In this week’s Week in Review: Telia completes its purchase of Bonnier’s broadcasting unit, Publicis and Omnicom post disappointing financial results, and Comcast drops its pursuit of Fox. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Telia Buys Bonnier Broadcasting for $1 Billion
Swedish telecoms company Telia today finalised a $1 billion deal to buy media company Bonnier’s broadcasting arm, Bonnier Broadcasting. Bonnier Broadcasting’s brands, including TV4, C More and Finnish MTV, have been bought for an initial fee of $1.03 billion, which could rise by up to $1 billion more based on performance. “It is a very important day for Telia Company. The acquisition is a natural next step to complement Telia Company’s core business, where our millions of customers give us a very strong position in the market,” said Telia CEO and president Johan Dennelind.
The purchase has been controversial, as the Swedish government is Telia’s largest stakeholder, and the state already owns Sweden’s other major broadcaster SVT. Dennelind acknowledged this, saying the company has “great respect for our new role as a media owner and have a clear view of how we will maintain the editorial integrity of the business going forward”.
Publicis and Omnicom Shares Slide After Disappointing Financial Results
Publicis Groupe and Omnicom, two of the ‘big four’ ad agency holding groups, saw their shares slump this week after posting disappointing financial results for Q2. Omnicom’s results on Tuesday fell short of expectations, with the group posting 1.8 percent revenue growth globally, and a fall of organic revenue growth in the US of almost one percent. CEO John Wren said the disappointing performance was due to client losses in the US and a decline in programmatic trading, while citing recent client wins as reasons to expect stronger performance in the future.
Publicis followed up on Thursday with its own lacklustre results, reporting that its revenue fell by 2.1 percent on an organic basis in Q2, far short of a 1.1 percent rise forecast by analysts. CEO Arthur Sadoun blamed poor performance from its Publicis Health unit and issues cause by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation for the results, warning also that there may be further “unexpected bumps in the road” over the coming years.
Comcast Drops Fox Bid
Comcast has dropped its interest in buying the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s assets, leaving Disney the sole bidder for the media giant. Disney had recently raised its offer for Fox to $71 billion, beating out Comcast’s $65 billion bid, and will now just need to receive regulatory approval in international markets for the deal to go through. Comcast has decided to concentrate instead on its ongoing battle with Fox itself to buy Sky, which escalated last week as the two suitors upped their bids.
Some analysts believe Comcast may now be well placed to win the Sky battle. Disney has previously said it will have the final say on whether to increase Fox’s current Sky bid, and some claim that Disney may prefer to sell Fox’s shares in Sky to Comcast rather than entering into a potentially expensive bidding war for assets which aren’t necessarily essential to Disney’s ambitions.
The Week in Tech
Amobee Wins Auction for Videology Assets with $117 Million Bid
Singtel-owned Amobee has won the auction for Videology’s assets with a bid worth $117,300,000. As we reported earlier in the week, a consortium of broadcasters — including ITV, ProSieben.Sat1 Mediaset, TF1 and Channel 4 — had entered the race and were willing to invest in a management buy-out. That bid (listed as ‘ITV’ on the Bankrupty Court’s documentation) came very close. Their final bid of $118,000,000 fell slightly short of the $119,100,000 required to stay in the race. Read the full story on VAN.
Google Hit with Record £3.9 Billion Fine by EU
The European Commission this week hit Google with a record £3.9 billion antitrust fine after the EU’s competition regulator ruled the company had illegally put restrictions on its Android mobile operating system software in order to cement its dominant position in search advertising. The EU says Google has required phone manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search and Google Chrome apps in order to license the Google Play Store, had paid manufacturers to exclusively pre-install Google Search, and had prevented manufacturers from selling devices running non-Google approved versions of Android.
VideoAmp Acquires IronGrid
Video ad tech company VideoAmp has acquired data processor IronGrid, a big data technology firm which says it provides technology platforms, marketers and media companies with access to secure, anonymised, and privacy-compliant TV Viewership data from multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and connected TV providers. Alongside the acquisition, VideoAmp has also launched a new data and emerging products division which it says will enable tech platforms, marketers and media companies to make decisions about how TV viewership across all screens impacts business outcomes.
Sellbranch Buys Widespace
European ad sales specialist Sellbranch on Wednesday announced it has acquired Widespace, a Swedish supplier of AI driven tech designed to help build brands an reach audiences in a brand safe mobile environment. The companies together will have a reach of over 400 million users across Europe, owned and operated technology and a GDPR secure data ecosystem, according to a statement from Sellbranch.
Innovid Adds YouTube Viewability Measurement
Video marketing platform Innovid this week announced the introduction of viewability metrics reporting for YouTube Ads and Google Video Partners across all devices. Innovid will also join Google’s new Measurement Partner Programme, which Google says aims to improve transparency and objectivity of measurement standards by making it easier for advertisers to source trusted measurement partners.
The Week in TV
Netflix Shares Fall After Disappointing Q2 Results
Netflix shares fell over 13 percent on Monday after the company’s Q2 financial results showed it fell short of its forecast subscription growth. The service added 5.2 million new customers in Q2, substantially lower than the 6.2 million that had been expected, which Netflix blamed on internal forecasting errors. The results also showed that as well as ploughing huge sums into new content, Netflix has been spending heavily on advertising, racking up a marketing bill of $1 billion within the first half of the year.
TV Streaming Services Overtake Pay TV in the UK says Ofcom
There are now more UK subscriptions to paid streaming services Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Now TV than there are to traditional pay TV services, according to UK communications regulator Ofcom. This marks the first time that subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services have overtaken pay TV in the UK, though Ofcom emphasised that broadcast TV remains popular, and that the shift isn’t a death toll for traditional pay TV. Read the full story on VAN.
Walmart Reportedly Plotting Netflix Rival
US retailer Walmart is reportedly considering launching its own subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, according to a report from The Information. The service would reportedly have both an $8 per month ad free subscription tier and a free ad-supported service, with the $8 price designed to undercut competing services. These talks are still in a preliminary stage according to The Information, and Walmart may choose not to go ahead with the plan.
Ten Percent of World’s Population to Use SVOD Service This Year says eMarketer
Over 700 million people globally will use a subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service this year, according to data released by eMarketer, representing 10.2 percent of the world’s population and 32.1 percent of all digital video viewers. eMarketer predicts that the global subscription OTT market will grow by 24 percent his year thanks to rising internet penetration, faster internet speeds, and a wider shift towards internet entertainment.
The Week in Publishing
Washington Post Experiments with Twitch Shows
The Washington Post has begun broadcasting regular live shows on Twitch, a live streaming platform most commonly used for gaming. The publisher had previously use the site to broadcast Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before US Congress, but this week began live-streaming content created specifically for Twitch. The two shows commissioned so far are ‘Live with Libby Casey’ which covers live news, and ‘Playing Games with Politicians,’ which will see reporter David Weigel interview politicians while they play video games.
Buzzfeed Launches Standalone News Site
Buzzfeed this week launched a standalone site for its more serious journalism, BuzzfeedNews, in what looks to be an effort to give the company’s serious journalism more credibility. Buzzfeed’s news content has been growing in stature recently, with the social publisher a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize this year, but it remains relatively untrusted by the public. Reuters’ recent Digital News Report found Buzzfeed News to be one of the least trusted news brands among UK audiences.
Vox Media Licenses Digital Publishing Software
Vox Media announced this week it is opening up its Chorus publishing platform to other premium digital publishers and studio partners. Vox says that Chorus is currently used for content management, multi-platform content distribution and integrated advertising on over 350 Vox brands, and is now offering it to help other publishers grow audiences and expand their businesses. The Ringer and Funny or Die have already signed up to make use of the platform.
The Week for Agencies
Upward Revisions in Internet Budgets Driving UK Ad Spend Growth says IPA
Internet budgets for UK advertisers are up to their joint-strongest levels since 2003, according to the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising’s (IPA) Q2 2018 Bellwether Report. On net balance, 22.7 percent of marketers reported upward revisions to their internet marketing budgets in Q2, marking the thirty-fifth consecutive quarter that marketers on balance have increased their digital budgets. The IPA has also revised its UK ad spend revisions for this year and next, predicting growth this year of 1.1 percent (revised from 0.8 percent) and growth next year of 0.7 percent (revised from 0.4 percent).
Laundry Service Denies Papa John’s Founder’s Extortion Claims
Media agency Laundry Service this week denied claims from pizza chain Papa John’s founder John Schattner that the company had tried to extort him out of $6 million. Schattner resigned from his position as chairman last week after admitting to using a racial slur during a conference call with Laundry Service, but this week claimed the agency had threatened to go public with the incident unless Schattner paid up. An internal memo circulated around Laundry Service staff called the claims “disparaging and outrageous”, and “completely false”.
Video Ad Views Up 37 Percent in Europe Finds FreeWheel
Video ad views in Europe were up 37 percent in Q1 2018 compared to the same period a year ago, according to FreeWheel’s Q1 2018 Video Monetisation Report. FreeWheel says live ad views in particular shot up, growing by 67 percent year-on-year, thanks in part to major sporting events like the Winter Olympics. The report also finds that the big screen experience remains a priority for viewers, as over-the-top (OTT) and set-top box video on-demand (STB VOD) garnered the highest share of ad views, at 39 percent.
Rising Video Viewing is Bringing Down Video Advertising Costs says Zenith
Global consumers on average now watch over an hour of digital video content per day according to research from Publicis Media-owned agency Zenith, and this growth in online viewing is bringing down the cost of digital video advertising. Zenith’s Online Video Forecasts 2018 report looked at 59 “key markets” and found that the average consumer watches 67 minutes of video content online per day, up from 56 minutes per day last year. This figure is expected to grow by an average of nine minutes per day each year until 2020, when it will reach almost an hour and a half per day. Read the full story on VAN.
Partnerships of the Week
Snapchat Integrates Nielsen Premium Audience Segments
Nielsen announced on Wednesday that its premium audience segments will be available on Snapchat’s ad buying platform. The integration will allow agencies to buy inventory on Snapchat using Nielsen-branded audience segments through the Nielsen Marketing Clouding, according to Nielsen’s statement, offering access to audience data across over 30,000 segments.
Teads to Provide Outstream Advertising Globally for BBC
Teads announced this week it had secured a deal with the BBC to provide outstream advertising technology globally across BBC.com. Teads says its end-to-end outstream monetisation platform will empower BBC.com to scale its video inventory and increase video ad monetisation through both its direct sales team as well as Teads demand.
Netflix and Atresmedia Agree Content Deal
Netlifx agreed a deal with Spanish broadcaster Atresmedia this week which will see the streaming service granted preferential access to TV dramas created by Atresmedia’s fiction brand, Series Atresmedia. Netflix will have first pick over an undisclosed number of Atresmedia, which it will gain exclusive international streaming rights for.
Hires of the Week
Damon Reeve to Lead The Ozone Project
Damon Reeve has been named project lead for The Ozone Project, a collaboration between News UK, Telegraph Media Group, and Guardian News and Media which will sell digital display advertising for the three publishing groups. Reeve has previously founded ad network Unanimis, and currently serves as board director for OpenX.
SpotX appoints Marco Ruivenkamp as Managing Director, Benelux
SpotX on Tuesday announced the appointment of Marco Ruivenkamp to the role of Managing Director of SpotX and smartclip, Benelux. Ruivenkamp brings more than 20 years of experience and will play a key role in moving the merger of the two companies forward and the continued growth of SpotX in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, according to a statement from SpotX.
The Week on Van
Amobee Wins Auction for Videology Assets with $117 Million Bid, read more on VAN
Rising Video Viewing is Bringing Down Video Advertising Costs says Zenith, read more on VAN
Exclusive: YouTube Trials New ‘Skip to End’ Video Ad Format, read more on VAN
OTT Streaming Services Overtake Traditional Pay TV in the UK says Ofcom, read more on VAN
How is Influencer Marketing Measured? read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Cox Communications, Epic Battle, FCB Chicago
US cable provider Cox Communications advertises its Xtras service with this spot, continuing its ‘everything is better with extras’ campaign by showing how crucial they are for making an epic movie battle work.