Week In Review: YouTube to Launch Ad-Free Subscription Service, Vivaki Restructures, Outstream Outperforms Pre-Roll


The assault on ad-funded business models continues. Last week it was ad blockers, this week there was big news about even YouTube considering a subscription model. Welcome to VAN’s Week in Review. For a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the Weekly Video Round-Up.

YouTube Launching Ad-Free Subscription Service
CNBC reports that Google is preparing to launch an ad-free YouTube subscription service. Last year YouTube allowed u The online video portal is in the midst of ‘fine-tuning the experience’ which is likely to launch in a few months, according to Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s head of content and business operations, speaking at the Code/Media conference in California. The move would allow YouTube to compete with companies such as Netflix and represent a significant change for the site, whose ad-supported videos currently attract more than one billion users a month.

VivaKi Restructures As It Evolves Into an Agency Trading Desk Model
Publicis’ programmatic arm VivaKi is to evolve its centralised agency trading desk model and embed the skills of its programmatic ad traders into all media agencies within the group according to AdAge. The move will see VivaKi ad traders redistributed to the other Publicis media agencies, which include Starcom MediaVest, Walker Media and ZenithOptimedia. Details are yet to be revealed as to how many people will be redistributed globally, though it has been reported that some 120 ad buyers will be moved in the US. Those that remain at VivaKi will now focus on training, research and development, data management and analytics. The changes are indicative of the ongoing conversations in the market as to the requirement for agency holding group trading desks to evolve, as increasingly brands favour in-house trading desk models.

YouTube Goes After Brand Sponsored Video
According to Digiday, a revised FAQ document in YouTube’s help and support section reveals the amended ad policies which block ‘graphical title cards’ from sponsors aiming to promote their brands and products on its channels. Video overlays of sponsor logos and product branding are no longer allowed, unless the sponsor pays Google to advertise on that channel.
YouTube has also created a new ad unit it calls a ‘product card,’ a six-second pre-roll spot. Although it will live outside the main video content, this in-stream unit enables brands to sponsor content, inserting a quick message or endorsement before the video rolls. Product cards will become part of standard media packages the company sells to advertisers, said Paul Kontonis, executive director of the Global Online Video Association. YouTube declined to comment on the new ad unit.

Facebook Says a Video Ad Followed by a Photo Ad Drives Most Conversions
This was also the week that Facebook Marketing Science analysed sequenced photo and video campaigns for effectiveness in driving transactions. You can see the results below:

Teads inRead Outperforms Pre-Roll According to Nielsen
The format of an online video ad and the context in which it appears have a material impact on ad effectiveness metrics, according to a new Nielsen study commissioned by Teads this week. Nielsen created two mock-up ad environments, each featuring the same consumer electronics brand video ad. However, in one environment the ad creative was delivered using the inRead format, and a skippable pre-roll format was used in the other. The report reveals that inRead outperformed the skippable pre-roll across a range of metrics, including purchase intent, particularly amongst viewers aged between 18-34 years old.

Video Streaming is Narrowing Gap on Broadcast TV, Say Ericsson
Online video streaming is closing the gap on linear TV with a gap of just two percentage points in terms of weekly consumption, according to a new study by Ericsson. Read Full Story on VAN.

YouTube Comes to China
Google launched a YouTube channel for Chinese-speaking developers as part of an effort to open up its Android platform to more Mandarin-speaking mobile devs. The channel features original content in Mandarin and curated English content with subtitles. The growing Android saturation in China, where mobile ad spend is increasing, make this a smart move. However, some commentators are calling it the new ‘Great Wall of China’.

Still No Programmatic Revenue For YuMe, Expects Growth in Q3 and Q4
Nearly a year since video ad platform YuMe entered into programmatic by launching the Video Reach buying platform, it still has no revenue attributable to the practice. YuMe, which had invested 5 percent of total revenue into programmatic, expects it to contribute to top-line growth ‘within the second half of the year,’ CEO Jayant Kadambi said during the company’s Q4 earnings call Wednesday.

Snagfilms Launches ViewLift To Target Video App Audiences
It doesn’t matter how mighty the brand, building experiences across 15 device and app environments is still a tall order. On Thursday, video publisher SnagFilms and Indiewire launched ViewLift, aiming to help media networks as well as brands target video app audiences and boost discoverability across mobile devices, smart TVs and set-top boxes. ViewLift has partnerships with 21 digital platforms and device manufacturers, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, LG, Microsoft Xbox, Samsung and Sony PlayStation. It has three beta customers: a major sports league, a major media network and a continuing education company.

Lumia and Rightster Partner for Battle of the Vloggers
Rightster and Microsoft Lumia have teamed up with Grammy award winning and Brit award nominated band Clean Bandit to challenge top YouTube vloggers across Europe to submit their own crowd-sourced versions of the video to the recent hit single ‘Rather Be’. The videos have been created at least partially using Lumia handsets. Thirteen top YouTubers from across Europe have been posting their ideas, produced with the help of their subscriber bases. Clean Bandit chose the winning entry by Włodek & Karol from Lekko Stronniczy, which was all shot by a Lumia 930 in RAW. The duo will now collaborate with the band on their next music video.

SpotXchange Opens Singapore Office as Programmatic Video Surges Across Asia
In response to explosive growth in Asia, SpotXchange, platform for video advertising, has opened a Singapore office to spearhead growth in the region. APAC was the fastest growing region for the global company in 2014, outpacing North America and Europe in programmatic revenue growth, managing director, Matt Von der Muhll revealed, announcing the opening of the office this week. SpotXchange’s net programmatic revenue growth year on year was 319 percent for the region in 2014, outpacing global programmatic revenue growth of 208 percent.

Blinkx Appoints Sudhi Herle as Chief Product Officer
Blinkx announced the appointment of Mr Sudhi Herle as Chief Product Officer this week. Herle will be based in San Francisco and lead the product, engineering and operations teams across the company. Previously, Herle was Global Head of Enterprise Products at Samsung, where he was instrumental in creating the Samsung Knox platform. Herle is a key hire to fortify blinkx’s position in an industry moving toward better audience filtering, targeting, and segmentation across screens, with mobile as the lynchpin.

And Finally…Parks and Recreation Spoof Major US Brands

NBC’s Parks and Recreation will come to an end soon, but not before they’ve taken a pot shot at US video advertising. Set in 2017, the show spoofs casinos, mega-companies and fast food in their fake ads. Here’s one for the ‘Paunch Burger’:


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