The WIR: Molotov Launches AVOD Service Mango, TikTok Narrowly Avoids US Ban, and Dentsu Announces Global Restructure

In this week’s Week in Review: Molotov launches an AVOD service, TikTok’s uncertainty continues, and Denstu announces a massive global restructuring. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Molotov Launches AVOD Service Mango
French OTT provider Molotov this week launched a new ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD) service called Mango. Content partners for the service include Kabillion, Zylo, ZED, Ampersand, Sonar, ITV, Mediawan, Trade Media & Dynamic and Crome Films. Molotov has partnered with FreeWheel for targeted advertising on Mango.

Molotov says that if the AVOD service takes off in France, it may look to expand into other European markets as well.

TikTok Narrowly Avoids US Ban
Video sharing app TikTok, owned by Chinese parent company ByteDance, narrowly avoided an app store ban in the US after the Trump administration granted a reprieve in its ongoing battle with the app. TikTok had been set a deadline for Thursday to separate its US operations from its parent company, due to national security concerns. And while TikTok has agreed a deal with Oracle and Walmart, this deal has not yet been finalised, which left TikTok facing a potential US-wide ban.

The US government relented, announcing it will delay enforcement of the ban. But Donald Trump’s loss in the presidential election has left TikTok facing continued uncertainty. ByteDance has said that communication from the government effectively stopped in recent weeks, with the Trump administration’s attentions focused elsewhere. And with President Trump set to leave office in January, the threat of a national ban could soon be over anyway.

Dentsu to Consolidate Over 160 Agencies into Six Global Brands
Japanese agency holding group Dentsu announced a large global restructure this week, in which the group will consolidate its over 160 existing agencies into just six global brands. Dentsu will also group its Japanese businesses into four operational pillars.

“This radical new structure will be more logical and transparent for our clients, enabling us to serve them better,” said Dentsu Group president and CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto. “It will also enable us to reduce costs significantly as our operations become simpler with more common systems and processes, increasing our use of shared service centres, rationalizing office space and reviewing property ownership globally.” Dentsu has not named the six brands that will still be used after the restructure.

The Week in Tech

Amazon Faces New EU Antitrust Charges
The European Union is filing new antitrust charges against Amazon, accusing the ecommerce giant of violating competition law. Among the EU’s allegations are claims that Amazon uses nonpublic data gathered from third-party sellers to compete against them with its own products.

Nielsen Begins Measuring Addressable Advertising
US measurement body Nielsen is expanding its offering to begin measuring addressable advertising as part of its national audience currency in the US. Nielsen will measure addressable ads through partnerships with addressable ad providers DirecTV, DISH and VIZIO.

Roku Revenues Grow 73 Percent Year-on-Year
OTT hardware and software maker Roku posted record revenue growth of 73 percent year-on-year this week, with total revenues reaching $452 million in Q3. This growth was largely driven by Roku’s burgeoning ad business, according to founder and CEO Anthony Wood.

165 Google Critics Call for Swift EU Action
A group of 165 companies and trade bodies sent a joint letter to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager this week asking her to take swift action against Google for alleged antitrust breaches. “Google gained unjustified advantages through preferentially treating its own services within its general search results pages by displaying various forms of grouped specialised search results (so-called OneBoxes),” said the letter according to Reuters.

Unruly and LG Electronics to Offer Smart TV Inventory Through Global Partnership
Video advertising platform Unruly this week announced a global partnership with LG Electronics that enables advertisers around the world to access native smart TV ad placements through its supply-side platform (SSP), UnrulyX. “We applaud Unruly’s continued effort to help advertisers reach only the most engaged audiences and offer them the most relevant ad experiences,” said Edward Lee, head of webOS ad business at LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company. “Backed by Unruly’s unique emotional data and custom audiences, we’ll now be able to grow our CTV business on a global scale.”

IAS Announces Layoffs as Part of Restructuring
Measurement and verification company Integral Ad Science announced a round of layoffs this week which could affect up to 10 percent of its workforce, according to Adweek. The layoffs come as a result of a restructuring of the business.

Facebook Extends Political Ad Ban
Facebook has extended its ban on new political ads in the US, given the continued spread of misinformation around the result of the US election. Facebook blocked new political ads in the immediate run up to the election in an attempt to stop the spread of misinformation around the results. Facebook says it is likely to maintain the ban for a further month.

Beachfront Partners with Canoe for Programmatic MVPD VOD
Beachfront on Thursday announced details of its work with Canoe, an advertising technology and services company owned by Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox. Effective immediately, agencies, brands and demand-side platforms (DSPs) who utilise Beachfront can access and purchase premium video-on-demand (VOD) ad inventory from TV networks that plays out across Canoe’s 38 million household MVPD VOD footprint.

LiveRamp Reports Second Consecutive Profitable Quarter
Data onboarding specialist LiveRamp posted its second consecutive profitable quarter this week, following its first ever profitable quarter in Q2. Revenues in its most recent quarter were up 16 percent year-on-year to $105 million.

Samsung Ads Finds 21 Percent Increase in Time Spent Gaming in Europe
A new report from Samsung Ads Europe ‘Behind The Screens: Gaming in 2020′ finds that total time spent gaming in EU5 countries is up 21 percent since January. “With gamers spending an increasing amount of time on their Samsung TVs either gaming or streaming, there is a sizable opportunity for advertisers to reach this hard to reach audience on the big screen, alongside linear,” said Alex Hole, vice president of Samsung Ads Europe.

The Week in TV

ITV Predicts Ad Revenues Will Return to Year-on-Year Growth in Q4
British broadcaster ITV predicted in its Q3 financial statement on Thursday that advertising revenues will return to year-on-year growth in the fourth quarter. ITV says that ad revenues in November so far are six percent higher than during the same period last year, and it expects this growth to continue into December.

NENT Begins Global Rollout of Viaplay Streaming Service
Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT Group) this week announced plans to launch its subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service Viaplay in the US and Poland in 2021. NENT says it aims to expand into 10 international markets overall by the end of 2023, and to reach 10.5 million total subscribers by the end of 2025, in an effort to become a “European streaming champion”.

RTL Reports Strong Subscription Growth
European broadcasting giant RTL posted promising financial results on Thursday, reporting that total subscription numbers are up by a third year-on-year. RTL’s advertising revenues meanwhile were nearly flat year-on-year, following a period of dampened revenues during the worst of the pandemic. Total group revenue was down by 1.5 percent year-on-year.

ViacomCBS Ups its Subscription Targets Following Strong Quarter
ViacomCBS has increased its annual subscription target from 18 million to 19 million, after reaching 17.9 million subscriptions by the end of Q3. Revenues from ViacomCBS’s streaming and digital video services grew to $636 million in Q3, with ad revenues for Pluto TV having more than doubled year-on-year.

Mediaset Predicts Overall Profit for 2020
Italian media company Mediaset expects to turn an overall profit for 2020, after a recovery of ad revenues made Q3 a profitable quarter for the company. Mediaset’s share price is up by over nine percent following the announcement.

India to Begin Regulating Streaming Service Content
India’s federal government will begin regulating content on video streaming services as part of a new set of rules for online content. The exact nature of this regulation has not yet been disclosed.

WarnerMedia Lays Off 1200 Staff
AT&T-owned media company WarnerMedia is laying off 1,200 staff in the US, due to financial pressures resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. This equates to around five percent of the company’s total staff.

The Week in Publishing

TikTok Projected to Reach 1 Billion Users Next Year
App analytics company App Annie predicts that video-sharing app TikTok will pass 1 billion monthly active users next year, meaning the app’s userbase will have tripled in size since 2018.

Instagram Introduces Dedicated Reels Tab
Instagram has introduced a dedicated tab for its TikTok competitor Reels within its app. Reels videos had previously only been discoverable within Instagram’s main ‘Explore’ tab. The app has also introduced a new Shop tab which will surface products sold by brands and influencers on Instagram.

YouTube Suffers Global Outage
YouTube suffered a rare global outage on Wednesday, which affected all products using YouTube infrastructure including YouTube TV and video content purchased through Google TV. The outage was resolved within two hours.

Spotify Buys Podcast Tech Firm Megaphone
Spotify on Tuesday announced this acquisition of podcast ad tech firm Megaphone in a deal worth $235 million. Megaphone’s tech includes its ‘Megaphone Targeted Marketplace’, which inserts targeted ads into podcasts when they’re downloaded.

Bytedance Predicted to Make $27.2 Billion in Ad Revenues This Year
TikTok owner Bytedance is forecast to bring in $27.2 billion in total ad revenues this year, according to Reuters. This would place Bytedance as China’s second largest player in the digital ad market, behind Alibaba Group.

BuzzFeed Branches Out into Sex Toy Sales
Continuing the trend of publishers expanding into interesting new areas to help diversify revenues, BuzzFeed has branched out into selling branded sex toys according to Digiday. BuzzFeed is creating the products in partnership with sex toy manufacturer and porn company Bellesa.

The Week for Agencies

Martin Sorrell Calls for Mark Read to Resign as WPP CEO
Sir Martin Sorrell this week called on Mark Read, his successor as CEO of WPP, to resign from the role “before he is pushed”. Sorrell told the FT he believes Read has made a number of mistakes in his running of the company, including selling off valuable assets and losing key staff.

WPP Merges Grey and AKQA
Holding group WPP continued its run of consolidation this week, announcing the merger of agencies Grey and AKQA into AKQA Group. AKQA founder Ajaz Ahmed will head up the combined company as CEO while Grey’s current CEO Michael Houston will become global president and chief operating officer of the new group.

GroupM UK Announces Restructure
GroupM UK announced a restructure this week, creating five new five new ‘squads’ which the company says have been created to drive the business forward. These are Customer Engagement and Growth, Products and Services, Transformation and Integration, Finance and Business Operations and Media Investment Management.

S4 Capital Posts 23 Percent Organic Revenue Growth
Sir Martin Sorrell’s investment vehicle S4 Capital posted 23 percent organic revenue growth in its Q3 financial results this week, while billings were up 12 percent year-on-year to £424m. S4 also announced significant client wins, including T-Mobile’s in-house digital media account and BMW and Mini’s pan-European account.

IPG Mediabrands Launches Content Studio
Interpublic Group’s media agency Mediabrands launched a new content studio this week, Mediabrands Content Studio, which will combine the agency’s creative capabilities across its sub-brands.

Adland Veterans Launch Freelance Ad Shop
Colin Mitchell, former McDonald’s SVP of global marketing and Chris Garbutt, TBWA Worldwide global chief creative officer this week launched a new ad shop called Pltfrmr. Pltfrmr will hire well-suited freelancers to work on projects based on each brand’s specific needs, according to the WSJ.

Hires of the Week

Debi Chirichella Named President of Hearst Magazines
Hearst Magazines has announced that Debi Chirichella, who has been acting as interim president following the departure of Troy Young, will take on the role full time.

Lotame Names Verizon Media’s Eliza Nevers as New SVP of Product
Lotame this week announced long time Verizon Media vet Eliza Nevers as its new SVP of Product. In this role, Eliza is responsible for driving global strategy and working to build and deliver solutions for Lotame’s marketer, agency, and publisher clients.

This Week on VAN

Email-Based Identifiers Explained, read more on VAN

Google’s Latest Privacy Sandbox Proposal Seeks to Fix TURTLEDOVE’s Problems, read more on VAN

Has Social Media Made Progress on Misinformation Since 2016? read more on VAN

ITV Predicts Ad Revenues Will Return to Year-on-Year Growth in Q4, read more on VAN

Christmas Ads of the Week

SuperValu, We Believe

Coca-Cola, Give Something Only You Can Give

John Lewis, Give a Little Love

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