The WiR: NBCUniversal Invests $200 Million in BuzzFeed, Instagram Clones Snapchat and Facebook, Google and IBM to Expand Size of UK Operations


In this week’s Week in Review: NBCUniversal invests a further $200 million in BuzzFeed, Instagram clones Snapchat and Facebook, Google and IBM to expand size of UK operations. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

NBCUniversal Invests a Further $200 Million in BuzzFeed
Comcast’s NBCUniversal has invested an additional $200 million in Buzzfeed, following a previous $200 million investment in August. NBCU will sell ads for the news network; they’ll team up to develop advertiser-friendly digital video content and BuzzFeed will expand its food-oriented Tasty platform, as well as digital video operations in Los Angeles, New York and elsewhere.

NBCUniversal Digital Enterprises President Maggie Suniewick says they hope to “collaborate in more innovative ways that drive value for both companies.”

And BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti says the additional cash “allows us to remain a fully independent company but have access to and resources from the strongest and best media company there is.”

Instagram Unveils Live-streaming Function and Snapchat-style Disappearing Messages
Instagram is taking on rival Snapchat by updating its app with a disappearing private messaging function. The image and video-sharing platform has made several key changes, the first of which will allow users to broadcast live within Instagram Stories. The feature is similar to sister company Facebook’s Live function but varies in that videos will disappear when the broadcast ends rather than being saved to the app. A second update comprises of a disappearing private messaging feature which will give subscribers the opportunity to send disappearing photos and videos directly to groups and individual friends via Instagram’s Direct Message function.

Facebook, Google and IBM to Expand Size of UK Operations
Facebook will expand its workforce by 50 per cent next year when it opens its new London headquarters in Fitzrovia. It will hire an additional 500 staff, including marketers, sales staff, engineers and project managers. The development comes a week after Google chief executive Sundar Pichai reaffirmed his company was “committed to the UK” and planned to hire 3,000 more staff in the country and IBM confirmed it would open four new data centres. The UK is home to Facebook’s largest engineering base outside of the US, with projects including Workplace, a platform to improve communications in the work place and Aquila, a solar-powered, unmanned plane that provides internet connectivity to remote regions.

A senior Facebook boss has this week accused parents in the UK of helping their children to open an account before they are 13, flouting the minimum age restriction for signing up to the social media giant. Facebook’s policy director, Simon Milner, was giving evidence on Tuesday before a parliamentary committee looking into issues surrounding children’s use of the internet. In the same week, several Facebook employees have reportedly quit over plans to censor certain posts in China.

Sapient Nitro and Razorfish Merge to Form ‘SapientRazorfish’
Publicis’ SapientNitro and Razorfish have merged to form SapientRazorfish. The company claim the new entity will be “designed to better fuse the significant experience and technology capability across the two businesses in response to client needs for digital expertise at scale”.

Facebook Tests Real-Time Ads For Live Videos
Facebook is testing the use of real-time ads for Facebook Live. The ads can be used to promote live broadcasts and drive viewership. Currently, marketers and publishers promote their content on Facebook Live via sponsored posts prior to broadcasts or after the live video has ended. The plan is for new ads to appear in newsfeeds at the same time as the live stream. This would offer an opportunity for viewers to engage in real time.

Sky and Mediaset in Talks Over Mediaset Premium?
Mediaset and Sky are reportedly in contact over a possible deal for Mediaset Premium, Mediaset’s loss making Italian pay-TV asset. In a report to investors, equity analysts at Exane/BNP-Paribas say: “As a reminder Vivendi recent acquisition of MS Premium broke down on disagreements with owner Mediaset over the operating prospects for the Italian pay-TV unit. With Mediaset Premium in a precarious financial state, the article states Mediaset would likely need to find another partner to be able to bid again for key rights.”

Accuracy of Mobile Ad Targeting Improving 
Sixty per cent of targeted ad impressions on mobile were delivered to the correct audience during Q2 2016, compared to 49 per cent in Q1 2015, according to a report from Nielsen. This improvement puts the channel neck-and-neck with desktop, but mobile fared consistently better when it came to targeting more narrow groups. The study also showed that publisher targeting is more accurate than ad networks and platforms.

Native Ad Expert Calls on Industry to Club Together to Shut Down Fake News
Native ad software publisher Sharethrough is calling on publishers to stop fake news from serving up in Google search and Facebook News streams, and asking advertisers to stop buying ad space on publisher sites that don’t boycott the content.

Moat Releases ‘Video Score’ to Counter Viewability Issues
Moat is aiming to shift the argument to the quality of views across platforms with a metric called the Moat Video Score. Moat will assign video ads a number between zero and 100, assessing their performance based on how long people watch and listen to them and the percentage of “screen real estate” they occupy.

“The idea is it’s a single metric that’s universally comparable across platforms, whether you’re looking at a video site or a social site,” said Jonah Goodhart, Moat’s chief executive and co-founder.

Pathmatics Acquires WhatRunsWhere.com
Pathmatics has acquired WhatRunsWhere.com (WRW), allowing it to expand its reach to cater for the needs of both small and large enterprises. WRW will continue to operate its distinct product while both teams internalise product development efforts.

Hearst UK Posts £5.4m Loss and Plans to Shut Titles
Hearst UK has reported a £5.4m annual loss, as revenues fell nearly 5 per cent to £282m last year. The publisher said profitability was hit by “a fall in revenues” at Comag, the magazine distribution business that it co-owns with Conde Nast, and a writedown on the value of some publishing assets. Average print and digital circulation of its titles fell 5.4 per cent in 2015, although the publisher’s accounts said that was “significantly better” than the wider market, down 10.3 per cent according to ABC.

Open Source VR Platform Launches on Steam
The co-founders of Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) have announced an update for Steam that provides support for OSVR content on the digital gaming distribution platform. The news means that universal VR content is now accessible through a single point of distribution.

A Third of Kids Watch Mobile Video Daily
Generation Z are increasingly engaging with mobile devices, with a third of kids across the the UK, Germany and China and 40 per cent in the US using them to consumer video every day, according to Futuresource. ‘Snacking length content’ of 1-5 minutes is the most popular with kids ages 5 and over.

Industry Takes on Fraud and Viewability
An eventful week from JICWEBS, in its efforts to tackle the big issues facing online advertising – fraud, brand safety and viewability. The second industry “Town Hall” took place, Group M became the latest company to achieve certification for Brand Safety and Affectv became the first company to register to undergo certification for anti-fraud.

Amazon Prime Video Goes Global 
Amazon Prime Video is currently only available in five countries: the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan, with India “coming soon”.  but Amazon dropped a heavy hint that it will expand to cover 200 markets worldwide from December. A Wall Street Journal report citing Amazon sources said the video service is “on the verge of a massive global rollout.”

India’s TV Set Market Booms
India’s consumers are buying new TV sets as never before. The television sales market will be worth annually $9 billion by the end of 2021, says a new report from Research & Markets. Growing middle class population, increasing disposable income and rising number of nuclear family are expected to aid the increase.

Connected TV Use Up 50 Per Cent
Connected TV usage increased 50 per cent between Q1 2015 and Q1 2016 and  PC and smartphone usage decreased 10 and 20 per cent, respectively, according to ‘The Secret Life of Streamers‘ from Conviva and nScreenMedia. Connected TV was also popular for binge watching.

Two Thirds of APAC Connected Consumers Watching Online Video Daily
Connected consumers across APAC are watching more video content than ever before, according to the findings from Kantar TNS’s Connected Life study. Rising Internet connectivity has driven an increase in content consumption, with Internet users watching an average of 1.6 hours of online video content daily. Singaporeans are the most active, consuming 2 hours every day. Traditional, live-broadcast TV content is still alive and well, with 77 per cent of connected consumers in Asia Pacific still tuning into traditional TV.

Hires of the Week:

Carat Names Alison Jones as Chief Client Officer
Carat has appointed Alison Jones, the marketing director for Woolworths-owned discount store Big W in Australia, as chief client officer.

The Content Marketing Association Appoints Matt Adams as New Chairperson
The Content Marketing association has appointed Matt Adams, chief executive of Havas Media UK, as their new chairperson. He takes over from Andrew Hirsch, chief executive of John Brown Media.

Ex-Canal+ Chief Meheut Joins SFR
Bertrand Meheut, the former CEO of Canal+, is to join French multiplay operator SFR (Altice) as vice president of its board of directors.

Nabs Appoints Daglish to Replace Pearman as Chairman
Industry support group Nabs has appointed ITV deputy managing director of commercial Simon Daglish as its incoming chairman.

This Week on VAN:

SVOD’s Growth and the Erosion – Not Implosion – of Pay TV, read more on VAN

German-Based Tape.tv Files for Insolvency, read more on VAN

Amazon Reportedly Looking into Live Sports for Prime, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: WWF, #ProtectTigers
Given recent reports that we may lose two thirds of our wildlife by 2020, this Christmas appeal from WWF is even more pertinent. One Christmas advert that you can feel genuinely good about responding to.


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