The WIR: Publicis Groupe Announces Withdrawal of Marketing Budget as Investment Turns to AI Powered Professional Assistant, Vivendi Repositions Dailymotion As ‘Clean’ and Safe Platform for Ads, and DMC Launches Virtualised All-IP Video Platform

In this week’s Week in Review: Publicis Groupe has announced the withdrawal of its marketing budget as it turns investment towards its AI powered professional assistant, Vivendi has repositioned a revamped Dailymotion as a ‘clean’ and safe platform for advertisers, and DMC has launched its virtualised all-IP video platform. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Publicis Groupe Announces Withdrawal of Marketing Budget as Investment Turns to AI Powered Professional Assistant
Publicis Groupe has unveiled its AI powered “platform of the future”, Marcel. Publicis describe Marcel as a professional assistant platform powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning. Which will connect 80,000 employees across 200 disciplines in 130 countries.

In order to develop and deploy the platform, Publicis Groupe will shift its promotional budget from industry events to focus its investment. Publicis Groupe plans to launch Marcel exclusively at Viva Technology, Paris, in June 2018. So will resume its participation in industry events in September 2018.

Vivendi Repositions Dailymotion As ‘Clean’ and Safe Platform for Ads
Vivendi has unveiled a host of changes to its Dailymotion offering, including a new look to the platform, new content partnerships with Universal Music Group, CNN and Vice, and a brand re-positioning that will see it target an older audience seeking premium content ‘clean’ of explicit visuals.

Dailymotion’s new advertising strategy will roll-out a suite of new choices for mobile advertisers, including a ‘sticky footer’ and in-video vertical advertising. Dailymotion is also aiming to take advantage of rival YouTube’s brand safety issues by positioning itself as a ‘clean’ platform, with an ingrained zero tolerance policy for explicit content and a “best in-class non-human traffic detection system”.

DMC Launches Virtualised All-IP Video Platform
Playout provider DMC has launched what it describes as Europe’s first fully virtualised platform for all-IP video. DMC says that the all-IP platform will enable it to deliver new channels in a matter of hours, so expanding the scope for new services such as pop-up channels for market testing and companion channels for special events on OTT platforms.

The platform, which delivers 30 channels today, will be used by more than 80 channels in Europe from September 2017, following the full migration of remaining channels from DMC’s former facility. The DMC platform was enabled by partners including Cisco, Equinix, Pebble Beach Systems, Red Hat, Super Micro and VMware.

The Week in Tech

Adobe Unveils Personalised Advertising Solution for TV
Adobe is launching Adobe Advertising Cloud TV for automated, data-driven planning and buying of television advertising. The solution builds on recently-acquired TubeMogul’s PTV, to enable buying of TV ads in all forms, including live linear TV, addressable TV, connected TV, VOD and OTT. Adobe claims its solution will give advertisers a way to overcome legacy silos between TV and digital, data and execution, and media planning and buying, which it says are impeding advertisers in their efforts to reach viewers effectively. Launches App-Free Content Casting Solution is releasing a new casting solution, Playmigo. The SAAS and technology platform enables OTT video providers to cast their content to almost any connected TV device on the market today, without the need to develop and deploy TV apps. are promoting Playmigo as a solution to the increasingly fragmented array of connected devices owned by consumers, giving service providers a way to deliver their content to the devices their customers want to use.

IronSource Expands In-House Interactive Ads to All Advertiser Clients
IronSource is expanding its in-house interactive ads suite to all advertiser clients. In testing Ironsource claim that the interactive ads have performed 300 percent better than standard video ads and 1,100 percent better than display ads. That means that the playable ads result in actions such as downloads three times more often than with ads that just show video of a game.

AR Investment to be Driven by Commercial Interest
Whilst shipments of virtual and augmented reality devices surge worldwide, commercial uses will drive a significant amount of AR investment growth going forward, eMarketer reports. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), 68 per cent of last year’s AR shipments were commercial. By 2021, IDC projects that more than eight in 10 AR shipments (83 per cent) will be commercial.

Collective Expands Advertising Hub for Programmatic Media Clarity
Collective has announced the completion of more than 30 integrations for its Visto Enterprise Advertising Hub. Collective says that by uniting all layers of the technology stack, including DSPs, exchanges, SSPs, ad servers, data providers, DMPs and more, Visto offers a transparency solution in programmatic media-buying. Connecting previously siloed execution partners with a technology that provides visibility throughout the ad tech stack.

VR Audiences Stare Straight Ahead 3/4 of the Time
YouTube has revealed the key to making engaging virtual reality video is to put the best parts straight in front so audience don’t have to move their heads. Google’s video vault offers that advice on the basis of heat maps of where VR viewers point their heads while wearing VR goggles. Looking at the analytics for 360-degree videos posted on YouTube, Google found that people spent 75 per cent of their time looking at the front 90 degrees of a video.

The Week in TV

Samba SmartTV Raises $30 Million in Growth Capital
Samba TV has raised $30 million in Series B financing led by Union Grove Venture Partners and followed by Interpublic Group, MDC Ventures, Time Warner, A+E Networks, TGM, Draper Associates and Ambition VC. Samba TV says it will use the funding to expand operations internationally and launch a variety of transformative products in the media and advertising industry.

Telenet Closes SFR Acquisition
Liberty Global-backed Belgian cable operator Telenet has closed the acquisition of Altice’s Belgian assets, following approval by the Belgian competition watchdog. Telenet is paying €400 million on a cash and debt-free basis for SFR BeLux, to be be financed by a combination of equity and available liquidity. The acquisition of SFR BeLux will extend Telenet’s presence from Flanders to Brussels, French-speaking Wallonia and Luxembourg.

Spanish Watchdog Fines DTS for Missing Content Spend Threshold
Spanish regulator the CNMC has fined Telefónica-owned pay TV operator DTS over €600,000 for failing to meet its obligations to finance European content creation in 2014. The CNMC found that DTS was in breach of its obligations under Spanish law, which require telecom operators that distribute TV services to allocate five per cent of their operating income to finance European content.

Mediaset Acquires Telefónica Stake in Pay-TV Unit
Mediaset has gained 100 per cent control  of its pay TV unit, Mediaset Premium, having acquired the 11.1 per cent stake owned by Spanish telco Telefónica. Mediaset did not disclose financial details of the deal, but according to Reuters, Mediaset had previously agreed to buy the Telefónica stake for around €70 million and then sell to Vivendi. However, that deal fell through when Vivendi pulled out. Telefónica originally bought its stake in Mediaset Premium in 2015 for €100 million.

Global Pay-TV Revenues up $32 Billion
Pay-TV revenues for 138 countries increased by $32 billion between 2010 and 2016 to reach $202 billion, according to Digital TV Research. However, in 2016 only $1.23 billion was added, and in North America pay TV revenues were $1.77 billion down on 2015.

The Week in Publishing

Fox to Launch New Six-Second Ad Format for Digital Content and TV
Fox Networks Group is preparing a new six-second ad format for digital platforms and eventually traditional TV, mirroring an ad format recently adopted by Google’s YouTube, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ad format should be ready by October for shows and content viewed through digital and on-demand platforms. After a few months of testing, Fox could start selling the six-second inventory to traditional TV advertisers.

YouTube Introduces New Measures to Curb Extremist Video
Google has introduced four new measures intended to tackle the spread of terrorist material online, saying the threat poses a serious challenge and that more immediate action needs to be taken. The four additional steps are:

  • increased use of machine learning technology to try to automatically identify “extremist and terrorism-related videos”
  • more independent (human) experts in YouTube’s Trusted Flagger program
  • a tougher stance on controversial videos that do clearly violate YouTube’s community guidelines
  • expanding counter-radicalisation efforts by working with (other Alphabet division) Jigsaw to implement the “Redirect Method” more broadly across Europe

Armstrong Sets Out Oath Stall
Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, has outlined the company’s plans to expand worldwide,  launching yet more brands in more countries. Oath presently comprises more than 50 media and tech brands, and its focus for the future will be on delivering content and ads across mobile platforms.

Armstrong says Oath’s road map aims to get to two billion consumers in 2020, targeting between $10 billion and $20 billion in annual revenue. Currently, the combined AOL and Yahoo properties reach about 1.3 billion users monthly, and serves one trillion monthly ad requests. He also claimed that Oath will not look to compete with Google and Facebook in the digital ad space but instead look to find new ways of working with advertisers.

Vice Secures $450 Million Investment
Vice Media has received $450 million from investment firm TPG, and announced its plan to use part of the investment to establish Vice Studios, which will produce “scripted multi-screen programming”. This makes Vice the latest US content company to enter the increasingly crowded scripted market, and comes after the company launched its linear channel, Viceland, last year. The investment values the group at $5.7 billion.

Netflix Testing Pre-roll Video Ad ‘Previews’
Netflix has been testing the use of pre-roll video ads to promote the streaming services’ original programming. Netflix, which describes the ads as ‘previews’, told TechCrunch that the use of video pre-roll, personalised to viewer’s interests, is being trialled to help users make quicker decisions while browsing. Currently there is no ‘skip preview’ button, but users can opt out from Netflix’s test through their account settings “Test Participation” option.

Ofcom Submits Report on Fox Sky Deal
Ofcom has submitted its public interest report on the proposed acquisition of Sky by 21st Century Fox. The Secretary of State, Karen Bradley, will now decide whether to refer the proposed deal to the Competition and Markets Authority for a ‘phase two’ inquiry. Bradley  intends to announce whether or not she is minded to refer the merger by June 29th, and to publish Ofcom’s public interest report at the same time.

Time Warner Inks SnapChat Content Deal
Time Warner and Snap have announced a partnership spanning media spending and the development of made-for-Snap shows over the next two years. Under their agreement Time Warner will develop and produce Shows for the Snapchat app from across its networks and entertainment companies. Additionally, Time Warner’s HBO, Turner and Warner Bros units will advertise on Snapchat as they seek to garner the attention of millennials.

The Week for Agencies

Publicis Announces Exclusive Tie-Up with China’s Alibaba
Publicis Groupe has announced a tie-up with Jack Ma’s Alibaba, which will see it partnering in Alibaba’s Uni marketing framework to “generate deeper consumer insights, inform content decisions and enable true precision storytelling” through a new Uni Desk. Publicis Media Greater China CEO Bertila Teo commented: “This partnership propels our vision to create future forward capability and solutions by harnessing the power of data and technology for brand growth via data enabled precision storytelling and brand operations for our clients.”

GroupM Downgrades UK TV Advertising Forecast and Sees Advertisers Pulling Millions from Google and Facebook
Advertising giant GroupM has downgraded its expectations for growth in the UK advertising market this year from the seven per cent predicted in October last year to 4.1 per cent as a result of a significant drop in TV investment. The decline in TV advertising by large brand categories means that TV ad spend will decline by three per cent this year, according to the company.

GroupM also report that any hope that advertisers would quickly forget about The Times investigation, which showed ads on YouTube were appearing next to extremist content, has been in vain. In fact, security fears around their ads appearing next to inappropriate content is driving advertisers to pull hundreds of millions of pounds in ad spend away from Google and Facebook this year.

Salmon and Wunderman Form New E-commerce Division
Wunderman has launched a new division, Wunderman Commerce, with e-commerce consultancy Salmon providing the expertise. The launch of the commerce division will grant Wunderman enterprise-level retail and mobile commerce capabilities. In turn, Salmon gains access to Wunderman’s clients, global scale, CRM capabilities and offshore marketing automation centres.

Brexit Uncertainty Driving Drop in UK Ad Spend
Zenith has trimmed its forecast for UK ad spending growth in 2017 to a mere 0.9 per cent, citing a slowing economy, rising inflation and political uncertainty over Brexit negotiations. The UK had been the leading growth market in the combined Western and Central Europe area from 2011 to 2016, expanding at an average of 7.3 per cent a year. However, Zenith now forecast the UK’s woes will slow the region’s spending growth to 2.2 per cent in 2017, down from 4.5 per cent in 2016.

Ad spend by country, 2016 to 2019

Globally, Zenith expect adspend to grow 4.2 per cent to $559 billion in 2017. That’s down from 4.8 per cent growth in 2016. Though it’s worth noting that 2016 was a ‘quadrennial year’, so benefited from adspend stimulated by the US elections, Summer Olympics in Rio and the football championships in Europe.

Partnerships of the Week

Net Insight Partners Ericsson for Broadcaster Video Processing Solutions
Net Insight has struck a strategic partnership with Ericsson to offer broadcasters a range of video processing solutions based on Net Insight and Ericsson media products and services. Net Insight describes the partnership a providing as a fully managed end-to-end media contribution solution can be offered to the broadcast market, catering to the needs of live media production.

2btube and AwesomenessTV Sign Partnership Deal
Spanish-language digital talent agency and video producer 2btube has partnered with AwesomenessTV to produce and manage all content for the latter’s Spanish YouTube channel. 2btube will also exclusively represent AwesomenessTV in Spain for advertising and sponsorship agreements.

Hires of the Week

Ooyala Appoints Mike Nikzad as Chief Operating Officer
Ooyala has appointed Mike Nikzad as its Chief Operating Officer (COO). Prior to Ooyala, Nikzad was the COO of Syncplicity. He also held COO positions with EMC’s Consumer and Small Business division and NewNet Communication Technologies.

Mars Hires Digital Leadership Duo
Mars, Inc has appointed George Corbin to the new role of chief digital demand officer. Corbin was previously Marriott International’s senior vice president, digital. Mars also announced that Sandeep Dadlani is being appointed chief digital officer. Dadlani joins from systems integration business Infosys.

Altice Appoints Petit as CMO
Altice has announced that Nicolas Petit has joined the management team as Altice Group Chief Marketing Officer in charge of B2C and B2B commercial and marketing activities. Petit joins Altice from Microsoft Corporation. 

Proximus Hires Canal+ Marketing Chief
Proximus has named Guillaume Boutin as chief consumer market officer and a member of the company’s executive committee. Boutin is currently chief marketing officer at Canal+ Group, and will take up his new position in September.

New Joint-Leaders at Brightcom
Brightcom has announced the promotion of Sagee Ben-Zedeff and Etai Eitany as co-CEOs. Sagee Ben-Zedeff is promoted from the role of VP Product and Technology. Etai Eitany is promoted from the role of VP of Operations.

Apple Enlist Sony Bosses to Drive Original Content Push
Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg are joining Apple to lead its push into original programming. News broke last week that the pair are exiting Sony Pictures Television, where they were co-presidents. The pair will now oversee all aspects of video programming, reporting to Apple’s senior VP of internet software and services.

This Week on VAN

GroupM’s Clive Page Explains the Role the Addressable TV Unit Plays within WPP, read more on VAN

Comcast Launches Blockchain Solution with Multiple Major Broadcasters Already on Board, read more on VAN

Archaic Trading Deals are Holding Back Addressable TV in the UK, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: The Internet of S**t, Semcon, Forsman & Bodenfors

A creative, if not overly sophisticated, call-out of just how smart our smart-tech really is, via puppets and song.

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