In this week’s Week in Review: the ad industry unites to create the first European viewability standard, Nielsen is to include Facebook, Hulu and YouTube in its digital video ratings, and Fox Sports and Foxtel are set to merge, with an IPO “possible”. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Ad Industry Unites for First European Viewability Standard
The European ad industry has published its first set of viewability principles as it works to create a standards framework that it hopes will become the benchmark online. The new European-wide framework aims to help reduce discrepancies, as currently different platforms and different agencies have their own standards. The European Viewability Steering Group, set up by the IAB Europe, WFA and European Association of Communications Agencies, aims to provide a “quality benchmark” that should improve the accuracy and consistency of measuring viewable impressions. It is now looking for suitable auditors to ensure its principles are being met.
Nielsen to Include Facebook, Hulu and YouTube in Digital Video Ratings
Nielsen has announced that it will begin to count video views on Facebook, Hulu, and YouTube in its Digital Content Ratings. Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings were launched with the intention of gauging audiences across desktop and mobile devices, so the update will give publishers more detail on how videos perform. Nielsen’s update comes as traditional pay TV experienced its worst Q1 in terms of subscriber losses ever. Nielsen’s inclusion of digital platforms in its digital ratings is arguably long overdue.
Fox Sports and Foxtel to Merge, with IPO Possible
Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel and premium channel Fox Sports are to be merged into a single company that could be listed on the stock exchange, owners News Corp and Telstra have announced. Fox Sports is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, while Telstra and Foxtel share ownership of Foxtel. The pair say the new company will be well positioned to deliver premium sports as well as homegrown, original and international entertainment in a rapidly evolving and competitive marketplace.
The Week in Tech
Momentous Entertainment Group Acquires Mobile Ad Network Blackfox
Momentous Entertainment Group, Inc. has announced its acquisition of mobile advertising network Blackfox.io. Blackfox provides a platform to run mobile ad sales campaigns for such companies as Walmart, Nutri-Systems, Old Navy, LivingSocial, Amazon, GoDaddy, Macy’s, LendingTree and others. As part of its business strategy, clients only pay for performance upon purchase or installs.
GeoGuard and Skyhook Collaborate on Anti-Piracy Solution for Video Viewing
GeoGuard and Skyhook are collaborating to provide the content industry with what they describe as the first solution that ensures viewers are verifiably watching films and TV at home. The solution combines precise location data from Skyhook with geo-piracy defences from GeoGuard. The collaboration is a continuation of the existing relationship through which the companies provide geo-location services for the gaming industry.
Trilithic Acquired by Viavi
Network service specialist Viavi Solutions has acquired electronic test and measurement equipment provider Trilithic. Viavi revealed the deal as it announced its Q4 results, and said that Trilithic would become be part of Network Enablement business segment. The Company expects the acquisition to be accretive to earnings on a non-GAAP basis in fiscal 2018.
Gloss Media Opts for SpotX
Gloss Media has named SpotX as its programmatic platform to for the monetisation of its network of digital video screens in nail salons. The announcement marks the company’s first programmatic video integration, part of an effort to augment direct-sold deals as buyer relationships shift to favour programmatic executions.
Improve Digital Enhances Video Ad Targeting with Digital Element Tech
Digital Element has announced that Improve Digital has adopted its NetAcuity Edge targeting solution. Digital Element’s technology has been integrated into 360 Polaris, Improve Digital’s full stack monetisation technology platform for video, web, and mobile content providers.
The Week in TV
Sling TV Launches on Google Chrome
OTT service Sling TV has launched an in-browser player on Google Chrome. Sling TV’s compatibility with Chrome enables customers to watch live and on-demand television directly in the web browser, with no app download required, and is available in beta for all new and existing Sling TV customers.
Telefónica Planning International OTT TV Service
Telefónica is planning the launch of a Netflix-like OTT TV service to target an international audience, according to El País. Citing unnamed sources, El País claims that Telefónica is looking at taking its content to subscribers in countries such as the UK and Germany where its Movistar+ pay TV service is not available. The group is reportedly looking at offering a streaming SVOD service similar to Netflix or HBO Now, which could be provided direct-to-consumer or via agreements with service providers.
US Addressable TV Ad Spend to Hit $1.26 Billion This Year
Demand for addressable TV advertising has been steady, but is set to accelerate during the next couple of years, according to eMarketer. US addressable TV ad spending is expected to reach $3.04 billion in 2019, more than double its 2017 level of $1.26 billion, eMarketer estimates. Superior ROI, and the ongoing expansion of both available addressable inventory and the number of households that can be reached are key drivers of this growth.
Altice to File Buy-Out Offer for SFR
Altice is to file a buyout offer for SFR in an attempt to acquire the remaining 4.1 per cent of the French service provider’s stock, after inking agreements to ensure it holds 95.9 per cent of the share capital and voting rights of the group. Altice reportedly intends to file the buyout offer with French markets regulator the AMF, followed by a squeeze-out of remaining shares for €34.50 a share.
PCCW Raises $110 Million for OTT Ventures
Hong Kong based PCCW Media has named Hony Capital, Foxconn Ventures and Temasek as investors in the firm’s over-the-top internet media and entertainment business. Between them the three have invested $110 million. PCCW Media will remain as the controlling shareholder of PCCW OTT. The new investment will help to fuel growth and innovation of OTT video service under Viu and other OTT services in Asia and beyond. PCCW also owns Hong Kong’s telecom operator HKT.
EE TV Launches Voice Control via Amazon’s Alexa
EE TV now supports Alexa voice control through Amazon Echo or Echo Dot, the move makes the BT-owned outfit the first UK service provider to provide an Amazon Alexa skillset on its set-top boxes. EE TV customers can ask Alexa what is on TV tonight, and can record any or all of recommended shows using a voice command. The skill works whether EE TV is switched on or in standby mode.
Bloomberg Signs Niche Sport as Video Licensing Partner
Bloomberg Media Distribution has announced a partnership with Niche Sport Media to distribute their coverage of sporting events, including football, boxing, golf, rugby league, and cricket. Video will be available on the Bloomberg MediaSource platform and via direct MRSS feeds to customers.
Virgin Media Ireland adds UKTV Play
Virgin Media Ireland has added UKTV Play to its catalogue of catch up services. UKTV channels Dave, W, Gold and Alibi will now be available through the operator’s On Demand platform, making over 1,000 additional hours of catch up TV available to its customers.
DirecTV in $4 Billion False Ads Case Opens
A California court has started hearing evidence into a claim by the USA’s Federal Trade Commission which alleges that DirecTV deliberately misled millions of subscribers about the actual costs of viewing programming. DirecTV is alleged to have advertised and promoted a discounted annual fee to new subscribers without making clear that subscribers had to sign a two-year deal, which increased by up to $45 a month during the second year.
Eurosport Arrives on Amazon in Germany and Austria
Discovery Communications has announced a streaming deal in Germany and Austria with Amazon that brings Amazon Prime members access to Eurosport’s premium live HD sports content, including exclusive Bundesliga live on Friday nights across Germany. Eurosport goes live on Amazon Channels on August 16th 2017.
MTV Germany Going Standard Definition for Return to Free-To-Air
Viacom’s MTV network is reinstating a standard definition version MTV service for Germany and Austria, and will switch to free-to-air transmission in those countries for the first time in seven years. MTV HD will remain encrypted, in line with a general trend for broadcasters to keep HD channels encrypted, but SD channels free-to-air.
The Week in Publishing
Apple Plan $1 Billion Spend for Original Programming
Apple is planning to invest $1 billion in original video content over the next year, according to the Wall Street Journal. Apple is counting on the reach of its iPad and iPhone to make it competitive. However competition in the market has risen sharply from an ever diversifying base, which has gone beyond traditional content producers to include online streaming companies and online giants like Amazon. By comparison, Apple’s current investment is rather small.
Google Introducing Ad Filters to Block Content Featuring ‘Violence, Nudity and Political Satire’
Google is going to release new filters to give advertisers greater control over the content they appear against, the Sunday Times reports. Google is apparently planning to grade videos and other online content under new parameters which include violence, nudity and political satire. The additional safeguards are expected to come into force by the end of the year.
IPA Goes Public With Google and Facebook Criticisms
The IPA has published an open letter to Google and Facebook, accusing both of being too slow to tackle problems with brand safety, viewability and measurement, and demanding “urgent action”. IPA director general Paul Bainsfair has called on the online giants to work more closely with his organisation and ISBA to tackle brand safety issues. Accusing the pair’s recent progress in these areas of being “neither fast, nor significant, enough.”.
Scandinavian Media Investor Plans Johnston Press Rescue
A Norwegian investor is reportedly planning to offer a lifeline to the debt-laden Johnston Press before it falls into hands of US hedge funds. Christen Ager-Hanssen, whose private equity firm Custos owns the Metro freesheet in Sweden, is said to have plans to use the group’s online audiences as a launchpad for digital start-ups. Mr Ager-Hanssen said he intends to refinance the 250-year-old publisher’s £220 million bond debt, arguing that its cash generation is strong enough to refinance the debt at an interest rate of only 3 per cent, compared to the current rate of 8.6 per cent.
Google’s UAC to Replace All AdWords App Install Advertising
Google’s Universal App Campaigns (UAC) have proven to be so successful that Google is moving all AdWords app-install advertising under the UAC umbrella this fall, according to a company blog post. The company said that as of October 16th in-app campaigns created in AdWords will be running on UAC. In addition, current app install campaigns, including existing Search, Display and YouTube app promo campaigns will stop to run from November 15th. Meaning current advertisers will be required to move their campaigns to UAC.
More Influencer Mentions for Beauty Brands on Instagram Stories vs. Snapchat
Influencers are more active endorsing beauty brands through Instagram Stories than on Snapchat, Snaplytics report. Snaplytics analysed the activities of over 800 influencers over the last quarter, to identify and sort brand mentions. Their investigation shows that whilst Snapchat has had a downward slope for influencer activity Instagram, Stories is gaining more and more traction, particularly for larger brands.
Mobile Web Header Bidding eCPMs Improve by Almost 150 Percent in One Year
Mobile web header bidding eCPMs improved almost 150 per cent during the the second quarter in 2017, whilst mobile header bidding impression volumes grew at twice the rate of desktop, according to PubMatic. Both video and native mobile ad formats performed well during the second quarter of 2017 with mobile web serving as the main platform for both formats at 68 per cent and 75 per cent of monetised mobile impressions.
Associated Press Content Driving Greatest Facebook Engagement than Individual Publishers
Content from The Associated Press drove higher total engagement on Facebook than any of the Top 10 individual publishers in June and July, according to NewsWhip. In May, June and July, total engagements on AP content posted by member news organisations and customers rose from 31 million to 34 million. By comparison the top individual publisher totals for the three months topped at 29 million. Engagements refer to likes, reactions, comments and shares on Facebook.
Millennials Drift toward Instagram from Snapchat
Millennial’s attention continues to shift towards Instagram, over Snapchat, according to CivicScience. Their data found that 34 per cent of millennials said they used Instagram daily, compared to 28 per cent on Snapchat. Instagram has had an edge in daily users in the CivicScience poll since Q1 2016. The gap in the latest quarter is the widest the poll has found in the past seven quarters.
To pile on the pressure for Snapchat, daily millennial users of Instagram have been steadily growing at two per cent since the last quarter, plus the data suggests that there aren’t as many millennials abandoning the app compared to Snapchat.
The Week for Agencies
MEC and Maxus ‘NewCo’ to Ditch Regional Offices
GroupM will remove the existing regional management structures for its new ‘NewCo’ agency in a bid to improve efficiencies across the business, MAA report. The new GroupM agency formed by MEC and Maxus will remove the roles of MEC regional chief executive Peter Vogel and Maxus APAC chief executive Ajit Varghese, when it officially launches in January 2018. Under the new structure, the firm’s top eight global markets which comprise 70 percent of its revenues will report directly to global CEO Tim Castree.
Deloitte Acquires Acne Agency to Boost Creative Services
Deloitte Digital, the creative consulting unit of Deloitte, has acquired Stockholm-based creative agency Acne. Acne was founded in 1996 and has worked with clients including IKEA, Spotify and H&M. Deloitte Digital plans to hire around 80 new employees across northwest Europe, with 40 of those based in the U.K. Deloitte Digital has appointed one of Havas London’s former executive creative directors, Andy Sandoz, as a partner and chief creative officer to lead Deloitte’s creative services in the U.K.
Partnerships of the Week
AdRoll and Taboola in Programmatic Native Partnership
AdRoll has officially partnered with native advertising and content platform Taboola, to offer clients access to the Taboola publisher marketplace. AdRoll clients will now be able to bid programmatically for native placements on publisher sites globally.
MTG’s Zoomin.TV Partners with Tencent to Access Target Chinese Viewers
Zoomin.TV and Tencent have signed a partnership giving Zoomin.TV access to over 1.5 billion Chinese viewers. The company, which was founded in 2000 by Jan Riemens and Bram Bloemberg in Amsterdam, brings together a network of video journalists to produce content in over 20 languages. It is hoping to distribute its work to a vast new market of Chinese viewers on Tencent’s WeChat, on Qzone and Kauibao.
Hires of the Week
STV Appoints ITV Online and Pay-TV Boss as CEO
STV has appointed ITV’s managing director, online, pay TV, interactive and technology, Simon Pitts, as its next CEO. Pitts, who has worked at ITV for 17 years in various senior roles, is due to join the Scottish broadcaster’s board as chief executive on 3rd January 2018.
Ex-CBS Exec Joins Verizon’s Video Platform Go90
Former CBS alternative programming chief, Chris Castallo, is heading to digital video platform Go90 to lead its development efforts. Castallo will now source, acquire and develop scripted and unscripted content for the four networks.
This Week on VAN
Rumours of an Apple TV Set Re-Emerge as the Company Reportedly Plans to Spend $1 Billion on Content, read more on VAN
Leading Video Media Platforms to Get Nielsen Digital Content Ratings, read more on VAN
Advertiser Trade Bodies Join Forces to Call for More Accountability from Google and Facebook, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week: Best Burger in Town, Mitsubishi ASX, Africa
When it’s the end of the world and you really want the best burger in town, Mitsubishi can get you to it. Apparently.