In this week’s Week in Review: The AA/WARC upgrades its forecast for UK ad spend, The Trade Desk reworks its Unified ID for the post-cookie world, and Australia plans to force Google and Facebook to pay publishers. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
AA/WARC Significantly Improves Their 2020 Forecast for UK TV
The latest Expenditure Report from the Advertising Association and WARC predicts a full recovery for the UK ad industry in 2021. And the new figures forecast a significantly less steep fall in TV ad spend this year than has previously been expected. The AA and WARC has previously predicted TV spend to fall by 19.8 percent in 2020, but this has now been revised to a 14.5 percent drop.
The revised figures in the latest expenditure report predict total UK ad spend this year will shrink by 15.6 percent, before growing by 16.6 percent in 2021. The last expenditure report, released in April, had forecast a 16.7 percent decline this year, and 13.6 percent growth next year.
The Trade Desk Rebuilds its Open ID for Post-Cookie World
Demand-side platform The Trade Desk says it is reworking its Unified ID product, to make it fit for the post-cookie world. The Unified ID was designed to help advertisers identify audiences across the open web, but the current version relies on third-party cookies, which will no longer be supported by Google in 2022.
The new version of Unified ID will initially use encrypted email addresses from users who have given consent rather than cookies, according to Adweek. This product will follow guidelines set by Project Rearc, an initiative to find an alternative to third-party cookies launched by industry body the IAB. These email addresses will be collected by prompting users to submit their email addresses when they visit partnered publishers’ sites.
Australia Plans to Force Google and Facebook to Pay Publishers
The Australian government has unveiled plans to force Google and Facebook to pay publishers for the content they republish and distribute. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has drafted a new code of conduct for the tech giants, which it says is designed to address “acute bargaining power imbalances between Australian news businesses and Google and Facebook”.
Under this code, Facebook and Google must try to negotiate a deal with publishers, or groups of publishers, to pay to republish content. If no deal is reached, an independent arbiter will step in to decide which offer is most reasonable. If the tech giants don’t comply, the Australian government warns they’ll be fined millions of dollars.
The Week in Tech
GAFA CEOs Questioned by Congress in Antitrust Probe
The CEOs of the four major US tech giants were each questioned by a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into their business practices. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and Apple’s Tim Cook each appeared remotely before the panel, and faced questions on whether they stifle competition, as well as accusations of political bias.
Anti-Fraud Standards Bodies JICWEBS and TAG to Merge
Two industry anti-fraud and brand safety standards bodies, UK-based JICWEBS and US-based TAG, announced plans to merge this week. TAG CEO Mike Zaneis will serve as CEO for the combined organisation – which will carry the TAG name – while JICWEBS’s Jules Kendrick will take the new role of managing director of UK and Europe. The merger will be completed in early September 2020.
YouTube Maintains Year-on-Year Ad Sales Growth During Pandemic
Google’s parent company Alphabet reported its Q2 financial results this week, which showed that YouTube has maintained year-on-year growth in ad revenues, even during the height of the pandemic. While broadcasters and publishers have seen ad revenues plummet during lockdown, YouTube’s total ad revenues grew from $3.6 billion in Q2 last year to $3.81 billion this year. YouTube’s ad revenues were however down compared to the previous quarter, when they reached $4.04 billion.
Facebook Expects Ad Revenue Growth Despite Boycott
Facebook’s Q2 financial results this week beat analyst’s expectations, with revenues up eleven percent year-on-year, and ad revenues up ten percent. And the company said that ad spend has been growing at a similar rate during the first three weeks of July, despite the ongoing advertiser boycott against the platform over its handling of hate speech.
CES 2021 to be Digital Only
The organisers of CES, the annual tech exhibition held in Las Vegas, have announced it will be an online-only event next year. The organisers said they felt holding a physical event would pose a public health threat, and risk spreading the disease.
OpenAP Partners with iSpot for Attribution
OpenAP, a US broadcaster coalition which seeks to standardise audience definitions across TV networks, has partnered with iSpot for attribution within OpenAP’s advanced TV marketplace. “The partnership with iSpot is an important first step toward making attribution and OTT reporting ubiquitous across all advanced advertising campaigns,” said Ed Davis, chief product officer at OpenAP.
Samsung in Talks to Install More US Products by Default on its Phones
Korean tech company Samsung is in talks with Google around including more Google products on its mobile handsets by default, Bloomberg reported this week. Samsung phones already run Google’s operating system, but the deal would see Google’s AI assistant and Play Store come pre-installed on Samsung devices.
The Week in TV
Comcast Reports Sharp Ad Sales Fall, but Hails Peacock’s Success
Comcast reported ad sales in its media units fell sharply in Q2. Broadcast TV ad revenue was down 27.9 percent, and ad revenue for Comcast’s cable networks was down 27 percent. But the operator hailed a successful start for Peacock, it’s new ad supported streaming service, saying that 10 million users have signed up since it launched earlier this month.
Salto to Launch on October 1st
Salto, the upcoming subscription video on-demand streaming services from French broadcasters TF1, M6 and France Télévisions, will launch on October 1st, having been postponed by the pandemic.
TF1 Reports Sharp Fall in Net Revenues
French broadcaster TF1 said overall net revenues for the group were down 22.9 percent year-on-year, as ad revenue was down by over a quarter. But the broadcaster said it has started to see advertisers return to television in recent weeks.
UK Prepares Ban on Junk Food Ads
The UK government is preparing to ban ads for unhealthy foods as part of an effort to fight obesity. The government plans to ban ads for junk foods before the 9pm watershed, and is launching a consultation on completely banning junk food ads online.
ViacomCBS Beefs Up ‘All Access’ Streaming Service
ViacomCBS said this week it is adding over 3,500 new episodes of TV shows, as well as new original content, to its CBS All Access streaming service. The service will also be rebranded in the coming months, to reflect its wider content offering following CBS’s merger with Viacom.
HBO Max Beats Disney+ in its First Month says Reelgood
AT&T’s new streaming service HBO Max was more popular than Disney+ in the US in the month after its release, according to streaming aggregator Reelgood. Reelgood’s data found that in June, HBO Max’s share of streams by Reelgood users was 7.9 percent, ahead of Disney’s six percent.
BritBox Plans Global Expansion
BritBox, the streaming service owned by UK broadcasters ITV and the BBC, has announced it is planning to roll out in new markets across Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America and Africa. “Offering subscribers the best and biggest collection of British content has enabled BritBox to rapidly grow in our existing countries and as streaming continues to expand worldwide this roll out will give our distinctive streaming business truly international scale,” said ITV CEO Carolyn McCall.
UK SVOD Sign-Ups Slow After COVID Surge
The rate of new SVOD sign-ups in the UK have returned to normal levels, following a surge earlier in the year during the start of the pandemic, according to research from Kantar. While SVOD services saw six million new sign-ups in Q1 (due to the pandemic and the UK launch of Disney+), Q2 sign-ups sat at 826,000.
Crunchyroll Hits Three Million Paid Subscribers
Crunchyroll, a streaming platform focussed exclusively on anime, said this week it has reached three million subscribers worldwide. Crunchyroll also allows users to watch content for free, supported by ads, and says it has over 70 million total registered users.
The Week in Publishing
TikTok Valued at $50 Billion, as it Rolls Out Creator Funds
TikTok’s investors are valuing the unit at around $50 billion, Reuters reported this week, as parent company ByteDance considers selling off the unit. Meanwhile TikTok is working to tie down creators for its platform. In Europe, TikTok announced the launch of a new ‘Creator Fund’ to support talent on the platform. The fund will start at $70 million in its first year, and is expected to rise to a total of at least $300 million in three years.
Outgoing NYT CEO Warns of Adverse Effects from Tech Regulation
Outgoing New York Times CEO Mark Thompson this week warned of potential adverse effects of regulation the likes of Google and Facebook. Thompson said that while scrutiny of the tech giants is fair, he would prefer the tech giants work bilaterally with publishers to support journalism. “The more it becomes part of a long extended, regulatory, and political process, the less likely it is to help in time, and the more likely you are to get different kinds of adverse consequences,” he said, as quoted by Reuters.
Facebook Seeks to Poach TikTok Creators
Facebook is reaching out to popular TikTok creators and offering them deals to move over to Reels, it’s TikTok-like service on Instagram which it has begun rolling out around the world. Reels is not yet available in the US, but reports suggest Facebook plans to release the product soon, to capitalise on uncertainty over TikTok’s future. Some of the deals offered by Facebook are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to the WSJ.
Twitter Temporarily Suspends Donald Trump Jr.
Twitter this week temporarily suspended the account of Donald Trump Jr., US president Donald Trump’s son. Trump Jr. posted content which made unverified and potentially harmful claims about COVID-19. Twitter has drawn ire from the president recently after flagging several of his posts for containing misinformation and inciting violence.
Hearst Employees Vote to Unionise
Employees at Hearst’s magazines division this week voted to unionise, as tensions between staff and management have increased due to management’s opposition to the move. Lowell Peterson, the guild’s executive director, said staff “voted overwhelmingly […] to make their voices heard in the workplace, to ensure that their needs and interests and priorities are addressed”.
Teen Publication POPSUGAR Branches Out to Clothes Sales
Teen-focussed digital publication POPSUGAR has branched out into selling clothes through a partnership with fashion brand Old Navy, as a means of diversifying its revenue streams.
The Week for Agencies
Zenith Forecasts 9.1 Percent Drop in Global Ad Spend This Year
Publicis-owned agency Zenith this week released its updated ad spend forecast, predicting that total global ad spend will be down 9.1 percent this year. Zenith said Q2 will have been the worst effected month, with some spend returning in Q3 and Q4. Zenith predicts a 5.8 percent recovery in 2021.
IPG Posts Better Than Expected Q2 Results
Interpublic Group posted Q2 financial results which CEO Michael Roth said were better than the holding group had anticipated. Organic net revenue fell 9.9 percent year-on-year. But Roth said he couldn’t guarantee that later quarters will fare better than Q2, despite hopes for a prompt recovery.
S4 Capital Buys Orca Pacific
Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has bought Orca Pacific, an agency which specialises in buying on Amazon. Orca Pacific will be merged with MightHive, S4’s programmatic media unit.
Omnicom Organic Net Revenues Fall 23 Percent
Agency holding group Omnicom posted the steepest fall in organic net revenues out of all the holding groups which have posted Q2 financial results so far, down 23 percent. CEO and chairman John Wren said the business has cut over 6,000 staff and over one million square feet of office space as cost-cutting measures.
GroupM Seeks to ‘Remonetise’ Local News Outlets
WPP-owned media agency GroupM has partnered with United for News to launch a new initiative which seeks to drive programmatic ad dollars towards struggling news businesses. A ‘Local News Inclusion List’ created by GroupM will steer buyers towards local outlets in 31 countries, according to Adweek.
P&G Negotiates Upfront Deals Without an Agency
Consumer goods brand P&G has been negotiating upfront deals in the US, despite calls to rethink the upfront model, Variety reported this week. And P&G is said to be striking the deals without the help of its media buying agency, according to AdAge.
McDonalds Bumps Up 2020 Marketing Budget by $200 Million
McDonalds has increased its marketing budget for the rest of the year by $200 million, CEO Chris Kempczinski said in an earnings call this week, seeking to gain market share as lockdown measures are eased.
Hires of the Week
TikTok Appoints Sandie Hawkins US Head of Advertising
TikTok has announced it’s taken on Sandie Hawkings, a former Adobe executive, to lead its advertising efforts in the US as general manager of global business solutions.
ViacomCBS Hires Sarah Rose
ViacomCBS Networks UK has hired Sarah Rose as its new chief operating officer. Rose joins from Channel 4, where she was most recently chief consumer and strategy officer.
LadBible Hires Lindsay Turner to Lead Clients Solutions
Lindsay Turner, former CEO of Spark Foundry, has joined LadBible Group as its new head of client solutions.
This Week on VAN
The Buy-Side View: Q&A with MediaCom’s Liam Brennan, read more on VAN
Revenue, Data and Ad Sales are at Stake in the OTT Carriage Standoffs, read more on VAN
The EU’s Privacy Shield Ruling Pushes US Ad Tech into Uncertain Legal Territory, read more on VAN
How Are Brands Actually Using TikTok? read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Heineken, Back to the Bars, Publicis Italy