The WIR: Max Schrems Files Privacy Complaint Against Apple, BuzzFeed Buys HuffPost, and PubMatic Lines Up a $75 Million IPO

In this week’s Week in Review: Privacy activists file a complaint against Apple in Europe, BuzzFeed buys HuffPost, and PubMatic prepares to go public. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

European Activists File Privacy Complaints Against Apple
An Austrian privacy advocacy group led by activist Max Schrems has filed complaints against Apple with data watchdogs in Germany and Spain. The group alleges that Apple’s IDFA advertising identifier allows it to store users’ data without their consent, violating the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Apple hit back at the claims, arguing that it is more privacy conscious than many of the other tech companies it competes with. An update to its operating system next year will require apps to ask for explicit consent whenever they wish to use the IDFA. But some, including Schrems and his fellow activists, have questioned whether these restrictions will apply to Apple’s own use of the IDFA. Apple meanwhile claims it does not access or use the IDFA on any user’s device for any purpose.

BuzzFeed Buys HuffPost
Digital publisher BuzzFeed today announced it has reached a deal to buy online news site HuffPost from current owner Verizon Media for an undisclosed fee. The deal will see the two media businesses combine their ad offerings and share content, while also exploring new revenue opportunities.

“While considering opportunities to work together, naturally, Jonah and I also discussed the property he co-founded, HuffPost,” said Verizon Media chief executive Guru Gowrappan. “We quickly realised BuzzFeed’s strategy would complement HuffPost’s roadmap, injecting it with new energy and growing the brand into the future.”

The deal continues a recent run of consolidation in the digital media space, following Vice’s acquisition of Refinery29 and Group Nine’s merger with PopSugar last year.

PubMatic Files for $75 Million IPO
Supply-side platform PubMatic is planning for an initial public offering (IPO) which would value the company at $75 million, according to an S-1 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

In its filing the company outlined its plans for further expansion, including attracting more buyers and sellers to its platform, expanding into new markets, upgrading its technical infrastructure to allow it to handle more impressions, and developing new ad formats.

PubMatic also discussed the challenges and opportunities around identity in its filing. The company said that a shift towards more authenticated, opt-in identifiers should grow ROI and benefit publishers. But this is dependent on the development of satisfactory alternatives to third-party cookies and mobile ad identifiers.

The Week in Tech

Facebook and Twitter Says They’ve Made Progress on Elections
Facebook and Twitter’s respective founders Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey both testified before Congress this week about their efforts to fend off election interference, with both saying they believed they’ve improved since the 2016 election.

Magnite CTV Revenues Up 51 Percent
Magnite, the company formed out of Rubicon Project’s merger with Telaria, announced in its Q3 financial results that CTV revenues are up 51 percent year-on-year. “We believe a meaningful portion of our growth is coming from broad market share gains, which demonstrates the strength of our go to market strategy as a combined company, and are positive signs for our non-CTV video business,” said Michael Barrett, CEO and president of Magnite.

Xandr Adds A+E Networks and Crown Media to Xandr Invest
AT&T-owned ad tech company Xandr this week announced it has added inventory from A+E Networks and Crown Media to its Xandr Invest buying platform.

Nielsen Works on Identity Resolution Solution
US measurement company Nielsen is working on a new identity resolution solution ready for the post-cookie era, AdExchanger reported this week. The new product, expected for 2021, will focus exclusively on measurement.

Zeotap Raises $18.5 Million
German data company Zeotap announced this week it has closed an $18.5 million funding round, with SignalFire the sole investor. This followed a separate $42 million funding round earlier this year.

PwC Says Adform’s FLOW Platform is 100 Percent Transparent
Following research released earlier this year by ISBA and the AOP and carried out by PwC, which highlighted a lack of transparency in digital advertising, Adform has undergone an audit of its FLOW platform by PwC. The audit found that Adform FLOW is 100 percent transparent in tech fees, data fees and media cost within the Adform tech stack.

Magnite, Index Exchange and PubMatic Join The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0
The Trade Desk this week made three big sell-side ad tech signings for its Unified ID 2.0 this week, with Magnite, Index Exchange and PubMatic all supporting the identity solution.

Quantcast Releases Consent Tool for Post-Cookie Era
Quantcast this week announced Permision, a new consent management tool for the post-cookie world. The tool will use authenticated identity to allow consumers to express their data preferences across sites, resulting in less consent popups overall.

The Week in TV

HBO Max Picks Up Conan and Wonder Woman
WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max made two significant content announcements this week. WarnerMedia announced that talk show host Conan O’Brien’s late night show on TBS is ending, to be replaced by a weekly show on HBO Max. And upcoming film Wonder Woman 1984 will be available on the platform alongside its cinema release.

RTL Deutschland and Deutsche Telekom Partner on Addressable Ads
German broadcaster RTL Deutschland has announced it is expanding its partnership with telco Deutsche Telekom, which will see the two work together on addressable TV advertising efforts and further integrate their OTT offerings.

Mediaset Denies Rumours of Vivendi Alliance Offer
Italian broadcaster Mediaset this week denied rumours that it had received a letter from Vivendi’s board of directors proposing the two work together on a European alliance. The two have been at odds over Mediaset’s own plans to create a pan-European broadcasting giant. The rumoured letter reportedly proposed an alliance as a way to end the dispute between the two companies.

Seventeen Million UK Households Now Have SVOD Subscriptions
Seventeen million UK households now hold a subscription to at least one subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service, according to measurement body BARB’s latest Establishment Survey. This marks a three million increase year-on-year.

Canada to Begin Regulating and Charging OTT Services
Canada this week unveiled new plans to charge international OTT services including Netflix substantial fees under its revised Broadcasting Act. The new law will require digital services to create similar proportions of Canadian originated content to what is required of traditional broadcasters.

Disney+ Projected to Reach 194 Million Subscriptions by 2025
Digital TV Research this week predicted that Disney’s subscription video on-demand service Disney+ will hit 194 million subscribers worldwide by 2025, with over half of this subscription count expected to come from India.

English Premier League Scraps Pay-Per-View Experiment
The English Premier League has scrapped its experiment of selling some games on a pay-per-view basis. The move was designed to make more games available to fans, given they’re unable to attend games live. But the PPV scheme was criticised for its high prices of £14.95 per game.

Cinemark and Universal Strike Deal to Bring New Films Online Faster
US cinema chain Cinemark has struck a deal with Universal Pictures to allow new films to be made available for digital rental sooner after their initial release. With the pandemic starving cinemas of audiences, online rental services will now be able to sell new films just 17 days after their initial theatrical release.

The Week in Publishing

YouTube Begins Selling Audio Ads
YouTube this week announced it has begun selling audio ads, targeted at users who are using YouTube for “ambient listening” (such as listening to podcast episodes or music playlists). Audio ads will still contain a visual component, but this will usually be a still image or a simple animation according to YouTube. Audio ads are sold through Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis with the same audience targeting options, bidding strategies and brand lift measurement capabilities as regular YouTube video campaigns.

Twitter Launches Disappearing Tweets, Fleets
Twitter this week launched ‘Fleets’: regular Tweets which disappear 24 hours after they are first posted. Twitter says Fleets are designed to reduce the pressure to rack up likes and retweets that some users feel posting regular Tweets.

Google Reaches Copyright Deals with Six French Publishers
Google announced this week it has reached deals with six French publishers, including Le Monde and Le Figaro, which will see Google pay to be able to post snippets of the publishers’ articles on its various news services. The deal involves Google News Showcase, a new Google news product separate from Google News, according to Reuters.

Twitch Tests Multiplayer Ads
Video game streaming site Twitch this week began testing ‘multiplayer ads’, where a streamer’s viewers are shown the same ad at the same time, and then shown an interactive poll based on the ad to drive further engagement. The Twitch streamer will be rewarded based on audience participation in the poll.

Instagram Lets Users Opt Out of Third-Party Data Usage
Instagram released a new setting this week which lets users prevent their activity on third-party apps and sites being used for ad personalisation.

Group Nine Introduces Swipe.Shop Marketplace
Digital publisher Group Nine, which owns titles including NowThis, Thrillist, and PopSugar, has introduced a new marketplace called Swipe.Shop. The mobile-optimised shop will sell both sponsored and non-sponsored products from third-party retailers.

The Week for Agencies

M&C Saatchi Founders Depart
M&C Saatchi founders Jeremy Sinclair, David Kershaw and Bill Muirhead have announced they are leaving the company this week, following a scandal around accounting errors which has plagued the company over the past year. Moray MacLennan will replace David Kershaw as chief executive.

UK Ad Industry Targets Net Zero Carbon Emissions with Ad Net Zero
UK advertiser trade bodies ISBA, the Advertising Association, and the IPA have teamed up for ‘Ad Net Zero’, an industry initiative which aims to reach net zero carbon emissions from the UK ad industry by 2030. Read the full story on VAN.

WPP Folds Geometry into VMLY&R
WPP continued its run of consolidation this week, folding brand activation agency Geometry into VMLY&R. The unit will be called VMLY&R Commerce, and will unsurprisingly focus exclusively on commerce.

Two Circles Buys TRM Partners
Specialist sports agency Two Circles has acquired sports sponsorship company TRM Partners in a deal valued at $45 million, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Hires of the Week

Publicis Group Take on Jay Askinasi as US Chief Growth Officer
Publicis Group has taken on Jay Askinasi as its new chief growth officer. Askiasi has previously worked for Publicis as global president for investment solutions, and rejoins after a stint at Xandr.

Aliah Berman Named Chief Diversity Officer of TBWA NA
TBWA North America has chosen Aliah Berman as its new chief diversity officer. Berman joins from experiential agency GMR Marketing.

This Week on VAN

Adland is Cautiously Optimistic for the Christmas Season, read more on VAN

We’re Unlikely to See Cloud-Steamed Playable Ads for AAA Games Anytime Soon, read more on VAN

UK Ad Industry Targets Net Zero Carbon Emissions with Ad Net Zero, read more on VAN

HbbTV is Almost Ready to Move Beyond the L-Frame, read more on VAN

Christmas Ad of the Week

Sainsbury’s, Gravy Song

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