In this week’s Week in Review: Facebook stops its tests of monetising CTV inventory, Snap get subpoenaed for information on its IPO, and DoubleVerify shines light on a CTV botnet attack. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Facebook Shutters CTV Ad Network
Facebook this week confirmed reports that it has stopped delivering ads on connected TV devices as part of its Audience Network ad network. Facebook began testing monetising inventory on devices like smart TV’s, Roku devices and Apple TVs a few years ago, but has now shuttered these tests according to multiple reports. AdAge claims that Facebook wasn’t able to get the high prices from advertisers for CTV inventory that it was hoping for.
Facebook had also been testing a product called Audience Direct, which let publishers use Facebook data for targeting, but has closed down this test too. “We worked with a small set of publishers to test two separate concepts: Audience Direct and connected TV monetisation,” a Facebook spokeswoman told AdAge in an e-mail statement. “Ultimately we decided not to move forward with either concept.”
Snap Subpoenaed for Information on IPO Disclosures
Snapchat owner Snap has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission, the company revealed to Reuters this week, for information related to its initial public offering (IPO) last year. Snap said it believes regulators are “investigating issues related to the previously disclosed allegations asserted in the class action about our IPO disclosures”. The business is currently embroiled in a lawsuit in which investors claim it misled the public about how hard it would be hit by competition from Instagram prior to the IPO.
DoubleVerify Identifies CTV Botnet Attack
DoubleVerify this week announced it has identified a new bot network specifically targeting Connected TV (CTV) devices. DV uncovered the botnet after the company saw a 40 percent spike in traffic from CTV devices, which is says marks the first direct, scaled botnet attack that DV has flagged in the CTV environment. To generate fraudulent impressions, the botnet spoofed real publisher URLs, sending false signals that tell the ad server that the impressions came from a CTV device. DV also reviewed the types of OTT devices where this fraud was perpetrated, and discovered that approximately one-third of impressions were made to look as though they originated from gaming consoles, with the remaining two-thirds from smart TVs.
The Week in Tech
The Trade Desk Teams Up with Chinese Tech Giants
The Trade desk announced a number of new partnerships with Chinese businesses this week as it looks to give Western brands access to Chinese inventory. Companies the Trade Desk has inked deals with include Baidu Exchange Services, iQIYI (Baidu’s video streaming service), Tencent Social Ads and Youku (Alibaba’s video streaming service).
“Tapping into the growing internet-connected middle class in China presents a huge opportunity for brands looking to grow their global presence. Our international reach, innovative technology, and key integrations with China’s premier media and technology companies empower innovative advertisers on our platform to successfully reach and engage millions of consumers in China today,” said The Trade Desk’s CEO and founder Jeff Green.
Amazon Chooses New Headquarters
Amazon’s long running search for a second headquarters ended this week, with the company announcing its ‘HQ2’ will be split between New York City and Arlington, Virginia. Amazon is said to be picking up over $5 billion in state and local incentives for its new headquarters.
Sojern Raises $120 Million
Travel focussed ad tech company Sojern this week announced it has raised $120 million in its latest funding round, which was led by TVC Partners. This brings the business’ total funding to over $160 million. Sojern said the new funds will be used to expand its engineering and data science teams.
The Week in TV
ZDF Joins “German Hulu”
German public broadcaster ZDF this week signed up to ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery’s joint streaming service, described as a ‘German Hulu’. The platform, announced earlier this year and intended to launch in 2019, is pitched as a way for broadcasters to keep their digital offerings competitive against newer media companies. ProSieben and Discovery had invited ARD, ZDF and RTL to join the initiative, and ZDF is the first to take them up on the invite.
Channel 4 to Launch Show on Facebook Watch
Channel 4 revealed this week it is creating a weekly news show specifically for Facebook’s video hub Watch. The broadcaster describes the new programme ‘Uncovered’ as “an in-depth and engaging news and analysis programme from Channel 4 News’ award-winning team of correspondents, who will go beyond the headlines to tackle the stories that often go unreported, focusing on one single major international issue each week”. The show will be available to audiences internationally, following Watch’s global roll out in August.
AT&T Reportedly Discussing Content with NBCUniversal
AT&T’s WarnerMedia has reportedly reached out to Comcast’s NBCUniversal to discuss ways of working together on content, according to a report in The Information this week. WarnerMedia has reportedly proposed one option of licensing NBCU content for its streaming service planned for next year, as a way to compete both with Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as Disney’s upcoming video on-demand platform. The talks are understood to still be in very early stages.
TF1 Buys Majority Stake in Gamned!
French broadcaster TF1 this week announced it has bought a majority stake in programmatic media trading specialists Gamned!, as it looks to build its own multichannel programmatic offering. The company said the acquisition is designed to add value to TF1 brand Aufeminin, Doctissimo, Les numériques and Marmiton.
The Week in Publishing
NYT Accuses Facebook of “Delaying, Denying and Deflecting” on Scandals
The New York Times released a piece this week in which it made a series of claims around Facebook’s handling of scandals over the past few years, saying the CEO Mark Zuckerberg knew about the extent of Russian election meddling on the platform earlier than he’s publicly stated, and that the company launched a coordinated lobbying effort to try to deflect negative attention towards other tech companies.
Meredith Sells Fortune for $150 Million
US media business Meredith Corp has sold Fortune magazine to Thai businessman Chatchaval Jiaravanon. Meredith got ownership of Fortune after buying previous owner Time Inc earlier this year, but has been trying to offload a number of its assets – Meredith sold Time magazine to Salesforce founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne Benioff last September.
Daily Mail in Talks to Buy The i
The Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of the Daily Mail, is reportedly considering buying the i newspaper from the Johnston Press. The Johnston Press put itself up for sale last month due to financial difficulties, as it struggles to pay off £220 million of debt. The company reported a seven percent drop in revenues in its Q3 financial reports due to falling print advertising and circulation revenues.
The Week for Agencies
Justice Department Closes Down Probe Into Ad Agency Production Practices
The US Department of Justice has ended a probe into how several of the large holding groups handled the bidding process for production work, it emerged this week. Holding groups including Omnicom, WPP and Interpublic Group had been suspected of persuading independent agencies to raise their prices during bidding processes for production work, in order to drive more business towards their own agencies. However the probe resulted in no action being taken against the holding groups.
Dentsu Aegis CEO Steps Down
Dentsu Aegis’ CEO of nine years Jerry Buhlmann this week announced his plans to step down at the end of the year. He will be replaced by Tim Andree, who will take on chief executive responsibilities alongside his current roles as executive chairman and executive VP. “After nine years as CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network and before that Aegis Group plc, I am very proud of what the organisation has achieved in that time,” said Buhlmann. “The highlight for me has been working with a group of very talented people and the impact we have been able to make based on strong team work, a supportive parent company and a dynamic culture.”
S4 Capital Publishes First Quarterly Results
S4 Capital, Martin Sorrell’s new investment vehicle, announced its first quarterly results under its new identity this week, clocking revenue growth of 49 percent to €29.3 million. The company had previously traded under the name Derriston Capital, but changed its name after a reverse takeover engineered by Sorrell. Sorrell described the results as “a good start,” and said the business has already seen “a widening and deepening of the company’s client base,” since it became S4.
US Digital Ad Spend On Course to Reach $100 Billion in 2018
Total US digital ad spend is on course to reach $100 billion for 2018, according to the latest IAB internet advertising revenue report. Total digital revenues for the first sixth months reached $49.5 billion, a 23 percent year on year increase. Video ad revenues specifically hit $7 billion, representing 35 percent growth year on year.
Embedded Metrics are Preventing Marketers from Changing KPIs
The majority of global marketers are planning to invest more in outcome-driven media, and want to use more custom key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success according to new research from Xaxis. But some are finding it hard to change due to how embedded current metrics are with their industry partners. Read the full story on VAN.
Hires of the Week
Spotify Picks Sahar Elhabashi as VP of Content Business
Spotify has hired Sahar Elhabashi as its new VP of content business, it revealed this week. Elhabashi joins from Condé Nast Entertainment, and will be tasked with helping build Spotify’s content business.
SpotX Hires Mercedes Alonso Sena and Justine Remillard
SpotX announced two new hires for its team in Spain this week, with Mercedes Alonso Sena appointed account coordinator, supply and Justine Remillard also joining the supply team.
This Week on VAN
Embedded Metrics are Preventing Marketers from Changing KPIs, read more on VAN
Why is Everyone Afraid of Amazon? read more on VAN
Six Second Ads Won’t Build Deep Relationships with Audiences says Taboola’s Singolda, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Hasbro, If Monopoly Was Real Life, OMD UK & Treehouse at Jungle Creations