In this week’s Week in Review: Roku are reportedly pondering their IPO, Discovery and Scripps shares have risen following a reported return to merger talks, and Unilever reports that is has cut agency fees by 17 per cent in 2017. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Roku Planning IPO at One Billion USD Valuation
Streaming media device maker Roku is reportedly preparing an IPO seeking a valuation of roughly one billion USD, according to the Wall Street Journal. Roku reportedly expects to make its stock market debut before the end of 2017, and has hired Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Allen & Co as underwriters for the planned IPO. The news comes a day after Roku announced that it had reached 15 million monthly active accounts globally, having grown its user base 43 per cent year-on-year as at June 30, 2017.
Discovery and Scripps Shares Rise Following Return to Merger Talks
Shares of Discovery Communications and Scripps Networks Interactive rose in after-hours trading this week following a Wall Street Journal report claiming that the two companies are once again in talks on a possible merger. Both Discovery and Scripps hold a number of cable channels specialising in non-fiction and reality programming. Sources also suggest that other parties may be involved in discussion with Scripps, including Viacom.
Unilever Cuts Agency Fees by 17 Per Cent in 2017
Unilever has hailed a “substantial” step-up in first-half profits after slashing spending to save more than €1 billion. Amongst other cuts, Chief Financial Officer Graeme Pitkethly said that Unilever had reduced advertising agency fees by 17 per cent. Pitkethly highlighted how the business had improved the use of its marketing spend by in-sourcing some activities via in-house branded content division U-Studio.
The Week in Tech
Sony Android TVs Now Compatible with Amazon Echo
Sony have announced that its 2017 line of 4K HDR TVs with Android TV can now be controlled via Amazon Echo devices. The news follows Amazon’s introduction of new entertainment capabilities as part of the Smart Home Skill API. The entertainment controls can be used on compatible devices by Sony, Logitech Harmony and BroadLink, with support from Denon, Crestron, LG and Pulse-Eight coming soon.
IAS Launches Enhanced Viewability, Brand Safety, and IVT Optimisation Solution
Integral Ad Science (IAS) has announced a new solution for publishers to optimise yield on their inventory, and streamline their workflow. Publishers will be able to access data to address issues such as viewability, brand safety, and ad fraud, to deliver better results for their customers. By building on the publisher verification tool, which reports on media quality metrics, IAS claims its offering has evolved to meet publishers’ changing needs.
Facebook Plans $200 Wireless Oculus VR Headset for 2018
Facebook reportedly plans to launch a wireless Oculus VR headset costing around USD $200 next year. According to a Bloomberg report the new device is being designed to bridge the gap between smartphone-based VR headsets and PC-tethered devices like the Oculus Rift, in order to capture a mass-market audience. Code-named ‘Pacific’, the new headset will reportedly operate as a standalone wireless device, packing all of the hardware it needs for immersive gaming, social networking and watching video.
Google Relaunches Google Glass
Google has announced a comeback for its Glass wearable product. Originally targeted at consumers, Google will launch a the Glass Enterprise Edition aimed squarely at the corporate market. The original Glass launch was among the most visible tech product failures of recent years. Now Google is aiming Glass at enterprise verticals like manufacturing, logistics, and healthcare, which should be a much better fit for the product as it stands.
Strong Opposition to SpaceX Satellite ‘Super-Constellation’
SpaceX is hitting some powerful opposition to its plan to build a super-constellation of mini-satellites to girdle the planet and provide extra broadband bandwidth for billions of new, or under-served, consumers. Geekwire reports that aerospace giant Boeing, SES-backed O3b and would-be satellite rival OneWeb have raised objections, each of which have plans for their own super-constellations.
Cedato Launches Video Tech Stack for Publishers
Cedato has announced the launch of its Cedato for Publishers video technology stack. The platform is designed to give mid-sized publishers a simple way to implement an all in-one programmatic solution for delivering and monetizing video across any screen and content, optimized for viewing experience and business results, on a transparent SaaS model.
AT&T to Debut Next-generation Video Platform
Select customers of AT&T’s DirecTV NOW streaming service are set to experience a new platform that will eventually support AT&T consumer video services. In heralding the new platform, AT&T promises a cloud based DVR, live channels, 4K and HD quality video, and access throughout the United States, whether via satellite, mobile or a wired Internet connection.
WaveOptics Raises £12 Million to Mainstream AR
Oxfordshire based startup WaveOptics has raised fresh funding from investors. Existing backers Touchstone Innovations, Octopus Ventures and Robert Bosch Venture Capital (RBVC), have put £12 million into WaveOptics, along with new Gobi Ventures, a new investor from China.
Google Expands Expeditions VR App Beyond the Classroom
Google is rolling out an update to its Google Expeditions app to extend take the experience outside of the classroom. The new ‘solo mode’ for the app will allow anybody to explore more than 600 different tours on their own. Previously the app was designed to be a classroom educational tool to help students to see and experience the world in new ways, visit university campuses, and gain exposure to new career paths.
The Week in TV
Fox-Sky Deal Heading for Full CMA Inquiry
Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox has declined to table an offer to protect the editorial independence of Sky News. A move that is almost likely to trigger a full inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority into the proposed £11.7 billion takeover of satellite broadcaster Sky. The deal would face a possible delay of 24 weeks were the CMA to conduct a new investigation. The decision on the CMA inquiry will in any case be delayed until after Parliament’s summer recess, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has confirmed.
Altice to Acquire Portugal’s Media Capital for €440 Million
Altice is to acquire Prisa’s 94.7 percent stake in leading Portuguese commercial broadcaster Media Capital Group. The operator said the deal valued Media Capital, which owns a range of TV, radio, internet and music assets, at €440 million. Atlice plans to launch a mandatory takeover offer for the remaining 5.3 percent of Media Capital that is not owned by Prisa, and committed to continuing Media Capital’s open platform, to invest in digital expansion, and develop new TV channels and services.
Netflix Reports 104 Million Subscribers Worldwide
Netflix shares have surged after the firm published its Q2 report and Q3 forecast. The US company says it now has around 104 million subscribers worldwide, having added about 5.2 million members during Q2, mostly from overseas. International members now account for over half of its subscriber total. The growth helped Netflix to report a 32 per cent rise in second quarter revenues to $2.8 billion, and it expects revenues to reach nearly $3 billion in the third quarter.
BBC Reveals Top Stars’ Pay
In tandem with publishing its Annual Report for 2016/17, the BBC has disclosed the amounts paid to staff and talent over £150,000 from licence fee revenue in the financial year. Reaction to the report has largely focussed on the wage gap between male and female talent. And also on the possibility that the terms of the Charter allow the BBC to ‘hide’ anyone who is paid via an independent production company. As is anyone paid by the corporation’s commercial arm, BBC Worldwide.
Viacom Launches Daily Show in the UK on Amazon’s Alexa
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is launching a spin-off digest of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah for Amazon Alexa users in the UK, DigitalTVEurope reports. Amazon’s voice control service will be able to access a Daily Show Flash Briefing, featuring daily new snippets from the Comedy Central late night talk show.
US TV Primetime Ad Revenue Up Six Per Cent
The total ad revenue for the broadcast TV networks and cable channels 2017-2018 amounted to $19.73 billion, an increase of 5.9 per cent over the previous upfront, according to Media Dynamics’ estimates. While the broadcast TV networks sold approximately $9.1 billion of time, up 4.1 per cent over last year, cable scored bigger gains, with $10.6 billion in ad revenue, up 7.6 per cent.
Egypt Bans beIN Sports
Egypt’s Competition Authority has confirmed that Qatar-based beIN Sports cannot operate or deliver its sports transmissions over Egypt. The ECA has ruled that a broadcast relationship between local network CNE and beIN Sports is “null and void”, because beIN Sports has “violated Article 8 of the protection of competition law by engaging in monopolistic practices”.
Telia Reports 6.3 Per Cent Drop in Revenue
Nordic telco Telia’s second quarter performance reported net revenues of €2 billion for the quarter, down 6.3 per cent compared with the same period last year. The results were impacted by the discontinuation of the group’s scandal-hit Eurasian operations.
The Week in Publishing
Facebook Considering Support for Publishers’ Subscription Models
Facebook is in talks with several news publishers about how it can better support subscription business models, Reuters report. The feature is likely to allow publishers to create a paywall on Facebook’s Instant Articles and guide readers to a publisher’s home page to opt for a digital subscription. Facebook has also started to roll-out a new tool to allow publishers using Instant Articles to measure how those articles perform compared with their own mobile websites.
Digital Ad Budgets see Biggest Rise in Ten Years
Marketers have revised their budgets for digital ad spend up by the greatest extent in almost a decade, as they shift priority to more activation-based marketing amid growing economic uncertainty. According to the IPA’s latest Bellwether survey 32 per cent of respondents said they increased their internet marketing budgets, versus nine per cent that recorded a fall. The highest increase ratio since the third quarter of 2007. That growth in internet ad budgets has also helped drive marketing budgets up, resulting in a net balance of 13.8 per cent seeing increased budgets.
ASA to Introduce Guidelines on Gender Stereotyping in Ads
The ASA is set to introduce new standards on advertising which features stereotypical gender roles of characteristics. Following a year-long inquiry the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has developed a set of tougher standards on adverts which portray “potentially harmful” gender stereotypes. The Committee of Advertising Practice will bring new standards on advertising that feature stereotypical gender roles of characteristics into force in 2018.
Telegraph Withdraws from Talks for Joint Newspaper Ad Sales Group
Telegraph Media Group has pulled out of the UK newspaper industry’s efforts to set up a joint ad sales house, Campaign reports. The move deals a potentially decisive blow to the initiative as only two publishers, News UK and Guardian Media Group, remain involved in the plan, which is dubbed Project Arena. Daily Mail & General Trust and Trinity Mirror both withdrew earlier this year. Group M forecasts national newsbrands’ ad revenue will fall eleven per cent this year to £835 million.
Omnicom Reports 2.4 Per Cent Drop in Revenue
Omnicom Group Inc has reported a 2.4 per cent decline in quarterly revenue, a drop largely driven by slow growth in North America. Advertising was Omnicom’s fastest-growing discipline over the period, up 4.2 per cent year on year globally. CRM increased 3.7 per cent, speciality comms increased 2.2 per cent, but PR declined by 0.3 per cent.
Mobile Viewing to Boost UK Online Video 20 Per Cent in 2017
Online video viewing will rise by 20 per cent globally in 2017, according to Zenith. In the UK, consumers will watch an average of 53.3 minutes a day of online video, rising from 47.9 last year. Video viewing on mobile devices in the UK will almost double, rising from 10.9 to 20.3 minutes. This versus the only two per cent growth for fixed devices, to 18.6 minutes a day.
The growth of video consumption is leading to rapid growth in video advertising, with Zenith forecasting global expenditure on to grow 23 per cent in 2017, to £20.1 billion. Although the majority of video viewing is now mobile, most 2017 advertising expenditure will go to fixed devices. However, in 2018 Zenith expects mobile video ad spend to surpass fixed video.
Twitter Aims to Continue Sport Expansion with PGA Rights Bid
Twitter has emerged as a potential bidder for US PGA rights in the UK after Sky failed to agree an extension to its contract with the prestigious golf event, according to the Financial Times. Twitter has already carried a number of minor PGA competitions as part of its foray into sports coverage, but the US PGA would be its biggest event to date. Experts warn Twitter’s move would be a huge blow to Sky.
Google to Add ‘News Feed’ to Website and App
Google is adding a personalised Facebook-style news feed to its homepage to show news stories, features, videos and music users might be interested in based on previous activity. Users will also be able to click “follow” on search results to add topics of interest to their feed. Google has been trialling a simpler version of its news feed in its smartphone app since December, the full news feed will be added to its smartphone apps and to Google.com too.
NBC News on Launches on Snapchat
NBC News is aiming to connect with young viewers by creating a twice-daily news show exclusively available via Snapchat. Stay Tuned will appear in Snapchat’s “Discover” section, and will be about two and a half minutes in length. Snap and NBC will reportedly split revenue from ads sold alongside the show.
Piracy Effectively the ‘Number Three’ TV Player in Latin America
The extent of pay TV piracy in Latin America means that illicit consumption of content is effectively the ‘number three player’ in the market, behind América Movil and DirecTV, according to Dataxis. According to their report, some 11.8 million consumers viewed pirated pay TV services in 2016.
The Week for Agencies
MullenLowe Group in Talks to Acquire 101
Dale Gall, MullenLowe’s UK chief executive, has confirmed to Campaign that talks to acquire 101 have taken place. The move would help MullenLowe rebuild its creative department following the departure of executive creative directors earlier this year. The deal has not been finalised but the Interpublic agency is now in advanced talks about a takeover, which could be completed by September.
Flare BBDO Shanghai Launched in China
BBDO has announced the launch of Flare in China. Flare Shanghai is part of a global content agency and video production company under BBDO. Flare BBDO Shanghai has already been serving BBDO’s customers in Greater China, including the Tourism Australia, HP, General Electric and some government projects.
Partnerships of the Week
Tru Optik and Lotame Partner for Ad Targeting
Tru Optik has announced a global partnership with Lotame. Through the partnership, advertisers and publishers can access Lotame’s first-party data and audience segments to create targeted OTT and Connected TV campaigns around the world. Lotame’s audience segments are available through Tru Optik’s OTT Marketing Cloud.
BBC and CBS Set-Up News-Gathering Partnership
BBC News and CBS News have announced a new editorial and newsgathering relationship. The new deal allows both organisations to share video, editorial content, and additional newsgathering resources around the world. The relationship will also allow for more efficient planning of newsgathering resources.
TVPlayer Agrees Ad Partnership with SpotX
TVPlayer has partnered with SpotX to allow advertisers to target viewers based on their viewing habits. SpotX will provide ad-serving infrastructure for all TVPlayer’s inventory across connected TV, desktop and smartphones, and will offer data-driven ad buying options. Advertisers will be able to target customers based on viewing habits and TVPlayer’s own demographic data and will be able to place pre-roll and in-stream advertising on TVPlayer.
Hires of the Week
ITV Confirms McCall as New Chief Executive
ITV has confirmed that Carolyn McCall will succeed Adam Crozier as Chief Executive, as of 8th January 2018. For the past seven years McCall has been at the helm for Easyjet.
TBWA\London Poaches Jex and Vogt to Boost Senior Staff
TBWA\London has poached Saatchi & Saatchi creative chief Andy Jex and MullenLowe head of strategy Anna Vogt. Jex will serve as Chief Creative Officer and Vogt will be Chief Strategy Officer from October.
Visual IQ Appoints Theresa Colarusso as SVP
Visual IQ has announced the appointment of Theresa Colarusso to Senior Vice President, Customer Success. Colarusso joins Visual IQ from IBM where she was the Director of Global Client Success.
News Corp’s Shine to Join Dentsu Aegis Network as CTO
News Corp’s global chief information officer, Dominic Shine, will join Dentsu Aegis Network as its first Chief Technology Officer on 1 October.
This Week on VAN
TV Industry Can’t Afford to Overlook the Convergence of Martech and Ad Tech, read more on VAN
Sizmek to Acquire Rocket Fuel for $145 Million, read more on VAN
Video Needs to Learn some New Tricks from an Old Dog, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week: Dream Makers, Honda, Wieden & Kennedy London
A stylish tribute to filmmaking, which takes us through the creative craft whilst invoking hits from thriller, sci-fi, romance and action genres.