The WiR: Apple Planning Original Content, Mobile Data Plans Sabotaging Video Viewing, Vertical Video Ads for Instagram Stories Unveiled

In this week’s Week in Review: Sky Mobile launches flexible mobile data plans, Clementi confirmed as BBC chairman, vertical video ads for Instagram Stories unveiled. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Apple is Planning Original Content

Apple is reportedly planning to start producing original content which it plans to bundle with its music service. The Wall St Journal  reports that the tech giants sees TV series and movies as a way to catch up with Spotify. Sources told the WSJ that Apple executives have been in talks with ‘veteran producers’ in recent months about buying rights to TV shows, whilst also experienced marketing executives at studios and networks to discuss hiring them to promote its content.

UK Consumers Missing Out on Two Hour’s Worth of Video a Month on Existing Mobile Data Plans
Almost 20 million smartphone users in the UK are deliberately buying more data than they actually need each month for fear of being overcharged, according to research from Sky Mobile. Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of those buying unnecessary data end up losing around 1GB of their allowance every month. That’s the equivalent of losing out on downloading 200 songs or 500 photos; browsing 10,000 websites or watching two hours of video. One in five (21 per cent) say they have “no idea” how much data they have left at the end of each month. The research comes as Sky Mobile release a new set of packages which are designed to be flexible and personalisable, including data which ‘rolls over’ each month.

Vertical Video Ads for Instagram Stories Unveiled
Instagram has unveiled its new vertical video ad formats. The vertical video ads are very similar to the style pioneered by Snapchat, only longer. Video ads can run for 15 seconds, plus there are sponsored photos that last for five seconds, but they are instantly skippable. 

The Week in TV

AB Groupe Up for Sale?
French broadcaster AB Groupe is up for sale, according to Les Echos. Executives of AB Groupe are already reportedly in talks with potential buyers. AB Groupe broadcasts in France and Belgium, but has interests in AB Disques (music) and AB Distribution (film, TV distribution and dubbing). The overall business has an annual turnover of some €180 million.

Clementi Confirmed as BBC Chairman, iPlayer Faces Overhaul
Sir David Clementi has been confirmed as the next BBC chairman. The former Bank of England deputy governor wrote the 2016 report that suggested scrapping the BBC Trust and having the BBC run by a board made up of senior staff and independent members. Clementi will lead the BBC’s new unitary board that will replace the BBC Trust on April 1st.

The BBC iPlayer must be completely re-invented with new technology such as artificial intelligence, voice recognition and personalisation if it is to keep its lead in online video, said director general Tony Hall. In his first major speech under the new BBC charter, and less than 24 hours after Sir David Clementi was confirmed as the new chair of the BBC board, Lord Hall will say that the corporation needs to “reinvent public broadcasting for a new generation” following the vote to leave the EU.

Google Assistant Coming to Android TV
Intelligent personal assistant Google Assistant is making its way to Android TV in the coming months. As part of an upcoming update on supported TVs and set-top boxes powered by Android TV, users will be able to ask the Google Assistant for help so they can access and interact with video content easily.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Launches Journalism Project, Expands Mid Roll Ad Tests
Facebook has unveiled The Facebook Journalism Project, an effort to become a better home for journalism as it faces criticism about its role in spreading fake news. The social network will work with newsrooms and support a campaign to teach users how to distinguish between hoaxes and real stories. Other initiatives include testing new business models for publishers, promoting local news and independent media, and running hackathons with developers from news organisations.

The social network is also expanding its mid-roll video ad tests according to Recode. The new Facebook ads can only run once a viewer has watched a clip for at least 20 seconds and only appear in videos that run for at least 90 seconds.

Yahoo to Rename Altaba after Verizon Sale Completes
Yahoo has said it will change its name to Altaba, assuming the pending $4.8bn (£3.95bn) sale of its core internet business to Verizon goes through – while chief executive Marissa Mayer will leave the board following last year’s massive data breaches. Five other Yahoo directors would also resign after the deal closes and the remaining directors will govern Altaba, a holding company whose primary assets will be a 15 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and 35.5 percent stake in Yahoo Japan.

New Year’s Day Biggest Day Ever for Apple App Store
The Apple App Store saw a record day for revenues on January 1, with customers racking up almost $240 million in sales. December was also a bumper month, with $3 billion in sales. Super Mario Run alone notched up 40 million downloads in the four days following its release and went on to become the most downloaded app on both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. January 1 2016 was previously the biggest day in the App Store’s history, but only resulted in $144 million in sales.

Snapchat to Open UK Base
Snap Inc has confirmed it will set up its main international hub in the UK. The company says it chose Britain because of the nation’s “strong creative industries”. Claire Valoti, Snap’s UK general manager, said: “The UK is where our advertising clients are, where more than 10 million daily Snapchatters are, and where we’ve already begun to hire talent.”

NMA-led Campaign Against Section 40 Unites Industry
A campaign by national and local media against Government plans to implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 regime from the News Media Association has garnered industry wide support. The measure that would make members of a recognised press self-regulation scheme exempt from paying their opponents’ legal costs, even if they lost a court case. Coverage includes the first opinion piece in the Metro’s 14 year history and a column from Kelvin MacKenzie in The Sun entitled ‘If you were an orgy-loving racist like Max Mosley was, you too would want to shackle the press’.

VR Giants Merge
Three well-established Virtual Reality content providers have merged to form the Virtual Content Group (VCG). France’s Cow Prod, Germany’s INVR.SPACE and Australia’s 3D Content Hub announced their launch under the new name this week, alongside winning two Lumière awards from The VR Society.

UK Entertainment Sales Over Six Billion in 2016
Investment by new digital services such as Spotify, Sky, Amazon, Apple Music and Google has resulted in sales of music, video and games achieving a new all-time record sales of £6.3 billion in 2016, up three per cent on the previous year, according to data compiled by the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA). That three per cent growth is even more remarkable since it comes in comparison with 2015, which was a 53-week year.

Vizio Enhances SmartCast App
Vizio has announced new updates to its Vuzui SmartCast app user experience, including a streamlined home screen, content catalogue updates and a tutorial.

The Week in Ad Tech

EU to Toughen Up ‘Cookie’ Laws
The European Commission is working on much stricter rules covering the use of computer data code in the form of ‘cookies’, according to French business newspaper Les Echoes. The EC project will force web-site browsers to move to a “no tracking” policy by default.

The Week for Agencies

TV Advertising to Resilient Despite Online Streaming
TV advertising will defy gloomy predictions in both the US and UK in 2017 despite the rise of online and on-demand viewing, according to an annual forecast by Deloitte. The consulting firm predicts that TV ad revenues in the US “will likely be flat” at around $72bn (£59.4bn) in 2017, even though there is no major sporting event. The UK TV advertising market will be “flat relative to 2016” at around £5.3bn.

Two Per Cent Drop in TV Market Revenues in 2017 Feared
The TV ad market is facing a two per cent per decline in January because of continued anxiety over Brexit, fuelling fears that revenues will fall this year for the first time since 2009, according to Campaign. Media agencies said advertisers, particularly in food and retail, are looking to cut adspend because of sterling’s slump and rising inflation. Media buyers report that the TV market looks to have ended 2016 just better than flat, with growth of about 0.5 per cent.

Partnerships of the Week

adsquare and TabMo Join Forces
Programmatic mobile advertising company TabMo has unveiled a new European partnership with data exchange, аdsquare. аdsquare’s technology will be integrated with mobile DSP Hawk.

VideoAmp Partners with Immersv to Monetise VR
VideoAmp have announced a partnership with Immersv, that will connect the company’s VR/360 advertising platform with VideoAmp’s user graph, and its screen tensor video ad platform. Under the terms of the partnership, VideoAmp will be able to provide access to 360 video inventory in VR headsets, and run traffic on the Immersv mobile VR advertising platform.

Hires of the Week

Twitter’s Head of Mobile EMEA Departs
Ross Sheil, the head of mobile for Twitter in EMEA, has left without a job to go to. After four-and-a-half years at the social media company, Sheil said he is “looking forward to a new challenge”.

James Wildman Poised to Quit Trinity Mirror to Head Hearst UK
James Wildman, the chief revenue officer of Trinity Mirror, is likely to head Hearst Magazines in the UK, according to Campaign.

This Week on VAN

ProSiebenSat.1, TF1 Group and Mediaset form European MCN Alliance, read more on VAN

Convergence of TV and Video will Require a Balance of Reach and Resonance says Mediacom’s Binns, read more on VAN

Samba TV Want to Bring Scale to the Second Screen, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Mitsubishi Motors, Golley Slater Cardiff, The Leader

In a world of hybrids, some lead and others follow. Beautifully delivered, wacky concept video that makes a disruptive technology desirable.

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