The WiR: Google Acquires OTT Platform Company, Smartphone Users Pay Little Attention to Display, Apple Shutters iAd

In this week’s Week in Review: HTC launches VR-focused investor consortium, Liberty Global acquires Technetix and smartphone users ignore ads according to report. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Google Pushes Deeper into OTT with Anvato Acquisition
Google announced today that they are to acquire Anvato, a software platform that fully automates the encoding, editing, publishing and secure distribution of video content across multiple platforms. The move is expected to push Google closer into competition with the cloud services provided by Amazon and IBM.

Interstitial Ads Only Slightly More Effective Than Banners
Users viewing news on smartphones barely pay attention to ads, according to the results of neuroscience research conducted by WPP agency Light Reaction and Bethesda, Md., Lab Spark Experience. The research found that time spent looking at ads was less than 200 milliseconds per view, while time spent looking at interstitial ads was slightly more than 800 milliseconds.

Apple Pulls the Shutters Down on iAd 
Apple’s iAd App Network, which debuted in 2010 as an ads developer platform for the company’s iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad devices, has now shut down. Apple’s iAd platform was launched as a means of leveraging the company’s massive installed customer base.

Programmatic Driving Ad Growth
Growth in the amount of video ad slots available programmatically helped drive a 74 per cent increase in paid ad impressions online in the first quarter, according to research by online video platform provider Ooyala. The report also showed a huge use of ad-blocking, and advised investment in ad reinsertion technology to combat it.

Woven Digital Raises $18 Million
The parent company of HitFix, Uproxx and BroBible, Woven Digital, has raised $18.5 million in Series B funding led by WPP Ventures, the investment arm of ad giant WPP. Woven said it will use the new funding to expand its studio operations and original video production, as well as scale its coverage of news, sports, and entertainment.

YouTube to Take “Human” Approach to Video Talent
YouTube plans to do more to nurture the next generation of video talent on its service by introducing new technology and hiring real people to help advise a new generation of talent.


Sizmek Opens Data Centre in Germany
Ad tech company, Sizmek, has opened a new data centre in Frankfurt, Germany. The opening of the centre will allow it to better adhere to the upcoming pan-European data protection rules, plus address advertiser issues such as latency when bidding on inventory.

European SVoD Subscriptions to Reach 50 Million
Subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) subscribers in Europe grew 56 per cent in just one year between 2014 and 2015, the “Market Insights: SVoD in Europe” report from EBU’s Media Intelligence Service (MIS) has found. Subscribers are expected to reach 50 million homes by 2020.

TV Networks Need Overhaul to Beat Netflix
Traditional content creators will need a complete overhaul if they’re to compete with Netflix, Moody’s has predicted. The report shows that Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Sling TV are all challenging the long established model of buying and aggregating content in traditional pay and free TV.

Lionsgate Purchase Starz
Studio Lionsgate has acquired cable channels provider Starz. Lionsgate will have production interests spanning TV and film, and will also have the Starz Arabia SVoD service.

PS4 VR Sets Sell Out
Pre-orders for the PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset have already sold out in the US, with shortages also predicted for the UK. Games review site IGN said the final wave of pre-order headsets, which went live on June 30th, were snapped up “within minutes”.

Kin Community Raises $13.5 Million in Funding Round
Female-orientated YouTube company, Kin Community, has raised $13.5 million in Series D funding led by Emil Capital Partners. Kin will use the financing to increase its original production and distribution across social, OTT and traditional media platforms, as well as expand into new global markets, including Australia and the United Kingdom.

Confusion Over Programmatic Video Continues
Programmatic has been described as “the automated buying and selling of inventory,” by the IAB as they issue a white paper that aims to clear up the confusion around programmatic buying. The IAB report says that there are many distinct processes within buying and selling workflows that can and cannot be automated, specifically as it relates to targeting, forecasting, transacting, delivery of creative assets, and reporting.

NBC To Show Olympics in VR
NBC Olympics will provide Virtual Reality (VR) coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games exclusively to authenticated users of compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones together with Samsung Gear VR via the NBC Sports app.

Media Giants Dominate TV
European TV is dominated by big companies like Deutsche Telekom, Liberty Global, Orange, Sky, Viasat and Vivendi, according to a report from The European Audiovisual Observatory. The report found that a group of 15 media giants dominate pay TV within the European Union, accounting for almost 70 per cent of the bloc’s pay TV homes.

Global Pay TV Subs Up
The worldwide number of pay-TV subscribers has risen by 6.90 million, or 1.68 per cent, in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Informitv Multiscreen Index. Sixty of the hundred leading pay-TV services in the latest Multiscreen Index report showed net subscriber gains in the quarter.

Streaming Services Rise as Piracy Goes Down
A “steep rise” in the use of streaming services like Netflix and Spotify has coincided with a decline online copyright infringement, according to UK government research. The report from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) shows that 52 per cent of internet users now use streaming services to consumer content online and notes there has been a “small but significant” drop in online piracy.

Amazon Leads German SVoD Market
Nearly half of broadband users in Germany subscribe to a VoD service, according to GoldMedia. Amazon and Netflix lead the market, but Amazon Prime is way out in front, claiming 32 per cent of all SVoD users, followed by Netflix with 17 per cent.

HTC Launches VR-Focused Investor Consortium
HTC has created the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance (VRVCA), a consortium of venture capital firms who invest in the VR industry. The VRVCA members together represent well over $10 billion of investible capital.

Mobile Revenue to Hit $25 Billion
Worldwide revenue from mobile video will reach $25 billion by 2021, according to research from Strategy Analytics. The growth in mobile video revenue will be in part driven by advertisers seeking to reach an increasing audience of users that are consuming video on their smartphones and tablets.

SourceKnowledge Introduces Native Ad Unit to Serve Video Ads on Non-Video Inventory
SourceKnowledge has launched native video JavaScript ad units for desktop and mobile. This unit allows video ads to be served on non-video inventory such as blog posts and slideshow articles. 

Facebook Introduces Live Video Changes
At VidCon last week, Facebook introduced three new product updates to its live-streaming platform. Soon, Facebook Live users will be able to create two-person remote broadcasts, pre-schedule live streams with virtual waiting rooms, and broadcast using MSQRD face masks. The masks will allow Snapchat-style filters on live videos, comes following Facebook’s acquisition of video filter app MSQRD in March.

Partnerships of the Week: 

Verizon Renews Rovi Portfolio Deal
Verizon Communications Inc. has signed a multi-year patent license renewal with Rovi Corporation that runs into the next decade. With this agreement, Rovi now has eight of the top 10 U.S. pay-TV providers under license.

Publicis Groupe Inks Data Deal With Tencent
The Chinese mobile-marketing company, Tencent, has inked a global deal with Publicis Groupe. Tencent, who own the messaging app WeChat and digital platform QQ, plans to give Publicis Groupe access to its behavioural data.

Nexguard Covers Zee TV
Conent company, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises is deploying NexGuard forensic watermarking system at its Mumbai facilities.

Hires of the Week:

Caspar Schlickum Moves to Wunderman
Digital agency Wunderman has appointed Caspar Schlickum to the position of CEO for the Asia-Pacific region. Schlickum is moving from EMEA CEO of Xaxis to take responsibility for developing and expanding Wunderman’s offering in the region, with a particular emphasis on digital and data-driven marketing.

Group M Appoints Connect UK MD
Media investment management group, Group M, has appointed Dave Hompe to a new role as Managing Director for GroupM Connect in the U.K. Hompe has held leadership positions in a range of media agencies including Isobar, Starcom and OMD.

Twitter Hires Ex-Facebook Technology Chief
Facebook’s former chief technology officer, Bret Taylor, has been appointed by Twitter to its board with immediate effect. Taylor currently serves as chief executive of start-up, Quip.

New CRO for VideoAmp
Cross-screen optimisation platform, VideoAmp, has appointed its first Chief Revenue Officer, Michael Parkes. Parkes will be responsible for revenue generation and scaling the sales organisation and joins from Amobee.

Vivendi Appoints Gameloft Chief
Five members proposed by Vivendi to the Board of Directors of Gameloft have been appointed. The Board of Directors held a meeting at which it appointed Stéphane Roussel as Chairman and CEO of Gameloft.

FTTH Appoints New Director General
The Fibre to the Home Council has appointed a new Director General, Erzsébet Fitori. The new role will begin on the first of September 2016. Fitori was formerly Director at the European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA).

This Week on VAN:

New Tech Frontiers Will Force the Advertising Industry to Rethink Brand Experiences, read more on VAN

Programmatic TV: the State of Play, read more on VAN

Facilitating a Transparent Marketplace: Challenging the Status Quo, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Pep Talk, Cisco, Goodby Silverstein & Partners

This man just bought a goat with his mobile phone… Ewan McGregor reflects on the achievements of human kind.

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