In this week’s Week in Review: Google faces a class action lawsuit over illegal data harvesting, IAB Europe launches a new technical standard to ensure GDPR compliance, and Meredith Corp buys Time Inc. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Google Accused of Illegal Data Harvesting
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Google in the UK accusing the company of illegally harvesting data of 5.4 million iPhone users to feed into its DoubleClick service. The complaint, filed by former Which? director Richard Lloyd, states that Google embedded code in iPhones which allowed it to bypass security settings and gain access to data on users’ internet activity. Lloyd believes that affected iPhone users should be entitled to around £300 if the court finds in his favour, which would amount to a £1.62 billion penalty for Google. Google says it has fought similar cases before, and does not believe that this case has merit.
IAB Europe Launches GDPR Standard
IAB Europe this week presented a new technical standard to help publishers, advertisers and ad tech companies meet the user consent requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force in Europe next year. IAB says the technical mechanism will help companies handling data make more robust disclosures, as well as obtain, record and update consumers’ consent for their personal data to be processed in line with the GDPR. User consent choices will be passed to the supply chain, which IAB claims will increase accountability in the advertising ecosystem.
Meredith Corp buys Time Inc for $1.85bn
Meredith Corp has agreed a takeover deal with Time Inc. which will see them pay $1.85bn as well as taking on the company’s existing debt, it revealed this week. The deal is being partially funded by $650m of equity from the Koch brothers, known for their libertarian views and political lobbying, though the Koch investment group which is providing the funding will not have a seat on the board. The takeover will bring the combined company’s readership to around 135 million, with a digital audience of roughly 170 million monthly unique views in the US. The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is expected to close in Q1 next year.
The Week in Tech
AppNexus to Strictly Enforce ads.txt on both DSPs
AppNexus will be enforcing IAB’s ads.txt initiative on both of its DSPs from January 24th next, it announced this week. Once a publisher adopts ads.txt, both Console DSP and the AppNexus Programmable Platform will disable buying from parties that are not directly identified through the publisher’s ads.txt files as authorised resellers. This will be non-optional for buyers. AppNexus reports that publishers are adopting ads.txt at a high rate, saying it’s seen a 400 percent increase in publisher adoption on its platform over the last six weeks.
Amazon Launches Video Content Recognition Offering
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled a new video content recognition offering, Amazon Rekognition Video, which uses deep learning to identify objects and people either in stored video or in a live stream. The new product was announced at Amazon’s AWS re:Invent event in Las Vegas alongside a host of other cloud-based AI-driven products, and will be another option for publishers looking into video content recognition for content filtering and brand safety assurance. AWS also released a suite of new tools to help companies create and monetise online video products. Called Amazon Media Services, the new product provides five cloud based services for processing and delivering live and on-demand video content, including storage, ad insertion tools and transcoding. Read more on VAN
Affinio Raises $9m in Series B Funding
Consumer analytics company Affinio announced that it has raised $9 million in a Series B funding round, which it says will be used for product integrations with DMPs and DSPs. CEO and co-founder Tim Burke told AdExchanger that his company aims to help marketers formulate data so they can make strategic decisions without relying on data scientists and custom queries for analysing large data sets.
OpenX Sees Mobile Business More than Double in Q1 2017
OpenX this week announced significant growth in its mobile business in the first half of 2017, recording 150% growth in net revenue year-over-year. This growth follows a period of investment by the company in mobile, but also shows that advertisers are taking to mobile with enthusiasm. The company also announced the release of the latest version of its mobile SDK, which it says optimises for video formats to enable publishers and app developers to better monetise their mobile apps with video.
Half of Brands see Video as Key Driver of Further Programmatic Investment says IAB
The ability to connect with audiences via programmatic video advertising is seen as a key driver of further investment in programmatic advertising by 49 percent of advertisers, compared to 19 percent last year. The data was release today in IAB Europe’s ‘Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising’ report which also showed that advertisers and agencies are becoming more aware of programmatic trading’s benefits beyond targeting efficiency, and that programmatic stakeholders are increasingly keen to take programmatic in-house. Read more on VAN
Over One Million VR Headsets Shipped in Q3 says Canalys
Shipments of VR headsets exceeded one million in Q3 this year, the first time sales have topped the one million mark in single quarter says Canalys. Sales figures show the market is dominated by Sony, Oculus and HTC who accounted for 86 percent of shipments.
The Week in TV
UK Broadcasters Unite to Promote TV Advertising
Sky, Channel 4 and ITV are uniting to launch ‘The Big TV Festival’, an event next February which aims to highlight to marketers the benefits of TV advertising. The event will run sessions talking about TV shows, their audiences, and what they can offer brands, highlighting new formats and opportunities for advertises. “The Festival will bring to life the power of TV for advertisers” says the press release. “It will explore why TV advertising has never been more essential for brand reach and awareness, underlining its status as the safest, highest quality and most trusted environment for marketing budgets.”
BBC Studios and BBC Worldwide to Merge
The BBC has announced its decision to merge BBC Worldwide, its commercial arm, and BBC Studios, its production company, into one single entity. The new business will be headed up by Chief Executive Tim Davie, while BBC Studios’ director Mark Linsey will become Chief Creative Officer. “Creating a single BBC Studios will bring the BBC in line with the industry, be simpler and more efficient,” said BBC director general Tony Hall. “It will help ensure that licence fee payers in the UK continue to receive outstanding British programmes which reflect British lives, long into the future. It will also ensure the BBC can continue to play its crucial role in supporting the successful UK creative economy.”
Sky CEO Calls for Regulation Crackdown on “Digital Wild West”
Sky’s CEO Jeremy Darroch has called for the EU to implement stricter regulations against US tech companies, claiming that they are given lenience which creates an uneven playing field and makes it tough for European broadcasters to compete. Darroch attacked the current lack of regulation in a speech at Tallinn Black Nights Film festival yesterday evening, which was followed up today with an article posted to Sky’s website in which he suggested that there should be a set of principles of accountability similar to those outlined by the UK’s Ofcom for broadcasters. Read more on VAN
The Week in Publishing
Buzzfeed Lays Off Staff and Shifts Away from Native Ads
Buzzfeed has laid off around 100 staff members as part of a shift away from native advertising, towards more diversified revenue streams. Buzzfeed has previously focused solely on branded content, but has begun experimenting with non-native advertising, which now accounts for 25 percent of its revenue. With the publisher reportedly expecting to fall 15-20 percent short of its 2017 revenue targets, it is now being pushed further along the non-native route.
Snapchat Launches Promoted Stories
Snapchat has launched a new ad format for its picture messaging app, called Promoted Stories. Any user can upload a story, a collection of photos and videos taken via the app which can be viewed by their followers, but brands are now be able to push their stories out to all Snapchat users in a given country. The new ad format comes as Snapchat tries to bring more advertisers on board following disappointing Q3 results.
Facebook Clarifies Advertising Principles
In the midst of ongoing concern about Russian bodies’ use of Facebook for meddling in the US presidential election, Facebook has asserted its advertising principles via a blog post. The post laid out Facebook’s stance on a few issues, saying that it doesn’t sell users’ data, that it aims to be transparent, and that it’s advertising shouldn’t discriminate.
The Week for Agencies
KPMG Australia Sets Up CMO Advisory Business
Management consultancy KPMG has set up a CMO advisory business, the latest consultancy to step into agency territory. Carmen Bekker, who has previously worked for WPP agency J Walter Thompson London and Saatchi & Saatchi, has joined KPMG’s Customer, Brand & Marketing Advisory business which launched earlier this year, and will head up a new CMO advisory practice. “Our rapid growth since we launched our practice has proven there is increasing demand for new approaches in Australia’s marketing landscape. The launch of a new CMO Advisory practice under Carmen will take our business to the next level as we move into 2018,” said Paul Howes who heads up the Customer Brand & Marketing Advisory.
Accenture Wins Maserati Contract
Accenture has been taken on as Maserati’s first global experience agency client, a contract which marks another step into adland from the consultancy. The Accenture Interactive will work on digital brand strategy, digital advertising, digital content production, campaign management and analytics services, demonstrating its intentions to provide a wide range of marketing services to clients.
Partnerships of the Week
Zoomin.TV and Musical.ly Join for Content Partnership
Lip-synching app Musical.ly has partnered with video publisher Zoomin.TV to diversify its content, hosting Zoomin.TV-produced Gen Z oriented videos on its app.“We are excited to be one of the first publishers to work with Musical.ly as they expand and diversify their content offering to make it an everyday destination for Gen Z” says Zoomin.TV’s North America CEO Craig Galvin. “Not only is it crucial for us to be where our audience is, it is also imperative that we learn and activate off the back of their real-time reactions. Much like we do on our other social platforms, we monitor the way users engage with our content, which in turn helps inform our strategy going forward and provides valuable insights into what the younger generation are truly engaged with.”
Hires of the Week
Peter Mears Appointed Havas Group Media CEO
Havas Group Media has named Peter Mears, who joined the company earlier this year as global COO, as its new CEO. He replaces Alfonso Rodés, who will take the position of chairman to advise and assist Mears.
Jeff Wachtel Names NBCU International Studios President
NBCUniversal International Studios has taken on Jeff Wachtel as its president, it announced this week. Wachtel, who was previously chief content officer for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, will handle TV development, production and partnerships.
Viacom Picks Melody Tan as COO
Viacom International Media Networks has appointed Melody Tan as COO, while the previous COO Jose Tolosa has taken on a new role as chief transformation officer for Viacom Inc.
Ketchum Promotes Barri Rafferty to CEO
Ketchum has chosen to promote its global president Barri Rafferty to the role of global CEO, replacing current CEO Rob Flaherty. Rafferty, who has been with Ketchum since 1994, will begin her new role from the beginning of 2018.
The Week on Van
Half of Brands see Video as Key Driver of Further Programmatic Investment says IAB, read more on VAN
Sky CEO Calls for Regulation Crackdown on “Digital Wild West”, read more on VAN
Brexit Worries over Talent Loss and Data Regulation for ISBA and P&G, read more on VAN
Amazon Launches Video Content Recognition Offering, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Samsung, Giving is a gift to be shared, Adam&EveDDB
Samsung’s ad keeps its story simple, making it easy to follow and understand its message, and celebrates a whole range of holidays rather than sticking with just Christmas.