In this week’s Week in Review: AT&T sends Wall Street into a panic after attributing a net loss in subscribers to cord cutting, trade groups team up to fight annoying ad formats, LinkedIn announces plans for video advertising. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
TV Stocks Fall as AT&T Reveals Extent of Cord Cutting
Stocks of companies heavily invested in TV fell on Thursday after AT&T revealed in a regulatory filing that its net subscriber count is falling. The telecoms company will report a loss of 390,000 traditional video subscribers in its quarterly report at the end of this month,but a gain of 300,000 on its over-the-top digital service, a net loss which it attributed in part to cord cutting.
Wall Street took this as a sign that the whole pay-TV industry will suffer a weak quarter, resulting in plummeting share prices for a number of TV companies. Among those whose stocks suffered were AMC Networks which fell 7 percent; Dish Network down 5 percent; Discovery Communications, Sinclair Broadcast Group and E.W. Scripps Co. each down 4 percent; and Charter Communications down 3 percent.
LinkedIn to Sell Video Ads
LinkedIn announced its plans on Thursday to being selling video ads on its network, revealing it is currently running a closed beta test of sponsored content videos for a small number of advertisers. The move has been expected since LinkedIn began allowing users to upload video content in August, and the video ad format will look the same as user-uploaded videos, running on autoplay without sound.
The new video ads will be targetable in the same way as LinkedIn’s existing ad formats, using data from member profiles such as company size, geography and job title, as well as via LinkedIn Matched Audiences. Advertisers will be provided with metrics including view count and views by percentage completion, with other video-specific metrics to be added in the coming months.
Trade Groups Unite to Tackle Annoying Ads
The heads of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s), Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) sent a joint letter to the Coalition for Better Ads (CBA) on Thursday urging it to adopt an industry-wide self-regulatory system for cutting down on bad ad formats.
The proposed “Better Ads Experience Program” aims to eliminate use of annoying ad formats, the prevalence of which is linked to ad blocker usage. CBA research last May identified eight mobile and four desktop ad formats that consumers found particularly annoying, interruptive, or obstructive. Under the proposed framework ad sellers, buyers and intermediaries would pledge to comply with CBA standards, which would then be enforced with the help of browsers and other delivery technology companies.
The Week in Tech
Facebook Unveils Oculus Go
Mark Zuckerberg revealed a new standalone VR headset at it’s annual Virtual Reality Developers Conference, the Oculus Go, aimed at bringing VR into the mainstream. Facebook paid over $2 billion for startup Oculus back in 2014, and Zuckerberg believes the tech is ready to take off, telling the conference this week that Facebook hopes to get one billion users into VR.
The new headset,expected to arrive in early 2018, will start at $199 and is Facebook’s first standalone headset, so it won’t require a phone or cables to operate. Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell repeatedly said at the conference that price has been the main obstacle holding VR adoption back, and that the $199 price point is designed to draw in users for whom the Oculus Rift is too expensive.
Adobe Partners with SSPs and Exchanges to Make Fees Transparent
Adobe Advertising Cloud announced on Friday that it is partnering with 15 supply-side platforms (SSP) and exchange partners to make all fees fully transparent. The intiative comes after revelations that a number of SSPs were including hidden additional fees in media costs that were passed along to buy-side partners – Adobe is now mandating that these fees are either elimitaed entirely or fully disclosed. Among those partnered with Adobe are Google AdEx, Index Exchange, MoPub, OATH by Verizon, OpenX, Pubmatic, Sharethroughx, SpotXchange, StickyAds, The Rubicon Project, and Telaria.
TRX Launches with BBC Worldwide
The Rightsxchange, an online tool for buying and selling TV rights, opened to buyers and sellers this week while adding BBC Worldwide’s entire catalogue of 9,500 titles to its stock. TRX aims to enhance the TV rights market by allowing buyers to search for content, get instant rights availabilities and make offers for program rights online.
Sky Vision, All3Media International and Discovery Communications, Antenna Group and Bloomberg are among those signed up to TRX already alongside BBC Worldwide, and over 500 buyers had registered pre-launch.
Interactive Video Ads Have Nine Times Higher Impact on Purchase Intent
Research conducted by Taptica’s Tremor Video DSP in partnership with MAGNA and IPG Media Lab has found that interactive video ads have a nine times greater effect on purchase intent than regular video ads. The study, designed to shed light on the impact of interactive video ads across smartphones, tablets, and PCs, also showed that interactive video ads drive a 47 percent lift in the amount of time consumers spend with a brand, and are 32 percent more memorable than non-interactive adverts.
ABC Certifies IAS’ Video Viewability Measurement
The Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) this week accredited Integral Ad Science’s (IAS) desktop video viewability measurement technology, verifying that IAS’ technology is counting viewable video impressions in accordance with the JICWEBS Viewability Product Principles. IAS’ viewability measurement were found to consistently measure and report as expected under the test conditions set out by ABC.
The Week in TV
Apple Commissions Original Spielberg Series
Reports emerged this week that Apple is on the verge of commissioning Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment to produce a reboot of Spielberg’s sci-fi series ‘Amazing Stories’. Apple’s bit to follow the lead of fellow tech giants Facebook and Amazon and create their own TV programmes ramped up earlier this year with the hiring of Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, two top Sony Pictures Television producers. The deal, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, will reportedly sanction of 10 part series, with each episode having a $5 million budget.
Hulu Moves into Esports
Hulu announced a deal this week with ESL, the world’s largest esports company, that will see Hulu host esports content for the first time. The deal includes exclusive rights to four new esports series: Player v. Player, Bootcamp, Defining Moments and ESL Replay. The deal breaks new ground for ESL too, as the four series handed to Hulu are ESL’s first original series.
“Esports is one of the fastest growing areas of media and entertainment, and, through this first-of-its-kind deal with ESL, we can now bring the popular world of esports to Hulu,” said Lisa Holme, Hulu’s vice president of content acquisition, in the press release. “We know our viewers, especially those watching Hulu on consoles, are hungry for this type of content – so we’re excited to offer it on Hulu for the first time.”
Asia Pacific SVOD to Overtake North America
Digital TV Research’s Global SVOD Forecasts report finds that SVOD subscriptions in the Asia Pacific region will overtake North America in 2017. By 2022, the report predicts that Asia Pacific will account for 43 percent of global SVOD uptake, compared to North America’s 31 percent. Globally, subscriptions are forecast to reach 546 million by 2022; double the 263 million recorded by end-2016.
TV Viewing via Mobile Doubled Since 2012
Ericsson’s annual ConsumerLab TV and Media report has detailed changes in TV viewing habits, showing that around 70 percent of consumers watch at TV via a smartphone to some degree, double 2012’s figure. Smartphones, tablets and laptops together accounted for around 25 percent of total TV viewing time in 2010, but now smartphones alone host one fifth of all TV viewing, and the report predicts this will increase to one quarter of all viewing time by 2020.
The Week in Publishing
Amazon Studios’ Chief Exec Roy Price Suspended
Roy Price, the head of Amazon’s department dedicated to investment in television shows and movies, has been suspended after allegations of sexual harassment emerged. Isa Dick Hackett, producer of Amazon series The Man in the High Castle, publicly accused Price of making unwanted sexual advances towards her after a dinner at Comic-Con in San Diego two years ago. Hackett says she reported the incident to Amazon immediately after the incident and an outside investigator was hired to look into the claims, but no series action was taken against Price at the time.
“Roy Price is on a leave of absence effective immediately,” said an Amazon spokesman in a statement. Albert Cheng, currently the chief operating officer of Amazon Studios, will reportedly take over Mr. Price’s role on an interim basis.
Trinity Mirror Revenue Decline Continues
British media group Trinity Mirror has a posted decline in revenues of eight percent in the third quarter this year, following a nine percent drop in revenue over the first half. Falls in publishing revenue and print revenue were mitigated slightly by four percent growth in sales for its digital business.
Trinity Mirror has recently cut 78 roles at its regional titles while refocusing its efforts on digital and video. “We delivered continued growth in digital display and transactional revenue of 14 percent” the publisher declared in a statement, “but classified digital revenues, which are substantially jointly sold with print, remained under pressure.”
UK publishers lose nearly £3 billion revenue annually due to ad blocking
OnAudience.com’s global report on ad blocking says that publishers in the UK lose out on almost £3 billion every year due to ad blocking. Around 32 percent of internet users in the UK use ad blocking plugins, part of a trend of high ad blocker uptake around Europe according to the report.
Globally, ad revenue lost due to ad blocking reached $42 billion this year, a huge jump from the $28 billion lost last year. “There has been much discussion calling for advertising to provide a better user experience, but this report clearly shows that not enough is being done as ad blocking rates continue to rise – causing a significant loss for publishers and the advertising industry as a whole,” said Maciej Sawa, chief commercial officer at OnAudience.com in a press release.
The Week for Agencies
WPP Accuses ADK of Circumventing Stock Purchase Agreement
WPP ramped up its criticism of long term Japanese partner Asatsu-DK (ADK) in relation to a proposed takeover by Bain Capital, saying that board members were acting in their own interests and trying to dodge the stock purchase agreement.
“ADK has improperly attempted to terminate its co-operation and business alliance agreement with WPP, which it knows full well that it cannot do, as on previous occasions it had abided with this instruction” said a WPP statement released this week. “ADK’s effective sale of its holding in WPP has attempted to circumvent the stock purchase agreement and contradicts explicit advice from key shareholders that doing so would trigger damaging and ill-advised tax charges.”
OKRP Acquires Juice Interactive
O’Keefe Reinhard & Paul Chicago announced on Tuesday its acquisition of digital marketing agency Juice Interactive. OKRP described the deal as the result of a search for a digital agency that could help expand the agency’s ability to offer clients enhanced integrated creative solutions. The deal’s terms were not disclosed.
Partnerships of the Week
Roku and Kudelski Agree Patent Deal
Digital security experts Kudelski announced on Wednesday a patent cross license and technology collaboration agreement with Roku. According to the press release, each company will have the freedom to operate with respect to the other’s patent portfolios, and a framework has been established for the companies to collaborate on incorporating Kudelski’s security solutions with Roku’s platforms in the Pay TV market in the future. The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed.
Pixability Becomes Snapchat Certified Partner
Video ad tech company Pixability was selected this week as a Snapchat Certified Partner, enabling Pixability’s customers to plan, buy, and report on Snapchat campaigns. Pixability will help its clients, through a third party partnership, to convert their 16×9 content into Snapchat’s vertical video format. Snapchat joins YouTube, Instagram, Spotify and Twitter as platforms customers can buy with through Pixability.
Mirada Wins Bolivia Contract
English software designers Mirada have secured a five-year contract with Digital TV Cable Edmund, a Bolivian pay-TV operator based in Santa Cruz. Under the contract, Mirada will deploy its entire suite of Iris multiscreen products, including its OTT platform and back-end application, Iris SDP, across Digital TV Cable’s network. Mirada hopes to reach up to one million devices in Bolivia within the next five years.
Adsmovil and AdColony Partner for Programmatic Mobile Video in Latin America
AdColony and Adsmovil announced a partnership this week to offer video ads via programmatic purchase across Latin America. The agreement brings together AdColony’s Instant-Play HD Video technology and Adsmovil’s reach and expertise in the mobile market to deliver their new offering.
“Adsmovil has proven to be a serious company and committed to the safety and results of advertisers in the mobile environment,” said Gaston Bercun, General Manager of AdColony for Latin America in a press release. “This product will undoubtedly optimize the results for Adsmovil video campaigns over mobile devices in the region.”
RiksTV Chooses AdScribe for Measurement
AdScribe, a subsidiary of Zenterio, announced on Wednesday that Norwegian pay-TV operator RiksTV has selected AdScribe Audience as its measurement and analytics tool. AdScribe Audience measures across live TV, time-shift TV, catch-up TV and VOD content viewed on connected set-top boxes, as well as on Android apps and iOS devices.
Hires of the Week
OpenX Appoints Paul Ryan as CTO
OpenX announced on Monday the appointment of Paul Ryan, founder of mobile search company Zowdow, as chief technology officer. Paul will oversee the OpenX’s technical teams to foster the development of new programmatic technology.
TabMo Hires MoZoo’s Sophie Plenert
Mobile DSP TabMo has hired Sophie Plenert as agency sales manager, who joins from MoZoo. TabMo says the hire was necessary to keep up with demand, and will allow TabMo to continue its expansion in the UK.
The Monkeys Picks Ant Keogh as CCO
Ant Keogh has been taken on as chief creative officer for Australian agency The Monkeys’ new Melbourne office. The Monkeys was acquired by Accenture last year, and has since been looking to expand in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Week on Van
TV Industry Should Be Wary of Facebook’s ‘Bait and Switch’ Strategy says FreeWheel’s Bremond, read more on VAN
Can Broadcaster Alliances Overcome the Hurdles to Addressable TV Advertising? read more on VAN
US Tech Giants are the Vampire Squids of Online Data says Arete’s Kramer, read more on VAN
Can the ‘Video Pivot’ help Publishers Survive in the Age of the Duopoly? read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
BeyondBlue, Know when Anxiety is Talking, Clemenger BBDO Melbourne
Mental health organisation BeyondBlue’s new advert, part of campaign for World Mental Health Day, appears to show an employee getting a harsh telling off from his boss, before revealing the voice heard to be his own internal monologue. The ad misleads the viewer about who is really talking, an effective way to mirror how anxiety misleads sufferers about where negative thoughts are really coming from.