The WIR: AT&T Unveils a New Video Ad Marketplace, RTL Posts Strong VOD Subscriber Growth, and Disney Takes Control of Hulu


In this week’s Week in Review: AT&T announced its new video ad marketplace ‘Community’, RTL Group reports 59 percent growth of its VOD subscriber base, and Disney secures a deal with Comcast to take full control of Hulu. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

AT&T Unveils New Video Ad Marketplace, Community
AT&T’s advertising business Xandr this week unveiled its new video ad marketplace, ‘Community’ which will allow advertisers to use Xandr data for video ad targeting across WarnerMedia’s media properties, as well as a host of publisher partners. Vice, Hearst, Newsy, Philo, Tubi and Xumo are among publishers whose video inventory inventory will be available through Community. Jason Brown, Xandr’s head of ad sales partnerships, said that Community will let advertisers target audiences and frequency cap across devices – “We have insights into who was exposed to an ad and who was not exposed to an ad across all devices,” he said. “The capability of addressable is now available in 75 million households.”

RTL’s VOD Subscriber Base Grows 59 Percent
RTL Group saw the number of paying customers subscribed to its video on-demand services in Germany and the Netherlands grow by almost 60 percent year-on-year, which CEO Thomas Rabe said shows “good progress” in the company’s ‘total video’ strategy. This brings the total subscriber count for RTL’s VOD services up to 1.15, as the company looks to build “local streaming champions” in its markets.

This growth helped drive strong financial results for the company, with revenues up 7.2 percent year on year to €1.5 billion in Q1, with a strong quarter from RTL’s production arm Fremantle also helping drive the growth.

Disney Agrees Deal to Take Full Control of Hulu
Disney this week secured a deal with Comcast to buy out its stake in streaming service Hulu, giving Disney full control of the the company. Just one year ago, Hulu was jointly owned by Disney, 21st Century Fox, Time Warner and Comcast, but through its purchase of Fox’s assets and the other partners selling their stakes Disney has quickly claimed total control. The deal will see Comcast’s stake sold to Disney in 2024 for a minimum of $5.8 billion, with Comcast promising that Hulu will still be able to carry content it owns through NBCUniversal until that time. In the meantime, Disney assumes full operational control of the business.

Disney has painted Hulu as the third pillar in its direct-to-consumer strategy alongside Disney+ and ESPN+, with Hulu designated at the home for Disney’s more adult-themed content. But whether it will remain as attractive a proposition if Comcast pulls its content from the service after 2024 remains to be seen.

The Week in Tech

Facebook Prepares Advertisers for ‘Clear History’ Tool
Facebook this week warned advertisers that its upcoming ‘clear history’ tool, which will allow users to erase their personal data from the site, will affect ad targeting on Facebook properties. The company revealed that the tool will be rolled out in the comping months, and detailed the impact for advertisers in a blog post. “When someone disconnects their off-Facebook activity, we won’t use the data they clear for targeting,” the company said. “This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools, such as the Facebook pixel, can’t be used to reach someone with ads. This includes Custom Audiences built from visitors to websites or apps.” The company says however that measurement and analytics tools wont be affected.

FreeWheel Announces Programmatic OTT Marketplace for Local TV Buyers
Comcast-owned ad tech platform FreeWheel announced new OTT buying capabilities this week which it says are geared towards mid-sized and independent media buying agencies. The new offering, available to agencies using the Strata platform, will address barriers to efficiently buying OTT inventory according to FreeWheel – including minimum spend levels enforced by demand-side platforms (DSPs), the complexity of managing multiple campaigns for local clients across different vendors and geographies, and lack of transparency in ad placements.

Both Advertisers and YouTube Appear to Be Pulling Back from Six Second Ads
Advertisers are shifting away from YouTube’s six-second ‘bumper’ ad format, spending more on 15 second and 30 second formats, according to analysis from advertising intelligence platform MediaRadar. The study suggests that while there’s still a lot of debate around the value of ultra-short ads, advertisers have somewhat soured on six-second spots. Read the full story on VAN.

Amazon Reportedly Close to Buying Sizmek’s Ad Serving Tech
Amazon is reportedly close to securing a deal to buy Sizmek’s ad-serving technology, with a purchase possibly being announced as soon as this week, according to Bloomberg. Sizmek, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in March, has already sold some of its assets to Zeta Global, but its ad server remains up for grabs. It competes directly with Google’s own ad serving capabilities, and would bolster Amazon’s pitch to draw ad spend away from Google and into its own advertising ecosystem.

Index Exchange Becomes First Company to Secure IAB UK Gold Standard 1.1 Certification
Index Exchange this week announced it has secured the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) UK Gold Standard 1.1 Certification, the first company to achieve the new status. The IAB UK announced it was becoming more exacting in the criteria required to receive Gold Standard Certification in April of this year. Specifically, the trade body added benchmarks to the already stringent list of best practices it required groups to meet, ensuring only those companies who are fully certified under JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group — and whose partners are compliant with both ads.txt and the Coalition for Better Ads — receive the 1.1 accreditation.

Akamai Claims Record Concurrent Streaming Viewership
Akamai claimed this week that Indian streaming platform Hotstar (which is powered by Akamai) broke the world record for the largest number of concurrent viewers watching a live-stream. A peak of 18.6 million simultaneous viewers reportedly tuned in to the VIVO IPL 2019 final between the Mumbai Indians and the Chennai Super Kings. “Viewership of the VIVO IPL event on mobile devices has been growing exponentially over time, and we fully expect this trend to continue. In setting these records and making sure that viewers are enjoying live sporting events, the challenge will always be being able to provide the necessary technology support and delivery capability to platforms like Hotstar,” said Parimal Pandya, VP, Media, Asia, Pacific and Japan at Akamai Technologies.

TuneMoji to Plug Musical GIFs into Live-Streams on Twitch
TuneMoji, a musical GIF platform, announced today a new collaboration with Twitch which will allow the platform’s streamers and viewers to incorporate musical GIFs into live broadcasts. Creators will be able to configure a set of TuneMojis that are available to their viewers, and can specify whether TuneMojis can be played by any follower or only by paid subscribers. “TuneMoji’s integration in Twitch gives this creative community another tool to produce more engaging channels, grow their fan-base and make money – pillars that are all very important to online creators,” said James Fabricant, CEO of TuneMoji.

The Week in TV

Apple TV App Launches in 100 Markets, with Samsung the First TV Manufacturer to Offer App
The new Apple TV app, Apple’s TV is now available in over 100 countries across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and select Samsung smart TVs. Via the app, customers can subscribe to what apple calls “Apple TV channels”, known everywhere else as “apps” or “TV channels”, within the Apple TV app. The TV services within Apple’s app are unbundled and users only paying for the ones they want. Read the full story on VAN.

NBCU Likely to Pull The Office to its Own Streaming Service
NBCUniversal dropped heavy hints this week that its popular sitcom The Office will be available on its upcoming ad-supported streaming service. The company’s sales chief Linda Yaccarino said that NBC’s most popular shows will be “coming home” to the service, referencing Jim and Pam, two of the show’s characters. If NBCU made The Office exclusive to its own service, it would likely be bad news for Netflix, which currently holds the rights. While Netflix doesn’t reveal its viewership stats for the majority of its shows, data compiled by Nielsen for the Wall Street Journal suggests that The Office is Netflix’s most popular show.

ITV Cancels The Jeremy Kyle Show
ITV has come under scrutiny for its treatment of reality TV starts this week following the death of a former guest of ‘The Jeremy Kyle Show’. ITV has axed the show, which has long been criticised by some as being exploitative of working class people, after Steven Dymond was found dead just one week after appearing on the show. The broadcaster’s support for reality show stars had already been questioned following the suicides of two ex-contestants of its popular show ‘Love Island’.

Slimmed-Down Fox Promotes New Ad Formats
The new, slimmed-down Fox created after the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets were sold to Disney last year promoted a number of new ad formats at its upfronts presentation this week. Among the new formats were ‘Prediction Pods’ which integrate social conversations into ads, and ‘Absolute A’, which gives brands exclusive ownership of pre-roll spots on streamed shows.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Introduces ‘One Strike’ Live-Streaming Policy
Facebook introduced new rules for live-streaming on its Facebook Live service this week, saying that anyone who violates its most serious policies will be blocked from using the service for a set period of time after their first offence. “For instance, someone who shares a link to a statement from a terrorist group with no context will now be immediately blocked from using Live for a set period of time,” said Facebook’s VP of integrity Guy Rosen. The move comes two months after the mass shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand was broadcast live on the service.

Vice’s Programmatic Guaranteed Revenues Rise 156 Percent
Vice saw revenues from programmatic guaranteed deals rose 156 percent in 2018, according to Digiday, with the publisher now aiming to drive more programmatic guaranteed deals. Non-guaranteed revenues from open marketplace and private marketplace sales meanwhile grew by 60 percent. Alex Payne, SVP of programmatic solutions for Vice Media, told Digiday that programmatic guaranteed deals are being driven predominantly by video.

Google Introduces New Ad Formats
Google introduced a number of new ad formats this week, including ads for its ‘Discover’ feature on the Google app. Discover, a feed of news articles, videos and other content that users can scroll through on Google’s search app, was released last year, and brands will now be able to buy ‘Discovery ads’ on the feed. Brands will be able to buy Discovery ads as a single campaign across YouTube, Gmail Promotions, Social tabs and Discover.

Google Discovery Ads

The Week for Agencies

Dentsu Posts Increased Revenues, but Negative Organic Growth
Dentsu Inc.’s revenues were up 3.5 percent year-on-year to 250 billion yen in Q1 this year, but organic growth was -1.6 percent in a quarter which president and CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto described as “soft”. Organic growth was -2.7 percent in Japan specifically, and -0.7 percent at Dentsu Aegis Network. “There is much to do in the remainder of the year, but through maintaining our continued focus on driving innovation and pursuing excellence in everything we do, I am confident we can continue to deliver even greater value for our clients,” said Yamamoto.

Publicis Groupe’s Lévy Proposes Data Tax for Tech Firms
Maurice Lévy, chairman of Publicis Groupe, this week called for consumers to be compensated when tech firms profit from their personal data. “Personal data should belong to each and every consumer and every time that data is used I think the data agglomerator is going to be making a profit but should pay consumers in one way or another,” he said at an event in Paris.

Pepsi Plans In-House Media and Data Team
PepsiCo is building an in-house team charged with pairing data with media planning, hiring for roles relating to CRM, digital, data management and ad tech, according to The Drum. The company says the move comes in preparation for a “data-driven future”. Pepsi has in-housed several agency functions in recent years, with mixed results – its in-house creative team was responsible for the notorious Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.

Hires of the Week

Dentsu Aegis Network Hires Anna Campbell as Global Client President
Dentsu Aegis Network has appointed Anna Campbell, previously chief growth officer at Publicis Groupe UK, as its new global client president. Campbell has also previously worked as new business and marketing director at Carat Global and global managing director for business development at OMD.

Inadvia Appoints Ryan Afshar as Global Head of Commercial
In-transit programmatic technology startup Inadvia has appointed Ryan Afshar to take on the role of global head of commercial, based in their London head office. Afshar joins from Amobee (previously Videology) where he led the company’s supply-side platform business in EMEA, working with broadcasters and publishers to help them maximise monetisation of their premium video inventory. He will be responsible for working with brands, agencies and DSPs to provide access to this new and growing source of data-enabled premium in-transit video inventory.

This Week on VAN

Will Voice be a Game Changer for TV and OTT? read more on VAN

Apple TV App Launches in 100 Markets, with Samsung the First TV Manufacturer to Offer App, read more on VAN

Both Advertisers and YouTube Appear to Be Pulling Back from Six Second Ads, read more on VAN

Can Influencer Marketing be Automated? read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Amazon Prime Video, Pep Talk, Droga5 London


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