The WiR: AOL to Cut 500 Jobs, LiveRamp Acquires Arbor and Cirulate for $140 Million, Apple Reportedly Working on AR Smart Glasses

In this week’s Week in Review: Apple reportedly exploring AR smart glasses, Google launches Daydream View VR headset, ITV revenues hit by ‘cautious’ advertisers. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

AOL to Cut 500 Jobs 

AOL is to cut 500 jobs from its workforce, equating to 5 percent of its staff. The Verizon-owned ad tech and media company has made numerous acquisitions and the staff reductions will be aimed at reorganising the company around two business units: Media (including Search and Communications) and Platforms. In an email published by Recode, CEO Tim Armstrong said, “Mobile, video, and data are the key growth drivers of that strategy and the company will be putting resources into each of these areas.”

LiveRamp to Acquire Arbor and Circulate for $140 Million

Acxiom-owned LiveRamp, an onboarding company, today announced that it is to acquire Arbor and Circulate for approximately $140 million. Arbor is a data marketplace and Circulate enables app owners to monetize their first-party data. Arbor and Circulate will both be integrated into LiveRamp’s omnichannel identity resolution tool, IdentityLink.

Apple Reportedly Exploring AR Smart Glasses
Apple is weighing an expansion into digital glasses, according to AdAge. The device is reportedly still in an exploration phase, but would connect wirelessly to iPhones, show images and other information in the wearer’s field of vision, and may use augmented reality. Apple has talked about its glasses project with potential suppliers and ordered small quantities of near-eye displays from one supplier for testing. Reports suggest that the device would be introduced in 2018 at the earliest.

Snapchat Files for $25bn IPO
Snap Inc. has confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering that may value the popular messaging platform at as much as $25 billion, a major step toward what would be one of the highest-profile stock debuts in recent years according to the Wall Street Journal. The company, formerly known as Snapchat, made the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission in recent weeks, and an IPO, expected as early as March, could value Snap at between $20 billion and $25 billion.

SpaceX Confirms 1600 Satellite Broadband Scheme
Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket launch company has made a formal application to the USA’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to proceed with a massive 1600 constellation of satellites to girdle the Earth and provide low-cost high-speed broadband to everyone. “With deployment of the first 800 satellites, SpaceX will be able to provide widespread US and international coverage for broadband services. Once fully optimised through the Final Deployment, the system will be able to provide high bandwidth (up to 1 Gbps per user), low latency broadband services for consumers and businesses in the U.S. and globally,” the company added.

Young People Eschew TV Sport for Netflix 
Young people are switching off from TV sport as part of a drop in average audiences of nearly a tenth in six years, according to Ampere Analysis. The findings come amid concerns surrounding BT and Sky about a sharp decline in football audience this season. 18 to 24-year-olds, were significantly less likely to consider themselves sports fans than the overall population. Ampere said it appeared to be a recent phenomenon, citing comparable research a decade ago that found 18 to 24-year-olds were over-represented among sports fans. According to the latest findings, young people are now 17pc less likely to identify sport as their favourite form of programming than the general population.

Google Launches Daydream View Virtual Reality Headset
Google has launched Daydream View, a £69 headset that immerses the wearer in a digital universe and aims to capture the mass market with affordable mobile virtual reality. Apps include a 360-degree wade in London’s subterranean Victorian sewers, a chance to sign up for wizard lessons, and bunnies battling aliens in a VR narrated by Ethan Hawke.

Brexit Vote Had Little Impact on Advertising, Says WPP
The Group M media arm of WPP has raised its growth forecasts for both 2016 and 2017, saying digital ads will drive growth. Group M is upgrading its original forecast of 6.3 per cent growth to 7.2 per cent this year, and from 5.8 per cent to 7.2 per cent for next year, which would make the total UK market worth £18.8bn.

A Third of Kids Watch Mobile Video Daily
‘Generation Z’ is spending its leisure time watching mobile video and second screening, according to research from Futuresource.

Turner and Virgin Expand Programme Deal
Virgin Media and Turner have agreed a long term programming deal in the UK and Ireland. The partnership ensures Virgin Media customers will continue to enjoy their favourite channels like Cartoon Network and CNN International. Also launching is catch-up TV and box sets to Virgin Media’s TV platform.

Facebook Halts Use of WhatsApp Data for Advertising in Europe, Launches Video Calling
Facebook has stopped using data taken from its messaging service for advertising across Europe following pressure from the pan-European data protection agency group, the Article 29 Working Party in October. The group of privacy watchdogs said it had serious concerns over Facebook’s use of the data, including user phone numbers. It asked the social network to pause its WhatsApp data collection. WhatsApp is also launching free video calling for all of its one billion users.

Facebook Limits Ethnic Ad-targeting After Outcry
Facebook has announced it will build an automated system to eliminate discriminating ads for housing, employment or credit. In a blog post, Erin Egan, VP of US public policy and chief privacy officer at Facebook, wrote that in the coming months, Facebook will build an automated system that will detect and disable discriminating ads. Policymakers and civil rights leaders had expressed concerns this week that advertisers could “misuse some aspects of our affinity marketing segments.”

Digital and Mobile Marketers Taking Ad Dollars from TV.
In Q3, CPG accounted for 49.9% of all Positive Mobile In-Feed (outstream) Mobile Video ads. This could indicate a movement of ad dollars from TV to In-Feed Mobile Video ads, according to research from Positive Mobile.

Virtual Reality Headset Christmas Sales May Double UK Ownership
The number of UK households owning virtual reality technology is likely to double by Christmas, according to research by the Carphone Warehouse. One in ten UK homes are expected to own a VR platform before the end of the year. The release of Google’s Daydream View headset is likely to boost numbers.

Virtual Reality Showcases Strong Emotional Engagement for Brands
VR provides a uniquely immersive platform for delivering highly engaging content, according to new neuroscience-based research from YuMe and Nielsen. In tests, content on VR produced the highest emotional engagement, but it also reinforced the challenges in connecting consumers with key branding moments in a platform that can encourage self-driven discovery.

UK Viewable Completion Rates Double
Britain is second only to Belgium in Europe with 41 per cent mean viewable completions on desktop 15-second ads according to research from TubeMogul. This means that viewable completion rates in the UK have more than doubled year-on-year.


Quality Key to Engaging Digital Video 
Short form digital video has become the primary news source for younger audiences according to AOL. More than half of 18-24 year olds said that they prefer getting their news from short form videos than reading it. The key for viewers is quality, as over half said they lose patience if the production quality of video is not good enough. Additional quality indicators relevant to video advertising included brand fit, uniqueness of the content, and appropriate length.

Almost Six-times Lift in CTR with Rich Media Versus Standard Banner 
Globally, rich media lifted engagement 7.44 times more than standard banners according to Sizmek’s 2016 Rich Media and Video Benchmarks report. Advertisers experienced over a nine times lift in North America by switching to interactive video from non-interactive video.

70 Per Cent Would Use a Free Netflix with Ads
More then three quarters of consumers would use a free Netflix style service, if it included ads according to TiVo’s Q3 2016 Video Trends Report. The bulk of respondents (83.3 per cent) were willing to watch one to four commercials in a 30-minute period. Of those uninterested in a free service with commercials, it is interesting to note that 14.3 per cent are open to commercials if content is personalised to their interests and/or viewing preferences.

Widespace Launches Full-Stack Programmatic Ad Platform for Mobile Branding
Widespace has launched Summit, a full-stack programmatic ad platform and automated marketplace designed specifically to deliver branding campaigns on mobile, which currently features few native programmatic solutions.

Hulu Acquires The Video Genome Project Technology
Hulu has acquired The Video Genome Project’s contextual attribution technology for an undisclosed sum. Hulu will combine The VGP’s proprietary technology with its recommendation engine.

BT to Transform YouView TV Service
BT has revealed plans to transform its BT TV service over the coming months, introducing a new, image-rich user experience with easy access to channels, on demand content and a new BT TV App. The service will enable customers to manage their recordings and stream live and on demand programmes on mobile devices.

Viacom Buys Telefe for $345m
Viacom has agreed a deal with Spanish telco Telefónica to acquire Televisión Federal (Telefe), one of the main free-to-air channels in Argentina, by Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN). The transaction has been concluded for a total amount of $345 million (€321.6m) in cash.

Videocon d2h to Merge with Dish TV
India’s Videocon d2h pay-TV operation will “amalgamate” with Essel Group’s Dish TV. A statement says that “the board of directors of both the companies have approved a scheme of arrangement for the amalgamation of Videocon d2h into Dish TV and the execution of definitive agreements in relation to such amalgamation.”

Tele Columbus Q3 up 60 Per Cent
Tele Columbus, the third largest German cable operator, has reported that Q3 revenues grew by 59.9 per cent from €73.9 million to €118.2 million year on year due to consolidation effect of primacom and pepcom.

Altice Eyes Portugal’s Media Capital
Spanish media group Prisa is planning to sell its Portuguese unit Media Capital, which owns national broadcaster TVI, production company Plural and Radio Comercial.

US Pay-TV Services Cut Sub Losses
The top ten pay-TV services in the US lost 73,000 subscribers between them in the third quarter of 2016. The number may have been bigger, but DISH Network changed the way it calculates commercial customers, turning a net subscriber loss into an apparent gain according to the informitv Multiscreen Index.

Greece to Restart TV Auction
A compromise agreement amongst Greek politicians will see the nation’s National Broadcasting Council for Radio & Television (NCRTV) re-established and reporting to Greece’s president, thereby bypassing parliamentary supervision. It means that the NCRTV can now re-start the highly-controversial auction process for four available TV nationwide channels.

Visible World Wins Second Emmy Award for Innovation in Advanced TV Technology
The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS), has awarded Visible World its second Emmy Award, for innovation in Targeted Linear Advertising.

Partnerships of the Week:

Tremor Video’s Seller Platform Selected by BBC Advertising
The BBC has agreed to utilise Tremor Video’s Seller Platform to support its plans to conduct sales in multiple currencies.

This Week’s New Hires:

Ian Harman Joins SpotX
Ian Harman has been appointed Head of Demand for the UK and Southern Europe at SpotX. He joins them from Talenthouse in Los Angeles.

Index Exchange Announces Three Management Hires Across Global Markets
Index Exchange has appointed Luke Fenney in London as VP, Publisher Development; Melissa Gallo in New York as Senior Director, Client Services; and Ward Flock as Managing Director of Index’s West Coast region. Fenney joins Index from Rubicon Project, Gallo from the IAB and Flock from AppNexus.

Fischer to Succeed Rudas at RTL
RTL Group has announced the appointment of Andreas Fischer as RTL Group’s new Senior Vice President Business Development and Regional Operations CEE & Asia, effective January 1st 2017.

Mimi Turner Joins Vice Media
Vice Media has confirmed the appointment of Mimi Turner as Senior Vice President of Strategy. Turner joins them from The Lad Bible group.


Ad of the Week: Alzheimer’s Research UK, Santa Forgot, Aardman

Alzheimer’s doesn’t discriminate, which is why Alzheimer’s Research UK decided to make this emotional Christmas message. Beautiful animation by Aardman, with narration by Stephen Fry.

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