The WIR: Discovery closes UK HQ, Telia Confirms Bonnier Broadcasting Acquisition Talks, and New Publishers Join Vox & NBCU’s Alliance


In this week’s Week in Review: Discovery closes down its UK headquarters, Telia confirms it’s considering a takeover of Bonnier Broadcasting, and three new broadcasters join Vox Media and NBCUniversal’s digital ad marketplace ‘Concert’. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Discovery Closes UK HQ as it Looks to Life After Brexit
US broadcaster Discovery is shutting down its current European broadcasting hub in London and scouting out alternatives on the continent, it emerged this week. Up to 100 jobs will be affected as the company switches to a US-based transmission system, though Discovery will still employ around 1,300 in the UK where it produces shows and currently broadcasts 16 channels. Discovery said in a statement that the move “is part of our vision to move to a more agile operational technology model”, as opposed to a Brexit-motivated decision, but The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the company is also considering options including Amsterdam and Warsaw as new post-Brexit European headquarters. Discovery currently holds licences for European broadcasting through the UK’s Ofcom, which may no longer be valid outside of the UK if a deal isn’t reached before Britain leaves the union.

Telia Confirms Talks to Buy Bonnier Broadcasting
Swedish telecoms company Telia this week confirmed it has entered talks with Bonnier Broadcasting regarding a potential acquisition of the company, a deal which according to Resumé could be worth up to $1.4 billion.  Resumé reports that talks have been ongoing since last autumn, and a deal could be announced as soon as next month. “Content is an important part of the company’s future strategy and we continuously investigate possibilities in this and other areas. The discussions with Bonnier are to be seen in that context,” said Telia in a statement.

New York Media, Rolling Stone and PopSugar Join Publisher Alliance
Vox Media and NBCUniversal’s digital ad marketplace ‘Concert’ announced this week that New York Media, Rolling Stone and PopSugar will add their digital properties to the alliance, which Vox says will bring Concert’s reach to 90 percent of all internet users. The new additions will boost the marketplace’s offerings in its entertainment and women’s lifestyle categories, according to Concert’s general manager Ryan Pauley. Concert now claims to offer access to over 200 million monthly unique users, and 99 percent of millenials online.

The Week in Tech

Google Reaps Early Rewards of GDPR
Google has emerged as an early winner from the EU’s new data law, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The new law is drawing more ad money into the tech giant, according to the report, due to Google having gained consent from users for use of their data at a much higher rate than many other digital ad businesses. Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager has been directing more ad money towards Google’s own exchange, as opposed to competitors, due to smaller vendors not having gained consent for use of data. Hossein Houssaini, Havas’s global head of programmatic solutions, told the WSJ that it saw a low double-digit percentage increase in the amount of money funneled through DoubleClick Bid Manager into Google’s own exchange on May 25th when GDPR came into effect.

Kaltura Acquires Rapt Media
Video ad tech company Kaltura this week acquired personalised video startup Rapt Media for an undisclosed amount. Rapt Media’s interactive media tech guides users through different video paths depending on their behaviour, and is used for marketing alongside recruitment and education, with EMC Dell, Alight Solutions and eBay listed as existing customers.

605 Launches TV Ad Measurement Tool Impact Index
Data and analytics company 605 this week launched a new tool, The 605 Impact Index, which the company says will measure the impact of TV advertising on both branding and sales. 605 says the index will combine one of the industry’s largest matchable TV data sets with custom first-party research in order to benchmark qualitative metrics like awareness and favourability.

Verve Acquires Receptiv
Location-based marketing company Verve on Wednesday announced the acquisition of in-app video ad business Receptiv for an undisclosed fee. Verve said in a statement that the purchase bolsters its publisher ecosystem, adding partnerships with publishers spanning lifestyle, fitness, entertainment, photo, messaging, gaming and utility apps. Receptiv’s video add formats will also be added to Verve’s creative studio portfolio, the Verve Foundry.

The Week in TV

National Amusements Sues CBS Board in Ongoing Power Struggle
The legal battle between the board of US broadcaster CBS and its largest shareholder National Amusements flared up again this week as National Amusements filed a suit against the CBS board, in an effort to prevent it from diluting National Amusements’ voting control of the company. CBS approved a dividend a few weeks back to reduce National Amusements’ voting control from 80 percent to 17 percent, in order to prevent it from forcing through a merger between CBS and Viacom.

KPN Closes OTT Service Over “Disappointing Demand”
Dutch telecoms company KPN announced today it will close down its over-the-top (OTT) service KPN Play on July 2nd due to “disappointing demand” for the service. The service was launched back in 2015, but has struggled for subscribers since launch. “We have seen that market demand has proved to be insufficient for this new way of watching TV. That is why we have decided to discontinue this service,” said the company in a message to subscribers.

ITV and BBC Consider Joint £1 Billion Move for UKTV
British public broadcasters ITV and the BBC are considering entering into a joint venture worth £1 billion which would see ITV buy half of UKTV, according to a report on Tuesday in The Telegraph. The move is reportedly seen by the two companies as a way to compete with online rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Read the full story on VAN.

ABC Axes Roseanne Over Racism Controversy
Just weeks after hailing the success of the rebooted sitcom ‘Roseanne’ at its upfronts and placing the show front and centre in its pitch to advertisers, ABC cancelled the show this week after its star Roseanne Barr posted a racist tweet directed at Valerie Jarrett, an African American former aide of President Obama. The tweet read “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj”, and was taken down as it generated a significant backlash. “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement.

European Commission Approves Liberty Global’s Acquisition of Ziggo
The European Commission approved Liberty Global’s takeover of Dutch cable company Ziggo this week, following a previous approval being struck down by the EU General Court last year. The Commission had to reassess the takeover after the court annulled its original decision over concerns that the Commission had not fully stated the reasons for its conclusion that the merger would not lead to vertical anti-competitive effects.

The Week in Publishing

Pinterest 2017 Sales Reach $473 Million
Pinterest’s sales in 2017 grew 58 percent to $473 million according to a report from Bloomberg, as ad sales on the platform picked up speed. Sources familiar with the matter reportedly told Bloomberg that the company beat sales targets for the second half of the year, and is on course to do so again in H1 this year. While Pinterest’s revenues still lag far behind the likes of Twitter and Snapchat, it’s current trajectory looks healthy, having grown from annual revenue of just $24 million back in 2014.

Axel Springer Launches Consent Management Tool to Counter Google
Axel Springer has developed its own consent management platform to help publishers reach GDPR compliance, and is distributing it for free, according to a Digiday report. The CMP will reportedly also manage cookie consent requirements under the upcoming ePrivacy regulation, and is being pitched to publishers unhappy with Google’s ‘Funding Choices’ platform. Hubert Berda Media, one of Axel Springer’s local rivals, will be its first partner, according to the report.

UK Mobile Video Time to Grow 16 Percent This Year
Time spent by UK consumers watching video content on their phones will grow by 16 percent this year, according to eMarketer’s UK Digital Video and TV 2018 report. UK adults currently watch an average of 28 minutes of video content via smartphones per day, which will rise to 32 minutes in 2019, and 35 minutes in 2020, according to eMarketer’s data.

The Week for Agencies

Martin Sorrell Makes Comeback with Derriston Capital
Ex-WPP CEO Martin Sorrell announced his return to adland this week, revealing plans to use his newly incorporated investment company S4 Capital to build a “multi-national communication services business”. Sorrell stepped down from his position at WPP earlier this year while under investigation over allegations of personal misconduct, but had been mooted to return to the industry in another company. Now he is in talks regarding a deal which would see him take a 75 percent stake in Derriston Capital, which would be rebranded as S4 Capital and used as a vehicle for Sorrell to return to the advertising industry. “There are significant opportunities for development in technology, data and content. I look forward to making this happen,” said Sorrell.

4As and IPA Hit Out at Accenture Move into Digital Media Buying
Advertiser trade groups the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) and the 4As have both criticised consultancy Accenture’s move into digital media buying, announced last week. The IPA’s director general Paul Bainsfair said last Friday that Accenture’s new business is incompatible with its role as a media auditor, describing this purported conflict of interest as “unacceptable”. The 4As followed on Tuesday, issuing a statement expressing concerns over whether Accenture will be transparent in ensuring information it has collected from agencies, both as an auditor and via the agency review process, is not leveraged for the benefit of its new practice.

AANA Forms Alliance with PwC’s CMO Advisory
The Australian Association of National Advertisers announced a new strategic alliance with PwC’s CMO Advisory, which it says will enable both parties to share their expertise to deliver insight, solutions and capability development for AANA Members. The AANA says the first focus of the alliance will be on enabling a revised media contract template.

Wasserman Buys Boris Agency
Wasserman this week acquired Boris Agency, a Belgian brand-experience agency with offices in Belgium and the Netherlands whose customers include Coca-Cola and Bacardi. Boris Agency founder Dirk Wouters will continue running the agency, which will rebrand as Wasserman after a six month transition period.

Partnerships of the Week

SoundCloud Announces Global Programmatic Partnership with AppNexus
Open audio platform SoundCloud this week announced a new partnership with AppNexus which will see SoundCloud’s audio and video inventory made available programmatically via the AppNexus Marketplace. Buyers can access 15 and 30-second pre-roll and in-feed audio and video spots from SoundCloud through open marketplace real-time bidding or through private deals, according to the press release.

Creative Clicks Taps Protected Media to Tackle Ad Fraud
Data-driven marketing platform Creative Clicks has implemented Protected Media’s fraud detection and prevention solutions to clean up their ad inventory and validate publisher traffic, the company announced this week. “Protected Media provides fraud detection with an unprecedented level of granularity,” said Michal Ivry, director of video and native advertising at Creative Clicks. “We provide transparency and effectiveness to our customers and Protected Media empowers us to expand this to our traffic quality.”

HubSpot Partners with Taboola
Content discovery platform Taboola and CRM, marketing, sales and customer service platform HubSpot announced a new partnership this week, which will see partners of the companies able to start content marketing campaigns with Taboola through the HubSpot platform. Through the integration, HubSpot users who publish blog posts will be able to define and activate a Taboola campaign straight from the HubSpot platform allowing them to reach new, relevant audiences at scale, according to the press release.

Hires of the Week

Gabriel Catrina to Become Nordic Entertainment Group CFO
Gabriel Catrina, currently MTG’s chief strategy officer, will become chief financial officer of Nordic Entertainment Group as MTG divides its business into two parts, the company announced this week. Catrina will combine this role with his previously announced positions as executive vice president, chief strategy officer and head of M&A for NEG.

Teads Appoints Dominic Proctor as Advisor to the Board
Teads this week appointed former global president of GroupM Dominic Proctor as an advisor to its board of directors. Proctor will leverage his experience as a leader of creative and media agencies to help bolster Teads’ client relationships and strategic focus on revolutionising advertising experiences for brands, according to a statement from Teads.

MediaCom Hires Navin Khemka as CEO for South Asia
GroupM’s MediaCom has taken on Navin Khemka as chief executive officer for South Asia, the company revealed this week. Khemka joins from Wavemaker, another GroupM property, where he works as managing partner and new business development lead at Wavemaker India.

Exterion Media Chooses Jason Cotterrell as Group CSO
Exterion Media this week appointed Jason Cotterrell as its group chief strategy officer and managing director. Cotterell, who has previously held positions at Exterion as UK managing director and group development director, will start on June 11th.

The Week on Van

ITV and BBC Consider Joint £1 Billion Move for UKTV, read more on VAN

Does Influencer Marketing Actually Work? read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Powerade, That’s Some Kind of Power, Wieden+Kennedy
Powerade continued its ‘That’s Some Kind of Power” campaign with this World Cup themed spot, which sees an elderly man look back on what he could have achieved if Powerade was available when he was young.


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