The WiR: Facebook and Twitter Tumble as Amazon Shines, ITV Takes Aim at SME Market

In this week’s Week in Review:  ITV chases the SME market, Facebook suffers a stockmarket kicking whilst Amazon, whilst Twitter’s revenue also plummets. Interestingly, various European pay TV operators reported a growth in subscribers this week. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

ITV Launches Self-Service Tool for SMEs
British broadcaster ITV announced the launch of ITV business, a self service advertising tool pitched at SMEs. ITV says the service will help brands build campaigns for ITV’s on-demand platform ITV hub, and will also provide creative services. The service is aimed at attracting SME advertisers not already advertising on video on-demand (VOD) content, and the price for advertising is just £200.

Facebook Suffers Worst Loss in Stock Market History as Amazon’s Ad Business Soars as

Facebook shares plunged 19 percent on Thursday — wiping about $119 billion off the market value and about $16 billion off Mark Zuckerberg’s personal stake in the company — after executives warned that revenue growth would slow as the company focuses on user privacy. The loss was the biggest single-day loss for any public company in history.

Amazon meanwhile said it expects an operating profit between $1.4 billion and $2.4 billion, up from $347 million a year earlier. The company also reported a second-quarter profit of $2.5 billion, its largest ever. Highly profitable ad sales were a particularl/y bright spot last quarter. The company said revenue from the category and some other items grew 132 percent to $2.2 billion. Analysts were expecting $2.1 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Twitter Shares Tumbles 20 Percent Following Fall in Active Users

Twitter shares dropped sharply in pre-market trade on Friday after the social media platform revealed a fall in the number of its active users, rattling investors after a warning by Facebook this week. The group’s shares declined as much as 20 per cent in volatile trading before the opening bell on Wall Street. The loss was later cut to around 14 per cent.

The Week in Tech

Sorenson Goes Live with Sorenson Addressable

Sorenson Media yesterday announced that it is live with Sorenson Addressable, a targeted advertising platform for television. Sorenson Media also announced its partnership with AMC Networks, making the company the first to use the new platform’s real-time ad replacement technology. Through its AMCN Agility sales group, AMC Networks will leverage the platform on live linear TV programming across its national networks: AMC, WE tv, SundanceTV and IFC, with BBC America to come at a later date.

Facebook Suspends Crimson Hexagon

Facebook has temporarily suspended analytics firm Crimson Hexagon from access to its APIs in order to investigate concerns about the collection of user data. Boston-based Crimson Hexagon offers “AI-powered consumer insights” for brands and has contracts with government agencies around the world.

Facebook is understood to be probing whether Crimson Hexagon’s government contracts – including those with the US government, the Turkish government and a Russian non-profit with alleged ties to the Kremlin – comply with its policies.

Grabyo Launch ‘Publish to Snapchat’ Feature   

Grabyo, a company that has focused mostly on enabling broadcasters to speedily publish video content on Twitter, now supports instant publishing to Snapchat. Users can publish real-time clips and highlights from live feeds or VOD uploads, directly to native Snapchat accounts in seconds. Users will be able to make use of all the native Snapchat functionality and features such as filters, lenses and stickers, creating a unique version of broadcast quality clips for mobile audiences.

European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX) appoints Damon Westbury as Commercial Director

EBX (The European Broadcaster Exchange) announced the appointment of Damon Westbury as Commercial Director this week. Westbury will begin his new role in August and will lead on all commercial aspects of the business, including agency relationships and trading agreements. Westbury joins EBX from Clear Channel, where he was the International Sales Director. Prior to that he held several roles at Microsoft.  

Tabmo Team Up with Zeotap for Precision Targeting

TabMo, a mobile DSP, has announced a partnership this week with global mobile data platform Zetopap that will enable advertisers to develop their own creatives and deliver them to specific audiences. Zeotap partners with large telecoms and exclusive enterprise partners, zeotap has access to anonymised, ID-verified mobile data as well as raw data on app downloads and usage that the company says is updated every day.

The Week in TV

ITV Launches Self-Service Tool for SMEs
British broadcaster ITV announced the launch of ITV business, a self service advertising tool pitched at SMEs. ITV says the service will help brands build campaigns for ITV’s on-demand platform ITV hub, and will also provide creative services. The service is aimed at attracting SME advertisers not already advertising on video on-demand (VOD) content, and the price for advertising is just £200.

Altice France Launches Android-based OTT Service

Altice France/SFR launched a new Android TV OTT box this week. The dservice will allow to enable users to access its premium content on any TV set, whether they are existing SFR customers or not.

Various European Pay TV Operators Still Seeing Healthy Growth

Various telcos reported healthy growth this week, according to DTVE:

  • Telefónica saw its subscriber base grow by 5.6 percent over the last year, year-on-year to reach 8.7 million at the end of the quarter to June.
  • Orange also grew its TV base by 6.3 percent year-on-year to end June with 9.209 million TV customers. The French telecom giant posted strong Q2 results overall, generating a positive reception from the market. In France, the number of TV customers increased from 6.74 million to 6.912 million.
  • Belgian telecom operator Proximus said that it managed to build its TV and broadband base in Q2, despite this generally being a slow quarter for growth. Proximus added 9,000 TV customers in the quarter to take its total to 1.584 million, up 3.3 percent on last year. The company’s fixed internet base added 6,000 customers, taking that total to 2.002 million, up 2.2 percent.

Comcast Sees Upfronts Growth But Video Revenues Took a Hit 

Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said the latest upfront season its most successful to date, with high single-digit pricing gains, 5 percent growth in volume commitments and 25 percent growth in digital sales. However, Comcast’s video business is being challenged by virtual MVPDs. “Video competition from virtual MVPDs remains challenging, driving a loss of 136,000 residential video customers and a 1.9% decline in video revenue in the quarter,” said Comcast CFO Michael Cavanagh.

The Week in Publishing

Guardian sees Digital Ad revenues outstrip print for the first time

The Guardian’s parent company now earns more money from its digital operations than from its print newspapers for the first time in its history, helped in part by increased support from readers making online contributions. The Guardian’s parent company that owns Guardian and Observer earned digital revenues of £108.6m last year and £107.5m from print and events, a milestone for the UK publisher.

Sony Seeks Partner to Grow Crackle

According to multiple sources, Sony Pictures TV chairman Mike Hopkins wants to expand Crackle with the help of a partner. In a memo sent to employees, the former Hulu chief said Sony has “begun the process of exploring potential partnerships for… Crackle” to widen its reach and increase its revenues. He didn’t quite delve into the specifics, but it’s clearly an attempt at boosting its offerings to better compete against the major streaming players.

Verizon Reveals a $658 Million Writedown Mainly Attributed to Go90

On Tuesday Verizon revealed that it is taking a $658 million writedown for “product realignment” that is “mainly related” to Go90, which it shut down in late July. Verizon also had $339 million in severance charges and $120 million in charges related to its Oath integration, the company said during an earnings call. Taken together, the charges total about $900 million after taxes.

Verizon launched Go90 in September 2015 but couldn’t get viewers to download the app, even after exempting streaming from its data caps. Much of the content on the app didn’t seem to resonate with viewers and suffered from a lack of promotion.
The Week for Agencies

Senior WPP Executive Resigns as Holding Group Ponders Selling Stake in its Chinese Advertising Business

WPP is in talks to sell a minority stake in its China-based advertising business to Alibaba, Tencent and China Media. The talks, first reported by Sky News, are at an early stage according to one person with knowledge of the situation. However, it could take several months to come to fruition – or could even fall apart.

Hugo Shong resigned from WPP this week as a non-executive director, and is credited for playing a significant role in the company’s growth in China. Former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell courted yet more media controversy by chiming in on Shong’s resignation.

Speaking to Sky News, Sorrell (who still owns shares in WPP) said he was “very saddened and disturbed” by Shong’s resignation the company’s board, “particularly at a time when WPP is trying to develop and reposition its business in China. Along with Ruigang-Li, over the last [six] years, he has been a significant factor in the growth and development of WPP’s China business in what is now its third largest market. It is not good news,” he said.

The Week on VAN

AdSmart Continues to Drive Sky’s Ad Revenue Growth

Twice As Many Users Encounter Offensive Content on Facebook than YouTube

Is the TV Industry Doing Enough to Compete with the Tech Giants?

Ad of the Week: Mission Impossible – Fallout (2018) – Behind The Scenes 360

We don’t hear about 360 video quite so much these days but the format still lends itself to certain types of content. Paramount Pictures launched a 360° VR advertising campaign this week to help promote the upcoming film Mission Impossible: Fallout. Paramount also pushed out a series of display ads that, with a click, turn into full 360° video experiences. The video ad gives audiences a behind-the-scenes look at how Tom Cruise pilots a helicopter through narrow passageways and an interview with director Christopher McQuarrie.

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