The WiR: Facebook Sued Over Video Metrics, Rubicon Project Cuts Workforce by 19 Percent, Warnings for TV Advertising Revenues


In this week’s Week in Review: shopping comes to Instagram, Facebook gets into gaming and little cheer this Christmas for the TV ad world. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Three Marketers to Sue Facebook over Video Metrics

Three marketers who say they purchased video ads on Facebook are suing the social network for allegedly providing incorrect metrics about the length of time that users spent watching video ads, reports MediaPost. The marketers claim that Facebook “induced” advertisers to purchase video ads and to pay higher rates for them by overstating the time that people spent watching the ads. Recently it was discovered that Facebook said the the average time spent viewing ad clips was up to 60 percent to 80 percent longer than they were in reality. Whilst Facebook said in September that its mistaken calculations didn’t affect how much people were charged, the marketers contend that the incorrect metrics made video ads appear more valuable than was the case. The class-action complaint was filed last week in the US District Court for the Northern District of California.

Rubicon Project Cuts Workforce by 19 Percent

Rubicon Project said on Wednesday Wednesday during its third-quarter earnings call that revenues were down because of this year’s election, saying that the company was affected by the presidential race which led some advertisers to hold back on their digital spend. The company is also feeling the pinch after being slow to push out its header bidding solution. Rubicon also announced that it will reduce its workforce by 125 employees, or about 19% of its workforce, which they say will reduce employee-related costs on an annual basis by approximately $18 million.

Shopping is Coming to Instagram
Starting next week, Instagram will be testing a way for users to read discover more information about and buy items they view within an Instagram post. 20 US-based retail brands including Kate Spade, JackThreads and Warby Parker will trial the feature. Each post will have a tap to view icon at the bottom left of a photo. When tapped, a tag will appear on various products in the post—showcasing up to five products and their prices. Then, if the consumer taps the Shop Now link from the product details view, they’ll go directly to that product on the business’ website.

Facebook Releases Gameroom, its PC Steam Competitor
Facebook is making a big push into playing on PC with the developer launch of its Gameroom Windows desktop gaming platform. After months of name changes, beta tests and dev solicitation, Facebook opened up the beta build for all developers and officially named it Gameroom. The app is openly available for users to download on Windows 7 and up. Gameroom let users play web, ported mobile and native Gameroom games in a dedicated PC app free from the distractions of the News Feed.

Little Christmas Cheer this Christmas for TV Advertising 
Fuelled by the economic uncertainty caused by Brexit, TV advertising revenues are set to stall in 2016, ending six consecutive years of record growth. According to the FT, which cites several people in the TV and advertising industry, revenues for the three months to the end of September were down 1 per cent year on year. And forecasts for the final quarter of the year are even worse: executives and analysts predict an annual drop of between 5 per cent and 6 per cent. This would mean 2016 would end up flat or even slightly down on the £5bn spent on TV advertising in 2015, the worst full-year performance in the UK since 2009, following the financial crisis.

WPP Reports Advertising Slowdown in the UK
WPP said revenue increased by 23 per cent to £3.6bn, in the three months to the end of September, driven by growth in North America and Europe. However, like-for-like sales growth in the UK in the third quarter dipped to 2.1 per cent – down from 3.5 per cent for the previous quarter. Sir Martin Sorrell, who backed Remain, reiterates that WPP will place a greater emphasis on growth in western continental Europe. The firm, which generates more than 90 per cent or its sales outside the UK, said that it had significantly benefited from the falling value of the pound.

Google Ad Revenue Rises 18 Per Cent
Google’s global ad revenues grew 18 per cent year on year in the three months to 30 September. Total revenue for Google rose 20 per cent to $22.3bn from $18.5bn last year. Google’s websites pulled in an extra 23 per cent of revenue year on year to $16bn. Paid clicks on Google sites rose 42 per cent compared with the same period last year, and 11 per cent compared to the second quarter this year. Aggregated paid clicks increased by 33 per cent year on year.

Facebook’s Ad Revenue Jumps Nearly 59 Per Cent in Q3, Increases Focus on Video
Facebook’s revenue in the third quarter of the year jumped 59 per cent from the same period a year ago, thanks largely to the continued growth in ad revenue from the network’s mobile advertising. 84 per cent of the company’s Q2 advertising revenue comes from mobile ads, which appear on Facebook, Instagram and across Audience Network, its mobile ad network. However, Facebook’s management, in an analysts call on November 2 said it was cautious about the company’s ad-revenue prospects this coming year. Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told analysts that video was now his first priority. 

UK’s Creatives Concerned Brexit will Stunt Performance
Britain’s creative industries face skills shortages and lost growth if Brexit means UK companies cannot hire from Europe or lose access to the EU market. In a report detailing the concerns of film, TV, publishing, media companies and cultural institutions about Britain’s future outside the EU, the Creative Industries Federation said the sector was one of the “powerhouses” of the economy. Exports rose by 49 per cent between 2009 and 2014, it said, compared with 30 per cent for UK industries as a whole. The fastest growing part of the services sector was driven by activity in film, TV, music and computer programming.

Pornhub Eyes Up Vine 
Adult entertainment giant Pornhub wants to get its hands on Twitter’s Vine. In a formal offer to Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Pornhub chief executive Corey Price offered to buy the company outright, as long as the platform turns its focus to porn teasers.

Facebook Defends ‘Ethnic Affinity’ Ad Targeting
Facebook’s head of multicultural, Christian Martinez, has defended the company’s use of targeting on ethnic lines. The social media giant told the news service ProPublica that it began offering the “ethnic affinity” categories in the last two years as part of a “multicultural advertising” effort. Facebook’s head of multicultural, Christian Martinez, said the targeting “reflects an advertiser’s respect for the diverse communities it is trying to reach.”

Amazon Share Price Tanks After Earnings Miss Expectations
Amazon shares fell in extended trading after it reported earnings per share that came in far below analyst estimates on Thursday. The company posted third-quarter earnings per share of 52 cents on revenue of $32.71 billion. Analysts expected the online retail giant to post earnings of 78 cents a share on revenue of $32.69 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters consensus estimate. The stock fell more than 5 percent in extended trading.

Warc Predicts Slowing Adspend Growth in 2017
UK adspend is expected to grow 5.6 per cent this year and 4.3 per cent next year, ahead of global rates, according to the latest Consensus Ad Forecast from Warc. The report stated: “The two largest (mediums), TV and internet are forecast to see their growth rate ease during 2017. The same is true for mobile, though it is still set to be the fastest-growing ad channel over the period.” Mobile adspend is expected to grow by 47.1 per cent this year, and 34.2 per cent next year.

Digital Ad Revenue Sets Another Record
Digital advertising revenue reached a new high of $32.7 billion for the first half of 2016, up 19 per cent from last year’s record $27.5 billion, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Growth was fuelled by mobile, which looks on pace to overtake desktop as soon as this year’s end. Mobile represented 47 per cent of all digital ad spend, whilst Total digital video, including mobile and desktop, rose to $3.9 billion in HY 2016, up 51 per cent from $2.6 billion in HY 2015.

Giphy Wins $72m Silicon Valley Funding
Giphy, the specialist animated gif search engine, has raised $72m from Silicon Valley based venture capital investors in under a year. Welcoming the cash injection Giphy said in a blog post: “Now, even more people will get to have fun with Giphy all over the world.

Apple Unveils Discover & Watch TV App
Apple has introduced a new TV app, offering a unified experience for discovering and accessing TV shows and movies from multiple apps on Apple TV, iPhone and iPad. Apple has also introduced a new Siri feature for Apple TV that lets viewers tune in directly to live news and sporting events across their apps.

Wochit Raises $13m in Funding
Social video creation platform Wochit has announced receipt of $13 million (€11.9m) in funding, with investment from media giants ProSieben, Singapore Press Holdings’ SPH Media Fund, Carlo de Benedetti and several existing investors including Redpoint, Marker and Cedar Fund. The funds will be used to enhance Wochit’s technology and to expand its business with publishers and content creators worldwide.

Spanish TV Duopoly Intensifies
The dominant position of the two largest TV groups Mediaset and Atresmedia in the Spanish FTA market is intensifying. The latest report from Infoadex confirms that the two groups now control 86.4 per cent of the TV ad revenues. To September 30th 2016 the two groups took €1.308.6 million from the total TV ad pie of €1.515 billion, the 13 existing regional TV stations and a hundred private TV stations only took a sixth of the total amount controlled by those two largest groups.

Massive Growth in Mobile Video Viewing

Whilst both mobile video and on-demand TV viewing have soared over the past seven years, content discovery remains a huge frustration for consumers according to Ericsson’s annual ConsumerLab TV & Media Report. Average viewing times on mobile devices has grown by more than 200 hours a year since 2012, driving up overall TV and video viewing by an additional 1.5 hours a week. The surge in mobile viewing is offset with a decline in fixed screen viewing of 2.5 hours a week.

89 Per Cent of Viewing Still on TV
Viewers continue to leave the desktop for smartphones, according to the Video Advertising Bureau’s (VAB) latest State of Digial Video report. Still, 89 per cent of viewing is on TV with 8 out of 10 minutes on Live TV and time watching TVs still beat time watching on smartphones 9 to 1 (desktop time also beats smartphones, 7 to 1). What isn’t changing is what they’re watching, predominantly TV shows.

Twitter Tests Opening All Web Links in Safari’s Ad-free “Reader Mode” on iOS
The latest move to make Twitter easier to use involves the iOS app launching web links in Safari with the Reader mode automatically turned on. The test was first spotted by The Guardian, who noticed that all the links they were clicking on in the iOS version of the Twitter mobile app were opening up in Safari with the Reader mode already enabled.

Video, Not Gaming, will be Most Used VR Content
VR video will generate revenues of $8.2 billion (€7.4bn) by 2020, surpassing video games as the number one revenue category within VR in 2019, according to Ovum.

Google’s Daydream View VR Headset Arrives in Stores November 10
Google has announced that November 10th is the date you’ll be able to get your hands on Daydream View, the new headset for Daydream-ready Android phones. The View headset will arrive in the Google Store online, and at retailers in the US, Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia on November 10 for $79 US.

PlayStation Vue on Sony TVs
The Internet-based live TV service PlayStation Vue is now available on all Sony’s premium Android TVs. PlayStation Vue lets users watch live TV, movies and sports content without a cable or satellite subscription.

Partnerships of the Week:
In-View Native Ads Now Available Programmatically
Vibrant Media has partnered with Appnexus to enable programmatic trading of all formats by Q1 2017. In-View video, rich media and static image formats available programmatically will all be available programmatically from now. The In-View range joins the In-Text, In-Image and Adhesion banner formats in Vibrant Media’s portfolio of programmatic native ads.

The Trade Desk Integrates Integral Ad Science’s Video Viewability Pre-Bid Targeting
The Trade Desk will integrate Integral Ad Science (IAS)’s full pre-bid video targeting suite to its platform, in order to increase the efficiency of their programmatic digital video buys.

First Addressable TV Advertising in Scandinavia
R-Kioski and Sanoma have launched HbbTV addressable TV campaigns with technology solutions from Digita and Icareus for the first time ever in Scandinavia.

Hires of the Week:

Mediavest Appoints Rachel Forde to be UK Chief Executive
Rachel Forde has been named chief executive officer of Publicis’ Mediavest UK. She joins the company from her previous role, as managing director of P&G United. 

Adam & Eve Poaches Grey’s ‘Life Paint’ Creative Duo
Jonas Roth and Rasmus Smith Bech agreed this week to join the Omnicom agency and will start before Christmas, from Grey.

Viacom Appoints Robert Bakish as CEO
Viacom has named Robert Bakish as acting president and chief executive to succeed the departing interim boss Tom Dooley. Bakish has been at Viacom for 19 years.

Google Appoints Ronan Harris as MD
Ronan Harris has been promoted from EMEA sales lead to managing director of Google UK and Ireland. Ireland-based Harris will make the move to London to perform the role, having been at the company for 11 years.

This Week on VAN:
Is Facebook a Friend, Foe or Frenemy to Publishers? #NVF16, read more on VAN

People Watching in the Internet Age, #NVF16, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: One Man, Many Opinions, Laphroaig Whiskey, Multiply
Everyone has an opinion about whiskey. That’s why Laphroaig made this three and a half hour long video with Andy Daly, to highlight feedback from its long standing #opinionsmatter campaign. Whether you think Laphroaig is fiery heaven, or bog water, it’s worth a watch.


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