The WIR: The TikTok Roller Coaster Continues, Pact Warns SVODs are Starving Broadcasters of Content, and WPP’s Read Says the Worst of the Pandemic has Passed


In this week’s Week in Review: TikTok loses a CEO but gains a prospective buyer, Pact warns that broadcasters are being starved of new content, and WPP’s Read says the worst of the pandemic is over. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

The TikTok Roller Coaster Continues
It was another hectic week for video-sharing app TikTok, as it continues to deal with the threat of a US ban from President Trump.

At the start of the week, it emerged the company is suing the US government, with parent company ByteDance arguing that it has been denied due process to argue it isn’t a national security threat. This was quickly followed up on Thursday by the news that Kevin Mayer, the newly appointed global CEO has stepped down from the role just months after being appointed. Mayer said the threat of a ban has changed the role from how he originally envisioned it, given US operations might be cut off from the rest of the company.

Then just hours after Mayer’s resignation, reports surfaced that US supermarket chain Walmart is joining Microsoft’s bid to buy TikTok’s US business from ByteDance.

Pact Says SVOD Services Are Starving Broadcasters of Content
John McVay, head of the trade body Pact which represents the UK’s independent television production companies, warned this week that international subscription video on-demand services are starving UK broadcaster of content by outbidding them for new shows. McVay said that the number of new shows available has dropped due to the lockdown putting the brakes on production.

“I know a lot of people who work for streamers in acquisitions and they are buying everything,” McVay told The Guardian. “Unless we can get new, fresh content into the British schedules that is engaging and resonates with our experience of the world we’re living through, then I fear for our broadcasters.”

Mark Read Says the Worst of the Pandemic Is Over for WPP
WPP CEO Mark Read this week said he believes the agency group has weathered the worst of the pandemic, and is well set on the course to recovery.

Reads comments came shortly before WPP’s Q2 financial results, which showed like-for-like revenues less pass-through cost to be down 15.1 percent year-on-year. These numbers suggest WPP fared better than Havas and Dentsu Aegis Network in Q2, but suffered more than Omnicom and Publicis. Overall the results seemed to please investors, with WPP’s stock up by over four percent since the results were announced.

The Week in Tech

Google Begins Blocking Heavy Ads
Google began blocking resource-heavy ads with the release of the latest version of its Chrome web browser. The move, announced earlier this year, targets ads which consumer a disproportionate amount of a device’s resources, such as battery life or bandwidth.

Facebook’s Zuckerberg Reportedly Stirred TikTok Fears in Washington
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spent several trips to Washington DC last year stoking fears about rival social platform TikTok, according to the Wall Street Journal. Zuckerberg reportedly tried to persuade politicians including President Trump that TikTok is a threat to American business, and that controlling TikTok should be a higher priority than regulating Facebook.

Xandr Creates Platform for Selling Political Ads
Xandr has released a new ad buying platform alongside its parent company AT&T, designed specifically for buying political ads programmatically on digital properties. Political ads will still be approved by WarnerMedia once bought through the platform.

White Ops Uncovers Android App Fraud Scheme
Fraud prevention company White Ops said this week it has uncovered a new ad fraud scheme which infected over 65,000 devices and generated over two billion bid requests. The scheme led users to download fraudulent apps with promises of free gifts, but once the app was opened it generated invisible ads in the background.

Facebook to Pay Over €100 Million in Back Taxes in France
Facebook has been ordered to pay more than €100 million in back taxes in France, after an audit of its account by French tax authorities. This figure includes a penalty for underpaid taxes.

Google Prepares to Launch New CTV Device
Earlier this week FCC filings from Google emerged which show the company is preparing to release a new version of its Chromecast CTV dongle. The new device, unlike the rest of the Chromecast range, will use Google’s CTV platform Android TV and come with an external remote, meaning it can operate without a phone.

Kargo Agrees Deal to Buy Rhombus
Mobile ad exchange Kargo announced this week it has agreed a deal to buy Rhombus, an ad tech company which targets social embeds within articles. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TAKUMI Launches New Division, TAKUMI X
Influencer marketing agency TAKUMI today announced the launch of TAKUMI X, a new creative division which it says will take a creator-led approach to influencer marketing. TAKUMI X will let creators input their own ideas and suggestions into marketing campaigns from the very beginning, according to the announcement.

Peerlogix Expands its OTT Data-As-A-Service Offering
OTT ‘data-as-a-service space’ business Peerlogix this week announced its plans for a go-to-market strategy designed to promote a new ‘Data Driven Content Acquisition’ offering. This company will use its library of historic and real-time streaming viewership data, pulled from more than 180 million households and tracking more than 50,000 premium TV shows and movies, to help inform OTT platforms’ licensing strategies.

The Week in TV

BBC Director General Bids for Funding for Global Expansion
The BBC’s departing director general Toby Hall said in one of his final speeches in the role that he has put in a bid with the UK government for extra funding, to help it achieve its goal of reaching one billion people worldwide. “Independent research shows there’s an exceptionally high correlation between places where people are aware of the BBC and places where people think positively about the UK,” he said.

ITV Launches Data Partnership with InfoSum
ITV this week announced the launch of a new partnership with InfoSum, which will see InfoSum’s privacy-by-design’ operating infrastructure used to help brands to activate customised audiences across the ITV Hub, but without requiring any personal data to be shared.

Seventy-Seven Percent of UK Consumers Prefer AVOD Model to SVOD
Seventy-seven percent of consumers in the UK prefer to watch ads in exchange for watching TV and film content for free, rather than paying for access to content, according to research from Unruly. The survey also found that 66 percent of UK consumers are planning to reduce the amount they’re paying to watch TV content.

TF1 Sales Down €250 Million Due to Pandemic
French broadcaster TF1 this week said that its firs half sales are down €261 million compared to 2019, and it estimates that €250 million of this is due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pay TV Penetration in US Falls to 62 Percent
Sixty-two percent of broadband households in the US are subscribed to a cable or satellite TV service according to research from Parks Associates, down from 69 percent in Q1 2019.

DTC Streaming Won’t Replace Cinemas says Ampere Analysis
Research from Ampere Analysis released this week suggested that while the pandemic will likely change the way films are released even after the pandemic, it’s unlikely in the long term that we’ll see major releases bypassing movie theatres completely. Read the full story on VAN.

Ampere PVOD

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Expands Facebook News
Facebook this week announced it is planning to roll out its news tab, Facebook News, in new markets later this year. “We aim to launch Facebook News in multiple countries within the next six months to a year and are considering the UK, Germany, France, India and Brazil,” said Facebook. “In each country, we’ll pay news publishers to ensure their content is available in the new product.”

Publishers Joins Calls for Apple to Change App Store Terms
A number of publishers have joined Epic Games’ effort to push Apple to change its App Store terms. Epic Games has hit out against Apple taking 30 percent of revenues from sales within apps on the App Store. And now Digital Content Next, a trade body representing the New York Times, the Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and other publishers, has written a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook asking for more favourable terms.

Flipboard Expands Flipboard TV Mobile App
News aggregator Flipboard has expanded its Flipboard TV app, which aggregates video content from partnered publishers including Complex Networks, Minute Media, Group Nine Media, Bonnier Corp, Refinery29, Dow Jones, Hearst Magazines, Gannett, and Vice Media Group. The service debuted as a Samsung exclusive, but will now be available to all Flipboard users in the US.

Facebook Says IDFA May Make Audience Network Worthless
Facebook said this week that Apple’s new restrictions on its mobile advertising identifier, IDFA, may render its Audience Network “so ineffective on iOS 14 that it may not make sense to offer it”.

Condé Nast Launches GQ Shop
Condé Nast-owned publication GQ has launched GQ Shop, an online store selling GQ-branded clothes. The clothes have been designed by GQ’s editors and art directors.

Beano Brain Finds Reels Lagging Behind TikTok with Gen Z and Gen Alpha
Beano Brain, a business intelligence unit from kids’ publisher Beano, says that Instagram’s Reels is significantly lagging behind TikTok with Gen Z and Gen Alpha. Its survey found that 18 percent of its audience are using Instagram Reels, while 49 percent are using TikTok.

The Week for Agencies

Indie Agencies Say Google and Facebook Refused to Change Payment Terms During Pandemic
Indie agencies have been reporting that when they asked for more lenient payment terms from Google and Facebook during the pandemic, they were met with inflexibility. According to a Business Insider report, Google and Facebook refused indie agencies’ requests that they not be held liable if a client didn’t pay up.

CVS Launches Media Exchange
US pharmaceuticals company CVS has launched a new media offering, CVS Media Exchange, which will give FCMG brands access to its online and offline inventory. Programmatic display, online video, social media and search capabilities will be included in the offering, according to Marketing Dive.

Gambling Brands Found to be Targeting Ads Towards Children
UK advertising regulator the ASA said this week it’s found a number of gambling brands have been running ads on websites and YouTube channels which are geared towards kids, or whose audiences are mostly made up of children. The ASA said that four different gambling businesses had collectively been found to be running 70 different betting ads on eight different websites with disproportionately large child audiences.

Publicis Retains Kraft Heniz’s US Media Duties
Publicis Groupe has retained Kraft Heinz’s media buying account, following a global media review. A dedicated unit called Publicis 57 will be responsible for the account, according to Adweek.

Reckitt Benckiser Picks Hearts & Science and Zenith in US Media Review
FMCG company Reckitt Benckiser concluded its review of its US media buying account this week, picking Omnicom’s Hearts & Science and Publicis Groupe’s Zenith as its lead agencies.

Burger King Faces Backlash for Twitch Donation Marketing
Burger King faced backlash over a marketing campaign it ran on video game streaming platform Twitch. Burger King donated small amounts to various live streamers, in return for having their messages read out by an automated text-to-speech bot (a common incentive for users to donate on Twitch). But several streamers complained that Burger King was essentially just trying to use their platforms for marketing without properly compensating them.

Hires of the Week

Nielsen Chooses Scott Brown as Head of Audience Measurement
Scott Brown, previously CTO for Nielsen’s measurement products, has been promoted into the new role of head of audience measurement. Brown will be tasked developing Nielsen’s measurement products, including a unified TV, advanced TV and digital video solution, according to Adweek.

Cavai Hires Karol Smith as Global Head of Ad Experiences
Conversational ad cloud Cavai has hired Karol Smith in the newly created role of global head of advertiser experiences. Karol was previously global digital marketing lead for 13 years at HSBC.

This Week on VAN

DTC Streaming Won’t Replace Cinemas says Ampere Analysis, read more on VAN

What Are the Next Big Opportunities for Ad Tech? read more on VAN

A Working TURTLEDOVE Simulation Gives Hope for Cookie-Free Retargeting, read more on VAN

Google Sizes Up Roku and Amazon with New CTV Products, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Nike, Better: Mamba Forever


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