The WIR: Teads Launches Video Ad Chatbot, UK Government Refers Fox’s Sky Bid to Competition Authorities, Sorrell Insists WPP is ‘Open for Business’ Following Cyber Attack


In this week’s Week in Review: Teads has launched a chatbot to operate within video ads, Karen Bradley refers Fox’s Sky bid to the UK competition authorities, and Martin Sorrell insists WPP is still ‘open for business’ following a cyber attack, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Teads Launches Video Ad Chatbot
Teads has announced the the launch of the first chatbot to operate within an outstream video ad, with Tommy Hilfiger the first brand to run its TMY.GRL chatbot using the technology. The chatbot allows consumers to explore pieces from the brand’s collection by asking questions that help identify the customer’s tastes. Subsequently, customers are taken to the Tommy Hilfiger website where the items will have already been placed in their basket. While Tommy Hilfiger has been able to run its chatbot through Facebook Messenger in the past, Teads’ technology now allows the brand to extend this reach into a publisher environment through its outstream video ads. You can see the chatbot in action here.

UK Government Refers Fox’s Sky Bid to Competition Authorities
Culture secretary Karen Bradley has announced that she will refer Rupert Murdoch’s proposed £11.7bn takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox to the competition authorities for a further six-month examination of the deal. Bradley made the decision after Ofcom warned of potential for Murdoch to “influence the overall news agenda and their ability to influence the political process and it may also result in the perception of increased influence”.

Sorrell Insists WPP is ‘Open for Business’ Following Cyber Attack
WPP has confirmed that it was victim of a cyber attack involving ransomware virus, Petya. Robin Dargue, WPP’s group chief information officer, has notified agencies that a number of companies within the group have been hit with a ransomware virus, with staff told to disconnect their machines and switch them off until further notice. WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell has sent a memo to staff saying that there was no indication that either employee or client data has been compromised in the event, which affected a number of large global companies.

The Week in Tech

MainAd Launches “Logico” Ad Retargeting
MainAd has launched its flagship proprietary technology ‘Logico’, which it says will use machine learning to extend the benefits of bespoke programmatic campaigns for brands. The bidder element of Logico is built on Google’s Open Bidder API (beta) and utilises the Google Compute Engine, allowing MainAd to build custom real-time bidding (RTB) solutions dependent on the needs of each individual client.

Mother Backs VR and AR Start-up
Mother, a leading creative agency, has invested in AR and VR start-up Dream Reality Interactive, an independent developer that creates games and experiences on virtual reality platforms. This is the first time that Mother has made an investment in the AR and VR space. DRi has also secured investment from Phil Harrison, a co-founder of Playstation, and former corporate vice-president of Microsoft.

Apps to be a $6.3 Trillion Market by 2021
The mobile app economy is growing rapidly, ending 2016 with an estimated value of $1.3 trillion. App Annie forecasts that by 2021, the app economy will be valued at $6.3 trillion, equating to more than $1,000 per mobile user per year.

How Accenture’s New AI Tech Combats Ad-Blocking
Accenture Interactive’s R&D unit has created a potential alternative to pre-roll ads. Using artificial intelligence to identify “hot spots,” this technology can scan an image and embed a contextual marketing message in real-time to integrate with the video, Campaign demonstrates:

TVSquared’s “Predict” Platform Automates TV Planning and Buying
TVSquared says that its Predict platform is changing the TV planning and buying process by forecasting how TV will perform before ad buys are made. The proprietors claim that Predict identifies the best performing networks, days, times, programs, creatives and number of spots to meet advertisers’ ROI objectives.

Nielsen Expands Mobile Measurement for YouTube Ads
Nielsen has introduced advertising measurement on YouTube’s mobile app with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings. With the expansion, Nielsen will now provide marketers independent and comprehensive cross-device measurement of advertising audiences on YouTube across computer and mobile devices.

The Week in TV

Facebook “In Discussions” with Hollywood
Facebook is in discussions with Hollywood studios and agencies as it looks to start producing original TV-quality programming by late summer 2017, according to the Wall Street Journal. In meetings with talent agencies Facebook has suggested it is willing to commit to production budgets as high as $3 million per episode, reports suggest. Facebook’s entry into the TV market comes years after Netflix and Amazon’s entries, placing it in competition with soon-to-be debutante, Apple.

BT Most Criticised Pay-TV Provider
BT has once again topped the pay-TV complaints list with 19 per 100,000, Ofcom reports. Almost four times the industry average of just five complaints per 100,000 subscribers. Virgin Media ranked second with nine complaints per 100,000 subscribers and arch-rival Sky recorded just two.

BT was also the most complained-about ISP in the first three months of 2017, and BT subsidiaries Plusnet and EE were the third and fourth most-complained about broadband suppliers. TalkTalk was second.

Vodafone Launches TV in Italy and eSports in Spain
Vodafone has launched a TV service in Italy using the OTT TV technology platform provided by Kaltura. The content libraries of services including Netflix and Sky Italia Now TV are part of the service. Channels on the mobile platform include Nove, Real Time, DMax, Giallo, Focus, K2, Discovery Italia’s Frisbee and De Agositini’s Super!

Meanwhile in Spain, Vodafone España has launched a Vodafone-branded version of the Twitch eSports channel. Content will include daily three-minute news show Speedrun, Esports Academy, A.M.A (Ask Me Anything) and Domingamers.

OTT Non-Linear Transforming European Pay-TV  
Providers in EMEA are transforming the European pay-TV landscape with innovation and improvement of OTT services and non-linear consumption, according to the Pay-TV Innovation Forum 2017. As growth in the European pay-TV industry matures, operators are shifting focus to strengthen the core pay-TV offering, while diversifying into new areas to monetise their existing subscriber bases. Future future growth will be driven by new products, rather than traditional pay-TV offerings.

UK Likely to Lose Over 1000 TV Channels Through Brexit
Expert Media Partners report that UK-based international broadcasters face serious challenges in a post-Brexit world, and the consequent impact is likely to start being felt this summer. The UK is currently by far the biggest location in the EU for companies broadcasting television channels to other EU member states, but this pre-eminent position is now under threat. The UK is home to 758 TV channels primarily targeting other markets, compared with 91 in the Czech Republic, the second largest source.

Vimeo Scraps SVoD Service
Online video portal Vimeo has officially scrapped its plans to enter the SVoD market. The company is said to be refocusing its efforts on its creator community, which uses the service to distribute videos without advertising for recurring or one-time purchases. As a part of the move, Vimeo will dissolve its development team, which had been working to acquire programming for a subscription offering.

Fox Debuts On-Demand in France
Fox Networks Group Europe & Africa has launched its authenticated on-demand service in France. A deal with local partner Canal+ will see the VOD service becoming the latest to get Fox’s branded digital video product. Fox Play will stream through TV, mobile, tablet and web, and allows for offline viewing, and is offered to Canal+ subs with a Ciné/Séries package.

BT Aims to Integrate VR with TV Experience
BT is looking into ways to integrate virtual reality sports with the main TV screen experience, and is looking to capture 360° coverage of sports events in much higher resolution as part of its deepening involvement in VR. While people are currently unlikely to don a VR headset in the living room, they are likely to snack on 360° content on other devices while watching TV, BT believe.

The Week in Publishing

Google Fined Two-Point-Four Billion Euros for Breaching EU Antitrust Laws
The European Commission has fined Google €2.42 billion for breaching EU antitrust rules by promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of search results. According to the European Commission, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by giving an illegal advantage to its comparison-shopping service.

In addition to the €2.42bn, the EC has ruled that Google must amend its conduct within 90 days or face additional penalty payments of up to 5 per cent of the average daily worldwide turnover of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.

Facebook Launches Anti-Extremism Counterspeech Initiative in UK
Facebook has launched its Online Civil Courage Initiative program to tackle online extremism and hate speech in the UK, a year after it was launched in other European countries. In partnership with the Institute for Strategic Dialogue the OCCI will commit financial and marketing support to NGOs and other groups who work to counter online extremism and bring together experts to develop best practice and tools for people to engage in counter speech.

Google to Stop Mining Private Emails for Personalised Gmail Ads
Google is stopping its controversial practice of scanning the emails of free Gmail accounts to better target advertising shown within the service. In a blog, Google Cloud SVP Diane Greene said: “G Suite’s Gmail is already not used as input for ads personalisation, and Google has decided to follow suit later this year in our free consumer Gmail service.” As such, users of the free account will soon have the option to switch off ads personalisation. This does not, however, mean that Google will stop scanning emails altogether.

FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Expands into Europe
The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video has announced its European launch, extending its remit to champion the premium video industry on an international level, with members including European broadcasters and operators. To mark the launch, the group has published its first position paper. At launch, the FWCE will have 13 members, namely Canal+ Régie, Channel 4, Discovery Networks International, Medialaan, MTG, Nelonen, Proximus, RTÉ, SBS Broadcasting, SFR Régie, Sky UK and Germany, and TF1 Publicité.

Instagram Video “Soaring” for Publishers
Fifteen months after Instagram raised the maximum length on a video from 15 seconds to one minute, video has become a central area of focus for publishers there, according to NewsWhip data. More than half of Time’s monthly Instagram output is now video, up from eleven percent last March. ABC News’ output went from four percent to 87 percent; BBC News’ is now over 90 percent. The newfound emphasis is helping publishers deliver on many different kinds of goals, not just broadening reach but driving traffic, revenue and engagement both on and off the platform.

Strong Growth Forecast for Facebook in India
India has experienced explosive growth in the number of Facebook users over the past few years, making the country home to 32.6 per cent of users in Asia-Pacific. According to eMarketer, 182.9 million people in India will log on to Facebook regularly in 2017, equating to 69.9 per cent of social network users and 42.6 per cent of internet users. Mobile social network usage is helping to drive up usage, this year, 96.5 per cent of Facebook’s Indian users will access the platform via mobile device.

Treating Customers as Human Better for Brands than Trying to be Human
Most people find it cooler when brands engage with them, than when brands try to act human, according to data from Sprout Social. Internet users found it most ‘cool’ when brands use video clips, respond to their questions, and join conversations. They found it not cool when brands use slang, talk politics, or make fun of the competitors or customers.

Digital Nears Tipping Point for Daily Media Time in Western Europe
This year, eMarketer forecasts digital will draw the largest share of adults’ time spent with media in France and Germany for the first time. In the UK, digital will come close to attracting a majority share of total media use.

Apps and Accessories are Greatest Barrier to AR and VR
The need for additional software, apps and hardware is ranked as the greatest barrier preventing consumers from experiencing AR & VR digital advertisements, according to Vibrant Media. Not knowing where to find VR & AR ads, and concerns that such ads might use up consumers’ mobile internet data allowance were identified as the second and third most likely barrier.

YouTube now has 1.5 Billion Logged-In Monthly Users
YouTube has shared new metrics that illustrate its domination of mobile video usage, and how quickly its service is gaining viewers on TVs. The standout stat is that there are now 1.5 billion logged-in users visiting the site every month. Logged-in users spend an average of more than one hour per day watching YouTube just on mobile devices, a significant amount  that shows just how pervasive video has become on the mobile web.

China’s Twitter Rival Banned from Streaming Video
Chinese regulators have ruled that three of the country’s major internet groups much stop streaming audio and video services as part of a drive by the country’s authorities to restrict the availability of online content. The ban on streaming has been placed on microblogging site Sina Weibo, news portal iFeng and video streaming platform ACFUN. Sina Weibo, which surpassed Twitter in market capitalisation earlier this year, lost around one billion USD in value on the NASDAQ exchange following the move.

The Week for Agencies

Shares in Cannes Lions’ Owner Dip Following Publicis Withdrawal and WPP Criticism
Shares in Cannes Lions owners, Ascential, fell more than three per cent to 324p following Publicis Groupe’s withdrawal from the 2018 awards, and comments from WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell who called for a rethink and repositioning of the whole event.

The timing of the Publicis withdrawal was especially awkward as Ascential was hosting shareholders in Cannes for an investor presentation. Ascential has launched an advisory committee to shape the future of the event after one of its key themes in 2017 was not the celebration of creativity but the cost of being there.

Hammersley Launches Indie Agency Collective “Harbour”
Former chief executive at DDB and Cheil, Paul Hammersley, is setting up “Harbour”, an agency collective of independent shops to compete against the holding companies. The founding agencies are George & Dragon, Goodstuff, Oliver, Talon, Dac, Just So and Scramble. Harbour will provide a centralised team for areas such as finance, HR, IT, legal and travel. Also the different shops may also call on each other when pitching for business.

French Police Raid Havas Offices
The headquarters of the Havas advertising group have been raided by the French anti-corruption police as part of an investigation into a charge of favouritism, complicity and profiting from favouritism. The inquiry was opened after the Canard Enchaîné ran an exposé accusing Business France of awarding a contract to Havas without a bid. Business France, whose offices were raided at the same time as Havas’ premises, had previously said it hired Havas because it was familiar with the agency and faced a tight deadline.

Marketers Plan to Increased Social Video Spend in 2017
Marketers are planning to increase investment in video advertising on Facebook, YouTube,  Twitter and Instagram, eMarketer reports. Budget holders are more confident in video content on Facebook and YouTube when it comes to driving views, engagements and purchases. But videos placed on Instagram and Twitter are not that far behind.

Partnerships of the Week

Wibbitz Partners with Pond5 for Royalty-Free Video Collection
Wibbitz has partnered with Pond5, the online marketplace for royalty-free stock footage and media assets. Wibbitz will integrate the Pond5 media library into its system, to enrich its media library and provide more diversified media choices.

SpotX Teams with Immersion
Video ad serving platform SpotX and Immersion, a developer and licensor of haptic technology, have joined forces to bring haptic-responsive video advertising opportunities to market at scale on mobile devices. By teaming up, the pair will bring Immersion’s haptic technology across all media owners on SpotX’s platform, empowering advertisers with high-impact, tactile experiences.

Qualcomm Adds Three New Tech Partners for VR Headset
Qualcomm has three new technology partners who will make components for its standalone virtual reality headsets, VentureBeat reports. The company is now going to work with more partners for its Head Mounted Display Accelerator Program (HAP), including sensor maker Bosch Sensortec, image sensor maker OmniVision, and controller maker Ximmerse.

Hires of the Week

Dentsu Aegis Network Announces Senior Executive Appointments
Dentsu Aegis Network has announced the appointment of Nick Brien as CEO Americas and CEO US, and the move of Nigel Morris to the newly created role of Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer. Mr. Brien most recently ran Hearst-owned ad agency iCrossing as chief executive. Both roles will sit on the Dentsu Aegis Executive Committee.

Y&R Announces 12 New Creative Hires
Y&R has announced the hiring of 12 new creatives. The list includes: Jim Bolton, Burley’s former deputy at CHI; Mark Farinha, formerly a creative director at Drum; Gavin McGrath, who returns to the UK following a stint at MullenLowe; Joyce Kremer and Sophie Taylor join from Grey London; Sean Johnson and Josh Pearce from Brothers and Sisters; Amy Fasey from Wieden+Kennedy.

Innocean Australia Hires Paul Bruce for Creative Director
Paul Bruce has joined Innocean Australia as creative director, effective immediately. Most recently Bruce was ECD at Zoo Group, Sydney.

This Week on VAN

The TV Industry is Entering a New Era of Collaboration, read more on VAN

Key Takeaways from the Cannes Lions, read more on VAN

AdLedger, a Blockchain Consortium, Emerges to Promote Blockchain in Ad Tech, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Ignore This, Qualcomm, McCann

This ad lets you know that it’s totally okay with Qualcomm that you flip to your smartphone when their commercials show.


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