The WIR: AT&T Announces New Streaming Service, the ANA Confirms Involvement in FBI Investigation, and MediaMath Doubles Down on Video

In this week’s Week in Review: AT&T announces a new streaming service set to launch next year, the ANA confirms it’s cooperating with an FBI investigation into media buying, and MediaMath announces a new push into programmatic video trading and connected TV. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

AT&T to Launch New Streaming Service Next Year
AT&T announced this week it will launch a new streaming service in 2019 which will host films and TV shows owned by Time Warner, following its acquisition of the media giant earlier this year. The new service will be set to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, as well as new entrants into the market like Disney’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service. WarnerMedia’s CEO John Stankey said his company will not pull all of its content from rival services, though he did mention it may decide to keep new content exclusive to the new platform. The new service as of yet does not have a name or subscription price.

FBI Brings ANA into Agency Investigation
US trade body the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) revealed this week that the FBI has asked for its help as part of an ongoing criminal investigation into media buying practices in the advertising industry, confirming earlier reports that such an investigation was underway. ANA CEO Bob Liodice said in a letter circulated on Wednesday that while his company won’t play a coordinating role or be a conduit between the FBI and advertisers, it will help identify potential victims of criminal practices, and he gave advice for any marketers wishing to cooperate. The FBI has been interviewing those within the industry about how advertising is bought and sold, and about the ANA’s 2016 investigation into media transparency in the US advertising industry.

MediaMath Doubles Down on Programmatic Video Trading and Connected TV
MediaMath announced on Wednesday it is making an “aggressive push” into video, and will active new initiatives around programmatic video trading and connected TV. As part of this new focus on video, MediaMath has joined as a board member of the IAB Digital Video Centre of Excellence. While MediaMath already works with video and connected TV, the company believes its new initiatives will give it a bigger presence in the video and TV space. Among these new initiatives are the expansion of its open identity stack, a re-engineering of the infrastructure that connects consumer touch-points, and acceleration of broad adoption of AI.

The Week in Tech

Cox to Shutter its COMET Exchange
Cox Enterprise’s programmatic platform Cox COMET will cease business operations at the end of November, and trading on the COMET Exchange set to cease on October 31st, VAN has learned. In an email circulated to companies working with COMET, the company explained that after an assessment of Cox’s digital advertising businesses, COMET’s parent company Cox Enterprises has taken the decision to shut down its programmatic platform. Partners have been advised to disable any connections to the COMET Exchange before the end of this month. VAN attempted to contact COMET to verify the story, but at the time of writing was unable reach anyone for comment. Read the full story on VAN.

Google Shuts Down Google+ After Data Leak
Google announced this week it is shutting down access to its social platform Google+, after it was revealed that a data leak earlier this year allowed third party app developers to access not only users’ data, but their friends’ data too. Google says the leak, caused by a bug in the application programming interface (API) for Google+, may have affected up to 500,000 accounts. But while Google discovered the leak back in March, it chose not disclose the information as it feared having CEO Sundar Pichai called to testify before congress, and possible regulation as a consequence.

Brian O’Kelley Steps Down as CEO of AppNexus
Brian O’Kelley, co-founder of AppNexus, announced this week that he is stepping down from his role as CEO, following the company’s acquisition by AT&T earlier this year and its subsequent folding into AT&T’s advertising division Xandr. O’Kelley will take on a new strategic advisory role for “the foreseeable future” according to a note send to staff at Xandr. “AppNexus is a company that is respected around the globe, not only for the platform and enterprise customer base, but also because of its diverse and inclusive workplace,” said Xandr CEO Brian Lesser in the note. “Brian is a leader’s leader, and I appreciate him setting up a fantastic team at AppNexus that will help lead Xandr to the next level.”

The Week in TV

Apple Reportedly Working on New Digital Video Service
Apple is working on a new digital TV service which will combine original content with subscription services from traditional media companies, according to a CNBC report. Apple-owned content will be free to Apple device owners via a pre-installed ‘TV’ app, and users will also be able to access streaming services from the likes of HBO and Starz, similar to how Amazon’s Prime Video Channel subscriptions work.

Comcast Completes Sky Acquisition
Comcast has now formally completed its £30 billion takeover of Sky after acquiring over 75 percent of shares in the European media group, the FT reported on Tuesday. Commenting on the news, Comcast chief executive Brian Roberts said Comcast will accelerate investment and growth in Sky’s brand and premiere platforms, and that Sky News would maintain its editorial independence.

OTT to Account for 46 Percent of Western European TV Revenues by 2023
Western European TV revenues will reach $50 billion by 2023 according to research from Digital TV Research, up from $39 billion last year. OTT revenues will account for a much larger portion TV revenues in the region by 2023, account for 46 percent of TV income (up from 26 percent in 2017).

The Week in Publishing

‘NewTV’ Gets a New Name and New Content Commissions
Jeffrey Katzenberg’s mobile-first video platform, previously known under a working title as ‘NewTV’, has revealed it will be called ‘Quibi’, short for “quick bites”. The project also announced this week it has commissioned original series from Jason Blum, Antoine Fuqua, Guillermo del Toro and Sam Raimi, with each series to be between two-to-four hours long in total. While some are sceptical about the hunger amongst audiences for quality mobile-first, short form content, Katzenberg’s project has serious backing. Meg Whitman, previously CEO of Hewlett Packard, has signed on as CEO of Quibi, and the platform has already generated over $1 billion in funding.

Johnston Press Puts Itself Up for Sale
UK regional and local publisher Johnston Press  has put itself up for sale, though it says it is not currently in talks with potential buyers. Johnston Press owns local titles covering over 200 locations across the UK, as well as national paper the i, but has seen a decline in traditional and digital advertising revenues, leading to a decline in its value.

MCNs Are Falling in Value as YouTube Per-Hour Revenue Peaks
Multi-channel networks (MCNs) are seeing their value fall as per-hour ad income for YouTube content is reaching its peak, according to research from Ampere Analysis. The research finds that per-hour ad revenue for YouTube content has reached the same level as that of broadcast TV in the US, and is approaching equality with broadcast globally. However while per-hour ad revenue from YouTube has grown, Ampere believes that it has now reached its ceiling in some markets, which is having a knock on effect for MCNs. Read the full story on VAN.

Snapchat Announces New Scripted Shows
Snap announced this week a slate of new scripted shows for Snapchat which will launch later this year. The shows will have new episodes daily, with episodes to be short as five minutes long each, and will run unskippable six-second ads. Snapchat will hope the new content will help draw users back to its platform, which has had a difficult year following a controversial redesign and a decline in users.

The Week for Agencies

Video Growth Drives Soaring Digital Ad Spend says IAB UK
The UK’s digital advertising market was worth £6.4 billion in H1 this year, up 15 percent year-on-year according to IAB UK’s latest Digital Adspend report. The IAB found that a lot of this growth was driven by video, which saw spend increased by 40 percent year-on-year to £967 million. Video spend overall is still lower than display, which reached £1.33 billion in H1, but appears to be quickly catching up.

Ford Taps Omnicom to Replace WPP as Creative Account Lead
Ford this week announced it has chosen Omnicom Group’s BBDO as its lead creative agency, dealing a blow to WPP which counts Ford as one of its top clients. WPP will still work with Ford on media planning and buying as well as a range of other duties, but the loss of Ford’s creative business will cost WPP between $100 million to $150 million annually, according to the WSJ.

Vodafone Decides Against Bringing Programmatic Buying In-House
Vodafone has backtracked on plans to bring programmatic buying in-house, according to a report from Digiday. The group had previously pledged to buy most of its search, social and display ads in-house, but while it has begun buying its own search and social ads, it has not built its own trading desk. Nor is it likely to according to those Digiday spoke with, as the company has become concerned about the associated costs of ad tech and talent.

Partnerships of the Week

Walmart Partners with MGM to Expand Vudu
Walmart is partnering with US film studio MGM to create content for its video on-demand (VOD) streaming service Vudu. Walmart acquired Vudu eight years ago but the service’s monthly viewership sits significantly below competitors. “Under this partnership, MGM will create exclusive content based on their extensive library of iconic IP (intellectual property), and that content will premiere exclusively on the Vudu platform,” a Walmart spokesman told Reuters.

Sizmek and Sublime Form New Partnership
Sizmek has agreed a new partnership with Sublime (formerly Sublime Skinz) this week which will see the two integrate their platforms, according to The Drum. “By integrating with Sizmek’s AI technology, our leading platform will empower marketers to target audiences even more efficiently – resulting in enhanced engagement and improved business outcomes,” said Sublime’s managing director EMEA Andrew Buckman.

Hires of the Week

Lyft Appoints New CMO
Ride-sharing app Lyft announced it has appointed Joy Howard as its new chief marketing officer. Howard was most recently CMO of Sonos, and has also held a senior marketing role at Patagonia.

Wavemaker Chooses Odhams as Managing Director
WPP’s Wavemaker this week named Candice Odhams as its new managing director. Odhams, who has worked for GroupM for the past five years, will support Wavemaker’s clients with digital and data transformation.

Oath’s Tsou Appointed Head of International
Rose Tsou, head of Oath Asia Pacific, has been handed an additional role as head of international for the company, it was announced this week. Tsou will be tasked with driving strategic growth for the company across EMEA, APAC and Latin America.

This Week on VAN

MCNs Are Falling in Value as YouTube Per-Hour Revenue Peaks, read more on VAN

Joint National Streaming Services are Vital for Broadcasters says FreeWheel’s Bremond, read more on VAN

Facebook’s Valuation Doesn’t Stack Up says Liberum’s Whittaker, read more on VAN

P&G Won’t be Relevant in Five Years says Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan, read more on VAN

Shortening Ads Isn’t Enough to Maintain Consumer Attention says Connatix’s Kashak, read more on VAN

We Don’t Want All TV to be Addressable says ITV’s Daglish, read more on VAN

Are Ads.txt, Brand Safety and GDPR Fuelling a Premium Revolution? read more on VAN

How In-Housing Provides a New Opportunity for Agencies, read more on VAN

Cox to Shutter its COMET Exchange, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Amazon Prime Video, Great Shows Stay With You, Droga5 London
In this series of ads from Amazon, we see how normal people are influenced more and more by the shows they watch as they progress through a series, and in this pick of the bunch, we see a man transform from ordinary father into a Jack Ryan-esque figure.

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