The WIR: AppNexus Launches Guaranteed Views, Reports Emerge of FBI Investigation of Ad Industry, and AT&T Completes Time Warner Takeover

In this week’s Week in Review: AppNexus launches ‘Guaranteed Views’ for its programmatic marketplace, Campaign reports that the FBI is investigating the ad industry, and AT&T completes its $80 billion takeover of Time Warner. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
Ad tech company AppNexus today announced the launch of ‘Guaranteed Views’, a programmatic marketplace product which it claims enables ad buyers to pay only for ads measured as viewable. AppNexus says this makes it the first programmatic product outside of Facebook and Google to enable 100 percent viewable buying at scale. Guaranteed view uses view prediction technology to determine impression values, according to a statement from AppNexus, and AppNexus will take on the financial risk, paying the publisher a CPM on every impression even though buyers only pay for viewed ads. The functionality is available via AppNexus’ DSP and in closed beta on The Trade Desk, and will reportedly be rolled out on further DSPs in the coming months.

FBI Reportedly Investigating Agencies
The US Federal Bureau of Investigations is potentially investigating the ad industry, with media buying agencies the focus of its investigations according to a report from Campaign on Thursday. Campaign claims to have heard from multiple sources that the FBI has been asking for help from people with knowledge of the ad industry in recent months, and speculates the investigation may be related to the report released in 2016 by private investigators K2 Intelligence on non-transparent practices at US media agencies.

“With this backdrop of activity, the release of the K2 report and the DOJ investigation into commercial production bidding practices which was made known in late 2016, it always seemed as if there was a high likelihood that there could be some kind of investigation on the media agency business,” said industry analyst Brian Wieser. “While the news today is not very specific, it does indicate that headline risks are still a factor for the agency holding companies.”

AT&T Completes $80 Billion Time Warner Acquisition
US telecoms giant AT&T this week completed its $80 billion takeover of entertainment conglomeration Time Warner after the move was cleared by a US district court judge on Tuesday. The US Department of Justice has sued to prevent the deal, as the Trump administration feared the takeover would harm consumers, but Judge Richard Leon said the evidence given in the case suggested the deal would reduce costs for AT&T customers, and not harm subscribers to other services. The approval is expected to kick off a succession of other mergers and acquisitions between telecoms and media companies, with Comcast having said its interest in buying Sky was predicated on the AT&T deal going through.

The Week in Tech

Telaria Buys SlimCut
Video advertising software company Telaria this week announced the acquisition of SlimCut, specialists in outstream solutions, for an undisclosed fee. SlimCut’s platform includes an outstream video solution and a publisher-side ad server, with the acquisition also bolstering Telaria’s presence in Canada and France thanks to SlimCut’s publisher presence in those countries. SlimCut co-founders Damien Véran and Thomas Davy will join Telaria to contribute to the growth of SlimCut with Telaria, and the company will rebrand to ‘SlimCut, powered by Telaria’.

Tremor Video DSP Launches Brand Protection Plan for Programmatic Video Industry
Programmatic video platform Tremor Video DSP on Tuesday launched a new three-point brand protection plan which it says will help ensure brand safety, combat ad fraud and police the supply chain for programmatic video. Tremor says the plan includes brand safety powered by tools including Grapeshot’s brand safety tech, real time fraud verification though partners like DoubleVerify, and supply chain transparency.

VIOOH Launches as New Programmatic OOH Ad Platform
VIOOH, a new out-of-home (OOH) platform which claims to combine automation, programmatic and traditional buying models, launched in the UK and US on Tuesday. Backed by outdoor advertising business JCDecaux, the platform will launch with JCDecaux inventory in the UK and US, but VIOOH plans to expand to other markets and more media owners, according to a company statement. VIOOH says it has partnered with DSPs including Adform, Scoota and MediaMath, and is in discussion with AppNexus and Vistar.

Marin Software Launches Cross-Channel Advertising Platform
Marketing software company Marin Software on Tuesday launched the latest version of its cross-channel advertising platform, MarinOne. Marin Software says the new product will enable advertisers to report, analyse and optimise campaigns and audiences across search and social publishers, and that the platform will charge a flat fee, rather than a percentage of digital ad spend.

NYIAX Raises $5.65 Million in Seed Funding
Blockchain-based digital ad marketplace NYIAX (New York Interactive Stock Exchange) this week announced it has raised $5.65 million in seed funding in a round led by WestPark Capital, bringing the company’s total funding to $16 million.

Teads Launches New Performance Offering
Outstream specialist Teads launched a new product this week, Teads True Visits, which it says will identify and attract new visitors to advertisers’ websites. The offering will use a buying model which Teads is calling CPiV, or cost per incremental visitor, where brands pay only for new visitors, excluding those who have previously visited the brand’s domain.

Exponential Unveils Performance-Based Video Solution VDX Connect
Digital advertising company Exponential released a new video solution this week called VDX Connect which it says will include accountability to performance metrics, as measured by last-view or other attribution models. VDX Connect includes various media formats such as VDX In-Frame and VDX Expandable, which are both available for mobile and desktop. The solution also includes VDXInteractive Pre-Roll for desktop, according to the press release.

The Week in TV

Comcast Makes $65 Billion Bid for Fox
Following AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner being cleared by a US court on Tuesday, Comcast stepped up its pursuit of 21st Century Fox with a $65 billion offer for Fox’s assets. Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said he was confident regulators would allow his company to buy the majority of Fox’s media assets, following the approval of the AT&T deal. Fox said it will review Comcast’s offer, setting up a potential bidding war between Comcast and Disney, whose own bid is currently significantly lower than Comcast’s.

UK Broadcasters Take Step Unite for Freeview Investment
UK broadcasters the BBC, ITV and Channel 4, alongside network operator Aquiva, this week signed a deal to invest £125 million in digital terrestrial television platform Freeview over the next five years. The funding will help drive development of Freeview’s connected-TV service Freeview Play, and will also fund the creation of a mobile app and improvements in content discoverability and navigation. The move by the three broadcasters is framed as a response to the threat posed by online competitors like Netflix, and is seen by some as a step towards a united streaming service between the three companies.

BBC and Channel 4 Call for Public Broadcaster Protection
BBC director general Tony Hall and Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon called for new legislation this week to protect the prominence of UK public broadcasters, amid digital disruption of the media industry. Speaking in front of the UK Parliament, Hall and Mahon asked the government to take action to help ensure public broadcasters can still reach audiences, particularly younger generations. Both seemed to suggest that regulation might be necessary to help ensure that content from public service broadcasters get surfaced before other content on digital platforms.

ITV and FA Test Virtual Stadium Ads
UK broadcaster ITV and the English Football Association (FA) tested a new virtual ad format during this week’s World Cup warm up game between England and Costa Rica, according to The Drum. The FA partnered with ad tech company Supponor to use its Virtual Replacement Technology during the game, which digitally overlayed ads on top of the pitch-side LED displays around the pitch perimeter, allowing different ads to be shown in different regions.

German Pay-VOD Sales Growing Faster than Ever
The paid video on-demand (VOD) market in Germany is growing faster than ever according to a study published by Gold Media, which says that at the end of 2017, 18 percent of all German households had at least one fee-based video service. The research predicts that total revenue from paid VOD services will reach €2.5 billion by 2023, compared to €1.1 billion last year.

The Week in Publishing

Reddit Introduces Video Ads
Social news aggregation site Reddit this week announced the arrival of native video ads on its platform, continuing the company’s recent expansion of its offering for advertisers. The video ads will appear in a users’ feed alongside user-posted content, and will autoplay when scrolled past, though with the sound off. The new format will be available to managed partners next week, and through a self-serve platform within the next few months. Reddit is also contemplating introducing programmatic buying to its platform, and VP of brand partnerships Zubair Jandali said that if Reddit does roll out programmatic, video will be included.

Use of Social Media for News is Falling, finds Reuters
The use of social media for reading and sharing news is down six percentage point year-on-year in the US, and is also down in the UK and France according to the Reuters 2018 Digital News Report. However, messaging apps like Facebook’s WhatsApp are taking their place in many cases, with around half of those surveyed in Malaysia and Brazil using WhatsApp for news. The report also found that the majority believe that publishers (74 percent) and platforms (71 percent) have the biggest responsibility to fix problems of fake and unreliable news.

Snapchat’s Ad Prices Fall
Snapchat’s prices for ads on its platform have fallen dramatically over the past two years, according to a report by AdAge. The photo and video sharing app was charging $20 per a thousand impressions for video ads around a year ago according to the report, whereas now ad tech firm 4C says Snapchat ads on average cost $2.95 per thousand impressions. This is significantly lower than competitors like Instagram, which charges $4.20 per thousand impressions, and Facebook, which charges $5.12 on its app.

Instagram Adds Shopping Functionality to Stories
Photo and video sharing platform Instagram has added shopping capabilities to Instagram stories, one if its formats for users and brands to post content for followers to see. Brands are now able to add a shopping bag icon to their stories which, when tapped on, can lead users to the brand’s store. This functionality was already available in the Instagram feed, but provides another venue for brands to try to activate sales via the platform.

The Week for Agencies

WPP Shareholders Challenge Board of Directors Over Sorrell Exit
WPP’s shareholders revolted against the holding group’s board of directors this week as they showed their frustrations with the way the company has handled the departure of ex-CEO Sir Martin Sorrell. Around a third did not support WPP’s remuneration report, which sets out the shares bonuses Sorrell will pick up having left the company, and 17 percent refused to back the reelection of Roberto Quarta as chairman of the board. The vote followed allegations which emerged last weekend that WPP’s internal probe into Sorrell’s conduct had included investigation into claims Sorrell had used company funds to pay a sex worker.

Over 60 Percent of Marketers Plan to Use Video in 2019
While 56 percent of marketers use video in their marketing strategies today, 61 percent plan to use it in 2019 according to new research released by AI-powered video creation platform Wibbitz. Wibbitz surveyed over 1000 marketers earlier this year for the study, and also found that 60 percent of marketers pay to promote their video content on social media channels, with Facebook being the most commonly used.


Hires of the Week

Chrstian Dankl Joins Precise TV as Chairman
Chrstian Dankl, previously CEO of AdVOD as ProSiebenSat.1, has joined Precise TV as chairman. Dankle co-founded the company back in 2015 and has served as a member of the board since then, but will now be with Precise TV full time as he oversees the company’s global expansion and product development.

Chris Holmes Appointed Deputy Chairman of Channel 4
Ofcom announced on Thursday that Chris Holmes, already a non-executive director of Channel 4, has been appointed as deputy chairman of the company. Holmes has served on Channel 4’s board since late 2016, and replaces MT Rainey in his new position.

The Week on Van

Claims of Ad Tech Transparency Should be Backed Up with Evidence says Telaria’s Mark Zagorski, read more on VAN

Will We See a Broadcaster Exodus Post-Brexit? read more on VAN

Channel 4 Becomes First UK Broadcaster to Partner with Google Assistant, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

All England Lawn Tennis Club, In Pursuit of Greatness, McCann London
It may be World Cup week, but this ad for Wimbledon was this week’s most eye catching spot, telling the history of the tournament through a variety of beautiful styles of animation.

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