WiR: Three Partners with Shine on Ad-blocking, Opera Acquired by Chinese Consortium, Twitter Adds GIF Support

In this week’s Week in Review: Opera Mediaworks edges closer to being sold to Chinese investors, Twitter adds GIF support and Time Inc. acquires Myspace owners Viant. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Three Partner with Shine on Ad-blocking in UK and Italy

Mobile operator Three announced has partnered with Shine Technologies on implementing Shine’s ad blocking technologies into their networks in the UK and Italy, which they say will enable rapid roll-out of the technology to all other Three Group operators.

Three say their goal is not to eliminate mobile advertising, but ‘to give customers more control, choice and greater transparency over what they receive’. At New Video Frontiers last October, Shine CMO Roi Carthy said ‘We have a great racket going’.

Opera Acquired by Chinese Investors
A consortium of Chinese investors have put forward plans to buy media and advertising company, Opera, it has been announced. The board of directors at Opera have yet to approve the deal, and haven’t said if they are willing to sell their shares yet. Golden Brick Silk Road, Kunlun and Qihoo 360 will pay $1.2 billion for the company. 

Twitter Adds GIF Support
Users will be able to search for and add gifs to their tweets directly in Twitter with Twitter’s new GIF search function. Twitter, who is working with Giphy and Riffsy to support the gifs feature, has said that GIFS can be added to tweets or direct messages. The GIF search will roll out to everyone on twitter.com, iOS and Android phones in the coming weeks.

Time Inc. Acquires Myspace Owner Viant
Time Inc. has announced that it plans to acquire internet marketing service Viant. The owner of Myspace will bring its programmatic capabilities and first party data to Time Inc.’s strategy to activate its subscriber data across the world’s content brands.

Apple Create Original Content
Apple has been rumoured to have been working on a scripted TV series starring rapper Dr Dre, it has been reported. Dr Dre is one of Apple’s executives, and it has been reported that he will star in and executive produce his own six-episode vehicle, dubbed Vital Signs.

Motor Trend to Build Video Paywall
Motor Trend, who recently reached a billion views on YouTube, is set to create a paywall for content. Motor Trend on Demand is a subscription streaming service that has already been soft-launched, but with the billion-views mark surpassed, the motor company plan on exploiting the subscription-only service from now on.

Google’s DoubleClick Restructures Management
Google has restructured its advertiser product management team by enlisting Google product manager Brad Bender to oversee its buy-side products. Brad Bender will now add oversight of DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) and the ad server DoubleClick Campaign Manager (DCM) to his list of responsibilities.

Facebook Opens Instant Articles To All Publishers
From April 12th, Facebook will allow its Instant Articles format to be available to all publishers. Instant Articles allows a publisher to post articles directly to the social media platform and results in faster loading times on mobile.

Verizon Invests $5.5 Million in Qualia Media
Investors Verizon Ventures, the investment arm of mobile and broadband provider Verizon Communications, Inc. and expansion and growth stage venture firm S3 Ventures, has invested $5.5m of Series B funding in Qualia Media, the marketing technology platform. It has been reported that the funding will be used to grow its fully integrated end-to-end cross-screen marketing solution.

AT&T Team Up With YouTube For ‘Hello Lab’
AT&T have announced the launch of ‘AT&T Hello Lab’, a yearlong project featuring 10 digital creators in mobile entertainment. In collaboration with YouTube’s Fullscreen’s Strategic Content Group, AT&T Hello Lab will connect influential internet entities through content series, live experiences, albums, giveaways, and podcasts. AT&T have also released their 5G ‘roadmap’, to bring its customers the next-generation of super-fast, flexible wireless connectivity.

First VR Film Is Released
Filmmaker Joston “El Rey” Theney, founder of #SinningWorks and 2D, 3D and virtual reality house Radiant Images are embracing VR with the upcoming release of ‘The Tale of Two Faces’. This new type of narrative filmmaking is unique, not only in its use of immersive VR technology, but because it will be made available for free to stream on VR and 360-degree live action platform VRLive. Anyone with an internet connected device including smartphones, gaming consoles or desktop, will be able to experience the premiere.

Criteo Reports Strong Q4 Results
Online display advertisers, Criteo, have increased revenue 55 per cent in their fourth quarter year-on-year, as they publish Q4 results that have helped to boost the publicly traded ad platform industry. The results show that over 47 per cent of revenue was generated from mobile ads during the month of December 2015.

Viacom Shares Plummet After Disappointing Q4
Media company Viacom have seen their shares slide as much as 14 per cent in the wake of disappointing results from the last quarter of 2015. The published results show revenue falling by 6 per cent, and license fees increased 25 per cent, primarily driven by the licensing of certain titles for subscription video-on-demand services and television.

Tech-Savvy Readers Less Likely to Use Ad-Blockers
Publishers need not be so worried about tech-savvy readers now that it has been found that they aren’t quite as unwilling to disable their ad blockers as publishers may have feared, Forbes has found. Forbes have conducted an ad-blocking experiment, with Forbes’ chief product officer, Lewis D’Vorkin, blogging the results. The experiment has shown that the tech section’s share of traffic was roughly the same across ad blocker and non-ad blocker readers. The same was mostly true for readers of gaming content, who also tend to be early adopters of ad blockers.


Adbrain Secures $7.5 Million In Funding
Data intelligence company, Adbrain, have announced they have benefitted from a funding round led by Cisco Investments, Notion Capital and Octopus Ventures. The funding is expected to enable Adbrain to further increase its international scale, and solidify its position as a global provider of digital identity solutions for marketers and their partners.

OTT Services in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico to See Strong Growth
Premium OTT is set for strong growth in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico, according to new research from Ooyala and Vindicia. The report says that industry participants across the region expect key markets to roughly double in size between 2015 and 2018 and that major pay-TV providers and regional media groups are investing in services tailored to local tastes, increasing consumer awareness and paving the way for significant market growth through to 2018.

Millicom Cable Revenue Generating Units Up 5.9 Per Cent
Telecommunications and media company Millicom have announced that their total revenue generating units have increased by 143,000 from Q3 2015 to 5.39 million, with the growth coming from TV offers and fixed broadband solutions. Millicom’s cable footprint expanded by 133,000 to 7.6 million homes passed. Millicom have also announced they have signed an agreement to acquire TV Cable Paraná in Paraguay.

United Internet Takes 25.1 Per Cent Stake in Tele Columbus
German cable provider, Tele Columbus, has announced that United Internet has acquired a 9.8 per cent share of the company, with a further 15.31 per cent stake applied for, subject to antitrust approval. If approval is granted, United Internet would hold a 25.11% stake, making it the biggest shareholder of Tele Columbus.

Zoo Digital Becomes Approved Aggregator By Apple
Apple has approved Zoo Digital to offer iTunes aggregation services for TV series, Zoo Digital has announced. ZOO has been an iTunes Delivery partner for many years and now, thanks to its ability to deliver consistent, outstanding quality content to the iTunes Store, joins a select group of vendors approved to aggregate TV and movie content to the platform.

TV Set Sales Decline in 2015
5.1 million TV sets were sold in France in 2015, around 700,000 less than in 2014, new research from GFK has found. The report also says that 570,000 of the units sold were HD, a figure under expectations.

TiVo and Buckeye CableSystem Announce Partnership
U.S cable operator service, Buckeye CableSystem, and TiVo, have announced they have formed a strategic, multi-year partnership. TiVo will become the primary provider of the software, user experience and cloud services for Buckeye’s television offering across its service area, and Buckeye will market and deploy TiVo’s multi-screen offering.

Operator Business Benefits From Netflix On Pay TV
Integrating Netflix into traditional pay TV services, such as Virgin Media and BT TV, has had a net positive impact on these operators’ performance, according to a report from the IHS. The report goes on to say that Netflix has partnerships in place with 25 pay TV providers, with many more likely to follow after the OTT SVoD provider expanded to 130 new territories last month.

YouTube Top Ten Cracked By U.S Election Campaign
For the first time, three of January’s YouTube top ten most-watched videos were to tied the U.S elections, Google has said. This is the first time political videos have made it to the online video service’s top-ten list and made it to YouTube’s U.S Ads leaderboard.

70 Per Cent of Global Internet Traffic is Encrypted
70 per cent of global Internet traffic will be encrypted in 2016, with many networks exceeding 80 per cent, a new report from Sandvine has predicted. The report has also shown that North American fixed networks have the lowest share of encrypted traffic, globally, thanks to the popularity of streaming video applications which are not fully encrypted.

U.S Digital Media Usage to Rise 7.3 Per Cent
U.S consumer digital media usage is set to rise 7.3 per cent to an average of 23.9 hours per week by 2019, according to PQ Media’s annual KPI benchmark series tracking digital and traditional media usage worldwide. The rise has been attributed to higher smartphone and tablet penetration, the launch of new gaming consoles, and the impact of major political and sporting events, the report explains.

Netflix on Course to Hit 175 Million Subscribers
Netflix is set to hit 175 million subscribers by 2020, Analysts at ARK Investment Management have estimated. The report predicts that this growth will be fuelled by aggressive international expansion of its streaming service, increasing broadband penetration, and a growing library of content that caters to different audiences across the world.

BBC Three Goes Online Only
BBC channel, BBC 3, has become the first BBC online channel, the first to make the switch from linear broadcast channel to online-first destination. The reinvented BBC Three will offer TV shows to stream and download online only.

YouTube Buys Artist Profile Service Bandpage
YouTube has acquired online artist profile service, Bandpage, the music website has announced. Bandpage hope that by joining forces with YouTube, they can help artists reach their fans in more ways than they could have done before.

upc cablecom Reports Consistent Growth
upc cablecom have reported that their high investment is paying off, as they have reported consistent growth once again in the Internet, telephony and mobile markets in 2015. The company reported revenue increase of more than CHF 1.3 billion over this period.

Virgin Media Add 100,000 Subscribers in Q4
Fuelled by the rollout of its super-fast Project Lightning broadband service, Virgin Media have added nearly 100,000 new subscribers in 2015, Virgin Media have announced in their preliminary Q4 reports. During this time, the media company also cut 900 UK jobs.

Liberty Global Loses 400,000 European Video Subscribers
Liberty Global said that it had gained 51,000 revenue generating units (RGUs) for video in Central and Eastern Europe last year, but had lost a total of 400,000 European video subscribers, in the release of its Q4 report for 2015. Liberty was hit particularly hard in the Netherlands, with Ziggo losing a total 200,000 video RGUs in the year. Liberty Global and Vodafone have also announced they will be merging their Dutch operations.

StarHub Pay-TV Subscribers Fall 1.2 Per Cent
Telecommunications company StarHub has reported it has experienced a fall in its pay-TV subscribers of 1.2 per cent in 2015, as it releases its Q4 2015 results. As at 31 December 2015, StarHub’s pay-TV subscriber base was 536,000 subscribers after the quarter’s net churn of 6,200 subscribers.

Smartphone Users Find Streaming Delays “Stressful”
Delays in loading web pages and videos under time pressure caused mobile users’ heart rates to rise an average of 38 per cent, the The Mobile World Congress edition of the Ericsson Mobility Report has shown. Neuroscience technology was used to objectively measure emotional responses to varied smartphone experiences.

Wearables Market to Hit $14 Billion
The market for wearables is set to reach revenue of $14bn with 123 million units sold in 2016, a CCS Insights report has predicted. The report has also shown how virtual reality is on track for record growth in 2016, as 13 million smartphone VR headsets are sold and dedicated VR approaches a $1 billion business.

One In Ten Households To Have OTT
By 2019, 10.3 per cent of households in the U.S will take OTT services, according to SNL Kagan research. SNL has predicted there will be 12.9 million OTT homes in the US in 2019, up from an estimated 10.5 million in 2016.

Qvest and Ooyala Announce Strategic Partnership
Qvest Media, IT and audiovisual solutions provider for broadcasting and media infrastructures, has announced it has entered into a partnership with video platform, Ooyala. With this deal, Qvest will become a reseller and service provider for Ooyala’s products in EMEA.

Digital Media Adaptors To Reach 60 Million
The worldwide digital media adaptor market, which includes items such as media streamers and OTT boxes, is set to see strong growth over the next few years, with shipments of 60 million expected by 2019, Futuresource Consulting has reported.

Almost 36 Million Fibre Subscribers in Europe
The number of fibre to the home and fibre to the building subscribers in Europe increased by 19 per cent over the first nine months of 2015, according to the latest update to the FTTH panorama announced at the FTTH Conference 2016 in Luxembourg. Homes passed increased by 17 per cent, with nearly 127 million FTTH/B homes passed at the end of September 2015.

58 Per Cent Bond Over Netflix
Over half of U.S couples have bonded over Netflix, a survey from Ipsos commissioned by Netflix, has found. To find out the reality behind ‘Netflix and chill’, the streaming SVoD service has looked into the habits of couples watching Netflix. The survey has also found that 25 per cent of people find another person more attractive based on the shows they watch.

Bigballs Media Hires James Kirkham
Digital football company Bigballs Media has hired Holler co-founder James Kirkham as head of Copa90 and chief strategy officer, they have announced. Kirkham, who also is the former head of mobile and social at Leo Burnett Worldwide, has a remit to help build and grow the Copa90 brand, audience and revenues globally.

ITV Appoints New Chairman
ITV has announced it has appointed Sir Peter Bazalgette as non-executive Chairman with effect from May 12 2016. Sir Peter will succeed Archie Norman, who will step down at the 2016 Annual General Meeting after more than six years in the role.

Paul Frampton Promoted to CE Of Havas
CEO of Havas Media and Managing Director of Havas Media Group UK, Paul Frampton, has been promoted to Chief Executive of Havas Media Group in the UK and Ireland. Previously, Frampton has unified the management teams across the group for the core media agency brands; Havas Media, Arena Media and Forward Media; entertainment and experiential agency Havas Sports & Entertainment Cake; data management and customer engagement agencies DBi, ais London and Arnold KLP.

Native Ad Formats Used To Draw in Mobile Audiences
Advertisers are increasingly relying on native video ad formats to reach audiences on mobile devices, with a particular emphasis on in-app formats, new research from ExchangeWire, commissioned by the Rubicon Project has found.

Teads Announces inRead Vertical Video Offering
Native video advertiser, Teads, has launched inRead Vertical, its new fully skippable vertical video offering. Teads inRead Vertical will allow advertisers to use the whole screen to project a personal, relevant and fully skippable message to the user.

Mobile-Rich Media and Interactive In-Stream Video Garner Highest Video Completion
Mobile-rich media has a 93.7 per cent video completion rate, with interactive in-stream video clocking up 87.4 per cent, according to new research from RhythmOne. The report also found that adding an interactive element to :15 second In-Stream Video can significantly decrease consumer drop-off.

Undertone Appoints New Sales Leadership
Undertone, a division of Perion Network Ltd., has appointed Mike Pallad as Chief Revenue Officer and Diane Malloy as VP Programmatic Sales and Strategy. With these appointments, Undertone plans to strengthen its sales leadership and continue to push forward with growth and performance.

This Week on VAN:

Standards, Culture and the Chicken and Egg Problem will Hamper Western Ad Tech Companies in China, read more on VAN

The Publisher’s Platform Dilemma, read more on VAN

There are Still Some Highly Questionable Publishers Hiding in Plain Sight on Google’s Ad Exchange, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Burger King, Grilled Dogs, TMZ

You know relish is just chopped up pickles? Well Snoop Dogg does and he’s here to train in this ‘leaked’ training video from Burger King.

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