The WiR: YouTube’s BARB Accreditation is Rejected, Publishers Warm to a Chrome Ad-Blocker, Twitter and Bloomberg Team Up for 24 Hour Live-Streaming News Channel


In this week’s Week in Review: UK video ad-spend increasingly directed at digital, new formats focus for 2017, Google ad revenue up 18 per cent despite YouTube boycott, Twitter and Bloomberg team up for 24 hour live-streaming news channel, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

YouTube’s Barb Accreditation Bid Rejected
YouTube’s bid to gain accreditation from Barb, the industry body that measures TV viewing in the UK, has been rejected, Campaign reports. A pilot scheme proposed by the Google video site is understood to have been rejected as Barb felt that it did not meet what the body calls its “gold standards”, particularly when it comes to independent verification of viewing figures.

Publishers Warm to Google Plan for Chrome Ad-Blocker
US and European publishers have given support to the idea of Google introducing an ad-blocker to its widely used Chrome internet browser, despite the possibility it would hit their online advertising revenues, the FT reports. Details of the technology group’s plans have not been disclosed but it is thought the blocker would likely target types of ads that have been found to frustrate viewers, such as pop-ups and auto-playing videos. Despite speculation the blocker would add to the woes of publishers competing with Google and Facebook for online ad revenues, the FT reports that publishers view the move as a way to clean up online advertising.

Twitter and Bloomberg Team Up for 24 Hour Live-Streaming News Channel
Twitter and Bloomberg Media’s recently announced partnership to deliver a global, 24 hour breaking news streaming network is being heralded as the most significant of Twitter’s 14 live-streaming partnerships. The streaming channel is set to launch later this year and will feature user-generated content from Twitter which will be verified by Bloomberg editors, along with live video reporting from journalists at the news organisation. Financial details of the new venture were not disclosed. Twitter shares jumped 6.4 per cent due to the news, to close at $17.53.

The Week in TV

Fox ‘In Talks’ to Buy Tribune Media
Rupert Murdoch owned 21st Century Fox is reportedly in talks with private equity firm Blackstone to launch a joint bid to buy television station operator Tribune Media, The Guardian reports. According to sources, Fox and Blackstone hope to trump an offer from Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest owner of US television stations. Blackstone would provide the financial means while Fox would provide the TV stations for the venture. Tribune Media owns 42 local TV stations in the US and one national channel, WGN.

Hulu Live TV Service Launches in Beta
Hulu has announced the launch of the company’s live TV streaming beta service to the public. Viewers who subscribe to the Hulu with Live TV (Beta) plan can access live and on demand programming from over 50 sports, news, entertainment and kids’ channels, as well as  Hulu’s existing streaming library. The company also announced a new affiliate agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive to bring its networks to both Hulu’s services.

Mobile Video Boosts MENA OTT
The boom in smart phone and Internet penetration is transforming traditional television viewership patterns in the Middle East and North Africa, creating a vast, fertile market for over-the-top video services, according to Frost & Sullivan. In addition to government support for Internet ubiquity and large-scale digital transformation, the presence of a large, young population that is well acquainted with mobile technology is attracting significant investments to this market.

Crozier to Exit ITV
UK commercial broadcaster ITV has revealed that Adam Crozier, Chief Executive, is stepping down from the Board and his role after seven years. Ian Griffiths will step up to a newly created combined role of Chief Operating Officer and Group Finance Director. Griffiths will also lead the executive team for an interim period, with Sir Peter Bazalgette, ITV Chairman, taking on the role of Executive Chairman during that time. Crozier will leave the business on 30th June 2017.

Mediaset Spain Profits Up by Almost 21 Per Cent
Mediaset Spain has reported a profit of €60.6 million in Q1 2017, up almost 21 per cent on the previous year. Net revenues grew by 4.2 per cent up to €240.4 million, of which €235.4 million corresponded to ad revenues. Mediaset Spain led the national TV ad market with a share of 43.4 per cent, and the the audience ratings with a share of 28.8 per cent. EBITDA amounted to €81.2 million, up 14.7 per cent.

Facebook’s Connected TV Ambition Meets a Reluctant Industry
Facebook is in the test phase of selling ads through Apple TV, Roku and a roster of partner apps, but is struggling to sign up more partners, AdAge Reports. Facebook says it decided not to build a traditional ad tech platform that would compete with media partners’ existing technology and partnerships. Nonetheless, many of the studios and networks are reluctant to hand over any bit of their video ad business to the increasingly powerful player.

Streaming Surpasses VoD for On-Demand Content Viewing
Streaming is increasingly being driven by the rise of streaming to the TV set, according to Horowitz Research. The study found TV viewers report spending about a quarter (23 per cent) of their TV viewing time streaming to a TV set, while computer and mobile viewing has risen to 14 per cent share of viewing. Horowitz report that despite investments in VoD platforms, streaming surpasses VoD as the go-to source for on demand content, with streaming claiming 37 per cent of weekly viewing and VoD claiming five per cent.

Euskaltel Sees Revenues Fall but Reports Record Penetration
Spanish regional cable operator Euskaltel’s Q1 results show its revenues and EBITDA falling year-on-year, but strong free cash-flow and record penetration. Euskaltel posted sales of €139.5 million for the quarter, down 1.6 per cent, and EBITDA of €68 million, down 1.5 per cent, with net profit €13.2 million. Euskaltel Group ended the first quarter with record penetration rates for its residential broadband (84.5 per cent), mobile telephony (78.6 per cent) and pay-TV services (58.5 per cent).

The Week in Publishing

Instagram Tracking to be Facebook’s Next Billion-User App
Instagram now has 700 million monthly active users, up from 600 million at the start of 2017.  The continued rapid growth suggests that it won’t be long before Instagram joins WhatsApp, Messenger, and Facebook proper as the next Facebook owned billion-user app.

UK Consumer Confidence at Minus Seven
UK consumer confidence saw a “surprisingly” small drop in April as the Government’s decision to call for a snap General Election had little impact. Figures from GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) show overall confidence at minus seven in April, falling just one point from March. Although four of the five confidence measures fell in April, each decline was relatively small. The figures suggest that Brexit and rising food inflation are yet to be understood as a cause for major concern among Brits.

Digital Video Surges to Record $9.1 Billion 
Digital video advertising hit a record $9.1 billion in 2016, a 53 percent year-over-year rise from 2015, according to the IAB. On mobile devices, video revenue rose sharply to 145 percent year-over-year to nearly $4.2 billion. The 2016 ad spend totalled $72.5 billion and represents a 22 per cent increase year-on-year, up from 2015.

Google and Facebook Now Control One-Fifth of Global Adspend
Google and Facebook accounted for nearly 20 per cent of global advertising spending last year, up from 16.3 per cent in 2015 and 10.6 per cent in 2012, Zenith reports. Between them, the pair have captured 64 per cent of all growth in global ad spend from 2012 through 2016. Google, owned by parent company Alphabet, is by far the biggest media owner in the world and attracted $79.4bn in ad revenues in 2016, three times more than second-largest, Facebook, which pulled in $26.9bn. The previous year, Alphabet took $67.4bn of ad revenues and Facebook $17.1bn. The largest traditional media owner is US broadcasting and cable TV company Comcast, which was third with $12.9bn in ad revenues in 2016.

Time Warner Tops Estimates but Turner TV Ad Sales Fall
Time Warner’s Q1 financial report shows it beat most analyst estimates in all areas, except for one: Turner’s TV network ad sales fell two per cent due to ratings declines and “lower domestic subscribers”. Nonetheless, Time Warner’s net income rose 17 per cent to $1.4 billion, and revenue was up six per cent to $7.7 billion. Adjusted earnings at $1.66 a share handily beat expectations of $1.45 as the company works to finalise its acquisition by AT&T.

Mobile Pushes Down Ad Viewability Levels
The growth in mobile ad spend is contributing to a decline in ad viewability levels, Meetrics reports. In the first three months of 2017, the proportion of banner ads served in the UK on Meetrics’ platform that met minimum viewability guidelines dropped from 49 to 47 per cent, down from 54 per cent in the first quarter of 2016. This suggests that three quarters of a billion pounds was being wasted on non-viewable ads a year, Meetrics said, based on figures from the IAB and PwC.

Facebook Earnings Soar as Mobile Ad Sales Boom
Facebook’s advertising sales in the first quarter of 2017 grew by 51 per cent to $7.86 billion, with mobile advertising making up 85 per cent of sales. However, this rate of ad revenue growth is unlikely to be maintained due to self-imposed limits on the level of ads shown in Facebook news feed, the FT reports. The revenue boost pushed up net income for the quarter by 76 per cent to $3.06bn, helping the social media giant exceed analysts’ expectations.

Internet Advertisers Face New Speed Claim Restrictions
UK internet providers may be forced to advertise broadband speeds based on peak-time services or average performances under proposed rules that would outlaw use of the term “up to”. The Committees of Advertising Practice has opened a public consultation seeking views on four options that would tighten restrictions on broadband providers. The consultation follows research by GfK which found that the current regulatory standards were likely to mislead consumers.

YouTube Previews ‘Flat’ Website Redesign
YouTube has announced a revamped design that it says is based around the key principles of simplicity, consistency and beauty. YouTube said the site design is also built on a faster framework called Polymer that allows for quicker feature development from now on. A ‘dark theme’ is designed to cut down on glare and turns the background dark throughout a user’s entire YouTube experience.

Facebook Closes Gap on TV Advertising
Facebook is closing the average revenue per user (ARPU) gap on TV advertising, Ampere Analysis reports. The ARPU generated by Facebook advertising has grown six-fold in North American and four-fold in Europe in five years. By comparison, the value of a TV viewer has remained relatively flat, with a growth of less than 7 per cent in both regions over the same half decade.

Ad Buyers Still Unclear on Brand Safety Measures
Following the hate-funding advertising scandal, still only one in four ad buyers say they know the measures their suppliers take to ensure their brand is placed with safe content, according to Vibrant. 33 per cent don’t know, a sixth only have partial knowledge and a quarter refuse to say. A key cause of concern is programmatic buying of ads: a quarter of ad buyers and planners told researchers that it’s more difficult to ensure brand safe environments when buying programmatically on open exchanges.

The Week in Tech

Google Ad Revenue Up 18 Per Cent Despite YouTube Boycott
Google’s advertising revenue surged to $21.4 billion in the first three months of the year, up 18 per cent despite the ongoing YouTube advertising boycott. Google’s performance boosted parent company Alphabet’s overall revenues to $24.7bn, up 22 per cent in Q1 2017. Having reported revenue and earnings per share figures that beat Wall Street expectations, execs at Google made sure to address the ad placement controversy that broke toward the end of the year’s first quarter. Similarly, Alphabet used its latest earnings report to detail some of the steps YouTube is taking to protect brand safety and rectify its relationship with advertisers.

UK Ad-Spend Increasingly Directed at Video, New Formats Focus for 2017
Digital video will see the largest increase in UK ad spend in 2017, as online video becomes a fundamental part of daily online behaviour in the UK, AOL reports. 57 per cent of advertisers in the UK believe that video is the future of advertising, while 49 per cent of publishers say budgets are shifting from television and other formats to fund digital video. The business perspective reflects changing consumer habits, with 71 per cent of UK consumers now watching digital video every day. When it comes to new formats in digital video, the report notes that 55 per cent of buyers and sellers in the UK believe immersive formats such as 360-video will provide one of the best revenue streams over the next twelve months.

Ooyala Launches “Holistic” Video Advertising Service
Ooyala has launched a “holistic” ad platform that it says will deliver a data-driven approach that blends programmatic trading and video ad serving into a single, unified platform. The company claims the service will give video publishers and broadcasters greater visibility and control in direct-sold and programmatic sales channels, with insights to maximize demand and yield for every impression.

Audience ID Use to Surge Two-Thirds by 2020
Cross-device audience ID matching will be used in 58 per cent of total UK online ad spend by 2020, compared with 28 per cent in 2016, according to Yahoo and Enders Analysis. Their report describes the ‘rocketing growth’ of audience ID ad spend in the coming years, which it forecasts to almost triple to €7.9 billion by 2020, compared with €2.7 billion in 2016. The majority of growth in ID use will come from mobile display and mobile search growth.

MPP Global Secures $15M Series B Funding
UK-based tech company MPP Global has announced a $15 million Series B funding round from Albion Ventures and Grafton Capital. The company plans to use the investment to expand their global footprint and advance their cloud-based platform in the digital video / OTT space.

The Week for Agencies

Omnicom Leading Organic Revenue Growth in Q1
Omnicom’s organic revenue growth over the first three months of the year outstripped its rivals WPP, Publicis Groupe, Havas and Interpublic, Campaign reports. The owner of BBDO and DDB led the pack with the strongest organic revenue growth at 4.4 per cent. Publicis Groupe’s was the worst of the five leading holding companies, falling 1.2 per cent. Whilst for WPP organic revenue growth was almost flat at 0.2 per cent.

Integrated Video Solutions “Key” To TV’s Successful Digital Transformation
Content providers will need to seek integrated video solutions to minimise costs, streamline processes and provide growth opportunities at every step in the video lifecycle, according to Ooyala. The research, which included input from traditional and new media operators, identifies common concerns and challenges due to the new era of TV and the necessary digital transformation to over-the-top (OTT) delivery.

Partnerships of the Week

Twitter Announces 14 Live Streaming Partnerships
Twitter has used its first NewFronts presentation to announce 14 new live streaming content deals that will bring real-time original programming across sports, news and entertainment to the network. Live news, sports and entertainment predominate.

AppNexus, LiveRamp, and MediaMath Launch Technology Consortium to Enable People-Based Programmatic Advertising
AppNexus, LiveRamp, and MediaMath have announced the launch of a consortium to make people-based marketing available within programmatic channels. The three companies have agreed to create a standard identity framework that enables buyers and sellers to create more relevant campaigns and improve consumer experience. Additional companies initially joining the consortium are Index Exchange, LiveIntent, OpenX, and Rocket Fuel.

Turner and Astro Ink Warner TV partnership
The Asian division of Turner and Malaysian pay TV giant Astro have announced a joint venture to collaborate on programming for the Warner TV channel and the wider international market. The deal also secures carriage of Warner TV on the Astro pay TV service and its OTT offshoot, Tribe.

ProSieben Teams With Discovery for OTT Push
ProSiebenSat.1 (P7S1) and Discovery Communications have joined forces to push OTT in the German market with a combined streaming service. According to the DAX company, the two companies will establish a joint venture, streaming a raft of their channels and content under the 7TV brand, which already exists as P7S1’s mobile offering. Antitrust authorities still have to approve the project.

Hires of the Week

OpenSlate Taps Ad Tech Talent to Bolster Exec Team
OpenSlate has announced the appointments of Brian Quinn as President, and JoAnna Foyle as COO. Foyle joins from the position of Senior Vice President of Enterprise Platform Services at AOL. Prior to joining OpenSlate Quinn served as Chief Revenue & Innovation Officer at Triad Retail Media.  

Scott and Wallace and Promoted as Fox Loses Shine
Fox News has promoted long serving executives Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, following the resignation of co-president Bill Shine in the aftermath of the Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment cases. Suzanne Scott, previously EVP, has been named as president, programming, Fox News Channel. Jay Wallace, previously EVP of news, has been named as president, news, Fox News Channel.

Attest Hires Eventbrite Marketer and Former Vizeum Innovation Head
Chrissy Totty, Vizeum’s former head innovator, has joined Attest as insight champion. Mark Walker, Eventbrite’s head of growth, has also joined as marketing director.

Morris Quits Dentsu Aegis to Lead Initiative in the UK
Richard Morris is leaving Dentsu Aegis Network after 22 years to join Initiative as UK chief executive, Campaign reports.

M&C Saatchi London Names Giles Hedger of FCB Inferno as CEO
M&C Saatchi London has announced the appointment of Giles Hedger as its new Chief Executive Officer, AgencySpy reports. Hedger joins from FCB Inferno, where he was CFO.  

This Week on VAN

Launch of YouTube TV Could Result in an ‘Aggressive’ Pay TV War says Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan, read more on VAN

Axel Springer Drop DFP in Favour of AppNexus, read more on VAN

New Study Forecasts that Pay TV in Europe Will Escape Cord-Cutting and Grow Over Next Five Years, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Spend It Well, Marks and Spencer, Grey London

Marks and Spencer touts a “radical” new direction with a life affirming ad that also encourages us to wear our expensive clothes, burn our expensive candles, and wear comfy underwear. Clever.


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