CMO Today: Marketers Seize More Control; Web Firms Buoy Ad Spending; Apple’s $1 Billion Content Budget

Good morning. President Donald Trump’s response to the violence that erupted in Charlottesville this weekend continues to dominate the headlines and present tough questions for companies assessing the brand risk of having ties to the administration. As The Wall Street Journal reports, recent events have “sparked a new round of soul-searching in U.S. corporate boardrooms over whether they should keep working closely with the White House.” One crisis management expert in the article is recommending corporate clients avoid any official Trump advisory panel or White House gathering of business leaders altogether.

Depending on which research you look at, spend on digital advertising has already eclipsed, or will overtake spend on “traditional” media this year. That inflection point, plus the heightened levels of scrutiny leveled at the online supply chain, has led to marketers increasingly taking back control of some of the digital advertising duties they once farmed out to their agencies, I reported for CMO Today. A survey from the World Federation of Advertisers found marketers have taken a range of actions over the past 12 months, such as setting up “hybrid” programmatic models — where they are building their own internal trading desks to handle a percentage of their digital ad spend — and adding clauses to their contracts about data ownership and audit rights. It’s important to note that agencies aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Marketers still benefit from their scale, expertise and experience dealing directly with digital vendors. But it can only be a good thing that more marketers are finally waking up to the fact that they need a complete handle over their digital activities.

Ad-funded internet companies are leading by example. Web companies increased their U.S. ad spending in the most-recent quarter at a “significantly faster pace” than other types of advertisers, according to Pivotal Research Group senior analyst Brian Wieser. That helped the overall U.S.ad market grow by around 5% in the second quarter, despite an estimated 1% decline in national TV advertising, double-digit declines for most print-based media and decreased spending among consumer packaged goods companies. Of course, the big spenders, like Google and Amazon, are also the online ad sellers benefiting from the wider digital advertising splurge. But all good things come to an end. Mr. Wieser says the double-digit growth in digital advertising we’ve witnessed in…