The WiR: Accenture Touts AI-Driven Programmatic Video, Google is Experimenting with VR Ads, ISBA Says Fox’s Takeover of Sky is ‘Threat to Advertisers’


In this week’s Week in Review: Meetrics and SpotX are joining forces for video audience verification and attention data, YouTube is reportedly offering $3 refunds to advertisers over brand safety actions, and the ISBA has criticised Fox’s takeover of Sky as a ‘threat to advertisers’. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Accenture is Touting AI-driven Programmatic Video Ads
Accenture Interactive is pitching publishers and brands on a product that uses AI to automatically overlay product placements on streaming video content. For example, if an online streaming service serves a video ad featuring a moving plane to two people, one in the U.S. and the other in France, the former will see the plane with, say, the Delta logo on it, while the latter will see the same plane with the Air France logo instead.

Google is Experimenting with VR Ads
Google has begun to experiment with a new virtual reality advertising format at its experimental workshop, Area 120, which the company uses to test ideas. The ad format focuses on native and mobile VR to determine what they might look like. It attempts to attract the viewer’s attention by turning from one side to the other.

ISBA Says Fox’s Takeover of Sky is ‘Threat to Advertisers’
The ISBA has warned that 21st Century Fox’s takeover of Sky represents a potential “threat to advertisers” and welcomed news that culture secretary Karen Bradley is “minded” to launch a competition investigation. Mark Finney, director of media and advertising at ISBA, said: “We don’t think the merger is good for advertisers.” ISBA said the takeover of Britain’s biggest pay-TV firm “threatens unwarranted consolidation of media ownership, representing a possible threat to advertisers” and urged Bradley to refer the deal to the Competition and Markets Authority. Bradley will make a decision after 14 July.

The Week in Tech

Three to Offer Unlimited Video
Three is going to become the first mobile operator in the UK to let users stream video on mobile phones across its network for free when it comes to data use. The China-owned operator is partnering with Netflix, and TVPlayer, a service streaming the UK’s TV channels such as the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, as well as music streaming services Deezer and SoundCloud.

Cedato Launches Full Ad Tech Stack for Publishers
Cedato is expanding their product line to include a full video ad tech stack for publishers. To be released to the public on July 11th, the new product includes: A cross-screen video player; its own intelligent ad server; algorithmic video header bidding; unique outstream video formats; and access to additional demand through Cedato’s CedatoX private marketplace.

Sky Invests $2 Million in Circle Media Labs
Sky has invested $2 million in Circle Media Labs, a tech company specialising in connected devices. Sky described Circle Media Labs as an “early-stage technology company” and said in a brief statement that the investment would provide it with “additional insight into developments within the field.”

Ad Blocking in Australia Declining
Interactive Advertising Bureau Australia has found that the use of ad blockers in Australia actually has declined, falling from 27 per cent to 25 per cent. The main reason that people used an ad blocker was out of fear of getting a virus. More than one-fifth of ad blocker users named malware as the primary reason they turned on such a service. The second most popular reason was a surfeit of advertising, cited by 15 per cent of ad blocker users.

Meetrics and SpotX Join Forces for Video Audience Verification and Attention Data
Ad verification vendor Meetrics and video ad serving platform SpotX have joined forces to provide additional inventory verification and audience behaviour data for video advertisers in Europe and around the globe. The integration makes Meetrics’ data available in SpotX’s platform for publishers to report back to advertisers, increasing the depth of viewability, verification and audience behaviour data available.

Instagram Unleashes an AI System to Blast Away Nasty Comments
Instagram has released a text classification engine to help machines interpret words in context, and combat hate speech. The system, called DeepText, is based on recent advances in artificial intelligence and a concept called word embeddings, which means it is designed to mimic the way language works in our brains. When the system encounters a new word, it does what we do and tries to deduce meaning from all the other words around it.

Twitter to let Users Flag Fake News
Twitter is exploring adding a feature that would let users flag tweets that contain misleading, false or harmful information, according to the Washington Journal. The feature is part of the company’s uphill battle against rampant abuse on its platform, which has been plagued by issues such as fake accounts that can be purchased for pennies and spread automated messages and false stories.

Facebook Begins Release Of Interactive Metrics
Facebook is releasing a series of reporting metrics that it plans to make available about once a month to provide marketers with greater insight and a deeper understanding of the impact of their Facebook campaigns. The platform will now give marketers a better sense of to the number of visitors that arrive on a brand’s Web site after clicking on a link in an advertisement.

AI Revenue Projected To Hit $60 Billion
The new forecast for revenue generated from the direct and indirect application of AI software shows growth from $1.4 billion last year to $60 billion by 2025. The new forecast is an upgrade of Tractica’s previous projection for AI market growth, due to a greater than anticipated pace of change and development in the AI sector.

BBC Launches Experimental VR App
The BBC has launched a virtual reality app for iOS and Android through its experimental BBC Taster division. The free app will feature a range of content designed to “push the limits of virtual reality on mobile devices”, including animated VR, interactive 360° videos, dynamic binaural audio and branching narratives. The corporation added that the app it is part of BBC Taster’s remit to put the BBC’s early and experimental ideas in the hands of audiences.

YouTube ‘Offers $3 Refunds’ to Advertisers
YouTube is reportedly offering companies that pulled ads which appeared on extremists’ websites as little as $3 in refunds. YouTube parent Google’s advertising policy says that brands may ask for a credit where ads run on websites that were not part of campaign plans. Marks & Spencer, Havas, the BBC, Channel 4, ITV, The Guardian and the UK government have all told the FT they have not yet returned to YouTube.

The Week in TV

Global TV Subscriptions Slowing
The 100 leading television services in the informitv Multiscreen Index gained 3.46 million subscribers between them in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of only 0.79 per cent. In the same period in 2016 the increase was 6.90 million, or 1.68 per cent. There were modest gains across the board, with the Americas up by 0.85 million, Europe, Middle East and Africa up by 0.21 million, and Asia Pacific gaining 2.39 million. However, the top 10 services in the United States reported total losses of 559,000 subscribers, with only Comcast reporting significant gains.

TV Market in Africa and Middle East to Grow 30 Per Cent to 2021
The TV market in Africa and the Middle East will grow by 30 per cent between 2016 and 2021, going from €10.3 billion to €13.3 billion, according to IDATE. The momentum is driven largely by sub-Saharan Africa, and represents the world’s fastest-growing TV market, not only today but also for the five years to come. These figures indicate average annual growth of 5.1 per cent, with sub-Saharan Africa turning in the strongest performance: an average of 5.7 per cent growth per annum, to reach €9 billion in 2021.

ProSiebenSat.1 Calls Public Broadcast Funding
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has called for public funding to be made available to commercial broadcasters to support public service broadcasting that can “reach a larger number of young people”. Proposing what it described as ‘Media Regulations 4.0’ the broadcaster said that it hoped to prompt a discussion about the realignment of German media policy.

Intelsat 35e Launch Scrapped for Second Time
The launch of Intelsat’s new satellite, Intelsat 35e, has been aborted at the last moment for the second time in two days. Yesterday’s launch from Cape Canaveral on a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch vehicle was halted 10 seconds before the planned take-off time, prior to rocket ignition. SpaceX attributed the stand-down to “a violation of abort criteria” but said that the vehicle and payload are in good health with July 4 the next launch opportunity.

Al Jazeera Closure Threat Mounting
The threat to the closure of news channel Al Jazeera has never been greater after Qatar’s Foreign Minister make a special visit to talk to mediators in Kuwait about softening the demands made by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf. In all the Saudi-led group has 13 tough demands, and the timetable for compliance expired on July 1st. The list includes the closing of a small Turkish military base in Qatar, and the ending of diplomatic relations with Iran which Saudi Arabia considers a pariah state.

KPN Acquires Multi-play Operator Solcon
Dutch telecom operator KPN has acquired Solcon, a network operator serving private customers and businesses based in the city of Dronten. Solcon serves about 45,000 private customers with internet, fixed and mobile telephony and TV services. According to KPN, Solcon, which has about 75 employees, will continue to operate independently under its own brand.

AMC Launching Premium Ad-free Service
AMC is launching an ad-free, linear channel for $5 a month in the US. Comcast Xfinity TV customers will be able to watch series such as the Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead and Into the Badlands through the network, AMC Premiere. Along with ad-free episodes of AMC’s originals available as soon they air on the main channel, AMC Premiere will also offer content produced specifically for its audience.

Ten Secures $30 Million Loan to Stay Afloat
Australia’s Network Ten has secured its immediate future after key shareholders agreed to fund a $30 million loan. The funding package is available until August 31 and comes ahead of either a company sale or a recapitalisation process. Ten went into administration last month after two Murdoch and Gordon pulled their financial support by refusing to support terms of a new long-term loan. Packer had already removed himself from proceedings.

The Week in Publishing

Germany Votes for 50 Million Euro Social Media Fines
Social media companies in Germany face fines of up to 50 million euros if they fail to remove “obviously illegal” content in time. From October, Facebook, YouTube, and other sites with more than two million users in Germany must take down posts containing hate speech or other criminal material within 24 hours. Content that is not obviously unlawful must be assessed within seven days.

JICWEBS Goes Full-time To Combat Online Ad Issues
JICWEBS has undergone a number of changes in its drive to tackle the rising threats of online ad fraud and brand safety. JICWEBS is now changing from a part-time entity into a full-time operating limited company and, after 33 years, Richard Foan is leaving the media certification company, ABC, to focus on JICWEBS Ltd in a new role as executive chairman.

Social Video Most Impactful on Purchasing Behaviour
Nine of 10 social network users are influenced to make a purchase after seeing content on social media. And video has the greatest influence of all content types. The study by gen.video and Geometry Global, conducted in March and April 2017, assessed the impact of influencer marketing and social media on purchase behavior among more than 1,000 consumers.

TV Sponsorships Deliver for Brands
Brands that sponsor popular TV shows can exploit audience’s affections, is the central finding from research by YouGov and House 51. The study reveals the mechanics of TV sponsorship and its ability to build affinity for brands. The research also provides guidance on creating the most effective TV sponsorships, in particular the importance of creative congruence and the success of long-term partnerships with their ability to provide long-lasting brand preference even after sponsorships have ended.

Vevo Takes Swipe at YouTube Over Brand Safety
Music video platform Vevo says it wants to be known for more than “just the watermark” in the corner of YouTube videos and has plans to become a true youth culture brand. Vevo is looking to capitalise on the YouTube scandal by pushing a message of “quality” to attract ad dollars. Vevo is primarily known for distributing its content through YouTube, but it is eager to change this perception. Now the brand claims to have its technology sorted out, it plans to make a push for establishing the Vevo brand.

SQUID Launches Your News Buddy
SQUID App has launched “Your New Buddy”, in the UK. The SQUID App enables users to select the topics they are passionate about, follow the latest news in their selected country and local language and interact with the most engaging articles.

Google to Appeal £2.1 Billion EU Antitrust Fine
Google plans to appeal against the fine for breaching EU antitrust rules, saying the Commission has ‘underestimated the value of fast and easy connections’ when it comes to product searches. Google says it “respectfully disagrees” with the ruling. In a statement, Kent Walker, SVP and General Counsel at Google, says: “When you shop online, you want to find the products you’re looking for quickly and easily. And advertisers want to promote those same products.”

Verizon Linked with Disney Takeover
Verizon may become the latest US telco to buy a major American content company, with a report linking it to a deal for The Walt Disney Company. The NY Post’s On the Money blog quoted sources in the banking and analyst communities suggesting a deal could be on the cards. The rumour was reported doing the rounds on Wall Street last week ahead of the annual Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Idaho, which usually attracts major business leaders, philanthropists and cultural icons.

Virgin Media to Cut 200 Jobs
Virgin Media plans to make around 200 redundancies following a management shake-up at the cable operator. It is understood that staff at risk of losing their jobs were contacted by phone Thursday afternoon. The majority are thought to work at Virgin Media’s Hammersmith headquarters. The planned cuts follow the operator’s failure earlier this year to hit network expansion targets.

Egyptian Content Pirates Sentenced
Digital platform security specialist Irdeto and video entertainment services provider MultiChoice Africa Limited have confirmed that three content pirates have been sentenced in Cairo, Egypt. The sentencing follows multiple piracy raids which uncovered a large cybercrime syndicate illegally offering premium content services. The three defendants were found guilty on all criminal charges and were each sentenced to a two-year jail term and a fine of €3,700.

Ericsson Chairman Stepping Down
Leif Johansson, Chairman of Ericsson, has confirmed he will be stepping down from his position after six years in the job. Johansson said he wanted to give the company plenty of time to find his replacement, and thus revealed he won’t make himself available for re-election at next year’s annual shareholders meeting.

The Week for Agencies

WPP to Merge Wunderman and Possible
WPP has folded Possible into Wunderman as it aims to “better meet the demands of global marketers today and in the future”. Possible will continue as a standalone brand within Wunderman. The new group will have approximately 9,200 people within 200 offices across 70 countries. WPP said that global clients want “much greater simplicity and scale from their digital marketing partners to deal with a more complex, fragmented and changing environment”.

Vivendi Completes Acquisition of Bolloré Stake in Havas
Vivendi has acquired Bolloré Group’s majority stake in advertising outfit Havas, following a deal struck between the French media group and the investment vehicle of its chairman, Vincent Bolloré, at the beginning of June. Vivendi paid €9.25 a share for Bolloré’s 59.2 per cent stake in Havas, giving a total of €2.3 billion for the stake. The media group has also make a public offer for the remainder of Havas’s shares.

Partnerships of the Week

EBU Partners with Council of Europe
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has become a partner to a Council of Europe platform designed to track alleged violations of media freedom in member states. The platform was set up by the Council of Europe to promote the protection of journalism and the safety of journalists. EBU President Jean Paul Philippot said: “The Council of Europe is the guarantor of civil and human rights and freedom of expression throughout Europe and beyond. We are delighted to have them join us at our General Assembly and pleased to be able to support their efforts to protect journalists and an independent media.”

Scripps Channels for FuboTV
fuboTV has announced an agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive that will add several top channels to the company’s entry-level bundle. As a result of a multi-year carriage agreement, Scripps Networks’ US based brands HGTV, Food Network and Travel Channel will join the “Fubo Premier” line-up, which is currently available at $34.99 per month.  This includes access to each network’s live linear feed as of July 1st, as well as on-demand content and the channels’ TV Everywhere “Watch” apps to follow and at no additional cost.

BT Extends Ad Deal with Yospace
Yospace has agreed a multi-year extension to its deal with dynamic ad insertion technology firm, Yospace. Yospace’s platform uses ad-stitching technology to replace advertising on BT’s live channels with targeted ads when content is viewed via the multi-platform BT Sport service. The new deal follows a one-year period during which Yospace claims to have enabled ad placement in over 700 major sporting events for BT, including Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League football.

Deutsche Telekom Partners with Zenterio
Deutsche Telekom Group is working with Zenterio on a project to modernise the TV subscriber experience in Germany with one of the market’s largest deployments of IPTV set top boxes. Deutsche Telekom is transforming the customer experience with international rollouts currently ongoing in Greece, Romania and Croatia. Powered by Zenterio OS, the first commercial launch in Germany represents a major milestone.

Hires of the Week

Arena Media Names Sarah Treliving as MD
Arena Media has appointed Sarah Treliving, MediaCom’s managing partner, head of digital, as the Havas media agency’s managing director.

Intelsat Appoints Toscano
Intelsat has announced that José Manuel do Rosário Toscano will be joining the company to lead its efforts in International Government Affairs and Asset Management, effective September 4th 2017. Toscano will join the Luxembourg global headquarters office.

This Week on VAN:

TV Industry’s First Part Data Should Not be Underestimated says Smartclip’s CEO, read more on VAN

How SpotX are Helping Publishers Prevent Data Leakage, read more on VAN

Brand Safety on YouTube is Achievable says OpenSlate’s Mike Henry, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Golf GT, The Button, adam&eveDDB

‘Push the button’ is both a fantastic London club night and something the bad guys in films do to make terrible things happen. Luckily, Volkswagen have a ‘more responsible’ version.


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