The WiR: Google Announces Raft of New VR and Mobile Innovation, Liberty Global Acquires Cable & Wireless, Facebook Audience Network Introduces Desktop Video

In this week’s Week in Review: Google announces new VR and messaging capabilities, Liberty Global acquires Cable & Wireless. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Daydream and Duo, the Best Bits of Google I/O

This year’s Google I/O event revealed a vision for a future surrounded by ubiquitous technology and defined by human-style interaction.

The announcement that will have the most direct impact on the media industry in the short-term was the introduction of ‘Android Instant Apps’, that lets you use apps online without having to download them i.e. you could find an app in search and use part of it online and in your browser. Instant App is likely to strengthen Google’s search and browser business, while also making Android more attractive in comparison to competitors. It’s Instant Apps is going to impact Facebook’s app install advertising business. It’s going to be interesting to see whether these mobie ads are regarded as ‘in-app’, or if they’ll be regarded as mobile web.

Android VR will be known as ‘Daydream’. Much like Google Cardboard, the Daydream framework has been built by Google, but developers will create the apps and games that will really help it thrive. It was accompanied by sketches of a reference VR headset and remote and an announcement that several “Daydream-compatible” phones will become available this year.

Android N has been adapted to make it faster and more flexible. FaceTime rival Duo scales video quality to create a consistent experience that adapts to your bandwidth. It plugs into messaging app Allo which effectively contains a chat bot.

Other interesting announcements included: Google Assistant, a new personal AI for users; Google Home, a device that ties each of your connected devices together; and Google Wear 2.0. The traffic tracking app Waze is now built directly into Android Auto.

Liberty Global Closes Cable & Wireless Acquisition
Liberty Global has completed the acquisition of Caribbean operator Cable & Wireless Communications. The move puts Cable & Wireless with its existing LiLAC group to create what the company describes as the leading TV, broadband and telecoms firm in Latin America and the Caribbean. The merger means that LiLAC now serves 10 million video, voice, broadband and mobile customers in over 20 countries.

Facebook Audience Network Extends Ad Reach
Facebook is now extending its capabilities by adding pre-roll, mid-roll and post-roll video ads for brands advertising on third-party publishers websites and apps. Facebook says that the goal is to begin focusing on brand awareness and recall. In-article ads through Facebook Instant Articles will also tap into the Facebook Audience Network.

YouTube Introduces In-App Messenger
‘Native sharing’ has gone live for a small percentage of YouTube users. Users can distribute the feature to their friends by inviting them to conversation threads, chat about the shared video inside YouTube’s mobile app, and can catch up on conversations about videos in the app chat.

European Online Advertising Spend Reaches Record Amount
Online advertising grew 13.1 per cent to a market value of €36.2bn in 2015, according to the IAB Europe at the 10th edition of its annual Interact conference. The growth in 2015 surpassed the €33.3bn European TV market.

Over Quarter of U.S Adults Now Watch Original Digital Video
26 per cent of U.S. adults are shifting their viewing habits toward original digital video, according to the IAB’s Original Digital Video Study 2016. The study shows that the audience of U.S. adults watching original video programs online at least once a month has grown to 63 million, with users describing digital video as more “innovative,” “memorable” and “fun”.

BT Strikes YouTube Football Deal
BT Sport has confirmed that it will show the Champions League and Europa League finals for free on YouTube. In doing so, BT will bring the matches within reach of millions of additional fans who do not yet subscribe to BT Sport.

Daily Mail Posts 650 Videos A Day
The English publisher, the Daily Mail, has said it posts 650 videos a day, with 383 million monthly video views, 12 million video views per day, and claims an 80 percent completion and viewability rate. The information was presented at its Daily Content NewFronts presentation, and shows that its site is the most popular English-language destination in the world.

DoubleClick For Publishers Goes Native
Google’s DoubleClick for publishers has extended their native ads for apps solution in order to deliver and measure native ads across all screens. DoubleClick allows publishers to set up a collection of their own, customised formats which will then be applied to the creatives supplied by the publisher to adapt to any screen.

NBC Telemundo Partners With Mashable and Buzzfeed
Telemundo Enterprises has teamed up with Mashable, Vox, Tastemade, BuzzFeed as well as Wise Entertainment, in a bid to reach Generation M: “mobile, multicultural, millennials”. The digital initiatives planned for the partnerships have been designed with original content tailored to Generation M’s modern cultural interests.

JICWEBS Releases “Good Practice” For Tackling Online Fraud
Companies, such as publishers, agencies and ad tech providers, can be audited in line with JICWEBS latest “Good Practice Principles” to verify their processes reduce the risk of fraudulent ads being served. Those successfully demonstrating that their processes apply these principles will receive a certification seal.

Location-Based Mobile Ad Spend To Rise
Marketers have said that they expect location-based mobile ad spend to rise and the sector will see a surge in investment over the next three years, according to a study from Pinpoint, Trinity Mirror’s location-based ad network. Out of 150 industry professionals, who were asked about their views on mobile advertising in general including location-based targeting, 85 per cent expect their spend to go up in the next three years and within that figure 14 per cent expect their spend across location-based mobile to more than double before 2019.


Activision Blizzard Partners With Facebook To Grow MLG Channel
Games studio, Activision Blizzard, is looking to use Facebook to grow an audience for its Major League Gaming TV channel. The collaboration will allow to broadcast live competitions and deliver ESR content to the 1.6 billion people on Facebook.

Video Advertising Bureau and The Cinema Advertising Council Merge
The Cinema Advertising Council, a trade association that represents players in the movie theatre ad industry in the U.S, has merged with the Video Advertising Bureau. The merger means that the Video Advertising Bureau, whose members include A&E Networks, CBS Corporation, and NBC Universal, will now represent $67bn in advertising revenue.

B2B Ready For Programmatic
Sixty-three percent of media planners and buyers execute B2B campaigns programmatically, as opposed to 73 per cent who do so for B2C campaigns, according to the “B2B Programmatic Media Planning and Buying” study Kantar Media SRDS and Connectiv. The study polled buyers on the importance of seven factors that influence a programmatic buy and ranked their responses in order. Audience came in first place as the most important criteria for a programmatic buy, with 78 per cent of respondents rating it as “extremely important.”

BBC and ITV To Launch Streaming Service
The BBC and ITV have been given the go-ahead by the UK government on a Netflix-style streaming service. The service is believed to have been giving the working title ‘Britflix’, and will see the two rivals collaborate to deliver content via iPlayer.

Mashable Launches Velocity Technology Suite
Velocity Technology Suite, a proprietary software which uses predictive analytics to inform content creation has been launched by Mashable. The technology will be used to help partners develop branded content strategies as well as inspire day-to-day programming.

Google Chrome Blocks Adobe Flash
The world’s most popular web browser, Google Chrome, will block Adobe Flash by the end of 2016. The technology will only be enabled by default on 10 sites, including YouTube and Facebook. On all others, users will have to choose to activate it.

Investment in AV/VR Increases
Investment in AV/VR is 25 times higher than it was in 2014, with an increase of $1.2 billion in just the first quarter of this year, according to data from Digi-Capital. This brings the estimated investment in AV/VR to $1.7 billion overall in the past 12 months.

YouTube For iPhone Compatible with Google Cardboard
The YouTube app for iOS is now compatible with its virtual reality headset, Cardboard. The feature, which allows users to use a mobile VR headset like Google Cardboard to watch 360-degree videos, has been available on Android devices for a while. However, it’s never been available on iOS until now.

IAB Singapore Standardises Viewability
In a bid to tackle ad-blocking and fraud, the International Advertising Bureau Singapore (IAB) is set to use a standardised measure to help advertisers and brands measure just how much mileage their ad is getting. There is currently no standard in Southeast Asia, whereas the US and the UK have set standards.

Videology Blocked More Than 28 Billion Bot Requests
More than 28 billion bot requests on video ad campaigns have been blocked by Videology and White Ops. The companies have said they saved clients more than $8.5 billion globally by blocking bots before ads were served, instead of refunding them after the fact.

Twitter For Android gets Periscope Button
On the Android Twitter app, a small sample of users have been able to create a new Periscope live video straight from the tweet composition screen. Although Twitter-owned Periscope has been available for Android users for a while, this would be the first time that Twitter has begun to make it more seamless to use by attempting to open up the capability for live broadcasts from within its main app.

Ad-Blocking To Cost Media Owners $12 Billion
The rise of ad blockers is set to continue to such an extent that it will cost media owners in the U.S. $12.1bn in lost display ad revenues, the ad-blocking survey has found. The survey forecasts that this amounts to a 23.8 per cent impact on earlier forecast earnings.

Mobile Apps Jeopardise Accurate Customer Feedback
The uptake of branded mobile apps by customers is hampering the ability to collect customer satisfaction data, according to mobile marketing specialists Swrve. Swrve say that mnitoring customer experiences of businesses is harder as many customers live behind the mobile app, and many traditional methods for collecting customer feedback aren’t as effective as they used to be.

BitTorrent Moves Into Livestreaming
In a bid to shed its legal file-sharing reputation, BitTorrent has created BitTorrent Live, focusing its attention and resources on making live video streaming better. BitTorrent Live, powered by its “proptietary and parented peer-to-peer live streaming protocol,” is trying to solve for that, enabling “large audiences to view live video with sub 10-second latency and without the need for an expensive CDN or pre-provisioning.”

Programmatic TV Spend Could Top $17 Billion
Spending on programmatic TV could top $17bn by 2019, according to WTF Download. The report says that Programmatic TV is still moving toward widespread adoption, and with growing momentum.

Mobile Apps Are Number One for Consumer Engagement
Mobile apps dedicated to entertainment and information-gathering for consumers are now reaching audiences as large as some of the top broadcast and cable TV shows, the Opera Mediaworks Q1 2016 Mobile First Insights report has shown. Looking at data from the top 100 apps that use Opera’s mobile ad platform to monetise their traffic, the report found that mobile users are spending about 30 minutes each in each of these popular apps with an average session length of 8.5 minutes.

U.S Prefers Ad-Supported Online Services
Americans assigned a value of nearly $1200 per year to free, ad-supported services and content currently available to them on computers and mobile devices, according to a survey conducted by Zogby Analytics. Three-quarters of the people surveyed said they would reduce their online activities “a great deal” if they had to pay for those services and content.

Original Online Content Audience Grows to 63 Million
Regular viewers of original digital video programming have grown to 63 million in 2016, according to a survey from the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The figure has risen from 45 million in 2013.

YOU On Demand Form Partnership With Huawei
Chinese VoD service, YOU On Demand, has formed a strategic partnership with Huawei Software. Both brands hope to use their expertise, technology and infrastructure to provide YOD-branded true / transactional (TVOD) and subscription (SVOD) video-on-demand offerings in Mainland China.

U.S Connected TV Market Shows Sharp Growth
Three-quarters of U.S online consumers now have what’s considered a Connected TV, according to the 2016 Magid Media FuturesVideo Entertainment Study” from research-based consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates. The figure is up sharply from 59 per cent a year ago.

LG Action Camera Streams Live To YouTube
The first action camera to be available globally with LTE connectivity built-in, allowing users to stream directly to sites such as YouTube Live without a smartphone, has been created by LG Electronics. In addition to its live streaming feature, LG Action CAM will offer remote access functionality via 3G and LTE which will enable the device to be used as a CCTV camera for home monitoring or as an automobile dash camera. 

Access Entertainment Formed By Access Industries
Privately held industrial media group, Access Industries, has confirmed the formation of Access Entertainment, a division of Access Industries. Access Entrainment is focused on investments across the entertainment sector with a concentration in high-quality television, films, and theatrical productions and is being headed up by Danny Cohen, previously Director of BBC Television.

Intelsat Begins Debt Restructuring
Satellite company Intelsat has started its debt restructuring process. The company will start a tender offer for many of its already issued Senior Notes. The offer period will close on June 9th unless extended ahead of time or terminated because the securities have been sold.

A+E Networks Launch Multi-Platform Video Hub
A+E Networks is launching a new multi-platform video division that will serve as a hub for digital and branded content.  45th & Dean, who will be acting as a media agency for branded content, will focus on creating and distributing content that will serve as audience development for A+E and brand partners. It will make daily content for a variety of platforms out of a new studio in Brooklyn.

Streaming Devices Drive Big-Screen OTT
The impact of new low-cost streaming devices such as Amazon Fire Stick, Roku and Google Chromecast in driving OTT VoD use onto the big screen in UK television homes, a report from Mediabug Wave Research has found. Having previously reported a slowdown in the uptake of services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and NOW TV, Wave 8 has shown that this was short-lived and that take up of new devices was a significant factor in the turnaround, with 30 per cent of UK consumers having a SVoD subscription.

Float Left Launches Content Solution
Provider of TV app development and engagement solutions Float Left, have launched Flicast, a solution that aims to give content publishers a competitive advantage in launching direct-to-consumer video streaming services. Flicast is Float Left’s end-to-end UX solution that enables immersive and engaging video experiences to be launched across all major connected devices with increased speed to market.

Industry Experts Warn of 9 Billion Loss From Digital Single Market
The proposed introduction of a digital single market in the European Union would have a huge negative effect on investment in TV and film, according to new research from a collection of companies and associations including the Independent Film & Television Alliance.

Cisco and Roku Collaborate To Ensure Security
Cisco and Roku are collaborating to enable the Cisco VideoGuard Everywhere video service protection solution on Roku streaming players and Roku TVs. Cisco VideoGuard Everywhere enables pay-TV operators to secure their content distribution to a wide variety of devices, which now includes Roku streaming players and Roku TVs.

2.3 Million U.S Homes Own VR Headset
Two per cent of U.S homes own a Virtual Reality (VR) headset, according to new data from Parks Associates. Additionally, 5 per cent of US broadband households plan to buy a VR headset in 2016, an increase from only 1 per cent who made a purchase the year prior.

Starbreeze and Acer Form VR Partnership
Computer manufacturer Acer has teamed up with games and entertainment content publisher Starbreeze to create a virtual reality joint venture for the StarVR virtual reality headset.

AT&T Acquires Quickplay
Video streaming platform, Quickplay Media, is set to be acquired by AT&T from Madison Dearborn Partners. The deal is expected to be closed mid-2016.

Eighty Per Cent Subscribe to Streaming Service
Nearly 80 per cent of people who stream TV do so straight to TV sets, a new survey from CSG International has found. The findings also show that 80 per cent of video streamers subscribe to at least one streaming service in addition to, or instead of, a pay TV service from a cable, satellite or IPTV company.

Roku Leads OTT Sales
Amazon has moved to second place in the sales of streaming media services, with Roku again dominating the field, new data from Parks Associates has shown. Rook accounts for 30 per cent of the players purchased from 1Q 2015 to 1Q 2016. Amazon moved into a virtual tie with Google at 22 per cent of sales. Along with Apple TV, the four major players account for 94 per cent of the streaming media players purchased.

VR To Have “Huge’ Cultural Impact
Immersive technologies, and VR and 360° Video in particular, will have the greatest impact, new research from Digital Production Partnership’s (DPP) latest “Home Truths” industry insight reports has found. Attendees at DPP AT HOME were unanimous in their view that immersive technologies will have a huge cultural impact. But they believe these technologies will create new kinds of media, which will exist alongside traditional television, rather than significantly impacting its market share.

Asia Pacific OTT Revenues to Triple
OTT TV and video revenues for the Asia Pacific region will reach $18,396 million in 2021; up from $707 million in 2010 and $5,741 million in 2015, according to Digital TV Research. China will overtake Japan in 2016 to become market leader.

Charter And Time Warner Close Deal
Charter Communications has closed its deal to merge with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, creating a new No. 3 pay TV company and the second largest Internet service provider in the U.S. The FCC approved the deal two weeks ago, followed by the California Public Utilities Commission signing it off.

WhatsApp Video Calling Feature Spotted in Update
video calling feature has been spotted on the WhatsApp beta for Android update (v2.16.80) via the Google Play beta testing program. The feature isn’t functional yet and is accessible via the call button within a conversation.

Streaming Service Preference Varies With Age
When forced to choose between legacy pay-TV and streaming services, dual-service users react differently according to their age, TDG Research has found. The younger the adult, the more likely they are to choose TV streaming services over legacy pay-TV, and vice versa.

European Programmatic Market Sees Triple Digit Growth
From January to December 2015, spending climbed 121.35 per cent across Europe, down from 250 per cent growth in 2014, with that the bulk of the growth occurring throughout the 2015 Christmas holiday season, according to the latest figures from Adform. The figures also show that mobile spend continues to be a key trend to watch, with 2015 in-app spend jumping 83.55 per cent between July and September.

Hires of the Week:

Viceland Expands EMEA Team
Growing TV network, Viceland, that stems from youth media company and content creation studio Vice, has expanded its EMEA team with new appointments, building on its creative and production capabilities ahead of the channel’s UK launch in September. Debi Roach has joined the company as Vice President TV Production EMEA, Cam Levin as Vice President Brand EMEA and Dan Louw has been appointed as Vice President Development UK.

Endemol Beyond USA Hires Maker VP
Endemol Beyond USA has hired Maker Studios’ Todd Barrish to become its executive VP, creative partnerships. Barrish was previously senior VP, global strategic partnerships at The Walt Disney Company-owned multichannel network Maker.

We Are Social Appoints Director of Content
The new role of Director of Content at We Are Social has been filled by Clinique’s director of creative for social media and online editorial content, Stephanie Levy. Levy will lead We Are Social’s U.S creative department, in charge of delivering creative thinking and content for the agency’s client base.

This Week on VAN:

Brainient Studio Aims to Bridge the Gap Between Data and Creativity, read more on VAN

Global Publisher Focus: How TF1 is Using Ad Stitching, Programmatic and Innovative Pricing as Part of Its Euro 2016 Strategy, read more on VAN

Making the Most of Facebook’s Video Potential, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Dove, Amazing Moments, Ogilvy & Mather London

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