The WIR: Instagram Launches YouTube Competitor IGTV, UK Publishers Unite for New Ad Offering, and Reports Emerge of AT&T Interest in AppNexus


In this week’s Week in Review: Instagram launches a new YouTube competitor, UK publishers unite for a new ad alliance, and reports emerge that AT&T is close to buying AppNexus. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Instagram Announces YouTube Competitor IGTV
Facebook-owned video and photo sharing app Instagram this week launched a new platform, IGTV, which will allow users to post long form content, and is seen as a challenger to Google’s YouTube. IGTV videos will be in the same vertical format that regular Instagram videos are in, but will be up to an hour in length, as opposed to Instagram’s limit of one minute. IGTV content will be viewable on the Instagram app, but will also be hosted on a specific IGTV app which the company pitches as being TV-like, in that content will start playing as soon as the app is opened. Alongside this news, Instagram also announced that it has reached one billion users globally.

UK Publishers Launch New Joint Advertising Platform
British publishers Guardian News & Media, News UK and The Telegraph this week announced a new jointly-owned audience platform called The Ozone Project. The platform is touted to launch in August this year, and claims it will offer advertisers access to an audience of over 39.4 million unqiue users, leveraging the publishers’ first party customer relationship management (CRM) data to enable targeting across the combined inventories. The Ozone Project is pitched as a response to problems in the digital ad ecosystem like brand safety issues, lack of supply chain transparency and ad fraud.

AT&T Reportedly Close to Buying AppNexus
US telecoms giant AT&T, fresh from its completed purchase of media company Time Warner, is close to buying ad tech company AppNexus according to a Wall Street Journal report. The deal is expected to be worth around $1.6 billion, which would be slightly lower than its valuation of $1.8 billion back in 2015 after a funding round. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson had said earlier in the week during a CNBC interview that his company would acquire more companies in the coming weeks to support its advertising and analytics unit, as AT&T looks to grow its ad business.

The Week in Tech

Oath Launches Programmatically Served Virtual Reality Ad Offering
Verizon’s publishing subsidiary Oath announced at the Cannes Lions festival that it’s launching programmatically traded virtual reality (VR) ads, claiming to be the first company to do so. The new programmatic offering, available initially in the US and UK, was unveiled as part of what Oath is calling “extended reality (XR) ad experiences”, which it says will combine new 3D ad formats with programmatic VR ad trading. Read the full story on VAN.

Simulmedia Launches Transparent TV
Simulmedia last week launched Transparent TV, a platform that it says will give agencies and advertisers the ability to run advanced TV campaigns against strategic audiences with total transparency on media outputs, marketing outcomes, competitive insights and pricing. Advertisers and agencies using the product will pay a flat tech and service fee, with all media costs transparent, according the the announcement. ““Simulmedia’s Transparent TV addresses this by giving advertisers and their agencies powerful tools for maximising audience reach and the flexibility to select the services they need to measure and analyse their media and marketing results so they can optimise accordingly. It then goes one step further and reveals exactly how their spend is being allocated to media, services and Simulmedia, and at what price,” said Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan.

Viant Launches New TV Platform
Meredith Corporation’s Viant this week announced the launch of what it’s calling its ‘next-generation Viant TV platform’. Viant says the new platform adds improved addressable household reach and scale through new data partnerships, low latency TV retargeting capability, and increased connected TV (CTV) inventory scale. The platform now includes integrations with Xumo, FreeWheel and SpotX, which Viant says gives the platform access to over five billion CTV impressions monthly.

Teads Launches AR Ads
Teads at Cannes this week showcased its new AR ad format, inRead AR, which it says will be available through Teads Studio in the coming months. Teads says the format will allow users to interact with an ad in AR, for example by ‘trying on’ a pair of sunglasses, and that the entire interaction will take place within the inRead AR ad unit on a mobile or desktop browser. The ads will therefore be able to be placed within the middle of an article on a publishers’ domain, in much the same way Teads’ outstream video ads are.

TVSquared Expands to Australia
TV analytics and optimisation specialist TVSquared this week opened TVSquared Australia, with offices based in Sydney. The new offices join existing offices in Edinburgh, London, New York and Munich, and will be headed up by Praful Desai as business development director.  “TV not only provides unmatched reach, but it has evolved into a primary driver of digital response. With demand for TV performance analytics at a fever pitch, it was the right time for TVSquared to open its Sydney offices to accommodate the growing number of advertisers that want to make TV work harder and smarter for their brands,” said Desai.

The Week in TV

Disney Ups Fox Bid to $71.3 Billion
Disney upped its offer for 21st Century Fox’s assets this week to $71.3 billion, marking a sizeable increase from Comcast’s $65 billion offer submitted last week. Disney’s new cash or stock offer equates to $38 per share, which is $10 a share higher than its first bid made back in December last year. Disney’s offer would also take on around $13.8 billion of Fox’s debt, making the total value of the deal around $85.1 billion. Fox’s board of directors explicitly called this new bid “superior” to Comcast’s bid in a statement, and Comcast will now have to decided whether to increase its own offer to woo Fox’s shareholders.

RTL to Launch Video Marketplace to Address Brand Safety Concerns
German media giants RTL Group is planning to launch a new product, Video Marketplace (VMP), which the company says is designed to address brand safety concerns from advertisers. VMP will be part of RTL’s ad tech home Adconnect, according to a report in The Drum, and will give advertisers access to RTL’s digital conetn across video on-demand (VOD) platforms, TV channels and YouTube. RTL is positioning this new offering as an alternative to the likes of Facebook and Google, according to the report.

Revenues from UK TV Programming Sales Reach £902 Million
Exports of UK TV programming reached £902 million in 2016/17, according to media trade association Pact’s UK TV Exports report. Streaming services like Amazon and Netflix accounted for £225 million of this revenue, around a quarter of total sales.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Trials Autoplay Video Ads in Messenger
Facebook confirmed this week that it has begun trialling autoplay video ads in its messenger app, Facebook Messenger. The ads will automatically play as users scroll through messages, and were rolled out to a small group of users on Monday. Facebook says it is rolling out the new formats slowly, recognising that the Messenger app is a different environment to its News Feed, and one where users may feel ads are too intrusive.

YouTube Music and YouTube Premium Launches in 17 Countries
YouTube’s paid services YouTube Music and YouTube Premium rolled out in 17 countries this week. The two services were launched in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea, which had already had access to YouTube Red (YouTube Premium’s old branding). The other 12 countries has not previously had access to Red, making this the debut of YouTube’s ad free services in those countries, which include the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Russia.

Unilad’s Co-CEO Sam Bentley Steps Down Over Misconduct Accusations
Sam Bentley, co-founder of UK social publisher Unilad, resigned from the company’s board and stepped down this week after an internal investigation into allegations of personal misconduct. The publisher sent a letter out to media buyers this week informing them that it was taking action and disciplining a small number of staff following misconduct allegations, though it said too that many allegations made against the company are false and inaccurate. A website called “Unilad Exposed” emerged a few weeks ago, accusing the company of links to cyber crime and fraud.

UK Digital Publisher Revenue Rises as Confidence Increases
British digital publishers saw year-on-year revenues increase to £89.7m in Q1 2018, up 3.8% compared to Q1 2017, according to findings from the latest Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI), from the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) and Deloitte. On a 12-month rolling basis to March 2018, combined revenue has increased 5.4% to £371m. The study found that these increases can be attributed in part to publishers diversifying their revenue streams, with revenue from mobile devices for example 45 percent higher year-on-year in Q1. This revenue boost has seen confidence and optimism from AOP board members over their futures increase too.

The Week for Agencies

Unilever’s Keith Week Calls for Crackdown on Fraudulent Influencers
Unilever’s Keith Weed, speaking at this week’s Cannes Lions festival, pledged that his company will no longer work with influencer who have been known to buy followers in order to artificially inflate their apparent reach. Weed also called for social media platforms to do more to combat the problem. “Trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback, and we could very quickly see the whole influencer space be undermined,” Weed told Reuters. “There are lots of great influencers out there, but there are a few bad apples spoiling the barrel and the trouble is, everyone goes down once the trust is undermined.”

Martin Sorrell Hits Back at Allegations
Sir Martin Sorrell, speaking at Cannes Lions on Thursday, hit back at allegations of personal misconduct during his time as CEO of WPP, and criticised the holding group’s board for its handling of his exit. Sorrell said that there had been no internal investigation into the leak of the information that Sorrell himself was under investigation, a decision which he called a “fundemental flaw”. Sorrell also shed a little new light on his plans for his new company S4 capital, saying its structure will be very different from that of WPP.

GroupM Predicts UK Ad Spend to Reach £20 Billion by 2019
WPP’s GroupM this week updated its forecast for UK ad spend over the next few years, predicting that it will surpass £20 billion for the first time in 2019. GroupM forecasts growth of 6.1 percent for 2018, down from 6.4 percent in 2017, and predicts 5.1 percent growth in 2019. The report attributes this growth mainly to the continued strength of pure-play internet, and Facebook in particular.

Partnerships of the Week

Nielsen and FreeWheel Partner for OTT Measurement
Nielsen and Comcast’s FreeWheel this week announced plans to expand measurement to over-the top and set-top box video on demand (VOD) inventory. FreeWheel says this new collaboration will enhance the value of the television ecosystem through additional data-enabled, targetable premium digital video platforms for programmers, MVPDs, agencies and advertisers to effectively reach consumers.

KPN Taps Accenture for iTV Upgrade
Dutch telecoms company KPN has chosen Accenture to enhance its customer experience for its iTV video services, it announced this week. KPN will use Accenture Video Solution 6, a hybrid internet protocol television and over-the-top (OTT) platform, for the delivery and related services. Accenture previously helped KPN with the launch of iTV back in 2012.

Hires of the Week

HbbTV Association Elects New Leaders
The HbbTV Association this week elected Vincent Grivet from TDF as its new chair, and re-elected Jon Piesing from TP Vision as vice-chair. Grivet replaces Klaus Illgner from IRT, who resigned earlier this year.

James Barnes-Austin Appointed CFO at Publicis Groupe UK
Publicis Groupe UK’s new chief executive Annette King this week appointed James Barnes-Austin, formerly of Kamarama, as chief financial officer.

DNA Picks Christine Wise as Chief Strategist
Independent agency DNA this week announced the appointment of Christine Wise as chief strategy officer. Wise previously worked for the now-closed Wexley School for Girls.

The Week on Van

2018 Cannes Lions Preview: the Video & TV Highlights, read more on VAN

Oath Launches Programmatically Served Virtual Reality Ad Offering, read more on VAN

How Can the Video and TV Ad Industry Create Greater Equality for Women? read more on VAN

How Advertisers Can Use KPIs to Boost Their Competitive Advantage, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Snickers, Jerk, Apology, BBDO New York
Snickers’ long-running ‘You’re Not You When You’re Hungry’ campaign continues with this clever campaign which combines a printed ad with this TV spot. The company printed an ad calling its customers ‘jerks’, and then apologies in this spot in which as spokesman apologises, saying they were hungry and therefore not themselves when they put out the ad.


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