The WIR: Roku Launches Ad Marketplace, ProSieben and Discovery Partner for Streaming Service, and The Trade Desk Releases AI-Powered Media Planning Tools

In this week’s Week in Review: Roku opens up its data-powered targeting to media owners, ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery partner for a new German streaming platform, and The Trade Desk seeks to optimise media planning with AI. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Roku Launches Ad Marketplace
Streaming player producer Roku this week announced it’s launching an ad marketplace, Audience Marketplace, to allow media owners to sell targeted audiences on the Roku platform. Roku says the new marketplace will use its own first party data and ad tech to enable targeting of ads, and that advertisers will be able to buy both programmatically and through traditional direct deals. Fox, Turner and Viacom are among the media owners currently signed up to the new platform.

The company’s ad business has been one of its biggest drivers of growth in recent years, with revenue from ads and licensing fees now surpassing income from hardware sales.

ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery Partner for German Streaming Platform
Broadcasters ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery are partnering to build a new German streaming platform which will integrate ProSieben’s 7TV and maxdome services with Discovery’s Eurosport Player. The service will have both a free ad supported version and a paid ad-free version, with the paid version also offering exclusive access to certain sports and films. The two also plan to work together on content for the new platform, which they hope will reach 10 million users in its first two years.

ProSiebenSat.1 Group CEO Max Conze also invited rivals RTL, ARD and ZDF to join the new initiative, saying that together they could create “one German champion”.

The Trade Desk Launches New AI-Based Media Planning Tools
The Trade Desk launched three new products this week which it says will help advertisers improve their media planning by using AI to optimise where and when ads are shown. The first product, ‘Koa’, is a forecasting engine built on The Trade Desk’s data which it says will help buyers extend audience reach and spend more efficiently. The second product, ‘The Trade Desk Planner’, is a planning tool which is designed to help inform media planning strategies. Lastly, Megagon is a new user interface which will surface tailored insights from Koa.

In an interview with AdExchanger, TTD chief client officer Brian Stempeck said the new tools will be particularly helpful for boosting programmatic spend on emerging channels.

The Week in Tech

AT&T Confirms AppNexus Acquisition
US telecoms giant AT&T on Monday confirmed it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire ad tech company AppNexus for an undisclosed fee. AppNexus will be integrated into AT&T’s advertising and analytics unit, helping create what AT&T describes as “a foundation for a premium TV and video ad marketplace”. The deal follows AT&T’s completed acquisition of media conglomerate Time Warner two weeks ago, and is framed by AT&T advertising & analytics CEO Brian Lesser as way for the company to capitalise on its now-expanded library of premium video and TV content. Read the full story on VAN.

Google Retires DoubleClick and AdWords Brands
US search giant Google announced on Wednesday it is retiring the current branding for two of its digital ad products, DoubleClick and AdWords. The move is framed by Google as an effort to simply its suite of advertising services, making it easier for brands and advertisers unfamiliar with the digital advertising world to use Google’s products.Google’s senior vice president for ads Sridhar Ramaswamy said this morning that the previous branding had been confusing for new advertisers, and as a result three new brands have been introduced to replace the AdWords and DoubleClick products: Google Ads, Google Ad Manager and Google Marketing Platform. Read the full story on VAN.

Ligatus Enters UK Market
Native advertising specialist Ligatus announced on Tuesday that it’s fully operational in the UK market, with the first publishers and native advertising campaigns having been rolled out on both a managed and programmatic basis. Ligatus expanded its presence in the UK market in May last year as it hired Alex McIlvenny as UK country manager, and has since hired Alex Newberry as head of publishers, David Mensah as operations lead, and Matthew Larking as head of sales. The company says it has signed key partnerships with leading UK partners, adding to its existing international portfolio which includes Le Monde, Zeit Online, and IlSole24Ore.

Sublime Skinz Announces New Programmatic Guaranteed Solution
Sublime Skinz on Tuesday announced the launch of its new ‘Programmatic Guaranteed‘ solution, which it says will enable advertisers and trading desks to guarantee advertising placements for multi-device campaigns across its network of partner sites through the buyer’s demand side platform (DSP). The new model allows programmatic buyers and publishers to agree on predetermined criteria for an ad purchase, with the buyer agreeing to pay a fixed price and the seller agreeing to meet the buyer’s audience needs.

Meetrics Adds Viewability Metrics for YouTube Ads
Viewability solution Meetrics announced on Tuesday that viewability metrics reporting for YouTube ads and Google Video Partners across all devices is now available on its platform. At launch, Meetrics will offer industry standard viewability measurement for YouTube video ads (checking that at least 50 percent of the ad’s pixels are on screen for two or more consecutive seconds), though further metrics including audibility and viewable time will apparently soon be available too.

OpenX Continues APAC Expansion
Programmatic advertising platform OpenX announced plans to continue its expansion in the APAC region with the opening of a Singapore office which will serve as a regional hub for the company. OpenX says its investments in APAC will continue throughout 2018 with increased headcount and expansion into additional markets, including Australia. “Digital media, and in particular mobile advertising, has created a massive opportunity for advertisers, publishers and technology companies in Southeast Asia and the growth of programmatic technology is opening up even greater possibilities to drive consumer engagement at scale,” said Jason Fairchild, co-founder of OpenX.

The Week in TV

US Regulators Approve Disney-Fox Deal
US regulators this week gave the green light to Disney’s attempted takeover of the majority of 21st Century Fox’s assets so long as Disney sells off Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, which Disney has previously said it would be willing to do. The decision removes one of the final barriers in the way of Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition, though it will still need to be approved by international regulators too. Meanwhile Comcast has yet to decide whether it will raise its current offer in an attempt to match Disney’s.

Gray TV Buys Raycom in $3.65 Billion Deal
US broadcaster Gray TV has agreed to acquire rival Raycom for $3.65 billion, the company announced this week. The acquisition is part of an effort by Gray TV to extend its reach in the local TV market, with the deal more than doubling Gray’s penetration to 24 percent of US TV-owning households.

Mediaset Considers Creation of Pan-European Broadcaster
Italy’s Mediaset is exploring the idea of creating a pan-European broadcaster designed to take on traditional rivals like Vivendi, as well as digital competitors such as Netflix. “A group like ours, strongly anchored to the Italian and Spanish markets, needs to look at a perspective of international growth … in Europe,” said Mediaset chairman Fedele Confalonieri at a shareholder meeting, according to a Reuters report. Confalonieri said that while such a strategy would have seemed impossible until recently, his company would be willing to take the lead on any efforts to create a pan-Europea broadcaster (though he ruled out Vivendi as a potential partner).

TF1 Files Lawsuit Against Canal
France’s TF1 is taking Canal+ to court after the two have failed to reach a distribution agreement to see TF1’s TV channels broadcast over Canal’s satellite and IPTV services. TF1 was met with resistance from a number of broadcasting services due to the amount TF1 wanted to charge for carriage of its channels. TF1 has managed to reach deals with all but Canal+, and now is taking legal action as it says Canal+ has been distributing TF1’s channels without its authorisation. The case will be heard by the regional court of Nanterre.

Fox Bolsters Slimmed Down Offering with WWE Deal
Fox this week signed a five year deal with professional wresting company WWE for the rights to broadcast WWE’s ‘SmackDown Live.’ Though the value of this deal specifically has not been disclosed, WWE says the average annual rights fees for SmackDown and Raw (WWE’s other weekly show) have risen to $468 million. The deal is significant as Fox looks to bolster its offering after the majority of its assets are bought by either Disney or Comcast. The new, slimmed down Fox will be focussed largely on Fox’s news and sports broadcasting.

The Week in Publishing

UK Inquiry Calls for Evidence on Sustainability of Journalism
A UK inquiry into the sustainability of high quality journalism has issued a call for evidence to help guide its review. The Cairncross review, chaired by Dame Frances Cairncross, is in part looking at how digital advertising has affected the state of high quality journalism in the UK, as well as the role played by search engines and social media platforms. The review issues specific questions around whether digital ad revenue is sufficient to support high quality journalism, how the digital ad market affects the ability of news publishers to monetise content, and whether the digital ad market influences what news people see.

YouTube Adds Memberships and Merchandising for Creators
YouTube has added new tools to its platform this week which allow creators to sell memberships costing $4.99 per month, and to sell merchandise directly through their YouTube accounts as well. The move is seen by some as an effort to appease creators who have seen their ad revenue fall after YouTube’s tightening of its brand safety features, and who have turned to platforms like Patreon to make up the difference. Channel memberships will enable creators to put access to bonus features like badges, emojis and extra videos behind a paywall, while the new merchandising feature will allow creators to partner with YouTube and Teespring to develop 20 custom merchandise products.

Reach Merges Trinity Mirror and Norther & Shell Media Sales Teams
UK publishing group Reach (until recently called Trinity Mirror) has merged its Trinity Mirror Solutions sales team with that of its recently acquired Northern & Shell. The new operation will be led by chief revenue officer Andy Atkinson. “The newly combined sales team will give advertisers access to over 45 million people in the UK a month,” said Atkinson. “As well as this valuable scale the portfolio represents diversity via nine politically and culturally different national news brands, the opportunity to reach people in the most trusted media environment via our 140 regional newspapers, and brand safety via our network of 60 professionally produced websites.”

The Week for Agencies

Omnicom Wins Holding Group of the Year at Cannes
Omnicom broke WPP’s seven year winning streak at the Cannes Lions festival to earn the prize of top holding company at the final awards ceremony on Friday night. WPP has won the top prize every year since it was introduced in 2011, but this year took second place, with IPG rounding out the top three. Meanwhile Omnicom’s BBDO won network of the year for the seventh time, and its Adam & Eve DDB London won agency of the year.

WPP Brings In Lawyers to Track Down Source of Email Leaks
WPP has hired two external law firms, Slaughter and May and Milbank, to investigate the source of emails sent to current and former WPP staff which contain extracts of private messages exchanged over WhatsApp. The emails contained snippets of conversations between current and former WPP staff, and were reportedly intended to intimidate those they were sent to, according to a report from the Financial Times. Some of the messages contain information about former CEO Sir Martin Sorrell’s travel arrangements, and the company’s bonus plan.

Unilever Tests New Agency Collaboration Model
Unilever is testing a new model for working with ad agencies in which it is pulling talent from different agencies holding groups and pooling them together to work on briefs. Unilever’s CMO Keith Weed announced the tests at a press event at Cannes, saying that he’s aiming to make the company’s marketing more coherent and effective. The move is similar to strategy being tested by P&G, except P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard is experimenting with pulling talent from across different holding groups, ad opposed to from different agencies within the same holding group.

Partnerships of the Week

ITV Partners with TVT for Global Media Services
UK broadcaster ITV has picked media management services company TVT to provide a content management platform for the company. TVT will manage ITV’s content through its ContentSelect media management platform, which TVT chief executive Ian Brotherson says will ensure live, end-to-end visibility for both teams in preparing and tracking all media assets for distribution in the UK.

Liberty Global Taps Cisco for Refresh of Customer Service Experience
Telecoms company Liberty Global has chosen Cisco to manage a refresh of its customer service experience across its markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, in an effort to provide “the best possible customer and employee experience”. Liberty Global will begin using the Cisco Unified Contact Centre Enterprise system, which it hopes will simplify its contact centre operations and drive down operating costs.

Hires of the Week

Oath Appoints Anna Watkins as New UK Managing Director
Oath announced on Tuesday that it’s hired Anna Watkins as UK managing director and country commercial director. Watkins worked most recently as global CEO and director of Mofilm, and will be responsible in this new role for the promotion of Oath’s advertising solutions to brands and agencies.

The Week on Van

Gone in Six Seconds – Making Connections Short and Sweet, read more on VAN

AT&T Confirms AppNexus Acquisition, read more on VAN

Who Invented What in Ad Tech? – Part Two, read more on VAN

Google Retires DoubleClick and AdWords Brands, read more on VAN

GDPR: Who are the Winners and Losers One Month On? read more on VAN

Outcome-based Marketing will Require a Cross-Industry Co-operation on Measurement says Nielsen’s Toni Petra, read more on VAN

Advertisers Face Limitations and Strategic Risks by Investing in Walled Gardens says Taboola’s Singolda, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Unstereotype Alliance, The Problem is Not Seeing the Problem, MullenLowe London

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