In this week’s Week in Review: Bids emerge for Unilad after it goes into administration, Telaria’s shares fall after the company lowers its full year guidance, and MediaMath says it will cut ties with SSPs which it finds to be gaming auctions. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Bidders Emerge for Unilad After it Goes Into Administration
British social media-focused publisher Unilad this week went into administration, with parent company Bentley Harrington holding debts of £6.5 million. Unilad founder and creditor Alex Partidge told an Insolvency and Companies Court in London that the publisher owed him £5m, and argued it should be placed into administration, with a further £1.5 million owed to HM Revenue and Customs. Bidders have since emerged for the business, with Linton Capital and Rocket Sports Media believed to have lined up a £10 million offer for the company.
Telaria Loses A Third of its Value After Revising Guidance Downward
Telaria’s share price fell by over a third on Wednesday after the company released preliminary Q3 results and revised its full year guidance downwards. The ad tech company now expects revenues for the year to reach between $50-$52 million, significantly lower than its previous prediction of $58-$62 million. The under-performance was attributed by the company to its decision to remove certain desktop video publishers from the Telaria platform in order for the company to focus exclusively on premium content, and on an inability to rapidly scale the company’s agency and brand demand sales force during Q3.
Telaria said however that its connected TV revenue is still strong, and it is confident in its strategy going forward. The board of directors has authorised a share repurchase programme, with CEO Mark Zagorski saying that the board and executive team believe Telaria’s common stock is undervalued. The company has pledged to continue investing in CTV, and to fortify its sales team to help drive greater demand.
MediaMath to Cut Ties With Supply Partners Who Manipulate Auctions
MediaMath send a letter to its suppliers this week warning that it will cut ties with any companies which game auctions through processes like bid caching, according to AdExchanger. The demand-side platform (DSP) is requiring supply-side platforms (SSPs) it works with to confirm their adherence to thirteen principles, including not duplicating bid requests unless authorised and not using wrappers to manipulate auctions. MediaMath said that any SSPs found to not be following these principles will be kicked out for a set period, and will only be allowed to re-enter after being vetted.
“As it relates to our platform, we are making those consequences far more clear and unambiguous,” said the letter. “Establishing a Code of Conduct starts with open participation, but if any member violates these polices, or even the spirit of this letter, that platform is out of the club.
The Week in Tech
Google’s Top Advertising Executive Departs
Sridhar Ramaswamy, SVP of ads and commerce at Google, revealed this week he is departing the company to join venture capital firm Greylock Partners. Ramaswamy had overseen Google’s advertising business for five years, and first joined Google’s ad division in 2003. In the fifteen years since then, Ramaswamy is credited with helping grow Google’s ad business from generating $1.5 billion a year when he joined, to an estimated $95.4 billion last year. He will now be replaced by Prabhakar Raghavan, VP of engineering at Google. “I’ve worked with Prabhakar over many years now and can think of no better person to lead our monetization efforts,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in an emailed statement. “He is the right person to succeed Sridhar, whose contributions over the past 15 years have helped grow Google into the company it is today.”
Facebook Risks £1.2 Billion EU Fine Over Latest Data Breach
Facebook could be hit with a fine of up to £1.2 billion after Ireland’s Data Protection Commission opened an investigation into a security breach revealed last Friday which allowed hackers to access over 50 million user accounts. The Commission will review whether the social media company did enough to safeguard its users data as required under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). If not, Facebook could be landed a fine of up to 4 percent of its global annual revenue. The regulator said it is “concerned at the fact that this breach was discovered on Tuesday and affects many millions of user accounts but Facebook is unable to clarify the nature of the breach and the risk for users at this point,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
4C Adds New Integrations to Increase Accessibility of Inventory
Data science and tech company 4C unveiled new integrations this week with FreeWheel, Telaria and SpotX, which it says enable over-the-top (OTT) advertising inventory to be accessible alongside linear TV and social video in 4C’s Scope platform. “Marketers need to reach audiences when and where they’re most likely to consume premium video content, regardless of what device they’re on,” said 4C CEO Lance Neuhauser. “Through our new and existing partnerships, 4C makes this possible, removing technology barriers in planning, execution, and measurement that have been holding brands and agencies back from a truly integrated video advertising approach.”
The Week in TV
ITV Rules Out Bid for Endemol Shine
ITV this week ruled out a bid for production company Endemol Shine, telling the stock market that it instead wants to focus its efforts on building subscription streaming services in order to challenge the likes of Netflix. ITV has been investing in original content production as CEO Dame Carolyn McCall seeks to reduce the broadcaster’s reliance on ad sales, and it had been believed to be in the running for the Dutch media business. However, ITV reportedly values Endemol much lower than the £3 billion which its sellers are apparently seeking, and so has decided to walk away.
BBC Launches New Short-Form Content Hub ‘Reel’
The BBC on Monday launched a new global hub for short-form content, BBC Reel. The platform has been created by BBC Global News, an independent branch of the broadcaster supported by commercial revenue, and will feature a mix of recycled archive videos and newly commissioned content. Read the full story on VAN.
Pluto TV Expands Into Europe
Free US-based streaming platform Pluto TV announced on Wednesday it is expanding into Europe, launching first in the UK market via Sky’s Now TV devices. The company says its content and channels will be adapted to fit local markets. “The launch of Pluto TV in Europe is a monumental achievement as we actively pursue our mission of entertaining the planet,” said Tom Ryan, CEO & co-founder of Pluto TV. Read the full story on VAN.
OTT Apps Hit Hard by Churn
Over-the-top (OTT) apps are hit hard by churn according to new findings from CleverTap, which say that 43 percent of OTT apps are abandoned by consumers just one month after they’re downloaded. The research found that OTT apps experience 67 percent churn within the first two weeks of being downloaded, and that only 26 percent of new OTT app users engage with media on the app at least three times within the first month.
The Week in Publishing
Fresh Brand Safety Worries for Google Spurred by Washington Post Report
Despite Google’s best efforts to ensure brand safety for ads it delivers across the web, many ads for big brands being deliver on sites hosting very controversial content according to a Washington Post report. The Post’s review found, for example, an ad for Hertz appearing next to a story headlined “Are Liberal Pervs Sexually Obsessed With ‘Refugees’?”, and Girl Scouts ads on content talking about ‘Muslim invaders’ and ‘faked mass shootings’.
Google said in a statement: “We have strict policies that govern what kind of content we place ads on, and if we find a page or website that violates our policies, we take immediate action. Even when a site does not violate our content policies, we understand that advertisers may not want their ads appearing on certain sites or types of content.” The report highlights again the difficulty for companies like Google of vetting every site they place ads on. While some brands might be unnerved by the Washington Post’s report, none appear to be pulling their spending from Google as a result.
Pinterest Predicted to Hit $1 Billion in Ad Sales by 2020
Pinterest’s ad revenues will reach $1 billion by 2020 according to a forecast from eMarketer. The publisher bought in $384.7 million in the US last year, but this is expected to rise significantly over the next three years. The growth will be driven in part by increased video ad revenues for the company following the introduction of a new video ad product earlier this year.
YouTube Introduces New Ad Formats and Measurements
YouTube this week announced it is adding new capabilities to its TrueView in-stream ads which the company says will make ads on YouTube more actionable. New extensions will be introduced to TrueView ads, which will mean audiences can do things like download apps, find movie showtimes or book trips when prompted by an ad, without leaving YouTube. YouTube is also adding new lower-funnel metrics to its Brand Lift solution. Advertisers will be able to set up Brand Lift studies directly in Google Ads or Display & Video 360, and two new metrics – lifted users and cost-per-lifted-user, will be introduced.
Twitter Rolls Out In-Stream Video Ads Globally
Twitter announced on Monday that its in-stream video ad format will now be available globally. The company has been rolling out the format into new markets over the past year, including Australia, Brazil and Spain, but has now released it for Twitter’s entire video audience. Publishers were previously limited to running in-stream video ads in whichever market they were based – VP of publisher products Mike Park said that this will no longer be the case.
The Week for Agencies
Unilever Gives Details on Influencer Strategy
After Unilever CMO Keith Weed pledged the company would crack down on influencer fraud at Cannes earlier this year, the company gave fresh details of how it plans to work with influencer going forwards at this week’s Advertising Week New York conference. Unilever’s EVP for global media Luis Di Como told the conference that the company will invest more spend in influencer marketing over the next year, but that it will look to build long-term, purposeful relationships with influencers. Unilever will also be tracking KPIs beyond reach in order to help ensure it’s not working with fraudulent influencers.
IPG Completes Acquisition of Acxiom
Interpublic Group this week completed its acquisition of data services company Acxiom LLC (formerly Acxiom Marketing solutions), saying that the business will operate as a standalone unit within IPG. “Having the ability to leverage data at scale enables us to develop deeper relationships in the marketplace, and to do so by bringing together two companies with cultures that are highly aligned when it comes to our approach to high standards of transparency and respect for the consumer,” said IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth.
Consumers Look to Brands to Solve Societal Problems
More than half of consumers (53 percent) believe brands can do more than governments to solve societal problems according to a study from Edelman. The research found that brands’ positions on controversial social or political issues can be just as important for driving purchase intent as a product’s features. Forty percent of those surveyed said they bought a product for the first time based solely on that brands position on a particular issue.
Hires of the Week
Adam Mosseri Takes Lead at Instagram
Adam Mosseri has been appointed as head of Instagram, replacing co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger who announced their departures last week. Mosseri had previously been head of product at Instagram, and will now look to fill his old role, as well as Krieger’s old role as head of engineering.
WPP’s Mark Read Makes Leadership Appointments
WPP’s new CEO Mark Read filled three of the holding company’s top roles this week. Andrew Scott has been appointed chief operating officer, Lindsay Pattison has been named chief client officer, and Stephan Pretorius has been named chief technology officer.
Marianne Gambelli to Oversee Majority of Ad Sales in New Fox
Marianne Gambelli, currently president of ad sales for Fox News, will be handed a bigger role in the new Fox which will form after the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets are sold to Disney. Gambelli will oversee ad sales for most of new Fox’s properties, including sports channels and the Fox broadcast network.
This Week on VAN
BBC Launches New Short-Form Content Hub ‘Reel’, read more on VAN
Pluto TV Expands Into Europe, read more on VAN
Addressable TV Advertising’s Greatest Challenge is Commercial, Not Technical, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
AT&T, Quit Cable, BBDO