The WIR: Google Confirms Ad-Blocker, Marketers Call for Clear and Consistent Guidance on GDPR, Murdoch Brothers in Talks with Ofcom Over Sky Takeover, EC Grants Conditional Approval for Vivendi Telecom Italia Deal


In this week’s Week in Review: Google have confirmed they’re going to launch an ad-blocker and have revealed how it will work, marketers have called for clear and consistent guidance on GDPR, the Murdoch Brothers and Ofcom sought to conceal their meeting regarding Fox’s Sky takeover bid, and the European Commission has granted conditional approval for Vivendi’s Telecom Italia deal. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Google Confirms Ad-Blocker

Google confirmed it will introduce an ad-blocker to Google Chrome for certain types of annoying and intrusive ads ‘later this year’. Google will give users the option to opt out of advertising altogether by paying micropayments via ‘Google Contributor’, a new payment that is still in beta. Google have also launched a Best Practices Guide for publishers.

Marketers Call for Clear and Consistent Guidance on GDPR
With one year to go until the General Data Protection Regulation comes into force, the Direct Marketing Association reports that only 54 per cent of UK businesses surveyed expect to be compliant by the deadline. Many are uncertain how to become compliant with different  GDPR requirements, for example, around the directive secure consent in the use of personal data for marketing purposes. As such, nearly a quarter of companies have not even started preparing yet. The DMA argues that this is due to ambiguity around what the GDPR means, as the Information Commissioner’s Office has yet to publish clear guidance on how brands must behave.

Murdoch Brothers in Talks with Ofcom Over Sky Takeover
The Murdoch brothers have held secret talks with Ofcom in a bid to persuade the regulator to wave through 21st Century Fox’s planned £11.7bn takeover of Sky, The Telegraph reports. The paper claims that Sharon White, chief executive of Ofcom, has met James and Lachlan Murdoch in London to discuss the proposed deal. With both sides seeking to keep the meeting out of the public eye amid swirling political controversy.

EC Grants Conditional Approval for Vivendi Telecom Italia Deal
The European Commission has approved the acquisition of de facto control over Telecom Italia by Vivendi, conditional on the divestment of Telecom Italia’s stake in Persidera. The Commission found that Vivendi would have had an incentive to raise prices charged to TV channels in the market for wholesale access to digital terrestrial television networks, where Persidera and Mediaset each hold a significant share. As a result, TV channels would have found it more expensive to reach their audiences in Italy. In order to address the competition concerns Vivendi has committed to divest Telecom Italia’s stake in Persidera.

The Week in Tech

Snap Inc Partners with Integral Ad Science for Brand Safety
Integral Ad Science has announced a partnership with Snap Inc to ensure transparency and brand safety on its platforms, including Snapchat. IAS will advise Snap on its brand safety models and good practices to minimise negative exposure for businesses on Snapchat. IAS will also provide media quality measurement capabilities. As part of the agreement, IAS has joined the Snapchat Brand Safety Coalition, a group that meets to discuss Snap’s policies regarding brand safety.

AOL Launches Header Bidding on Mobile with Smart Yield
AOL has announced the beta launch of Smart Yield, a mobile-first solution that it claims brings the benefits of desktop-based header bidding to the mobile app ecosystem. The system creates a unified auction to provide advertisers with the inventory they want and mobile publishers and app developers with the opportunity to increase yield for each impression.

Vimeo Introduces Video Interaction Tools
Vimeo has announced a raft of enhancements to its Business membership, including the introduction of interactive video cards, a mobile-first tool designed to help marketers and video professionals drive viewer engagement. Cards, which are available on Vimeo’s embeddable video player, can be set to appear at any point during playback and provide supplementary information or links to a custom destination. Additional features released include customisable end screens and extended email capture.

Outbrain Launches Programmatic Access on AppNexus Marketplace
Outbrain has announced the launch of its Outbrain Programmatic Access platform, which integrates programmatic services with the company’s content ecosystem. The service will allow AppNexus Marketplace customers to bid on Outbrain’s inventory, opening up Outbrain’s historically closed marketplace to marketers using their own data and technology.  

EU Agrees €120 Million for Public WiFi Initiative
The European Parliament, Council and Commission have reached a political agreement to assign €120 million to the WiFi4EU initiative, which will see WiFi hotspots installed in public squares, piazzas, parks, hospitals and other public spaces. The three institutions have agreed to commit  €120 million to fund equipment for the free WiFi services in 6,000 to 8,000 municipalities in all EU member states. The specific sources of the funding will be finalised in the ongoing legislative discussions.

OpenX Bidder for Apps Gains Steam
OpenX has announced strong results following the growth of its bidder solution for mobile app, Bidder for Apps. In the last year several mobile app publishers have integrated the solution, with a majority of publisher partners experiencing lifts on average of 20 percent, the company claims. Earlier this week OpenX announced 191 per cent growth in its mobile business overall. More than half of OpenX’s total traffic now comes from mobile web or app inventory.

MTG Launches VR App
MTG has launched Viareal, a virtual reality app for viewers in the Nordic region. In addition to global sports showpieces such as the UEFA Champions League final Viareal will deliver exclusive VR content and extensions for esports events, and for MTG’s broadcast and streamed entertainment offerings. The Viareal app is compatible with all up-to-date Android and iOS devices, with Gear VR and with a range of other VR headsets.

Google Turns Apps into ‘Channels’ with Android TV revamp
Google is undertaking a major revamp of Android TV as part of its Android O upgrade. The new version will include a channel-like home screen, bringing content from multiple apps to the fore, and the use of Google Assistant for navigation.

In a blog post on the update Google explain that Android apps will be able to publish multiple channels. Relevant programmes for each channel can be added by individual apps, to be updated when new content is available or dynamically as users access content. App developers will not be obliged to make their content available via the watch next channel, so the extent to which they allow their content to be mixed with that from other apps will likely depend on the success of the platform.

Liberty Claims €23 Billion Economic Activity Boost from its Investment
Liberty Global claims that its €14.5 billion investment in super-fast networks over the past four years has generated €23.5 billion of economic activity in Europe and this has provided a net social benefit of over €7 billion. Liberty revealed the claims from its consultant Oxera at ANGA. Oxera said the economic footprint of Liberty’s €14.5 billion  investment, including the impact on suppliers and the multiplier effect, produced €23.7 billion in “wider economic activity”.

The Week in TV

UK Viewers of Amazon Live Channels to Pay TV Licence Fee
Users of the live television channels that Amazon has added to its Prime Video service in the UK will have to pay the TV licence fee on top of two other charges, The FT Reports. Although the live TV service, launched by the technology group last week, does not allow access to BBC channels, UK law requires all users of live television to buy a licence even if, like Prime, it is being streamed over the internet.

The legislation means Prime customers will have to pay Amazon’s annual £79 subscription, the £147 annual licence fee plus an extra fee for the channels they want to watch. In the case of users wanting to watch ITV that would cost an additional £3.99 a month.

TV is Still Main Screen for Video in Both the US and in Spain
Ninety-two per cent of all adult viewing in the US is done on a TV screen, according to Nielsen. The firm report that US adult viewers use the TV screen for the bulk of their viewing and spend more time doing so than all the other platforms combined. In the fourth quarter of 2016 adults in the US spent 509 billion minutes viewing on TVs and another 63.6 billion viewing on TV-connected devices.

CNMC reports a similar trend in Spain, where viewers continue to use the TV as the major device for the consumption of audiovisual content. Spaniards spend an average of seven hours per week viewing content on the TV, two hours on PCs, and around two and a half hours on mobile. The figures disguise significant differences in the habits of different age groups.  For example over 65s spend 81% of their audiovisual consumption time in front of the TV, compared with 29% for 16-24 year-olds.

BBC Livestreaming Five #GE2017 Specials on Twitter
The BBC has announced its Twitter livestreaming of five election specials, a first for both channels. The specials are: The BBC Election Debate on 31 May; The Question Time Leaders Specials on 2 and 4 June; The Newsbeat Youth Debate on 6 June; and the Election Night Results Special on 8 June. The trial interactive will also offer a curated timeline of real-time tweets with commentary from BBC experts and BBC Reality Check. To tune in follow bbcelection.twitter.com and the hashtags: #bbcdebate #bbcqt and #bbcelection

Amazon Will Have Greater Impact than Netflix
Amazon is likely to have a bigger impact on the German market, and other markets in which it is present, than Netflix, according to a panel of TV and platform operator executives at the ANGA COM congress in Cologne. Whilst Netflix successfully appealed to a younger audience with its content offering, Amazon would ultimately prove stronger and could disrupt the market more deeply.

Freesat Passes Two Million Homes Milestone
UK free-to-view satellite service Freesat reports that it is now in over two million homes after recording a 90 per cent increase in TVs and set-top boxes sold last year. In the year to March, Freesat recorded 904,000 devices sold, which it said was boosted by the continuing popularity of smart and UHD televisions. The company said that the Freesat app has been downloaded over 800,000 times since it was first launched in 2014.

BBC Global Audience Rises to 372 Million
The BBC reports that is reaching a record weekly audience of 372 million around the world, a rise of seven per cent year on year, according to Global Audience Measure figures. The BBC World Service has seen an increase of nine per cent since last year, taking its total audience to 269 million. Global News Ltd, which comprises BBC World News television and BBC.com, now has an audience of 121 million, an increase of 12 per ent, with weekly BBC World News TV viewers rising to 99 million.

Goldmedia and Partners Present TV Solutions at ANGA COM 2017
Goldmedia have announced that they and their partners will be presenting a wide range of solutions for the modern TV landscape and network expansion at the ANGA COM 2017. Partners include Netgem, PURtel.com, Anevia, AirTies, and OpenVault.

Toonami to Launch on African PayTV
Turner is launching superhero-focused kids channel Toonami on African pay TV platform Kwesé TV. As of June 1, the network will launch in Kwesé’s English-language markets outside South Africa.

The Week in Publishing

US Bot Fraud to Cost Brands $6.5 Billion in 2017
US brands will lose $6.5 billion to ad fraud in 2017, according to White Ops. The report estimates that 20 per cent of the internet is now made up of ad-fraud websites, with fraud bots and click fraud still populating a significant chunk of the web. It says 22 per cent of desktop video ads will only be viewed by traffic bots this year.

ASA Raps London Live for 30-minute Ads
A pair of extended-length advertising programmes shown on London Live have been banned by the ASA after the watchdog ruled they were too difficult to distinguish from editorial content. The ads were each 30 minutes and had programme style features, including opening and closing credits, sponsorship credits, and ad breaks containing more typical, unrelated ads. London Live is exempt from ad length restrictions, but must be clear to distinguish advertisements from other content.

Advertising Spend Mis-Matches Time Viewed for Print and for Mobile
Ad spending is generally matching users’ time spent on radio, TV and Internet, but advertisers continue to spend disproportionately on print ads and on mobile, according to Mary Meeker. Whilst the average person spends only four per cent of their time with print media, advertisers still spend 12 per cent of budgets in print. Conversely, spending on mobile is at 21 per cent of total, even though users spend 28 per cent of their media consumption time there. A difference that reflects a $16 billion opportunity in the U.S.

DMGT Reports Challenging Ad Market is Improving but Shares Plummet
The publisher of The Daily Mail reports that the tough ad market is improving in the half-year to March 2017, as the decline in print revenue eased, and MailOnline grew strongly in the US. However, DMGT’s shares dropped seven per cent on the announcement as the company scaled back guidance for its information and events businesses.

Digital Dominates Cinema Delivery
Other than a few pockets of specialist 35mm projection, the world’s cinemas are now totally digital, according to IHS Technology. Premium Large Format screens are still a major driver despite the proliferation of small-screen multiplexes. But IHS says that this has also led to a proliferation of formats and variations, and a major film can have “well over 500 versions going out of the lab”, because of the range of video image, audio, premium and language versions.

Study Reveals Correlation Between Interest Area and Device Used for Browsing
Verto Analytics has published data on which sectors are dominated by different devices in terms of the time people spend visiting them. The study shows that the health and fitness sector, and people and lifestyle sites, are the most dominated by smartphone usage. Technology and government/law sites are the most reliant on PC usage. Dr. Hannu Verkasalo, Verto Analytics’ CEO, points out that brands should take heed of how their users access their content.

Twenty-Six Per Cent of Media Consumption to be Mobile in 2019
Mobile internet use will account for 26 per cent of global media consumption in 2019, up from 19 per cent in 2016, according to Zenith. People around the world will spend an average of 122 minutes a day accessing the internet via mobile browsers and apps, an amount that has grown from just ten minutes a day since 2010.

Gen Z Wants Branded Content, Social First
Millennials and Gen Z are very different generations, with very different social media habits and values, Fullscreen report. Whilst millennials are relatively old school, with a higher preference for traditional platforms Gen Z are more inclined towards social content on mobile devices. This preference is changing the way that content is consumed, shared, and even created. Gen Z expect to have direct access to friends, celebrities and brands, and they expect all three to interact and share content in a way that’s relevant to their own personal interests and passions.

South Korea Has Already Embraced Live Streaming
Live streaming is already widespread in South Korea, where nearly eight in ten respondents have used a live streaming platform during the past year, according to Nasmedia. YouTube has established itself as South Korea’s leading live streaming platform, with 57.1 per cent of respondents having used the Google video property to watch live streamed video in the past year. Nasmedia also found that live news was the most popular type of content watched by internet users in South Korea.

The Week for Agencies

CHI Launches Production Company “The Kitchen”
CHI&Partners has joined forces with Williams Lea Tag to launch its own integrated production company, The Kitchen. James Miller from Facebook has been bought in to head up the operation, and will join in June. The Kitchen will aim to represent a new, faster, more flexible and more relevant production model for today’s fast-moving media landscape.

WPP Targets Asian Millennials with 88rising Investment
WPP has made a strategic investment in 88rising, a US-based digital content producer that targets Asian millennials. This investment continues WPP’s strategy of investing in the areas of technology, data and content. Other specialised digital content companies WPP has invested in include Russell Simmons’ All Def Digital, Mitú, and Refinery29.

Latimer Group Spins Off Bulbshare as Standalone Company
A series of successful campaigns with Unilever, BBC and Public Health England has fuelled Latimer Group’s decision to launch its co-creation platform, Bulbshare, as a standalone tech company, Campaign reports. In conjunction with the launch of Bulbshare as a standalone company, the group has also released an update to the platform. Chief among the new features is the ability to identify the social reach and influence of community members.  

Partnerships of the Week

AMI Partners With Wibbitz to Expand Digital Video and Ads Offering
American Media Inc. (AMI) has chosen to partner with Wibbitz to diversify their ad inventory with original digital video content. The partnership with Wibbitz will allow every editor at Radar Online and OK Magazine to create video summaries for all of their print stories within the AMI platform, and to publish them to their website and social channels when the story is still trending.

Viacom and Altice USA Partner for Ad and Content Distribution
Viacom and Altice USA have agreed a multi-year partnership that includes advanced advertising and content distribution agreements. The pair will create a partnership that combines Altice USA’s audience data, multi-screen advertising platforms, measurement and analytics capabilities with Viacom’s advertising offerings.

Samba TV Partners with SpotX
Samba TV and SpotX have partnered to power custom audience targeting and segmentation for video ads across web, app and connected TV environments. SpotX will become Samba TV’s primary connected TV ad server, enabling brands and advertisers to buy across its connected TV inventory programmatically and traditionally.

Access and Foxxum Partner to Offer TV Store Solution
The Access portfolio of TV browsers is being pre-integrated by smart TV solutions provider Foxxum as part of a partnership between the two companies. The partnership is designed to improve the quality of experience of Foxxum’s smart TV app store on Linux and Android devices by supporting the latest industry standards.

BBC First Increases Dutch Distribution
BBC Worldwide is upping the distribution of BBC First in the Netherlands after agreeing a deal with TV, internet and phone provider Caiway. The fibre operator will carry the ‘best of British drama’ channel from June 15, and it will available to its 200,000 subscribers.

Hires of the Week

Steve Chester Joins Association for Online Publishing
The Association for Online Publishing has announced the appointment of Steve Chester as Standards Consultant to champion UK advertising standards for premium publishers. Chester was formerly Director of Data and Industry Programmes for the IAB.

Discovery Appoints SVP of Data and Analytics
Discovery Communications has appointed former Viacom executive, Christopher McGrath, as senior vice president of data and analytics.

This Week on VAN

Dynamic Creative Optimisation will Attract more DR Spend to Video, read more on VAN

Industry is Slowly Inching Towards True Cross-Screen Measurement says Audience Project’s CEO, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Good Different, Aldi Australia, BMF

BMF create an Aldi ad that’s simple, silly, and makes a virtue out of their more limited range.


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