The WIR: Amazon Tests Mobile Search Video Ads, Digital Business Spending Keeps UK TV Ad Revenues Stable, and Consumers Approve of Digital Advertising… Until It’s Explained to Them


In this week’s Week in Review: Amazon tests new video ads on its smartphone app, Thinkbox finds digital companies are helping keep UK TV revenues stable, and the ICO charts consumer attitudes towards ad tech. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Amazon Tests Mobile Search Video Ads
Amazon has begun testing video ads on its smartphone shopping app, the next step in its continued push into the digital advertising market, Bloomberg reported this week. The ads are short video spots which appear in response to search results, with ads costing around five cents per view. Amazon has reportedly been beta testing the ads on the iOS version of the app, with a similar product for the Android app planned for later this year.

The product would add another strand to Amazon’s growing video advertising offering, which currently includes video ads on Amazon.com, as well as on video properties like live-streaming platform Twitch and ad-supported video on-demand service Freedive.

Digital Business Spending Keeps UK TV Ad Revenues Stable
Spending by online businesses on UK TV advertising grew by seven percent in 2018 according to research from Thinkbox, keeping UK TV ad revenues last year flat at £5.11 billion. Amazon was a particularly noticeable big spender, raising its TV ad spending by 21 percent year-on-year to £60 million, making it the third biggest single advertiser behind P&G and Reckitt Benckiser. Meanwhile companies in the ‘food’ sector, the second highest spending sector, dropped their TV ad spending by three percent.

Consumers Approve of Digital Advertising – So Long as They Don’t Understand It finds ICO
The majority of consumers approve of websites displaying targeted ads in return for providing free content, with 63 percent finding it acceptable and 14 percent unacceptable, according to research from Ofcom and UK data regulator the ICO. But these numbers changed dramatically once survey participants were given a rough explanation of how digital advertising works, with 36 percent finding it acceptable and 43 percent unacceptable.

The findings were part of a broader survey of consumer attitudes towards ad tech. The research also found that the majority prefer to be shown adverts that are relevant to them, and that most only seem aware that search and browsing history is used to target ads.

The Week in Tech

Google Fined €1.49 Billion  by EU
Google was handed a €1.49 billion by the European Union this week for breaking EU anti-trust laws. Google was found to be abusing its dominant market position to impose anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites. The search giant in 2006 began including exclusivity clauses in contracts with sites which used ‘AdSense for search’ to monetise their search functions – which barred them from placing ads from Google’s search rivals like Microsoft and Yahoo.

“Google’s rivals, they were unable to grow, and to compete, and as a result of that, website owners had limited options for selling advertising space on those websites, and were forced solely to rely on Google,” said Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition.

Oracle Data Cloud Shutters AddThis in Europe
Oracle Data Cloud has killed off its AddThis audience data business in Europe after struggling to square it with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), AdExchanger reported this week. AddThis is a social bookmarking service which publishers have free access to, in exchange for the widget collecting user data. But there was no easy way to let web users know that AddThis was collecting their data, and Oracle doesn’t want to risk dealing in unconsented user data. Oracle’s AddThis tools will still be available to European publishers, but they will no longer use data originating from Europe.

Facebook Restricts Ad Targeting for Sensitive Ads
Facebook is removing the ability for ads related to housing, employment and credit to be targeted using age, gender and ZIP code, as part of a settlement of five discrimination lawsuits. Facebook was accused of facilitating discrimination through targeted advertising on its platform by the National Fair Housing Alliance, the Communications Workers of America, and a number of others.

JW Player Adds Three New Partners to Video Player Bidding Service
JW Player has added three new partners – Telaria, PubMatic and EMX – to its ‘Video Player Bidding’ solution. The offering, a form of hearer bidding which is built directly into the video player, was launched in February last year with SpotX as the exclusive partner, and SpotX will continue its partnership alongside the other three companies.

Mobile Streaming Video Frustrations Are Growing says Penthera
Frustration with mobile streaming video is persistent and on the rise, according to the latest U.S. audience research by Penthera. The study found that mobile video viewers still run into issues such as having videos not start, rebuffering in the middle of play, and connectivity problems. The most common frustrating experiences were video re-buffering in the middle of playback (59 percent), videos taking too long to start (48 percent) and annoying ads (48 percent).

The Week in TV

Sky’s AdSmart Expands to NBCUniversal
Sky and NBCUniversal are uniting their advanced advertising businesses under the AdSmart brand, the two companies announced on Monday. The unification combines Sky’s AdSmart and NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio into one offering, and marks the first joint advertising initiative between the two companies since NBCUniversal-owner Comcast completed its takeover of Sky last year.

Initially, the move is in large part a rebranding and repositioning of existing products. AdSmart was already recognised as one of the most advanced products in addressable TV advertising, and the unification brings Audience Studios’ specialism in linear TV optimisation under the AdSmart umbrella. Read the full story on VAN.

Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal
Disney officially closed its deal to buy the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets this week in a deal worth $71.3 billion, with the remainder of Fox beginning its new life as Fox Corp. Disney picks up Fox’s TV and film production studios, the FX cable network, Fox Searchlight and National Geographic properties as a result of the deal, all of which will help Disney as it grows its direct-to-consumer business.

European TV Execs Call for Urgent Change to TV Measurement
Over ninety percent of European TV industry executives believes that urgent changes are needed to the way TV advertising is measured in order for the industry to remain competitive, according to ‘TV Consortium’ (a joint project of Adobe, Alphonso, Sky and TVBeat). The report finds that brands are struggling to measure the performance of their TV ad campaigns as viewership fragments, and that investment in TV risks drying up unless changes are made. Read the full story on VAN.

ProSiebenSat.1 Must Deliver on Advanced Advertising says Analyst
ProSiebenSat.1 must deliver on its push into addressable TV advertising in order to ease investors concerns said analysts at Berenberg this week, according to Digital TV Europe. The broadcaster has seen its stock price fall over the last six months, but Berenberg believes there is robust demand for targeted linear TV advertising, and the the company restore investor confidence if it takes full advantage of the opportunity.

The Week in Publishing

LinkedIn Launches Lookalike Audiences
LinkedIn announced on Wednesday it will being allowing advertisers to target lookalike audiences – LinkedIn users which have similar characteristics to their existing customers. LinkedIn’s director of product Abhishek Shrivastava said that while the company has been slow to roll out lookalike audiences, the delay was due to the fact that the feature had to accommodate company pages as well as individual profiles, which took a while to get right. LinkedIn also released new template audience segments, and added Microsoft Bing search data to its interest-based targeting feature.

Snapchat Signs Up Mars and EE for Snap Commercials
Snapchat has signed up Mars and EE as the first UK partners for its new ad format, Snap Commercials. Snap Commercials are non-skippable video ads which run alongside its original ‘Snap Shows’. The ads can be full screen and have sound on as default, and Snap claims they offer improved targeting and measurement, and better price efficiency. Channel 4, Vice and The Guardian are among the UK media brands who produce content for Snap Shows.

Jungle Creations Launches Creative Agency
Social media focussed digital publisher Jungle Creations this week launched a new creative agency, ‘The Wild’.  The agency will be headed up by managing director Dylan Davenport, who joined Jungle Creations from adam&eveDDB earlier this year, and replaces the company’s existing in-house agency. Jungle Creations says the creative shop will build on its experience in building social audiences and creating social media oriented content.

“We know communities and what matters to them; we know culture and how to affect it; we know commerce and how to supercharge it, and we want to help brands do the same,” said Davenport. “It’s an exciting time to start an agency and an even more exciting time to take the skills of an incredible company like Jungle Creations to a wider audience.”

The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital Posts Strong Revenue Growth
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital posted strong numbers in its 2018 financial results, reaching pro-forma revenues of £135.9 million, 58 percent year-on-year growth. The business made an operating loss of £8.5 million, but claimed a pro-forma adjusted operating profit of £21 million. Sorrell said the results show that brands are taking to S4’s pure digital model, with Procter & Gamble, Nestlé  and EA among the big name clients it’s attracted.

Kantar Retires All Sub-Brands
WPP-owned research company Kantar has retired all of its sub-brands, including Kantar Consulting, Kantar Media, Kantar Millward Brown and Kantar Public, uniting them all under the Kantar brand name. Kantar CEO Eric Salama said the move “will make Kantar easier for clients to understand and work with”, and fits with WPP’s broader strategy of breaking down walls between its businesses.

UK Advertising Exports Surge to £6.9 Billion Pre-Brexit
The UK ad industry’s total exports have risen to £6.9 billion ahead of the country’s withdrawal from the European Union, the Advertising Association announced today. The findings, published in the trade group’s first ‘UK Advertising Exports’, report demonstrate the international strength of Britain’s advertising sector, as well as the potential dangers it faces as it prepares to cut ties with the EU. Read the full story on VAN.

Hires of the Week

Dentsu Aegis Network Picks Jacki Kelley as US Chief Client Officer
Dentsu Aegis Network has hired Jacki Kelley for the newly created position of chief client officer at Dentsu Aegis US. Kelley most recently worked as COO at Bloomberg LP.

Pinterest Hires Jeremy King as Head of Engineering
Pinterest has taken on Jeremy King as its new head of engineering, handing him responsibility for its content recommendation ‘visual discovery engine’. King joins from Walmart, where he was chief technology officer.

Leo Burnett And Fallon London Choose Charlie Rudd as CEO
Leo Burnett and Fallon London have chosen Charlie Rudd as their new joint CEO, taking over from Gareth Collins. Rudd has previously served as CEO of Ogilvy and Mather London, a role he left last year.

This Week on VAN

Sky’s AdSmart Expands to NBCUniversal, read more on VAN

UK Advertising Exports Surge to £6.9 Billion Pre-Brexit, read more on VAN

European TV Execs Call for Urgent Change to TV Measurement, read more on VAN

Is Video Ad ‘Breakage’ the Biggest Problem You’ve Never Heard Of? read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Sipsmith Gin, We Make Gin Not Compromises, Ogilvy UK


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