In this week’s Week in Review: YouTube plans to completely shut off third-party pixel tracking next year, Tubi announces a UK launch, and the Washington Post released a new CTV app. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
YouTube to End Third-Party Pixel Tracking Next Year
YouTube announced this week that it will completely end the use of third-party pixels on YouTube next year, following moves to limit their usage on the platform dating back to 2017. In a blog post Google’s director of global brand measurement Nithya Sowrirajan said that while pixels have “played an important role across the web”, they are not suitable for YouTube given that they don’t work with mobile, and lack privacy controls.
YouTube has been working with measurement companies including Nielsen, Comscore, DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to migrate their services to its own Ads Data Hub, and pixels will be blocked once this migration is complete. But as with YouTube’s reintroduction of third-party ad serving in Europe earlier this year, critics may take issue with how these third-party partners are now more reliant on Google’s own systems, arguably giving Google more leverage over these companies.
Tubi Begins European Expansion in UK
US-based ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD) service Tubi announced this week that it plans to launch in the UK early next year, with plans for further European expansion shortly after. The Lionsgate-backed service says it is growing rapidly, claiming its monthly streaming hours have grown from 94 million in May to 132 million in September, a 40 percent increase. Now it is seeking to accelerate this growth through international expansion.
The service also announced a child-oriented version of the platform, Tubi Kids, which will launch on Monday. Tubi Kids will feature a library of children’s content with over 1,200 films and TV shows, according to founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi. Tubi’s chief content officer Adam Lewinson said that the app will “respect children’s privacy”, and won’t serve personalised ads based on user data.
The Washington Post Launches CTV App Designed for Written Content
The Washington Post has launched an app for connected-TV, and while the app will host video content, the focus is on its written content. “This isn’t a video product,” said Kat Downs Mulder, VP of product and design at the Post. “We have created a forward-looking experience that lets readers access our journalism in a convenient way and discover a different role that news can play in their lives.” The app, which users navigate via a TV remote, is available on Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV at launch.
The Week in Tech
Elizabeth Warren Calls Out Facebook’s Political Ad Policy
US senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren hit out at Facebook’s political ad policies this week, launching what she described as an intentionally deceptive ad campaign on Facebook. Facebook recently made a tweak to its policies exempting politicians from its third-party fact checking programme, which vets ads and seeks to prevent the spread of misinformation on the platform. Facebook says it’s not “an appropriate role for us to referee political debates and prevent a politician’s speech from reaching its audience and being subject to public debate and scrutiny”. But Warren has criticised the move, and ran an ad exploiting the rule change to highlight the issue:
We intentionally made a Facebook ad with false claims and submitted it to Facebook’s ad platform to see if it’d be approved. It got approved quickly and the ad is now running on Facebook. Take a look: pic.twitter.com/7NQyThWHgO
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) October 12, 2019
IAS Calls for Improved CTV Standards
Measurement and fraud-prevention company Integral Ad Science called for improved standards for connected-TV in an interview with The Drum this week, as it builds an ad verification programme for CTV. Business development director Sarah Canderday told The Drum that “because we are bound by these current MRC guidelines and checking these IAB lists, and because these publishers are quickly working to develop these apps, there are currently no standards governing the CTV app space, and it’s wildly fragmented. Even across a single publisher they have different ways of serving ads into their CTV apps across their different properties.”
Safari Introduces Paywall Workaround into Incognito Browsing
Safari’s new private browsing mode introduces a way through publisher paywalls, Digiday reported this week. Browsers’ incognito modes have traditionally provided a workaround to soft paywalls on digital content which limit users to a certain number of articles per month, by making it impossible for publisher to track how much content users are consuming. But publishers have clocked on, and developed tools which can spot when an individual is browsing via incognito mode, and block them from seeing any content. Safari’s new mode, however, evades these countermeasures according to Digiday.
Verizon Media Picked to Serve Native Ads on Apple News in UK, Australia and Canada
Verzion Media, formerly Oath, has agreed a deal with Apple which will allow it to sell native ads programmatically for Apple’s News and Stocks apps in the UK, Canada and Australia. “Apple News is a highly-personalised, curated news experience that shares our commitment to providing quality stories from trusted outlets to large audiences,” said Guru Gowrappan, CEO of Verizon Media. “We believe that such content experiences provide meaningful consumer engagement opportunities for brands with relevant, engaging advertising.”
The Week in TV
Netflix Subscriptions Return to Growth in the US
Netflix saw its subscription count in the US grow by over 500,000 in its Q3 financial results this week, following a drop in the previous quarter. And the streaming service posted strong international growth too, adding more than 6.2 million subscribers outside of the US. Domestic growth was slightly lower than forecasts of 800,000 according to the Wall Street Journal, but investors were seemingly relieved another loss was prevented as Netflix stock rose by over six percent after the results were reported.
ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Eyes Up International Expansion for Joyn
ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Max Conze says there are definite plans to launch its joint streaming service with Discovery, Joyn, outside of Germany. Speaking at MIPCOM, Conze said that once Joyn’s paid premium tier is rolled out domestically, the company will look at European expansion, DTVE reported this week.
UK Culture Secretary Considers BBC Subscription Model to Replace License Fee
The UK’s culture secretary Nicky Morgan this week said she is “open minded” towards proposals which would see the UK’s TV license fee replaced with a subscription model, similar to those used by subscription video on-demand services. Morgan said she would base her views on information around how the switch would impact the BBC’s income, but some within the Conservative party believe the switch could be a vote winner, according to The Drum.
The Week in Publishing
Telegraph Group Doubles Down on Subscription-First Strategy after Steep Profit Drop
UK publisher The Telegraph Group on Tuesday reaffirmed its commitment to its subscription-first strategy as it reported disappointing financial results in which profits before tax fell by 88 percent to £1.6 million for 2018. For the Telegraph’s media business specifically (ignoring other revenue streams like events), profits were down 93 percent to £900,000. Read the full story on VAN.
Reddit Agrees Content Sharing Deal with Snapchat
Reddit has agreed a deal with Snapchat which will see Reddit users able to share content directly via Snapchat. Reddit account owners will be able to share image, text or link-based content either directly to friends, or via their Snapchat story. Content will appear as a sticker within a Snapchat photo, and Snapchat users who click the link will be directed to download the Reddit app if they don’t already own it.
Trump Joins Twitch
US President Donald Trump has launched a channel on Amazon-owned live-streaming platform Twitch. The channel has so far been used for streaming some of the president’s political rallies, with the most popular having picked up 107,000 views (though the others are much less popular, with 6,600 and 2,700 views). The president is not the first US politician to use the platform, with senator Bernie Sanders and representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez both having verified accounts, and the trend demonstrates Twitch’s continued branching out from its gaming roots.
The Week for Agencies
Disney Splits Media Business Between Omnicom and Publicis
Disney has decided to split the majority of its global media business between Omnicom and Publicis, Campaign reported this week. Publicis will reportedly take responsibility for upcoming streaming service Disney+ and parks, while Omnicom will run media channels and studios in North America. Disney’s account review has sparked controversy due to reports that Disney was pressuring agencies to agree to shift more of their other clients’ ad spend on to Disney’s channels. But Omnicom says that no such commitments were required as part of its winning pitch according to Adweek.
Omnicom Narrowly Misses Revenue Forecasts
Omnicom narrowly missed Wall Street revenue forecasts in its Q3 results this week, as organic revenue growth hit 2.2 percent, just short of expectations of 2.75 percent, according to Reuters. Overall revenues meanwhile fell by 2.4 percent to $3.62 billion. The holding group blamed the miss on the strength of the dollar, as well as “disposition activity in excess of acquisitions over the past year”.
Facebook Drops Off Interbrand’s Top Ten Most Valuable Brands
Omnicom-owned Interbrand published its annual report on the world’s most valuable brands, with Apple topping the list, and Facebook dropping out of the top ten. Interbrand says it looks at financial performance of branded products, brand loyalty and how big a role brands play in purchasing decisions to measure brand value, according to the WSJ. Apple’s value grew nine percent over the past year to $234.2 billion according to the report, while Amazon’s grew 24 percent to $125.3 billion, placing it in third behind Google. After several years of bad publicity, Facebook’s value fell by twelve percent to $39.9 billion, placing 13th overall.
Hires of the Week
Neal Richter Named IAB Tech Lab Chairman
SpotX’s chief scientist Neal Richter has been chosen as chairman of the board for IAB Tech Lab, it was announced this week. Richter told AdExchanger that identity will be one of his big focuses over the next year.
A+E Networks Promotes Hansen and Lovejoy to SVP Sales Roles
A+E Netowrks International Division has picked Glen Hansen as its new SVP of content sales for the Asia-Pacific region, and Ellen Lovejoy as SVP and head of sales in the Americas.
Brandon Keenen Joins Antstream Arcade as CMO
Gaming platform Antstream Arcade announced this week it has taken on Brandon Keenen, formerly senior digital commercial director at CNN, as its new CMO. Keenen will be joined by Greg Beitchman, who also joins from CNN, as chief development officer.
This Week on VAN
As OTT’s Barriers to Entry are Lowered, we Must Protect Against Fraudsters, read more on VAN
Telegraph Group Doubles Down on Subscription-First Strategy after Steep Profit Drop, read more on VAN
Why Tubular Labs is Bringing TV-Like Measurement to Social Video, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Samsung QLED, On the Run, Adam&EveDDB