The WIR: Digital Native Publishers Form a Video Ad Alliance, OpenAP Expands into Ad Trading, and Google Prunes its News Tab in France


In this week’s Week in Review: BuzzFeed, Group Nine Media and Insider form an alliance, OpenAP moves beyond standardisation, and Google makes moves to avoid paying publishers in France. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

BuzzFeed, Insider and Group Nine Media Create Video Ad Alliance
Digital native publishers BuzzFeed, Insider Inc, and Group Nine Media (which owns NowThis, Thrillist and The Dodo) have announced the launch of a new alliance which will see them pool their video inventory across their collective websites, apps and YouTube channel. The as-yet unnamed alliance, which seeks to sign up more members in the near future, pitches itself as a way for publishers to compete more effectively with the digital giants like Facebook and Google, by offering greater scale to advertisers.

The alliance will sell ads as an independent body according to the Wall Street Journal, and revenues will be shared based on the number of ads each publisher delivers.

OpenAP Plans to Begin Selling Ads
OpenAP, a consortium of US broadcasters founded by Viacom, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner, plans to begin selling its members inventory, according to Variety. The consortium was founded back in 2017, focusing on standardising audience segmentation and targeting parameters. But CEO David Levy says advertisers will soon be able to buy through OpenAP, a move which will see OpenAP become a standalone operation in the process.

“Advertisers can either come to us centrally and buy an optimised deal across all the publishers, and they’ll do the billing with us, but they can also continue to work individually with the publishers,” Levy told Variety. “Those deals will still run through OpenAP, but all the billing with happen at the publisher level. It depends on how the advertisers want to transact.”

Google Cuts Back Google News in France to Avoid Paying Publishers
Google has decided to change the way Google News operates in France, stripping back the content previewed in search results, in order to avoid paying publishers to display their work. France is set to introduce new laws next month based on Europe’s new copyright law, which would require Google to pay European publishers in order to continue displaying News results the way it currently does. To avoid this, Google will no longer provide an overview of publishers’ content in the News tab, unless that publisher has given their explicit permission.

The Week in Tech

US Justice Department Targets Facebook with Another Antitrust Investigation
Facebook is set to become the subject of yet another antitrust investigation, as the US Justice Department plans to open its own investigation into the company soon, Reuters reported this week. The social media platform is already facing separate probes run by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee, and a group of attorney generals from 48 US states.

The move is unusual in that the Department of Justice and FTC usually decide not to run concurrent antitrust investigations into the same company. And reports from earlier in the year had suggested that the two bodies had agree to split investigations into the GAFA companies (Google Apple, Facebook and Amazon) between them, with the FTC given charge of Facebook. But the DOJ has decided to launch its own probe partly in response to “prodding from US attorney general William Barr, according to Bloomberg.

Telaria Launches a New Addressable CTV Solution
Telaria on Thursday launched ‘Telaria Audience Connect’, a new addressable connected-TV (CTV) solution for marketers and publishers. Telaria says the solution will help marketers target ads on CTV based on first and third-party data sources, contextual data, and campaign performance metrics. Audience Connect is available through Telaria’s demand-side platform (DSP) partners via private marketplace packages.

“With linear addressability opportunities declining as cord cutters and cord-nevers swell, television buyers need a scalable solution to reach their desired audiences,” said Paige Bilins, chief product officer at Telaria. “We are providing a real alternative while solving the issue of wasted impressions by using an array of rich data to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time – at scale. For the first time, Telaria has the ability to connect the dots for buyers and sellers in a unique way no other company has been able to execute to date.”

Comscore and ex-CEO Settle with SEC Over Fraud Charges
Measurement company Comscore and its former CEO Serge Matta reached a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission over fraud charges, which will see them pay a combined $5.7 million in fines. Comscore and Matta were charged with knowingly overstating their revenues by $50 million, and misleading investors about the company’s actual performance. Both Comscore and Matta have neither confirmed or denied the charges.

TiVo Begins Running Pre-Roll Ads on Recordings
Digital video recorder (DVR) TiVo has begun testing running pre-roll ads in front of recorded content. The move was picked up by blog ‘zatznotfunny‘, which spotted that TiVo was running “sluggish, lower res pre-roll video ads” in front of DVR recordings. The ads, like the rest of a DVR recording, can reportedly be fast forwarded, but doing so is “not that seamless” according to the blog.

Roku Partners with Innovid for TV Measurement
Roku and Innovid this week announced a new analytics solution to measure and understand daily demographic reach and frequency on TV campaigns run across the Roku platform and linear TV. The new solution marries OTT and linear TV occurrence and identity data from Roku’s 30.5 million active accounts as of June 30, with Innovid’s OTT ad serving footprint across over 75 million households.

“More than half of Roku’s audience are cord cutters,” said Alison Levin, VP of ad sales and strategy at Roku. “As marketers follow viewers from linear TV to OTT, they need tools to evaluate audience overlap and incremental reach across screens and suppliers.”

Oracle Data Cloud Cuts Staff as it Seeks to Streamline
Oracle Data Cloud on Monday cut between ten to fifteen percent of its staff, according to AdExchanger, as its business selling third-party data continues to decline. The company is seeking to streamline according to the report, and plans to focus on contextual data, brand safety and measurement going forward.

The Week in TV

Discovery Launches New DTC Food Streaming Service
Discovery this week unveiled Food Network Kitchen, a new streaming service focussed on cooking shows which sells itself on its interactivity. The service will feature up to 25 live cooking classes a week with celebrity chefs including Martha Stewart, Guy Fieri and Bobby Flay. As well as being able to ask the chefs questions, users will be able to order the ingredients needed for the recipes directly via integrations with Amazon Fresh, Peapod and Instacart.

Hulu’s Pause Ads Move Out of Beta
Hulu brought its ‘pause ads’, which appear on the users’ screen when they pause their video, out of beta testing this week, while also announcing a new ad format. Pause ads have been trialled with Charmin and Coca-Cola, and will now be opened up to more advertisers. And the service is working on ‘transactional ads’ – a format which will direct viewers to a second screen to interact with the ad, according to Adweek.

Pluto TV Launches on Android
Viacom-owned OTT service Pluto TV this week announced an expansion onto Android-powered mobile devices and tablets. The service was already available on Android TV, but will now be accessible on other Android devices in Germany, the UK, Austria and Switzerland.

The Week in Publishing

Vox Media Merges with New York Media
Vox Media this week announced its acquisition of New York Media in a deal which values New York Media at around $105 million, and Vox Media at $750 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. The two both own substantial digital portfolios – Vox Media owns Vox, Curbed, Recode and Eater among others while New York Media’s publications include Vulture, Grub Street and New York magazine’s digital edition. The two have said there are no plans to merge any of their publications, despite the fact that they in some cases cover overlapping ground.

Snapchat Enables Three Minute Ads
Snapchat has extended the maximum length of ads on its app to three minutes, though these ads will still be skippable, it announced this week. The longer length will have the specific benefit of meaning film trailers can be run as ads on Snapchat according to Campaign – previously film studios would run partial trailers, and invite users to swipe up to see the full version. Snap has also added the ability for advertisers to let users swipe on ads to go to a web view, a long-form video or to a camera attachment.

The Week for Agencies

Holding Groups’ Data Platforms Aren’t Being Properly Deployed at Creative Agencies
Data units owned by the big agency holding groups aren’t being successfully deployed at those holding groups’ creative agencies, according to a Forrester report released this week. While the data platforms tend to be fairly well plugged in to media agencies to inform strategy and audience targeting, they’re by and large not used to inform creative strategy. Out of the big six holding companies, only Omnicom’s Omni was found by Forrester to have a specific use case for creative agencies, AdExchanger reported.

Accenture Takes its Creative In-House
Consultancy Accenture had decided it will start producing all of its creative in-house, following its acquisition of Droga5 earlier this year. Droga5 will be Accenture’s lead creative agency, while design consultancy Fjord and creative agency Karmarama will both also work on Accenture’s creative. “We have expanded our capabilities and have the capacity and scale to service our own brand while still delivering to clients remains the top priority,” a spokesperson told Adweek.

Sorrell Predicts Holding Company Break Ups
S4 Capital executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell told the audience at Advertising Week New York on Wednesday that the big advertising agency holding groups will eventually be broken up as they seek to make their businesses more consolidated and efficient. Sorrell said that Interpublic Group’s success among the big holding groups is down to the fact that McCann accounts for around 75 percent of its business, making it effectively one integrated business, AdAge reported. He said that WPP meanwhile is playing catch-up with its internal mergers and sales.

Hires of the Week

Say It Now Appoints Brian Fitzpatrick as Chairman
Voice tech company Say It Now announced this week it has appointed Brian Fitzpatrick, an angel investor in the business, as its chairman. Fitzpatrick currently works for IPONWEB as general manager for Europe, and has also held roles at Adap.tv and Media Innovation Group.

Channel 4 Hires Matt Risley to Lead Digital Content Unit
Channel 4 has taken on Matt Risley to head up its new Digital Content Unit, which will launch at the broadcaster’s new HQ in Leeds next month. Risley currently works as digital director at MTV.

OMD UK Chooses Charlie Ebdy as CSO
OMD UK has picked Charlie Ebdy as its new chief strategy officer, it was announced this week. Ebdy currently holds the CSO role at Vizeum, and will move to OMD in November.

This Week on VAN

The Shared Device Problem for TV Attribution Still Needs to be Solved, read more on VAN

TV is Entering a New Era of Renaissance, read more on VAN

Contextual Targeting Has Evolved, but Advertisers Haven’t Caught Up, read more on VAN

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