The WIR: Quibi Calls it Quits, Google Claims Progress in Privacy Sandbox, and Snap Revenues Soar

In this week’s Week in Review: Quibi shuts down just six months after launching, Google claims it’s seeing success from its sandbox experiments, and Snapchat sees growing revenues and user engagement. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Quibi Shuts Down After Just Six Months
Quibi, the mobile-first short form video platform launched by Jeffrey Katzenberg and run by Meg Whitman, confirmed it is closing down after struggling to build an audience. The company is now looking to sell off its proprietary tech and IP.

Katzenberg and Whitman discussed Quibi’s failure in an open letter to employees and investors. “Quibi is not succeeding. Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing,” the two said.

“Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two. The circumstances of launching during a pandemic is something we could have never imagined but other businesses have faced these unprecedented challenges and have found their way through it.”

Google Claims Success in Privacy Sandbox Tests
Google this week said it has been pleased with the results of tests it has run for one of the proposals within its privacy sandbox, designed to replace third-party cookies.

Google ran tests on the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) API,  a privacy preserving mechanism designed to enable interest based advertising. The tests evaluated different ways of using the FLoC API for interest based advertising, and found that methods which proved more useful for advertisers tended to compromise privacy. But Google found that one particular method “achieved a 350 percent improvement in recall and 70 percent improvement in precision at very high anonymity levels”.

It still remains to be seen however what the wider ad tech community will make of the API as they begin to experiment with it.

Snap Shares Hit Record High After Strong Q3
Snapchat’s share price soared by thirty percent this week after the company posted strong Q3 financial results, in which revenues were up fifty percent year-on-year.

Despite the pandemic’s impact on ad revenues, Snapchat has manged to grow its revenues steadily thanks to its growing userbase (daily active users were up 18 percent year-on-year), and its strong base of app advertisers, which have been less prone to cutting ad spend.

“Our focus on delivering value for our community and advertising partners is yielding positive results during this challenging time,” Snap CEO Evan Spiegel said in announcing earnings Tuesday. “We’re excited about the growth of our business in Q3 as we continue to make long-term investments in our future.”

The Week in Tech

DOJ Focuses on Search for Google Antitrust Suit
The US Department of Justice filed its long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Google this week, in which it accused Google of abusing its market power to stifle competition and force users to accept its data collection practices. The suit focuses specifically on search and search advertising, rather than Google’s wider advertising tools and media portfolio.

Belgium’s Data Regulator Claims TCF Isn’t GDPR Compliant
Belgium’s data regulator this week claimed that the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework, designed to help publishers and tech companies collect consent for processing data in a GDPR compliant way, isn’t actually compatible with GDPR. The IAB has responded by saying it “respectfully disagrees” with the report.

Samsung Expands Samsung TV Plus’s Reach
Samsung has expanded the reach of its ad-supported TV service Samsung TV Plus, announcing that the service will be available on all Samsung smart TVs released since 2017.

Tubular Labs Launches Deduplicated Reach Measurement Across Facebook Watch and YouTube
Social video measurement company Tubular Labs this week announced a new tool to measure deduplicated reach across Facebook Watch and YouTube. Tubular Labs it is working to extend the product to cover Instagram too.

DoubleVerify Partners with TabMo To Power Media Quality for European Brand Advertisers
DoubleVerify this week announced a partnership with Hawk by TabMo, the mobile-first, cross-channel advertising platform, specialising in location-based advertising. The partnership will see TabMo customers gaining integrated access to DV’s pre-bid quality segments, including fraud, brand safety, contextual and display viewability. In the second phase of this integration, capabilities will expand to include DV’s authentic brandsafety targeting, video viewability segments, and at a later date, integrated metrics and custom contextual.

The Week in TV

ITV Restructures to Focus on Streaming
ITV this week announced a restructure which will see the British broadcaster focus more heavily on streaming. ITV’s ‘media and entertainment’ division has two new arms, one of which will focus on linear broadcasts while the other will cover on-demand products.

AT&T Continues to Shed Pay TV Subscribers
AT&T lost 627,000 pay TV subscribers in the last quarter, according to its financial results this week. But AT&T says HBO Max, its new SVOD service, is performing ahead of expectations having picked up 8.6 million users since launching in May.

Disney Reportedly Puts the Brakes on Hulu’s International Rollout
Disney is slowing down a planned international rollout for its streaming service Hulu, according to Bloomberg, as it prepares to pay off Comcast to take full control of the business. Disney has agreed to pay Comcast for its share of the the company, but is reportedly getting nervous about how much it will have to pay if Hulu grows much bigger.

The French Broadcasters’ Netflix Competitor ‘Salto’ Goes Live in France
Salto, a joint venture streaming service from French broadcaster TF1, M6 and France Télévisions, this week officially launched to the public. The new paid subscription service, first announced in 2018, is designed to complement rather than replace each individual broadcaster’s existing on-demand services. But the three broadcasters hope that their combined product will be better placed to compete with the international giants like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. Read the full story on VAN.

Netflix’s Subscriber Growth Slows
Netflix added 2.2 million new subscribers in Q3, short of its projection of 2.5 million, as the boom in new subscribers it enjoyed as a result of the pandemic slowed down. Netflix had added 26 million net subscribers across the previous two quarters.

Apple Launches Apple Music TV
Apple this week launched Apple Music TV, a new music video station which will run popular music videos, live shows, and video premieres. Apple Music TV will be available within two existing apps, Apple Music and Apple TV.

NENT Moves Streaming Registrations and Broadcast License Out of UK
Nordic broadcasting group NENT has moved its streaming registrations and broadcast licence from the UK to Sweden, in preparation for the UK’s departure from the EU. The EU’s country of origin law allows a broadcaster with a license in any EU member state to operate across the whole EU, but the UK hasn’t yet negotiated a deal to preserve this ability once the UK leaves the EU.

Discovery UK Rebrands dplay to discovery+
Discovery UK has joined the ‘+’ bandwagon, renaming its streaming service dplay to discovery+, while also preparing to launch a paid subscription tier which will give access to live viewing and 30 day catch up for Discovery’s UK channel portfolio.

The Week in Publishing

Daily Mail Reports Advertiser Rebound
Daily Mail owner the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) says that profits have been boosted by stronger-than-expected advertising sales over the past month. But the publisher added that it has “limited visibility” for the year ahead, given continued uncertainty around the pandemic and the potential for a further national lockdown.

Pakistan Ends TikTok Ban
Pakistan has quickly ended its nationwide ban of video sharing app TikTok, after TikTok agreed to begin removing content deemed as vulgar, indecent and immoral by Pakistan’s authorities.

Ofcom to Start Regulating Social Video Platforms from November 1st
UK communications regulator Ofcom has today outlined new rules around harmful content and advertising for UK-based video service providers (VSPs), which it defines as platforms which allow users to upload and share videos online. Ofcom will have jurisdiction over any VSP which primarily bases its European operations in the UK, which it has previously indicated includes Twitch, TikTok, LiveLeak, Imgur, Vimeo and Snapchat. Read the full story on VAN.

The Dodo Pivots to Pet Insurance
Animal-focussed digital media outlet The Dodo this week announced it has taken a minority stake in pet insurance company Petplan. Petplan will be renamed ‘Fetch by The Dodo’, and will be promoted through the Dodo’s channels, according to the Wall Street Journal.

US Congresswomen Turn to Twitch for Political Campaigning
Prominent US congresswomen Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar both took their political campaigns to Twitch this week, streaming gameplay of current favour of the month Among Us alongside a number of prominent Twitch streamers. The streams highlighted Twitch’s potential for a somewhat different form of political campaigning, allowing both politicians to talk directly with voters in a conversational, relaxed setting.

LinkedIn Rolls Out Stories
LinkedIn has rolled out its new stories feature to all users, allowing users to share videos and images which will disappear after 24 hours.

The Week for Agencies

IPG Beats Expectations with Five Percent Revenue Drop
Interpublic Group posted its third quarter financial results on Thursday, posting a 5.2 percent drop year-on-year in net revenues, and a 3.7 percent decline in organic net revenues. IPG’s share price is up by over seven percent since the results were announced.

GroupM Partners with SpotX for Supply Path Optimisation
GroupM this week announced a new partnership with supply-side platform SpotX which will see the media agency route more of its video demand through SpotX. The move is part of an effort from GroupM to consolidate the number of SSPs it works with for better supply path optimisation – GroupM cut a similar deal with Index Exchange earlier this year.

Marketers Are Still Cutting Video Ad Budgets Despite Increasing Optimism says IPA
uptick in advertisers’ confidence, according to the IPA’s Bellwether Report for Q3. While video ad spend had proven more resilient than other channels (the IAB reported last week that UK digital video revenues actually grew in H1), the IPA reports that a net balance 37.3 percent of marketers cut their total video budgets (including online, TV and cinema) in Q3. In comparison just 21.2 percent increased their video budgets. Read the full story on VAN.

WPP is On the Hunt for Acquisitions
Agency holding group WPP is back on the hunt for acquisitions, after having sold off or merger a number of its holdings. CEO Mark Read told the FT that he wants to “focus acquisitions in the areas that can differentiate our offer and provide something distinct”.

Unilever Plans to Continue Boosting Marketing Spend
FMCG giant Unilever increased its marketing spend in Q3, and plans to do so in the fourth quarter too according to Graeme Pitkethly, the company’s CFO. Pitkethly said the company is ensuring all its media spend is effective, saying that “when we spend digitally, it’s not in fraudulent media activities, that our advertising shows up in safe environments in the digital world, and most importantly, that it’s viewed by humans and not by robots”.

A Fifth of British Agencies Increased Export Revenues Since COVID
Twenty-two percent of British advertising and marketing services companies have increase one or more international revenues streams since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Advertising Association. But the report also warned that Brexit could be a barrier to further growth, and that the government should provide clear guidance and assistance to help British ad companies grow abroad.

Hires of the Week

IPG Chooses Philippe Krakowsky to Succeed Michael Roth
Interpublic Group has chosen Philippe Krakowsky, its current COO, to succeed Michael Roth as CEO when he leaves at the end of the year.

Tom Ryan Chosen to Lead ViacomCBS Streaming
Tom Ryan, current head of ViacomCBS’s AVOD service Pluto TV, has been picked to run the company’s overall streaming unit as part of a reorganisation which places more focus on streaming.

Channing Dungey Named Chairman of Warner Bros TV Group
Channing Dungey has been hired as chair of Warner Bros TV Group, succeeding Peter Roth at the end of the year. Dungey most recently worked at Netflix as VP of original series.

This Week on VAN

Farewell to Frontloading? Reinventing the Narrative Arc in Social Ads, read more on VAN

The French Broadcasters’ Netflix Competitor ‘Salto’ Goes Live in France, read more on VAN

Ofcom to Start Regulating Social Video Platforms from November 1st, read more on VAN

Marketers Are Still Cutting Video Ad Budgets Despite Increasing Optimism says IPA, read more on VAN

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