Week in Review: Talktalk Acquires blinkbox, Rumours of a Verizon Bid for AOL Abound, and Facebook Ups the Pressure on Youtube

Acquisitions, takeover rumours and the Consumer Electronics Show — here’s what happened this week in video advertising. For a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Talktalk Acquires Blinkbox and Tesco Broadband

This week, it was announced that Talktalk Group had bought the ailing video streaming service, blinkbox, alongside Tesco Broadband. The pair had been in negotiations since last year, according to the Financial Times. The integration of blinkbox with Talktalk’s existing TV business is expected to begin immediately with restructuring complete by the end of 2015. Some suggested it was a move by Tesco to go back to its roots following falling profits and the scrapping of initiatives such as the Hudl phone last year.

Rumours Abound of a Potential Verizon Takeover of AOL

It’s been a week of rumours and speculation for Verizon and AOL. On Monday, Blooomberg reported that the companies were in talks over a potential takeover or joint venture. However, both Verizon’s Lowell McAdam and AOL’s Tim Armstrong were quick to quash them, amid a soaring share price for AOL. Some speculated that the rumours, coming so soon after AOL was linked to a merger with Yahoo, could spell trouble for the company, as investors tire of the volatility of its share prices.

Facebook Reports ‘Shift to Video’

Facebook has reported an increasing shift towards visual content, claiming that in the past year the number of video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US.

This statement seems to suggest Facebook’s intent to increase competition with Youtube and signifies more video on homefeeds around the globe. Some were quick to point out that Apple’s last TV advertisement, The Song, which was published on YouTube and Facebook in mid-December, has been watched 3.2m times on YouTube, but 20.9m views on Facebook. However, others were more cautious, pointing to examples such as Taylor Swift’s end-of-2014 video for fans, which has been watched 4.2m times on Facebook but 14.3m times on YouTube.

Is YouTube Being Used as a Negotiating Chip?

Google may be using its desirable YouTube inventory to drive adoption of its ad tech products, according to Digiday’s John McDermott. McDermott cites unnamed sources, reporting, “Google wanted Mondelēz to use DoubleClick Bid Manager, Google’s demand-side buying platform, instead of competitor TubeMogul, to execute the YouTube transactions as part of the deal, and it was using YouTube’s TrueView pricing system as leverage.” The negotiation eventually led to a deal where the snack giant’s YouTube spend would be split between platforms.

The question for some is whether Google’s ad tech products can truly only work best when used together and not with those provided by third parties. Others raised anti-competition questions and wondered whether third-party tools were needed to keep both buyer and seller honest. Watch this space for more commentary on this issue.

British News Media Turns to Mobile Video Ads to Wrestle Big Rival YouTube

What company’s the one to beat when it comes to video? That would be YouTube, according to recent analysis by the Association of Online Publishers in Britain, in concert with Deloitte. The report states that online video ad revenue increased only 5% in the third quarter versus the larger 70% growth for the same period a year ago. In fact, it is the slowest rate of increase since autumn 2012 according to the  London Evening Standard. News media publishers are currently looking to mobile, hoping the growth in ad spend there will allow them to wrestle market penetration from global rivals like YouTube.

Digital Video Spend to Pass Packaged Media in the Netherlands

Digital video expenditure is forecast to exceed consumer spending on packaged media in the Netherlands this year, driven by pay TV, video-on-demand and Netflix, according to research by Futuresource. The decline of packaged video in the country is among the fastest in Europe, whilst digital expenditure looks set to account for 66% of the money spent on home video in 2015. The overall digital video market looks set to grow by 51%, with retail expenditure totaling €215 million. As elsewhere, subscription video on demand (SVoD) is a success story, expected to reach €111 million in 2015, driven largely by the launch of Netflix in late 2013.

Superbowl Viewing Patterns Favour Multiple Screen Approaches

In a world of tablets and mobile phones, one does not simply watch the Super Bowl on a single screen. Or that’s according to digital brand advertising agency, YuMe, which surveyed over 500 consumers in November to examine their viewing patterns for the Super Bowl. According to the survey, consumers are still fairly traditional in their Super Bowl viewing habits, with 87% likely to watch the game live on cable/broadcast TV. However, 37% are likely to stream the game on an internet-connected device (computer, tablet, smartphone or Smart TV), and a notable 58% are likely to chat/video in real-time with friends during the game via smartphone. The survey also found that viewers are anticipating the adverts during game time, with 40% of them likely to look up a product advertised during the game on their smartphone.

News From the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas…

CES 2015
Credit: CEA


Google Announces Viewability for All Platforms

Google made two announcements at CES this week. Neal Mohan, Google’s VP of Video and Display Advertising, said that 30 ‘mainstays’ of video advertising – broadcasters, premium publishers and brands such as Fox News and Netflix – have joined Google’s premium video marketplace, Google Partner Select. Mohan also announced that Google will be rolling out viewability reporting across all of their ad platforms. This will, for the first time, inform brands whether their video ads on digital channels were actually seen or not (as opposed to, appearing off-screen, going unwatched or being swiped past).

Partner Select inventory is exclusive to the service and, it is claimed, video ads running through the service boast 74% video ad completion rates.

In the coming days, Google will offer viewability reporting (adhering to the industry definition of 50% or more of the video being on screen for two seconds or longer) for video campaigns to all marketers and publishers using DoubleClick and the DoubleClick Ad Exchange, with reserved inventory on YouTube to follow. The ability to target viewable impressions in DoubleClick, and to buy only viewable video impressions across the Google Display Network, to report on audibility for video ads, as well as the total amount of time an ad was viewable will be available later in the year.

Apple Watch Ad Buying Service Launched 

Mobile-marketing firm TapSense this week announced the release of an Apple Watch ad-buying service. The service will provide a first glimpse of how businesses can serve up ads on the watch, even though it won’t be available until later this year. Some fear the device could become a ‘spam box’ whilst others point to features which could link coupons to map functions.

Charter, Cisco Unveil New Cloud-Based Cable-TV Service

Charter Communications and Cisco Systems used this week’s gadget-fest to unveil the ‘Worldbox,’ a hybrid IP/QAM video device that will use downloadable security and a cloud-based interface that will serve as central components of the MSO’s next-gen video platform. The companies also announced that Cisco will serve as a “key” supplier of the Worldbox through 2015 as well as the device’s downloadable conditional access system (DCAS) and digital rights management platform (Charter will use Cisco’s VideoGuard Server for the DCAS and its VideoGuard DRM for security on client devices).

Cisco to Provide Cloud-Based TV Platform for Kabel Deutschland

Cisco has also announced it will provide a new advanced TV platform for Vodafone-owned German cable operator Kabel Deutschland with a launch date expected in 2016-17. Kabel Deutschland will reveal more details of the platform, which will combine broadcast, on-demand, catch-up, and time-shifted TV with internet video, at the IFA 2015 show in September.

ATEME Demonstrate Interactive, 360° TV 

ATEME, with partners Kolor and Finwe, announced LiveSphere, an ‘end-to-end live video broadcast solution that captures, stitches, streams and displays video to provide an interactive consumer experience for tablets, smartphones and virtual reality headsets’. Essentially, it creates an immersive, 360° experience for those watching their television at home, allowing a viewer to dynamically change their field of view using a remote control. This kind of immersive experience opens up new creative opportunities for broadcasters and advertisers alike.

Ad of the Week

And finally….

Doritos in a Pickle over ‘Crash the Superbowl’ Finalists

Every year, Doritos invites independent film makers to ‘Crash the Super Bowl‘. Entrants compete for a slot to be aired during the Super Bowl XLIX on February 1st (slots are currently going for an incredible $4.5 million per 30 seconds) and the winner also takes home $1 million and a contract job with Universal Pictures.

After receiving almost 4,900 submissions from 29 countries, the snack food brand has chosen 10 finalists for fans to vote on. However, they’ve already hit controversy, as one of them ‘Trouble in the Back Seat’ looks very much like another advertisement, ‘Drama Queen’, aired in 2010…  We’ll leave you to make your own mind up.

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