The WIR: Vine Co-Founder Launches TikTok Rival ‘Byte’, SuperAwesome Raises $17 Million, and Avast Shutters Jumpshot Over Data Sales Controversy


In this week’s Week in Review: Byte, a potential rival to TikTok, launched globally; kid-tech company SuperAwesome raises $17 million; and antivirus maker Avast closes its data analytics division Jumpshot following a privacy scandal. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

TikTok Rival Byte Launches, and Immediately Tops US App Store Chart
Byte, a short-form video sharing app created by Vine co-founder Dom Hofmann, released on Friday, and went on to top Apple’s US App Store’s download charts. Byte resurrects the six-second looping video format which was used on Vine, and is pitched as a US-grown competitor to Beijing-based TikTok. According to Sensor Tower, Byte was downloaded around 780,000 times over the weekend after its launch.

Vine, which was bought by Twitter in 2012, helped popularise the ultra-short form video format now used by the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. But it was shuttered in 2016 as it struggled to turn a profit, and competitors aped its most popular features. This reboot of the product launches in a much more crowded market, but Hoffman hopes to set Byte apart by drawing in creators with a partner programme, which will pay popular creators for their work. Hofmann told TechCrunch that the app may also look to offer creators ad revenue share, or give users the option to tip their favourite creators, as alternative forms of monetisation.

Kid-Tech Company SuperAwesome Raises $17 Million
Kid-tech company SuperAwesome announced this week that it has raised $17 million in a fundraising round led by M12, Microsoft’s venture fund. SuperAwesome’s platform is designed to help brand and content owners whose audiences are mostly children run ads in a way which protects their digital privacy. The company says its platform enables over 12 billion child-safe transactions every month, which includes use of its advertising and video tools, as well as community and parental consent tools.

Founder Dylan Collins told the Irish Times that the new funding would be used to help bring its child-friendly user-generated content platform Rukkaz to market, as well as potentially for M&A.

Avast Closes Marketing Analytics Company Jumpshot Over User Data Sales
Antivirus protection software business Avast has closed down its marketing analytics subsidiary Jumpshot this week after a joint investigation by Motherboard and PCMag revealed how Jumpshot was selling Avast users’ data to third parties. Jumpshot was found to be using Avast users’ browsing histories to build valuable datasets which could then be sold to third-parties, with Google, Pepsi, and Microsoft among its clients. But Jumpshot maintained that this data was “fully de-identified and aggregated”, meaning it could not be associated with any individual user. Motherboard and PCMag however say that their investigation found that this data in some cases could be linked with individual users, thanks to its granularity.

Avast CEO Ondrej Vlceck said in a blog post that he had come to the conclusion that “the data collection business is not in line with our privacy priorities as a company in 2020 and beyond”.

The Week in Tech

Facebook Releases New Tools for Preventing Off-Site Tracking
Facebook launched a new user-facing tool this week which allows its members to see which non-Facebook domains share their data with Facebook, and to clear that data. Users can also use the tool to permanently opt-out of third-party sites sending Facebook their information. When users choose to delete data however it will not be permanently deleted – instead that data will be disconnected from the user’s account.

Premium Video Ad View Grew Ten Percent YoY in 2019 says FreeWheel
FreeWheel this week launched its first Video Marketplace Report specifically for Europe, focusing on video advertising in Q3 2019, which found that premium video ad views increased 10 percent year-on-year. This rise is driving investment in “growth platforms” such as connected TV (CTV) and mobile, according to FreeWheel. The report also reveals interest in addressability is growing across all verticals with the share of audience-targeted ad views increasing 54 percent year-on-year.

FreeWheel Graph

Amazon Ad Revenue Climbs in Strong Q4
Amazon’s ad revenues grew 40 percent year-on-year in Q4 2019 according to the company’s financial results released this week, with total ad revenues for the quarter nearing $5 billion. Total Q4 revenues meanwhile reached $87.44 billion, a 21 percent rise year-on-year. Advertising is still a relatively small part of Amazon’s business, but is quickly becoming a more important revenue stream – Amazon’s Q4 ad revenues in 2019 were greater than its total ad revenues for all of 2016.

Chouieri Selects JW Player for Outstream Video Ad-Serving
DMS, the official digital arm of Choueiri Group, has signed a deal with JW Player to serve outstream video advertising across all of Choueiri Group’s partnering publisher websites in the Middle East. The two say the new partnership will offer Choueiri Group and DMS increased control of the monetisation of their outstream video advertising. DMS’ large sales team will now be able to offer direct and programmatic video advertising to buyers and agencies in the region. Adverts will be served directly into both horizontal and vertical video ad units in the text on the site, without the need for video content.

The Week in TV

OTT Video Revenues Set to Top $200 Billion in 2024
The Over-the-Top (OTT) video market will surpass $200 billion by 2024 according to ABI Research, with 90 percent of that value fuelled by subscription and advertising revenue. “Cord-cutting is often regarded as a consequence of expanding OTT consumption, but the market dynamics are more complex, particularly when one considers how the pay TV industry has embraced OTT as a complement and value-additive, rather than strict competition,” said Michael Inouye, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Over time, we expect the traditional pay TV offer to continue to evolve and become indistinguishable from a pure OTT package of services.”

BBC News Cuts 450 Jobs in Savings Push
The BBC this week announced that around 450 jobs will be cut from BBC News, as the company looks to reach an £80 million savings target by 2022. The BBC said that Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and the World Update programme on the World Service are among those expected to be affected. “The BBC has to face up to the changing way audiences are using us,” said BBC News boss Fran Unsworth. “We need to reshape BBC News for the next decade in a way which saves substantial amounts of money. We are spending too much of our resources on traditional linear broadcasting and not enough on digital.”

WarnerMedia Predicts HBO Max Will Cost $1.2 Trillion in Lost Licensing Revenue
WarnerMedia is predicting that its upcoming subscription video on-demand service HBO Max will cost around $1.2 billion in lost licensing revenues, according to owner AT&T’s quarterly revenue results. WarnerMedia is choosing to host a number of popular shows, including Friends and Big Bang Theory on its own service, rather than licensing them to Netflix. And while these shows will likely be a big draw for HBO Max, the service will need to bring in a lot of subscribers in order to make up for the lost revenue.

French OTT Service Molotov Reaches 10 Million Users
French OTT platform Molotov has announced it has reached ten million subscribers, just over three years after it launched. Molotov claims to have nearly 30,000 titles more over 170 publishers and channels, and sealed a number of distribution agreements last year with the likes of Viacom, Turner, Altice and Sport in France. The service also said it plans to add new tools for publishers in 2020 including a new ‘Smart Paywall’ for publishers offering paid content, and ‘Smart Ad Serving’ for publishers offering ad-supported content.

The Week in Publishing

YouTube Bags Exclusive Streaming Rights for Activision Blizzard’s Esports Tournaments
YouTube announced this week it has sealed an agreement to become the exclusive streaming platform for esports tournaments involving games publisher Activision Blizzard’s games. The deal is a significant move for YouTube as it invests more in gaming-focussed live streaming, having recently agreed exclusive streaming deals with a number of popular streamers. Activision Blizzard owns major titles including Overwatch, Call of Duty and StarCraft 2, each of which will now see their esports tournaments hosted on YouTube.

The Guardian Bans Advertising from Fossil Fuel Firms
British newspaper The Guardian has said it will stop running ads from fossil fuel firms, as it looks to reduce its own carbon footprint and ramp up its reporting on the climate crisis. The Guardian says the ban will apply to any business primarily involved in extracting fossil fuels, which it says will include many of the world’s largest polluters. “Our decision is based on the decades-long efforts by many in that industry to prevent meaningful climate action by governments around the world,” the company’s acting chief executive Anna Bateson, and chief revenue officer Hamish Nicklin, said in a joint statement.

Warren Buffett Offloads Newspaper Portfolio for $140 Million
Business magnate Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed this week it is selling its portfolio of newspapers to publisher Lee Enterprises for $140 million. This includes Buffalo News, Tulsa World, Richmond-Times Dispatch and Omaha World-Herald. The sale indicates a very low state of confidence in the local news industry on Buffett’s part. As the WSJ reports, Berkshire Hathaway’s website tells shareholders that “we have no interest at all in selling any good businesses that Berkshire owns. We are also very reluctant to sell subpar businesses as long as we expect them to generate at least some cash and as long as we feel good about their managers and labour relations”. The sale of the newspaper businesses suggests Berkshire feels they no longer clear this relatively low bar.

The Week for Agencies

P&G Invests in Long Form Series
Consumer goods brand P&G has signed a deal with production company Stone Village Television to create long form scripted series around themes of gender equality, diversity and inclusion, Variety reported this week. The brand will be looking to distribute this content on some of the major streaming services according to the report. Some of this content will prominently feature P&G brands as a direct form of promotion, P&G’s head of content and platform partnerships Dorion Positano told Variety, while in some cases P&G will only be visible “on the periphery”.

MDC Partners Announces Anomaly-Led Alliance
Agency holding company MDC Partners announced this week the launch of a new alliance, led by its Anomaly brand, which it says is “organised around standout talent, cross-fertilisation of experience, and the desire to move the industry forward”. The alliance, which will be chaired by Anomaly founding partner Carl Johnson, will also include Y Media Labs, MONO, Hunter, Relevent, and Concentric Health Experience. “At a time when effective marketing hinges on the marriage of data, technology, and barrier-breaking creativity, this collaboration leverages best practices, bravery, and experience in a way that will amplify each firm’s innovation and impact on client businesses,” said Mark Penn, chairman and CEO of MDC Partners.

UK Ad Spend Grows 5.6 Percent in Q3, as BVOD Rises 16.7 Percent
UK ad spend rose 5.6 percent in Q3 last year, reaching £5.97 billion overall, according to the Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report released yesterday. This was 0.8 percentage points ahead of forecast. Online advertising spend continued to be the main driver of this growth, with TV broadcaster video on-demand (BVOD) spend rising particularly quickly, up 16.7 percent. Meanwhile ad spend on national online news brands was up 6.5 percent.

Hires of the Week

OpenX Chooses John Gentry as CEO as Cadogan Departs
OpenX CEO Tim Cadogan announced this week he is moving on to join GoFundMe as CEO after 12 years in the role. Cadogan will be replaced by John Gentry, currently OpenX president.

Adform Appoints Michael H. Andersen as Chief Development Officer
Adform announced this week it has appointed Michael Holmberg Andersen as Chief Development Officer (CDO), based in Copenhagen. He comes from a position as CTO in the Business Intelligence company Targit.

Journey Further Appoints Paul Frampton and Peter Dolukhanov to Board
Performance marketing agency, Journey Further has announced that Paul Frampton, President of CvE and formerly CEO of Havas Group; and Peter Dolukhanov, CEO of Decoded Consulting and former Group CTO of Karmarama, have joined the company’s advisory board to help strategically grow the business.

This Week on VAN

There’s a Huge Opportunity to Bring TV-Style Advertising into Premium Video Games, read more on VAN

The Holding Companies’ Scale Proposition is Outdated says TBS’s Myers-Lamptey, read more on VAN

Consistent Currencies Breed Confidence for Advertisers says Nielsen’s Farmer, read more on VAN

The Market for Third Party Data Will Soon Be Annihilated says The Ozone Project’s Damon Reeve, read more on VAN

The Marketers of the 2020s Will Be Engineers and Data Scientists says Montblanc’s von Scheel-Plessen, read more on VAN

Big Tech Regulators Could Look to Financial Markets for Inspiration says Arete Research’s Richard Kramer, read more on VAN

How RCS Aims to Create “Coversational Commerce”, read more on VAN

In-Housing’s Hidden Costs Have Been Exposed says Mediacom’s Liam Brennan, read more on VAN

Blockchain’s Use in Advertising is Finally Becoming Normalised says AdLedger’s Cacciapuoti, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Pringles, Rick and Morty Commercial, Grey Group


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