts on sales results. It also clouded the ability to predict which channels would lead to the best results.

Now, built on extensive industry data with AI and machine-learning-driven healthcare solutions, sales and marketing teams can accurately analyze results to adapt to health changes towards consumption. Marketers understand exactly what messages, promotional channels and sales strategies can generate feedback from customers – and When These reactions occur during the marketing process.

Meanwhile, emerging technologies are disrupting the way healthcare industry sales and marketing teams communicate with their marketing strategies. They are improving their experience-based decisions with data-driven insights that allow them to identify highly specific patient populations, customize digital engagement, and apply multi-point analysis.

The way forward

There are solutions further down the pipeline that hold even greater promise. Some industry disruptors already use AI-fueled clustering associated with consumer data to create highly personalized product recommendations. The marketing app will be to identify the best next message for the patient to move faster from their symptoms to their journey towards treatment.

In marketing, this clustering strategy can be used to serve the right content across different channels to individual patients. These recommendations will be better communicated with more data input. This will make them more relevant, though still providing customers anonymity and privacy.

Automated AI can also help deal with patient disobedience. Algorithms will eventually understand the behavioral patterns that cause it, giving marketers the opportunity to propagate personalized solutions, potential alternative care, and methods to alleviate patient anxiety and uncertainty.

In the meantime, consumer journey mapping, which uses AI, can help unravel the changing nature of consumer relationships with brands. With this insight, marketers can then positively disrupt the journey and maximize engagement by meeting expectations. They will be able to optimize processes including content sequencing, resource allocation across digital and non-digital channels and consumer targeting.

With AI technology, pharma brands and marketers can adopt a consumer-centric strategy that leads to maximum engagement, optimal return on investment, and rapid brand growth.

Follow Publicis Health Media (weettweetPHM) And AdExchanger (@ Edexchanger) On Twitter.

BDG is using its power with millennials and Z listeners

Sharon Musalli, EVP of Brand Marketing and Experience at BDG.

“The Sales Cider” is a column written by the sales party of the digital media community.

After this exclusive first appearance for customers, the story of Anthony Vargas of AdExchange will be fully published. AdExchanger.com Tomorrow

News Flash for those who need it: millennials have reached their 30s, and the oldest members of General Z have reached their mid-20s.

That’s why BDG Parenting sees opportunities vertically. BDG itself is a guardian. The media company owns numerous headlines that are popular with Jane Z and Millennials, including Bustle, W, Elite Daily and NYLON.

BDG’s acquisition of Sam Spider last year, along with subsequent parenting publications Scary Mummy, Fatherly and The Dad, was a major step towards increasing the focus on parenting.

The publisher plans to continue building an ecommerce-centric experience across its portfolio that allows local brands to target users throughout their parenting journey. Sharon Musalli, EVP of Brand Marketing and Experiential BDG, says BDG prioritizes reaching out to young adults in a way that suits them.

That means growing up on platforms like TikTok and attending live events like Coachella. At the same time, BDG is creating new ways for advertisers’ newsletters to reach the customer base.

Musley, who joined BDG as part of the Sam Spider deal, spoke with AdExchanger about his plans, as well as BDG’s IPO ambitions and more M&A work.

AdExchanger: What is the current state of BDG’s digital advertising business?

Sharon Musalli: We are experiencing about 30% annual revenue growth. Adding some spiders to our parenting portfolio opens up growth opportunities against segments like local areas for CPG, retail and other parenting.

BDG has 21.5 million followers on TikTok across all brands, and we’ve created over 100 custom content in place for brands like Gap, Sephora and Disney +. We rely heavily on revenue from custom content.

What areas of your business do you expect to grow this year?

Let me start with our CEO Brian Goldberg’s Favorite: Newsletter. The opening rate and engagement rate for the BDG portfolio is higher than what I have seen in my career. This year, we’ve seen a 25% increase in newsletter subscribers, which has also boosted our PII base.

We want to increase newsletter advertising revenue four to five times a year. We have room for growth, especially in the lifestyle and parenting sectors. Our CTO Tyler Love is working on new newsletter advertising products.

We expect 20% revenue growth in 2022 as opposed to the experience.

How are you monetizing your first-party data and preparing to finish third-party cookies?

We’re investing in our technical stack to store our data and make sure it’s clean.

Our strategy is to be ubiquitous and not completely dependent on any distribution platform. If you’re really bothered by the undervaluation of cookies, this may suggest that you rely heavily on a dot-com business. But our social diversity does not allow us to be so negatively affected by the depreciation of cookies.

BDG has used M&A as a source of growth. Will that work?

BDG will continue to be in evaluation mode, looking for acquisitions aimed at increasing our audience. We have a portfolio of 13 brands, but I can imagine a world where, in the next five years, we will have a portfolio of 15 or 20 brands.

BDG’s title Millennium and ZZ is popular with listeners, especially women. What are the opportunities for continuous growth with this audience?

Guardianship is big. The Dad and Fatherly adds part of the paternity, something that the BDG has not specifically addressed before, and it complements the terrifying mother and romper.

Guardianship is an age and stage category. You need to reach out to the parents at every stage of their journey and at all stages of the child’s life. Depending on the age and stage, you can expect a parent to have a high degree of accuracy. What are they hoping for? Do they have newborns? When you can talk about that whole journey, you can work with everyone from diaper brands to insurance companies to get a baby’s first car.

Brands want to reach out to parents in moments of acceptance. There are moments when, for example, a nursing mother feels alone, and if you can talk to her in the right tone at that moment, you have made a more meaningful connection by showing her a list of 20 products. .

How important is trade for BDG business?

Trade is essential to our diversification strategy. We do a lot with affiliates and we work with key players in the ecommerce ecosystem, including DTC brands and large retailers.

Our direct partnerships with DTC brands can drive low-funnel activity. People can scroll through our sites, view featured products in our editorial content, create a cart in real time, and check out.

Done Reported that BDG is targeting a public offer, Probably through a SPAC integration. Is that plan still working?

Brian, our CEO, focuses on a liquidation event or a public listing of the company. I won’t comment on what the funding vehicle or the pipeline is, but it’s definitely on the horizon. We were profitable in ’21, more profitable in ’22, and our acquisition strategy and other indicators led us to the universal list.

How important is diversification, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts to how BDG manages its business?

We have an inclusion council and we do training and sensitivity lessons. We have quarterly audits by our editors to evaluate coverage area and imagery. We do biennial pay benchmarking, and we have a commitment that 15% of our products, brands and freelancers come from black manufacturers.

Being a spokesperson for DEI is a long way off, but I think the industry is moving in a positive direction. But do we as a society have to move forward? Sure.

This interview has been edited and summarized.

Why Nielsen’s $ 16B buyout could increase cross-platform measurement

Nielsen is going private.

On Tuesday, the 99-year-old TV ratings giant announced an agreement to sell itself to a private equity consortium led by Brookfield Business Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation.

The PE consortium is buying a stake in Nielsen for 28, bringing the total value of the deal to 16 billion.

But the dance to get Nielsen out of the public market was already underway.

Nielsen and the consortium began their deal-or-no-deal negotiations earlier this month, after which Nielsen rejected the group’s $ 9 billion purchase offer. $ 16 billion bid bumping deal completed.

With the new owners, Nielsen’s future is no longer his own, and it is not yet clear what the consortium plans to do. In this case, however, there may be past propositions.

Elliott Investment Management, an active investor and affiliate of Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation, has already held a seat on Nielsen’s board for several years. Elliott pressured Nielsen in 2018 to sell its data analysis division NielsenIQ, splitting the two into separate companies.

Industry experts say history could repeat itself.

A private equity group is not rushing to save Nielsen with a bunch of capital as a “white knight,” Brian Hendrigan, CEO of cross-media DMP Advocado, told AdExchange.

Although Nielsen will have to invest in the innovation, it will have to make money behind the acquisition in order to return the stockholders at a premium of 60% of Nielsen’s share price before the talks are leaked. Not to mention the debt incurred.

The consortium could pull a page out of the PE playbook and move away from Nielsen’s core to create a “risky, Nielsen”, Hendrigan said, with the goal of creating a more streamlined entity, focusing on its existing specialties. Based TV ratings.

But that plan will require a lot of extra investment that may not be worth it in the end.

For example, new owners could invest in Nielsen One, Nielsen’s continuing to create cross-platform measurement solutions, or perhaps double to regain recognition from the Media Rating Council, says Bharad Ramesh, executive director of research and investment analysis at GroupM.

But the clock is ticking. Publishers are already “diversifying time and resources away from Nielsen,” Ramesh says. “Nilson One is great on paper – but it’s too late.”

For that reason, Nielsen’s re-emergence at this last stage is a dubious proposition, says John Hamilton, CEO of TVDataNow, a provider of CTV performance measurements.

Hamilton said a PE consortium “is unlikely to embrace the investment and sort of approach needed to develop a new currency in streaming.”

To make money on the deal, the new owners are likely to climb into Nielsen’s “Cash Cattle Business” (see panel rating) and “Sell Off”. [whatever] Technology they can, ”he said.

Not to mention that this year’s advances are just around the corner, and many big programmers, including NBCU, are already allowing marketers for the first time to deal with alternative measure providers. To stay competitive, Nielsen needs to have a “clear message” about the status and capabilities of its unified platform up front – and that may not happen in a few weeks, Hendrigan said.

Even if Nielsen is “sitting on a magic bean” with the answer to the cross-screen currency challenge, he added, it remains to be seen whether a spiffed-up Nielsen One will do the trick.

At the moment, when Nielsen claims that his cross-platform audience measurement capabilities are almost ready for prime time, it seems like “the boy that wolf cried.”

And when pushed, “quickly lost faith comes back very slowly,” he said. “I’m not sure it can be turned around with just one announcement.”

A “speed increase”

Nielsen’s future may be uncertain, but media experts agree that its acquisition is good news for the industry as it will create more competition.

Publishers and content providers are already signing agreements with alternative measurement providers to give marketers what they want, a faster, more transparent cross-platform currency.

Sean Cunningham, CEO of the Video Advertising Bureau and a longtime Nielsen critic, said Nielsen’s purchase was a “speed up” in that direction.

The deal makes it a “symbol of measurement and value placed on currency” among performance-oriented marketers, making it the “refuge of full-funnel metrics in front and center of TV advertising,” Cunningham told the AdExchange.

News publishers face waves of unification; Asked to see it with Facebook

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Union State

“Prestige doesn’t pay the bill.”

This is what happened in the editorial offices of several well-known publishers who formed labor unions within their workforce.

On Tuesday, 350 Condé Nast employees signed a letter requesting recognition of their union, The Washington Post The report said the proposed union would be organized under the New Guild of New York and would represent more than 500 condensed Nast workers in the editorial and video production divisions across 11 titles. Condডে activism follows recent newsroom union campaigns, including The New Yorker’s editorial department Last year.

And don’t forget about BuzzFeed The announcement was made during his first earnings report Last week it planned to reduce its newsroom staff by about a third through voluntary purchases. BuzzFeed News Union Voted irresistibly Take a turn for the better if negotiations with management approve a strike on Tuesday. The action was approved by more than 90% of New York’s Newsgild.

Organized by Gizmodo Media Group Successful four-day strike Earlier this month. And Warcatter cut a deal with the New York Times in mid-December 2021 after it went on strike during the holiday shopping season to put pressure on management.

You will not believe what will happen in the end!

Facebook warns publishers to avoid “watchbat” strategies that users typically don’t like to watch in order to complete or watch videos, Search Engine Land Report

For example, sometimes a caption does not match the content, retains information or otherwise shamelessly entices the viewer to see more.

“Her response was invaluable !! 😂😂” or “Then her GF did it !!!” Two examples cited by a company Blog post.

Meta and other video platforms should see it (literally) as TikTok has become more popular. You can learn from how TikTok takes viewers to videos that meet certain thresholds for algorithmic virality. Already Instagram Heat absorption Thank you so much for showing so many new story videos to users, many of whom have already had enough.

Some influential or viral-thirsty story posts are forced to include multiple-line text for quick video retrieval. Another strategy is to misspell one or two words, because people are forced to comment with corrections and the algorithm logs the engagement with responsibility. Although these strategies were not quoted in the Meter “Watchbate” update, they do show how easily games can be played before new formats are better understood.

Heavy lying crona

Sweden’s privacy regulator, the Swedish Authority for Privacy Protection (dubbed IMY), has fined Clarna, a Swedish buy-now-pay-a-letter service, 7.5 million kroner (about $ 800,000) for violating GDPR on how it uses customer information.

The investigation is based on Clarner’s request for consent and data usage in the spring of 2020 IMY said Clarna failed to inform users “how personal data was processed in one of the company’s services”. Blog post (Or a translation, at least). The agency also failed to warn customers that data would be transferred to non-EU countries.

One Klarna service that may surprise some users who agree to the data collection is its Marketing Solutions Group, which includes retail customer acquisitions and an ad network. In 2020 the platform sank to the ground.

Clariner advertising technology may or may not attract the attention of IMY. But the privacy lawsuit shows how the ad, seen as less hanging fruit Virtually no company Containing first-party data and / or a captive audience can be risky which should be balanced against easy income picking.

Apple bites

Apple is winning in some new arenas. It recently beat all other streaming services at the Oscars for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, has a growing service business (meaning its fees on app subscriptions and in-app revenue) and is surfing a privacy wave that has knocked out its competition.

But it’s not the same Apple as 10 or 15 years ago.

According to the eCommerce newsletter, “For Apple, hardware is the next thought.” 2 p.m..

Japanese News Agency Nikkei reports Apple is reducing production of iPhones and AirPods due to inflation and supply-chain costs. Yet Apple still expects revenue, profit and even profit margins to be up-and-down. What’s behind it?

Well, Apple has released new products with much higher prices. But another big factor is the profit margin it will win in advertising.

In the four years from 2017 to the end of 2021, Apple’s annual advertising revenue increased from about $ 300 million to $ 4 billion. Facebook made a similar jump from $ 750 million in 2009 advertising to $ 4.2 billion by the end of 2012. Fast-forward to nine years, and Meta earned about $ 118 billion in advertising revenue in 2021.

I mean, Apple couldn’t do that.

But … couldn’t do it?

But wait, there’s more!

Data collection by Russian technology giant Yandex raises security concerns. Information collected through the app is sent to Russian servers on Apple- and Google-powered mobile devices. [FT]

FTC offers free tax filing Intuit suit for TurboTax ads. [WSJ]

Privacy Regulation is a lively (one way of saying) question and answer session with the IAB EVP and General Counsel Michael Han. [Digiday]

CRM marketing company Optimove has acquired mobile app messaging technology Cumulus. [release]

You got hired!

IAS vet Matt Nijic has joined U of Digital as Head of Learning and Development. [release]

Spanish content platform Canella Media has hired David Gracie as SVP of commercial operations and Kirsten Amley as SVP of content distribution and general consulting. [release]

Fireworks brings Matthew Lynch as DTC, Global Head of Industry. [release]