The WiR: Xaxis Acquires Triad Retail Media, Google Buys Famebit, Oculus Rift Gets VR Search Engine

In this week’s Week in Review: less than a week until New Video Frontiers, Google buys Famebit and Oculus Rift gets VR search engine, Carmel. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

New Video Frontiers to Showcase the Industry’s Leading Innovators
Whilst New Video Frontiers has always been a forward-looking event, the surge in video innovation over the last year will make this year’s event one of the most interesting and exciting yet, featuring everything from outstream, VR and 360 right through to live native video marketing. We’ll also be focusing on some of the biggest issues of the day, including:

  • Facebook’s role in the publisher ecosystem.
  • The rise of visual search.
  • How to thrive in the new TV ecosystem.
  • Who spends what and where in video advertising?
  • Creating new advertising models for VR and AR.
  • Imagining the agency of the future.
  • Video advertising in China.
  • A debate on the need for precision-marketing in TV advertising.
  • Trinity Mirror’s success story as a programmatic publisher.

Tickets now on Sale
New Video Frontiers, Video’s Global Gathering
King’s Place, London, Oct 19-20th

Xaxis Acquires Triad Retail Media

WPP announced that Xaxis, the world’s largest global programmatic media and technology platform, has agreed to acquire, subject to regulatory approval, Triad Retail Media, a leading digital retail media specialist in the US.  Triad’s gross revenues were over US$500 million for the year ended December 31, 2015 with net revenues of over US$120 million as of the same date. Clients include Walmart, Sam’s Club, eBay, Toys “R” Us, Kohl’s, Asda Stores Limited and other global retailers. The company employs nearly 700 people and looks set to be a major boost to WPP’s offering to retailers.

Google Buys Famebit to Help Brands get Product Placements in YouTube Videos

Google has bought Famebit, a company that helps brands work with YouTube creators for marketing their products. Famebit is basically a way for companies to get product placement in videos posted by popular YouTube users. Google did not say how much it paid for the company, but Famebit will continue to run independently from Google for now, according to the announcement.

In  other news, Google is planning to start building its new, heavily delayed UK headquarters before the end of 2017, Bloomberg reports.

Oculus Rift Gets VR Search Engine
Facebook has released Carmel, a new virtual reality web browser, showed off at its Oculus Connect conference on Thursday. The browser will mean developers and brands can build sites, not just apps that require downloading and it’s one of the advances that brands and marketers think will help make the technology more accessible.

Havas Acquires Entertainment Media Group Target MCG
Havas has bought Target Media and Communications Group, a 26-year-old entertainment media company whose clients includes Disney and Universal. Target MCG will become part of Havas Media Group in the UK, bringing with it over 60 clients in the film, gaming and entertainment industries, with a roster that also comprises Netflix and Curzon. Target MCG will retain its remain and brand identity, as well as remaining within its London headquarters.

Facebook Tests Ads in Groups
Facebook’s latest response to the challenge of earning more revenue without drowning the News Feed is to serve ads to the 1 billion users of its Groups feature. After people reported seeing notices that “We’re testing ads in Groups,” TechCrunch confirmed that mobile and desktop versions of Groups in Australia, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand are part of the trial. Facebook says it will reach maximum News Feed ad load in mid-2017, which means it needs new revenue streams to continue its revenue growth momentum. Facebook’s also been testing new forms of Live video mid-roll ads and even Sponsored Messages from businesses in Messenger.

UK Marketing Enjoys Great Quarter
UK marketing executives enjoyed their best quarter for over two years in the first three months after June’s surprise vote to leave the European Union according to the latest Bellwether Report, produced for the IPA by Markit. The report showed the highest growth in marketing budgets since Q2 2014.

Brexit Uncertainty Leads to Decline in Account Reviews
Economic uncertainty in the run-up to, and the outcome of, the European Union referendum contributed to a 14.3 per cent decline in the number of completed account reviews in the first nine months of the year. According to AAR’s New Business Pulse, there was a 26.6% fall in the number of pitch results announced between July and September compared with the same period in 2015.


Sky Reports Revenue Rise, Whilst UK Advertising Sales Slump
Broadcaster Sky has reported a rise in revenues, but the broadcaster’s UK advertising sales dipped and subscriber growth slowed. Sky said like-for-like revenues – which strip out the impact of currency movements – rose 5 per cent in the three months to 30 September. Subscriber numbers rose by 106,000 over the period but that was lower than last year’s rise of 134,000. Advertising revenue in the UK and Ireland fell 3%, although Sky said that was better than the overall market.

Ad Spend on Mobile Display Overtakes PC for First Time
The amount spent on mobile display ads this year has risen to £802m, overtaking PC and tablet display which grew to £762m, according to the PwC/IAB UK’s Digital Adspend Report. In June, UK adults spent 46 per cent of their internet time on a mobile compared to 41 per cent on a desktop or laptop. The smartphone is now the primary source of news for 30 per cent of owners.


Discovery Targets Millennials With $100 Million Investment in Digital Media
Discovery has announced a unifying partnership of digital media sites with Group Nine Media. Thrillist Media Group, NowThis Media, The Dodo and Seeker, which is already a part of Discovery’s digital network, now make up Group Nine Media, along with its production studio SourceFed Studios, according to a press release from Discovery. This represents a huge push from a traditionally TV-first company toward the digital space, which is mostly filled with young millennial consumers of media. Around 60 percent of Group Nine Media’s audience are people ages 18-34 and who spend most of their time on the “social web.”

Early Morning is the Sweet Spot for Video Advertising
Consumers are most receptive and responsive to adverts in the early morning, according to YuMe’s Publisher’s Guide. The report found that while evenings are traditionally viewed as optimal due to the volume of video viewership, early morning could be worth a higher premium due to higher levels of receptivity to advertising and the willingness to receive a message from a brand. Indeed, the highest purchase intent metrics were found in the morning and at night.

Twitter Shares Dive After Potential Bidders Reportedly Lose Interest
Shares in Twitter fell this week following reports that all of its rumoured potential bidders have lost interest. Google owner Alphabet, Walt Disney and Salesforce have all been working with investment banks on a potential acquisition of the 140-character service. But Bloomberg reported over the weekend that all of the firms had decided not to press ahead with a bid.

The social network is also rumoured to be replacing its ‘Moments’ tab with a new feature called Explore, which would put “content discovery,” front and centre for tweeters by highlighting trending topics and search alongside popular moments.

Workplace by Facebook Means New Dawn for Enterprise Social Networking
After 20 months in a closed beta under the working title Facebook at Work, Facebook is finally bringing its enterprise-focused messaging and social networking service to market under the name, Workplace. Workplace is launching with a new kind of pricing model based on Facebook-style monthly active user metrics; and has reportedly launched with 1,000 organisations as customers while still in its free, pilot mode.

Workplace is launching as a desktop and mobile app with News Feed, Groups both for your own company and with others, Chat direct messaging, Live video, Reactions, translation features, and video and audio calling.

Ban on Daytime Gambling Ads Floated
The UK government is considering proposals to restrict betting commercials on daytime TV in its review into fixed-odds betting terminals. The move would be significant for broadcasters such as Sky and BT Sport, whose football coverage attracts million of pounds in revenue each year from betting ads. The Gambling Commission has reported the number of Brits with a severe gambling problem has almost doubled in three years to 336,000 people, or 0.7 per cent of the population.

YouTubers Warned Over ‘Blurred Boundaries’ with Fans
The NSPCC has warned that YouTubers need to take responsibility for their actions after a BBC report found one YouTuber was alleged to have got a 15 year old girl drunk before having sex with her. Another YouTuber was subject of 14 allegations and has admitted that he had “manipulative” relationships with women. A YouTube spokeswoman suggested creators were responsible for their own channels and behaviour and said that YouTube would suspend the channel of anyone who had breached its guidelines.

Verizon Reportedly Demands $1 Billion Discount After Yahoo Hacking Scandal
Verizon is asking for a $1 billion discount on the Yahoo acquisition deal, after learning about the massive data breach last month, according to the New York Post. The Post’s report says AOL CEO Tim Armstrong is “pretty upset” about Yahoo’s lack of disclosure about the hack, and is even questioning if there’s a way to pull out of the deal entirely. Verizon believes Yahoo’s value has been “diminished,” while Yahoo has pushed against the idea of a discount. Verizon said it was given a two-day notice before the public learned about the data breach in September, nearly two months after it acquired Yahoo for $4.8 billion.

Widespace Promises Zero Per Cent Fraud in Mobile Ad Campaigns
Widespace, the mobile ad tech company, has announced a zero per cent fraud guarantee on every mobile ad campaign. Henric Ehrenblad, Widespace’s chairman and co-founder, announced the plans during a talk at the Internet Advertising Bureau’s Engage conference in London.

Just Three Per Cent of Britons to Own a VR Headset this Year
VR may be the latest industry trend, but it’s not yet mainstream. Just two million Brits will own them by the end of 2016 and the vast majority of these will be mobile phone attachments rather than the expensive Oculus Rift. VR headsets will generate £62 million worth of sales in Britain this year, according to Strategy Analytics. However, the lower-cost headsets, which are basically ‘shells’ into which people slide their smartphone – such as Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear – will account for the vast majority (92 per cent) of units sold. Those which attach to games consoles, such as the PlayStation VR will account for 7 per cent. Just 1 per cent of sales will go on the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets that plug into PCs.

$50 Billion VR Market in 2021
The VR hardware market could reach in excess of $50 billion in hardware revenues by 2021 according to research from Juniper Research, Virtual Reality Markets: Hardware, Content & Accessories 2016-2021. The research also found that gross wagers from Virtual Reality gambling will grow from just over $58.5 million (€52.4m) this year, to just under $520 million by 2021, representing an increase of 800 per cent.

Neustar MarketShare Gets Thumbs Up from Forrester Research
Neustar MarketShare, has been named a leader in “The Forrester Wave™: Marketing Measurement And Optimization Solutions, Q4, 2016” report by Forrester Research. The company obtained the highest score among all analytics vendors in the current offering category and secured among the highest ratings for its overall value.

Western Europe TV Market Worth €98bn
The Western European TV market was worth €97.7 billion at the end of 2015, growing by 0.9 per cent year-on-year, according to the annual report from Rome-based ITMedia Consulting. The pay-TV segment remained practically stable.

Mobile Data Integrator mParticle Adds $17.5 Million Series B
mParticle, which helps collect and connect mobile data across platforms, has added $17.5 million in new funding, just nine months after its $15 million Series A in January. The round was led by Bain Capital Ventures, a new investor, with participation from existing investor Social Capital, bringing mParticle’s total funding to $37 million.

Hires of the Week:

TVTY Makes Three Key Hires
Gregory Gazagne, Criteo EVP EMEA, has joined the TVTY board while Pierre Osdoit has been appointed Head of Marketing and Pauline Boisseau joins TVTY as Head of Sales in France.

Partnerships of the Week:

SpotX and Vemba Partner to Form Advanced Content Syndication Suite
Video inventory management platform SpotX and video discovery and distribution platform Vemba have partnered on a product suite that manages the syndication and monetisation of premium video content.

Integral Ad Science and AOL Expand Relationship 
AOL has integrated Integral Ad Science’s video viewability pre-bid targeting into the ONE by AOL platform. The announcement expands the two-year old relationship between the companies.

This Week on VAN:

Mobile Video’s Obstacles are Not Only Being Overcome, But are Turning into Advantages for Advertisers, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Hornbach, You’re Alive, Do You Remember? Heimat

What do you think of when you think of DIY? A naked middle aged man tumbling through the wilderness? Us too. A brilliantly quirky ad from German home improvement store, Hornbach.

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