The WiR: Fox Invests $100 Million in Live Streaming Startup, Mindshare Launches First Blockchain Programmatic Alliance Prototype, and Amazon Unifies its Ad Products

In this week’s Week in Review: Fox invests $100 million in new live-streaming platform Caffeine, Mindshare announces the first fruits of its blockchain programmatic alliance, and Amazon unifies its suite of ad services under ‘Amazon Advertising’. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Fox Invests $100 Million in Streaming Platform Caffeine
21st Century Fox has invested $100 million in Caffeine, a live-streaming platform which seeks to rival the likes of YouTube and Twitch. 21st Century Fox’s co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch will join Caffeine’s board as part of the deal, and the $100 million will be split between Caffeine and a new joint venture formed by Caffeine and Fox which will create live events and programming for the platform, according to the FT. These assets will reportedly remain a part of the ‘new Fox’ which will form after the bulk of Fox’s entertainment business is bought by Disney.

Mindshare Launches First Prototype for its Blockchain Programmatic Alliance
Mindshare has announced its first prototype for its blockchain programmatic alliance called ‘Project Proton’, with MediaMath, Rubicon Project and Integral Ad Science all signed on as partners. Mindshare, alongside blockchain tech company Zilliqa, launched the programmatic alliance earlier this year with a view to exploring blockchain’s uses within digital advertising. Project Proton will aim to create a ‘smart contract’ system compatible with programmatic trading, according to a statement from Mindshare.

“There are many claims and speculations on the applicability of this technology to our business,” said Minshare AMENA’s chief development officer Gowthaman Ragothaman. “Project Proton is designed to test this, particularly in the areas of building consensus and managing high throughput.”

Amazon Unifies Advertising Brands
Amazon announced this week it is unifying all its advertising services into one brand, Amazon Advertising, retiring its separate brands Amazon Media Group (AMG), Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), and Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP) in the process. “This is one step towards our goal of providing advertising solutions that are simple and intuitive for the hundreds of thousands of advertisers who use our products to help grow their business,” said Paul Kotas, SVP of Amazon Advertising. The rebranding also includes a renaming of several products within Amazon Advertising, with what was previously called Amazon Advertising Platform renamed to Amazon DSP.

The Week in Tech

Google Misses Own Deadline for IAB Consent Framework Implementation
Google has missed a self-imposed deadline for implementing IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework, a framework for gaining consent in a GDPR compliant way, according to AdExchanger. Google had told concerned publishers and ad tech companies that it’s own consent mechanism, ‘Funding Choices’, would be compatible with the IAB’s standard by August, but that deadline has now passed, and Google has set no new timeline in which it expects the framework to be implemented.

Integral Ad Science Launches New Video Blocking Solution
Integral Ad Science (IAS), this week expanded its video capabilities with a new tag that builds upon IAS blocking technology for desktop and mobile web. IAS says the solution will help advertisers eliminate wasted spend, as they are not charged ad serving or media fees for a blocked impression. The solution is designed to give IAS clients additional protection from ad fraud and risky content in video advertising, regardless of the ad server used, according to the announcement.

Pixability Announces Launch Of Video Creative Decisioning Engine
Pixability this week launched its new ‘video decisioning engine’, a tool which it says will help marketers connect the right combination of creative and targeting with their audiences. The ‘Video Creative Decisioning Engine’ will use AI to help deliver the right creative to the optimal mix of personas and contexts, according to a statement from Pixability.

Amagi Debuts New Platform for Broadcasting Live Events
Amagi this week announced the launch of BLIZZARD, a centralised, on-demand, broadcast-grade live events orchestration service platform. Amagi says BLIZZARD streamlines live broadcast management, and will help make broadcasting live events more accessible to smaller media companies. “By moving the entire live orchestration to the cloud, Amagi BLIZZARD platform makes live broadcasting simpler and cost-effective yet delivering the same on-premises superlative content experience for the viewers,” said Deepakjit Singh, CEO of Amagi. 

AdForm Expands into China, Australia and Dubai
Adform continued its global expansion this week as it announced the opening of new offices in China, Australia, and Dubai, with additional expansion planned in the near future. The company has expanded into nine new markets over the last three years alone, which the company says has helped it maintain strong year-on-year growth.

The Week in TV

UK Broadcasters Call for Social Media Regulation
Chief Executives from a number of the UK’s top broadcasters and telcos this weekend called on the government to establish an independent regulator to oversee social media companies. In a joint letter to the Sunday Times, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, BBC director-general Lord Hall of Birkenhead, ITV chief executive Carolyn McCall, Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon, BT chief executive Gavin Patterson and TalkTalk CEO Tristia Harrison argued that there is “an urgent need for independent scrutiny of the decisions taken” by the tech giants. Read the full story on VAN.

CBS Negotiates CEO Moonves Exit Package Amid Power Struggle
CBS Corp’s board is reportedly negotiating an exit package worth up to $100 million with CEO Les Moonves amid a power struggle between CBS and its largest shareholder National Amusements, owned by Shari Redstone. CBS and Redstone are reportedly negotiating a deal which would put a two year freeze on talks over a CBS-Viacom merger, which Redstone has been trying to push through. Meanwhile, Moonves’ possible exit follows allegations earlier this year of sexual harrasment by the CBS boss, and of creating a work environment harmful to women.

EU Prepares Local Content Quotas for SVOD Services
The EU is set to impose new laws on subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video which would require at least 30 percent of their content available in EU countries to be locally made. Roberto Viola, who heads up the Communication, Networks, Content and Technology Directorate at the European Commission, told Variety that a final vote on these new laws is required, but in his eyes this is “merely a formality”.

Investment from Amazon and Netflix Helps Fuel Growth in UK TV Production Sector
Commissions from international companies helped total revenues within the UK TV production sector reach a record £2.7 billion in 2017, aided in part by growing spending from the likes of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. The findings, released in the UK Television Production Survey released by trade association Pact highlights the dual effect these digital-first companies have on the UK’s TV sector, competing for audiences with traditional broadcasters while also pouring money into UK-based productions as part of their content spending sprees. Read the full story on VAN.

The Week in Publishing

Social Media Platforms Face Grilling in Congress
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey testified before a Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday on how their platforms have worked to counteract foreign attempts to influence and disrupt US politics. The two said they had increased their efforts to combat malicious interference from abroad, but several of the senators present seemed doubtful that they’d be able to deliver. “I’m sceptical that, ultimately, you’ll be able to truly address this challenge on your own. Congress is going to have to take action here,” said the committee’s top Democrat, Senator Mark Warner.

Telegraph Meets Three Million Registration Target Ahead of Time
The Telegraph’s CEO Nick Hugh revealed this week that the news publisher has hit its 2018 target of three million registered users four months ahead of schedule. The target was part of the company’s ‘registrations first’ strategy, which seeks to build a registered userbase of ten million. These registrations give the paper access to first party data which it can use to boost its ad offerings, particularly useful for monetising readers who are unable or unlikely to subscribe.

FreeWheel Council Calls for Definition of ‘Premium Video’
The FreeWheel Council for Premium Video Europe (FWCE) this week released its ‘Demystifying Premium’ position paper, in which it proposed a definition for premium video inventory to help advertisers understand the potential benefits of playing their ads alongside premium video inventory. The paper proposed that premium video suppliers are those which never compromise on the following:

  • Brand Safety
  • Transparency
  • Engagement
  • Trust
  • Quality Reach

Vimeo Launches Marketplace for Stock Video
Video hosting platform Vimeo this week announced the launch of Vimeo Stock, a new royalty-free stock marketplace which will feature footage sourced from Vimeo’s community of creators. The company says the marketplace will be pitched at “creative professionals, marketers, brands, agencies and businesses of all sizes”, and that those who contribute stock will receive 60-70 percent of revenue generated.  “Our goal is to set a new standard for creative footage, put more money in contributor’s pockets, and reduce friction to put better videos out in the world,” said Vimeo CEO Anjali Sud. “We see a future where standalone stock marketplaces no longer need to exist.”

The Week for Agencies

WPP Shares Tumble Despite Return to Sales Growth
WPP’s share price dropped by eight percent on Tuesday after the holding group released mixed Q2 results, and had fallen ten percent overall by the time of writing. The group reported it’s first quarter of like-for-like growth since 2017, however its headline profit before interest and tax for the first half of the year fell 0.5 percentage points year-on-year, and the company forecast that its profit margins will suffer in the short term due to major changes that are affecting the industry. The job of navigating these changes is left to new CEO Mark Read, whose appointment was confirmed on Monday, and Read has promised a strategic review of the company to help guide his thinking.

Partnerships of the Week

Liberty Global Extends Partnership with Ericsson
Liberty Global and Ericsson announced an extension of their European partnership this week in a deal which includes consolidation of Network Operations Centre service delivery in six European locations: the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland and Germany. “Ericsson’s Managed Services creates sustainable differentiation as Liberty Global evolves from a focus on network-centric operations to user experience-centric operations, using market-leading technologies in automation and artificial intelligence,” said Peter Laurin, SVP and head of business area managed services at Ericsson.

ACCESS and ZEASN Announce Smart TV Collaboration
Smart TV software maker Beijing ZEASN has partnered with IT services company ACCESS to combine ACCESS’s NetFront Browser with ZEASN’s WhaleOS, an operating system for smart TVs. “Our collaboration with ZEASN enables us to leverage our deep expertise in connected entertainment on all devices, while ZEASN simplifies the creation, maintenance and monitoring of dedicated smart TVs apps and app stores,” said ACCESS Europe CEO Dr. Neale Foster.

Hires of the Week

IPONWEB Appoints Barry Adams as General Manager for BidSwitch
IPONWEB on Wednesday announced the appointment of Barry Adams to the role of general manager of BidSwitch. For the past two years, Adams served as VP commercial development, and in his new role he will assume responsibility over BidSwitch technology, marketing, operations, and product functions.

Vewd Names Sascha Prüter as Chief Product Officer
OTT software provider Vewd this week announced that Sascha Prüter has joined the company as chief product officer. Previously Prüter led Google’s product and engineering efforts for Android TV, and at Vewd he will lead all product management efforts, with a special focus on Vewd’s emerging portfolio of pay TV operator products, according to a company statement.

Lucia Mastromauro and Filippo Gramigna join Adform
As part of its global expansion (mentioned above), AdForm this week announced it has hired Lucia Mastromauro and Filippo Gramigna. Mastromauro, previously of King, will take the role of VP of global agencies, while Gramigna joins from Widespace and will become and VP of business development

SpotX promotes Edward Wale to Managing Director, Spain and the UK
SpotX this week announced Edward Wale as its new managing director, Spain and the UK. The move follows the promotion of Léon Siotis to be general manager of supply in Europe with the creation of a new European management team.Wale has previously worked at Brightroll and Videology, and is promoted from his previous role of director of platform services.

This Week on VAN

UK Broadcasters Call for Social Media Regulation, read more on VAN

Investment from Amazon and Netflix Helps Fuel Growth in UK TV Production Sector, read more on VAN

The VAN Guide to Video@DMEXCO 2018, read more on VAN

GDPR is Helping Drive the “Age of Relevance” says Precise TV’s Dankl, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Nike, Dream Crazy, Wieden+Kennedy
Nike’s decision to use Colin Kaepernick, the American Football player who riled up President Trump and his supporters by kneeling during the national anthem, as the face of its new campaign has drawn criticism from those who disagree with Kaepernick’s stance, and even inspired some to post videos of themselves burning their Nike merchandise on social media. But regardless of whether you agree with Kaepernick or not, this campaign has certainly got people talking.

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