The WIR: Google Releases Tools to Block Retargeting, CMA Blocks Fox/Sky Takeover, Snapchat Allows Sharing on Facebook and Twitter

In this week’s Week in Review: Google releases tools for users to avoid retargeting, the UK’s CMA blocks Fox’s planned takeover of Sky, and Snapchat allows Stories to be shared on Twitter and Facebook. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Google Gives Users Control Over Retargeting
Google unveiled new additions to its ad management tools on Thursday which it says will give users more control over ads following them around the internet. Google is adding the ability to mute ‘reminder ads’ (ads for products which a user has previously looked at online, but never actually bought) through its Ad Preferences Manager tool, enabling users to avoid being retargeted by Google-served ads. The company is also updating its ‘Mute This Ad’ tool, which lets users block individual ads served by Google. Muted ads will now be blocked across all devices that the user is signed on to with Google, and across a wider range of apps and websites that Google partners with.

CMA Blocks Fox Takeover of Sky
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on Tuesday put the breaks on Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky, saying that such a takeover would not be in the public interest as it would concentrate too much of the UK’s news media in too few hands. While the CMA said it believes Fox has a “genuine commitment to broadcasting standards in the UK”, the CMA said the Murdoch family would have too much control over UK new providers if the deal went through. It did note however that if Sky News was to be divested or spun off from Sky itself, the takeover might be allowed to go ahead.

Snapchat Allows Sharing on Facebook and Twitter
Photo sharing service Snapchat is allowing content posted on its app to be shared on Facebook and Twitter for the first time, a move which analysts say is an effort to expand Snapchat’s user base. Snapchat’s original premise was that shared photos could only be seen by those they were directly shared with, and only for a limited time. This will remain the case for user-to-user shared photos, but now publicly viewable Snapchat stories can be posted outside the app on platforms including Facebook and Twitter. The move may be designed to help the app compete with Facebook-owned rival Instagram, since Facebook has been making it easier to share content between its products to encourage customers to sign up to its full range of services.

The Week in Tech

T-Mobile Acquires Layer3
T-Mobile completed its purchase of TV tech company Layer3 TV this week as it looks launch its “disruptive” new TV service later this year. Layer3 delivers TV via a private IP network to directly serve content to a cable box, but it’s not clear whether T-Mobile will actually use this tech for its new TV offering. Layer3’s CEO Jeff Binder will take charge of the new TV project, which pitches itself as an alternative to channel-heavy cable and satellite offerings, though not much more specific is known about the project.

Facebook Invents New Measure of Time
Facebook made one of the more unusual announcements of the week on Tuesday as it launched a new unit of time, called a ‘Flick’, equal to 1/705,600,000 of a second. Its purpose it to make it easier for developers to keep video effects in sync, as it will allow them to measure the duration of an individual frame without using fractions. When frames are measured in nanoseconds, the need to measure frame duration using decimals can cause errors to build up, which can result in latency and delay in video footage.

AppNexus Reports Prebid Video Success
AppNexus reported this week that clients using its Prebid Video service for header bidding are seeing effective cost per milles (eCPMs) up to 100 percent higher than they got with tag-based integrations. AppNexus launched Prebid Video back in 2016, built on Prebid.js, and reports that clients including Ranker, FANDOM and Diply have given positive feedback about the impact it’s had.

Programmatic Ad Spend in China Rose Nearly 50 Percent in 2017 says eMarketer
Programmatic ad spending in China reached $16.7 billion in 2017 according to eMarketer, a 48.6 percent increase on 2016. eMarketer forecasts programmatic spending will increase to $22.8 billion this year and to $29.6 billion next year. The research also finds that 79.9 percent of programmatic spending in China was dedicated to mobile, and that the programmatic landscape is dominated by Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent.

The Week in TV

Netflix Market Cap Exceeds $100 Billion After Strong Q4 Results
Netflix’s value shot up to over $100 billion after the streaming site revealed what it described as ‘beautiful’ Q4 results on Monday. The company’s revenue in 2017 reached $11 billion, 36 percent growth over 2016’s results. Netflix also added 24 million new memberships, five million more than it brought in the previous year, which it attributed to the success of its original programming including Stranger Things, 13 Reasons Why and Bright. While competition is rising as more companies launch their own video on demand services and commission pricey original content, Netflix seems bullish, saying that “the market for entertainment time is vast and can support many successful services. In addition, entertainment services are often complementary given their unique content offerings.”

Addressable TV Ads Pay Off for Sky as AdSmart Grows 17 Percent
Sky’s investment in addressable TV advertising appears to be paying off, as ad sales through its AdSmart product grew 17 percent in the UK according to the company’s latest financial results. Strong ad income in adverse conditions helped fuel total like-for-like revenue growth of five percent for the second half of 2017 compared to the previous year, which the company also attributed to it’s growing customer base and investment in original content. Read more on VAN.

Amazon Announces Price Hike for Prime
Amazon announced on Friday that the price of Prime memberships in the US will increase from $10.99 to $12.99 per month, thought the price of an annual membership will remain at $99. The price of a Prime Video only subscription, which doesn’t include shipping benefits for Amazon’s store, will also remain unchanged. No price changes have been announced for other regions, though some analysts expect the UK price to increase in the near future.

Comcast’s Q4 Results Narrowly Beat Expectations Despite Cord-Cutting
Comcast release its Q4 results today which narrowly beat Wall Street’s expectations, and showed that the company is still managing to grow income from cable TV sales and some of its ad revenue streams, despite the impact of cord-cutting. Strong growth of Comcast’s high speed internet and film production arms, as well as the recent US tax cuts were cited at the main drivers of the increase in revenue, though the telecoms operator also hailed a successful year for NBCUniversal’s TV operations. Read more on VAN.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook to Consult Users on Trustworthy News Sources
Following on from it’s announcement two weeks ago that publishers and brands will be prioritised on the News Feed, Facebook announced plans to prioritise news sources that are “trustworthy, informative and local.” Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained on via a Facebook posts that the company will be running community surveys to measure familiarity with and trustworthiness of a variety of news sources. The post also gave an indication of the extent to which the previous announcement will affect publishers, saying it expects news to fall from occupying five percent of the News Feed to occupying four percent.

Google Takes Top Spot on YouTube’s 2017 Ads Leaderboard
YouTube released its ranking of the top ads of 2017, measured by audience engagement, video views and audio retention on its platform, with Google’s ‘Questioning?’ spot for its Pixel 2 phone taking the top spot. John Lewis, which took the top spot last year, was pushed into second place for its ‘Moz the Monster’ ad, while M&S’s Paddington ad took third place.

Almost Two-Thirds of UK Public Believe Social Media Companies Sell Their Data Without Consent
Social media companies have lost a significant amount of trust from the British public over the ways they collect data and the negative behaviours they enable, according to public relations company Edelman. Edelman’s 2018 Trust Barometer, which measures global trust in governments, businesses and media, finds a majority in the UK believe social media companies engage in shady practices around data, and would like to see more done to regulate them.

The Trust Barometer surveyed over 3,000 respondents in the UK to gauge their trust in a variety of institutions. The data for social media companies was highlighted by Edelman as the most significant in the UK this year as results found a high levels of distrust in the industry. A large proportion of Britons showed concerns about what goes on behind the scenes at companies like Facebook and Twitter: 62 percent said they believe social media companies sell users’ data without their knowledge and 63 percent said these companies lack transparency. Read more on VAN.

The Week for Agencies

P&G Plans to Cut Agency Count by 50 Percent
Procter & Gamble (P&G) this week announced its intention to continue its cost cutting drive by halving the number of agencies it works with over the coming year, which it hopes will save $400 million. The consumer goods giant has already cut its agency count from 6,000 in 2014 to 2,500, which it says has saved around $750 million in associated costs. P&G’s chief financial officer Jon Moeller announced the decision on an investor call earlier this week, saying that the company is working to create a new agency model, encouraging more open sourcing of creative talent and production capability with a view to increasing speed and quality while also cutting costs. Moeller also said that P&G will automate more of its media planning, buying and distribution, and bring more of it in-house.

WPP Opens Doors of New Global Brand Agency Superunion
WPP’s restructuring continued this week as five of its consultancies and design shops have merged to form a new global brand agency, Super Union. Superunion, which was announced last September, combines Brand Union, The Partners, Lambie-Nairn, Addison Group and VBAT. WPP says the merged brand will have a network of over 750 people in over 20 countries, and will be led by Jim Prior as Global CEO and Simon Bolton as Executive Chairman. The move follows a series of similar consolidations within WPP, as it merged five Kantar brands into Kantar Consulting earlier this year, and merged Maxus and MEC to form Wavemaker last year.

Publicis Rejects Allegations of Overvaluing Growth
Publicis Groupe on Tuesday rejected allegations of financial improprieties, calling them a “destabilisation attempt”. The holding group’s auditors and some financial analysts had previously received an anonymous letter claiming that Publicis has overvalued its organic growth for 2016 to 2017. “The author of this letter obviously has no knowledge of accounting standards and is proceeding by amalgam, for the sole purpose of creating doubt and disturbing the reality of Publicis Groupe’s figures,” said a statement on the group’s website.

Partnerships of the Week

News UK Joins AOP
News UK, owner of British newspapers The Sun and The Times, announced on Wednesday that’s it’s joined the board of the Association for Online Publishing (AOP). News UK says the collaboration will focus on boosting supply chain transparency and ensuring greater brand safety, and that it will work to support and raise awareness of the AOP’s Ad Quality Charter.

“Welcoming News UK to the AOP board is a natural and logical extension of our current relationship,” said AOP’s managing director Richard Reeves. “We have similar views on multiple issues; including the need for collective industry action to increase media accountability and transparency. Joining forces will allow us to share learnings, resources, and influence, and establish a sustainable, digital future for the premium publishing community.”

Facebook Pens Livestreaming Deal with ESL
The Electronic Sports League (ESL) has agreed a deal that will see two of its flagship competitions, the CS:GO Pro League and the ESL One Dota 2 and CS:GO circuit broadcast exclusively on Facebook. The ESL properties are the latest additions to Facebook’s growing sports catalogue, and will be available on Facebook Live in English and Portuguese.

Hires of the Week

Publicis Groupe Appoints Nick Law as Global Chief Creative Officer
Publicis announced this week the hiring of Nick Law as its new global chief creative officer. Law joins from R/GA, where he also worked as global chief creative officer, as well as vice chairman, and Publicis says he will be charged with developing a unified creative ethos across the spectrum of Publicis’ creative brands.

NewTV Picks Meg Whitman as CEO
NewTV, a mobile video service created by former DreamWorks Animation owner Jeffrey Katzenberg, has appointed Meg Whitman as its CEO. Whitman currently serves as chief executive and president of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and previously headed up eBay, and will lead the company into its launch as it build its library of short form “snackable” content.

Havas UK Promotes Tracey Barber to CMO
Havas UK has promoted Tracey Barber from creative chief marketing officer to group CMO, a role in which she’ll take responsibilities for all of Havas UK’s agencies.

Teads Makes String of New Appointments
Jamie Toward, Charlotte Williamson and Ian Webber have been hired as domestic industry directors by Teads’ London office, joining from Accenture, the FT and AOL respectively. They join seven other senior hires who have been taken to to support continued UK and international growth.

Ligatus Expands UK Team with Three New Hires
Ligatus on Tuesday announced the appointment of Alex Newberry to Head of Publishers, David Mensah to Operations Manager and Matthew Larkin to Head of Sales. Newberry, Mensah and Larkin join the company following the opening of its new London office eight months ago.

SpotX Continues European Expansion with Merouane Saadi Hiring
SpotX has taken on Merouane Saadi as director of platform services as part of its continuing expansion in Europe., it announced on Tuesday. Saadi will be based in Belgium where he will recruit a team to work on buy-side and sell-side operations in the region.

The Week on Van

Almost Two-Thirds of UK Public Believe Social Media Companies Sell Their Data Without Consent, read more on VAN

How the ‘Plumbing’ of Video Ad Tech Still Isn’t Fit for Purpose in 2018, read more on VAN

Comcast’s Q4 Results Narrowly Beat Expectations Despite Cord-Cutting, read more on VAN

Addressable TV Ads Pay Off for Sky as AdSmart Grows 17 Percent, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Taco Bell, Web of Fries, Deutsch LA

US fast food chain Taco Bell created this fake movie trailer for the release of its new nacho fries, following one man’s investigation to figure out why they didn’t sell fries in the first place. The spot squeezes in all the classic tropes of the spy-thriller genre that it’s parodying, as well as a not-so-subtle nod to its main competitor.

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