The WiR: Rovi Acquires Tivo, Vimeo Acquires VHX and the NewFronts Round-Up

In this week’s Week in Review: Rovi is to acquire TiVo, Vimeo acquires VHX and we provide a round-up of the announcements made at this week’s NewFronts. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Vimeo Acquires OTT Video Platform VHX
Video sharing website, Vimeo, has acquired OTT subscription service, VHX. VHX’s platform enables creators to sell directly to fans via subscription video channels. The acquisition strengthens Vimeo’s marketplace for consumers to access programming direct from creators worldwide.

Rovi To Acquire TiVo
Digital entertainment company, is to acquire subscription TV service, TiVo. The combined company will continue to be led by Tom Carson and upon closing of the transaction it will adopt the TiVo brand as the new company name. Benefits will include enhanced global reach, serving nearly 500 service providers across countries and adding more than 10 million TiVo-served households to Rovi’s current base of approximately 18 million households using Rovi guides worldwide.

Over Three Quarters of SEO Specialists Aren’t Ready for Google AMP
SEO specialists have yet to act on Google’s ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ (AMP), according to a survey from SEO PowerSuite. The survey shows that, despite over 75 per cent of SEO specialists being aware of Google’s attempt to help the publishing industry adjust to a ‘mobile first’ world, they have yet to act. This is despite half of all respondents acknowledging that the implementation would have a significant impact on their page rankings.

Comcast’s Xfinity TV Available Across Streaming Devices
Following on from Comcast’s acquisition of Dreamworks (WIR April 29th), the mass media company is now making its Xfinity TV available on streaming devices, like Roku and Samsung. The initiative is called the Xfinity TV Partner Program, and it appears the impetus is preparation for a world without a set-top box.

Virool Plans Vertical Reveal
A vertical video ad unit called Vertical Reveal is being planned by programmatic video distribution company Virool, and Rubicon. Vertical Reveal is an outstream video ad unit designed to enhance the mobile-web experience. Within Vertical Reveal, the portrait video is revealed from behind the article text as a user scrolls through the page, removing the necessity to flip a phone sideways to see the content.

Multiscreen Demand Grows
Between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, demand significantly increased for video inventory delivered on Set-Top box / Connected TV, and on mobile according to a report from


Chief executive and founder of Think Privacy, Alexander Hanff, has launched a website encouraging internet users to report publishers using illegal methods to detect the use of an ad blocker. The exercise is designed to prevent privacy encroachment.

Ad Spend on Original Digital Video Programming More Than Doubles
Ad spending on original digital video programming has more than doubled in the US since 2014, according to the IAB’s third annual ‘Digital Content NewFronts: Video Ad Spend Study’. The report found that video represents an increasing share of Digital/Mobile Ad Spending, with growth driven by a substantial increase in Mobile Video allocations.

Women Most Likely to Watch Political Ads
The majority of political ads are watched by women, an infographic from Conversant has found. The infographic took a look at online video completion rates (VCR) for each political party in the U.S election race, and found that most people who watch the videos are between 45-64 years old and are established home-owners.

Nearly Half of Young Brits Influenced by Peers
Forty four per cent of young Brits said they were more likely to trust ratings from friends over advertising, according to the ‘Young Blood’ research from Amplify. The survey has taken into account answers from 2,506 young people around the UK, and shows that celebrity endorsements mattered the least to young audiences, with just 30 per cent saying they felt this was important.

Amazon Q1 Sales Up 28 Per Cent
With the release of its first accounts in the first quarter of 2016, Amazon has shown it has pushed its sales up 28 per cent to $29.1 billion. AWS accounted for 56 per cent of the company’s profit this quarter and is the most profitable business at Amazon.

Telegraph Media Group Pushes Deeper into Video
The Telegraph Media Group has added to its video output with the launch of Telegraph Video. The publisher’s in-house video offering is set to be ‘editorial-led’ and will produce and curate a slate of eight-part series each month, together with more than 30 news videos to air daily.

Adblock and Flattr Join Forces For Fair Payment
Startup company, Flattr, has joined forces with Adblock Plus with a deal that allows adblockers to pay publishers in exchange for viewing their content. The partnership allows users to automatically fund the artists, bloggers and musicians they support. The new product, Flattr Plus, enables users to donate a monthly fee across their most visited sites.

Instagram Brings Video to Carousel
Photo-sharing platform Instagram has extended its Carousel ad package to include videos. The new format allows marketers to pick five videos, or a combination of videos and photos, for users to swipe through.

Adobe Acquires Livefyre
A definitive agreement has been reached between Adobe and content curation and audience engagement company Livefyre, to allow Adobe to acquire Livefyre. The Livefyre platform gives brands and publishers instant access to billions of pieces of user generated content that can be streamed in real-time right to their sites, ads, emails, TV, digital billboards, and apps.

Videology Loses Eight Per Cent of Workforce
As the company focus changes to larger enterprise and linear TV deals, Videology has lost around 8 per cent of its workforce. Around 32 staff members have gone, with around 25 new people hired; the company claims the transitional impact to its organisation was immaterial.

AppBoy Lands $20 Million Funding
Mobile marketing automation platform Appboy has raised $20 million in Series C financing led by Battery Ventures. The funding round brings the company’s total funding to $45.5 million since 2011. The company plans to use the cash to focus on momentum and growth.

Interpublic Group’s Magna Global Shifts $250 Million Ad Spending
Interpublic Group’s Magna Global has struck a multi-year deal with YouTube to invest $250 million into digital video ads. The deal represents YouTube’s largest upfront deal ever for its premium Google Preferred program. The aim for the deal is to shift spending from television ads in an effort to reach consumers more efficiently.

Telefónica Experiences Strong TV Growth
Nearly five million TV subscribers took a DTH service from Telefónica, as seen from the results of its Q1 report. Telefónica’s total TV base increased to 8.4 million at the end of the first quarter, with video revenues amounting to €665.4 million, up 17.3 per cent year-on-year.

Spain Leads VR Buying Interest
In North America and Europe, an average of eleven per cent of the online population between ten and 65 state that they are planning to buy VR products in the next six months, according to research from Newzoo. Spain scores the highest, with 16 per cent of the population expecting to buy into VR.

Experian Launches Audience Management Platform
In a bid to make programmatic TV a reality across the advertising industry, Experian have released a new audience management platform. The Audience Engine platform deterministically links and matches data across the marketing ecosystem in a unified, automated platform for targeting, execution and measurement of addressable advertising campaigns.

New Targeting Strategies Supported by Advances in Cross-Screen Technology
There is continued interest in leveraging TV data for digital video targeting, according to findings from Videology. Eleven per cent of campaigns leveraged TV data segments in targeting for digital video campaigns, according to an analysis of all impressions run through Videology’s platform in the first quarter of 2016.

YouTube Allows Accounts Under Dispute to Earn Revenue
In order to stop users missing out on views and revenue when account disputes arise, YouTube has will now allow accounts to earn revenue whilst disputes are ongoing. In a blog post, YouTube said that revenue generated by disputed videos would now be held in reserve while it decided the claim.

Snapchat User Stories Enjoy Ten Billion Daily Views
Ephemeral messaging service, Snapchat, has found its users are creating videos that amount to 10 billion daily views, the company have told their investors. More than a third of Snapchat’s daily users create “Stories,” broadcasting photos and videos from their lives that last 24 hours.

VeEX Acquires Digital Lightwave
Communications company, VeEX, has completed the acquisition of telecommunications provider Digital Lightwave.

NBC and Snapchat Partner for Olympics
NBC Olympics and image messaging app Snapchat are partnering to present unique perspectives from this summer’s 2016 Rio Olympics and the US Olympic Team Trials, which will include daily Snapchat ‘Live Stories’ and an NBC Rio Olympic Discover channel.

BBC’s Weekly Global Audience Breaks Record
The BBC reaches a record weekly audience of 348 million people worldwide, a 13 per cent increase on last year, according to new figures from the BBC’s Global Audience Measure. The figures represent the combined measured reach of international content, both news and entertainment, for the year 2015/16.

U.S Pay-TV Providers Experience Minor Lift
The top six pay-TV providers in the U.S have experienced a net gain of 33,000 video customers, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index report for April. The report showed that AT&T suffered the worst losses, but Comcast added 53,000 video subscribers, its best first quarter result in nine years, taking its total to 22.40 million.

ProSiebenSat.1 Group Reports 22 Per Cent Revenue Boost
Revenues have increased 22 per cent for the ProSiebenSat.1 Group, according to their latest Q1 figures. In total, the Group already generated 43 per cent of its revenues outside the TV advertising business, and remains on track for its projected 2016 growth.

Hulu Plans to Develop Online TV Service 
U.S streaming service, Hulu, is reportedly working on an online cable TV-style subscription service that will allow users to watch television channels over the web. Apparently Hulu aims to launch the new offering in the first quarter of 2017, broadening its business model from purely on-demand online content.

Mediacom Communications Video Subscribers Down by 2,000
The combined unaudited financial and operating highlights for the three months ended March 31, 2016 for Mediacom Communications show that the company have lost 2,00 video subscribers.

One Third of Broadband Users Would Recommend Their ISP
Only 34 percent of subscribers are likely to recommend their broadband provider, according to “The 2016 Incognito Broadband Consumer Quality of Experience (QoE) Survey”. The survey found that 45 percent of respondents say their decision whether to recommend their provider is based on service speed, 31 percent say WiFi reliability and 21 percent answer pricing and service bundling options.

Ericsson To Open Unit in MediaCityUK
Ericsson has released plans to strengthen its TV and media operations in the UK by establishing a new broadcast and media services facility in MediaCityUK, Manchester. The new site will go live from Q1 2017 and will deliver playout and media management services for clients like the BBC 24 hours a day.

Mediapro Raises €306 Million For Expansion and Debt Repayments
Channel operator and production group Mediapro has secured a €306 million loan, which will be used to service existing debt and on geographical expansion.

VICE Media and ESPN Enter into Deal
VICE Sports is set to produce exclusive new short-form series for ESPN, as well as distribute new episodes of ongoing franchise across ESPN’s channels following a deal between the two companies.

SVoD Is the Dominant Model For Online TV
In 2015, 47 per cent subscribed to an online streaming service, according to Hub’s annual What’s TV Worth? study. Findings from the study demonstrate that the streaming subscription has become the dominant model for accessing TV online, outpacing ad-supported aggregators (e.g., watching shows for free on Hulu), TV Everywhere (watching on TV network or provider apps), and transactional services (like iTunes).

Video Drives Offline Sales
All brands asked, in a survey to determine ROI, had a positive ROI on their video investment, with 95 per cent of sales occurring offline, according to data from Videology. The study was designed to analyse the impact of video in driving offline sales (in store purchases) for a number of brands over a significant time period and across multiple campaigns.

This Week’s New Hires:

Digital Agency Assembly Hires New Chief
Jeff Liang has been appointed the new chief digital officer at Assembly, replacing Alan Smith, who had joined the MDC Partners’ media network last March. Liang was previously SVP, media lead at Starcom Mediavest Group, where he developed the Publicis agency’s capabilities in audience buying, programmatic, biddable media, data and emerging technology.

Periscope Hires Medium’s Head of Content
Periscope has a new editor-in-chief, Medium’s head of content labs, Evan Hansen. Hansen’s new role will be of editor-in-chief of livestreaming service Periscope. The move hints at Twitter’s desire to up the ante on real-time content.

Kate Bower Appointed as Initiative Global Chief Strategy Officer
Initiative media agency, has appointed Kate Bower to serve as global chief strategy officer. The move will enable Bower to focus on the development of the agency’s US strategic operations.

NewFronts 2016
A round up of the big announcements at this week’s NewFronts:

The New York Times announces a six new video series, each of these shows will also offer advertisers the opportunity to work with T Brand Studio, The Times’s brand marketing unit, to create custom marketer videos based on the series’s theme that can be discovered alongside Times videos read more.

About 75 percent of BuzzFeed’s content is consumed outside its own platform.

AOL plan to build a 360 degree video studio in New York, read more here

Hulu unveiled a new measurement partnership for OTT viewing which it will carry out in conjunction with Nielsen read more here. Hulu will also offer more interactive ads and has growin to over 12 million subscribers read more here.

Yahoo will be streamlining its content to boost its ad business.

IPG’s Magna Global agency will shift $250 million of TV ad spend to YouTube.

Time Inc. will launch a streaming service with people and entertainment weekly.

Maker Studios, a leading multi channel network, will enhance their content creation, with the announcement of 4 new shows. The millennial-focused company are also set to continue their collaborative work with parent company Disney.

Kristen Stewart is set to join Refinery29’s ShatterBox Anthology, with her first short film directorial debut, alongside 12 other female directors, writers and animators. Refinery29 have also announced their first multimedia project called ‘Behind the Headlines’. In addition, the company is also launching VR29 studios, centered around female storytelling through the emerging virtual reality and 360 video medium. The company projects more than 100 million video views every month, with its audience consuming 4.2 million hours of video across platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

Vox Media announced that they’ll be extending their partnership with Snapchat, building a dedicated Snapchat studio for increased quality of production, focusing narrowly on specific content for the platform. Also announcing that their programming and development division Vox Entertainment will be joining A+E Networks’ FYI on a new linear show.

PopSugar views have increased by 452 percent since the company debuted its Facebook show, PopSugar Rush almost a year ago.

Bloomberg Media announced that mobile usage has increased by 25 percent in the last year, rallying up to 20 million monthly views.

This Week on VAN: 

Facebook are Working with Simulmedia on Linking TV and Social to Offline Sales, read more on VAN>

Digital Out of Home is One of the Next Great Frontiers for Programmatic Video, read more on VAN>

Digital Advertising’s Volume-Based KPI’s are Providing Incentives for Fraud, read  more on VAN>

Ad of the Week: When Top Cat Visited the Halifax, Adam and Eve DDB

The inimitable Top Cat returns to advertise the Halifax in this cute short.

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