The Medium identifies a few key trends each fiscal quarter that reveal the most important tensions and seismic shifts in the media marketplace. The key trends help you answer a simple question: "What's next for media, and where's it all going? How are the pieces lining up for business models to evolve, succeed, or fail?"
Read the three key trends The Medium will be focused on in Q3 2023. This essay focuses on "There is a less-discussed lens on how the demand for “premium content” is being redefined by creators, tech companies and 10 million emerging advertisers."
I closed out Monday’s mailing with a short section on transparency. I neglected to include that one of my predictions for 2023 in my Medium Shift column for The Information focused on transparency: “Ad-supported tiers are black boxes within black boxes within black boxes”. But I also noted how investors “get next to nothing” from legacy media streamers, “making their streaming performance data and finances largely black boxes.”
Eight months later, transparency is a hot topic.
Notably, the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and The Screen Actors Guild - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have asked for more data transparency from streamers.
Tony Gilroy, director of “Andor” on Disney+, summed up how this plays out for creatives in a recent interview:
One of the central issues of this entire labor experience is that I don’t have any idea what the audience is. We don’t know what that is, and I think that the obscurity of data doesn’t help anyone.
Also, a recent Wall Street Journal article reporting about 80% of Google’s video-ad placements on third-party sites violated promised standards. But as Simulmedia founder and CEO Dave Morgan recently argued, fraud in digital advertising happens not only because there is a lack of transparency, but because “so many folks are making so much money pushing budgets downstream and taking cuts as the money passes them, that the last thing that any of them want is to know where the ad ended up actually running and how many rules were broken in between.”
The strikes and The Wall Street Journal article have cast an ethical lens on the transparency of both streamers and digital video advertising platforms. But, I believe it is easier to understand the questions around transparency as less an ethical issue, only, and more as the interplay of a few key factors. 
It is hard to imagine a lone standard of transparency across streaming and video advertising emerging from these dynamics. It is even harder to imagine a resolution to the demands for transparency in the Hollywood strikes.
Total words: 1,500
Total time reading: 6 minutes