The WIR: Facebook Watch “Still Well Behind YouTube”, Snapchat Shows Launch in UK, and TV Live Streaming Sees Huge Growth

In this week’s Week in Review: Facebook admits Watch is still lagging far behind YouTube, Snapchat launches TV-like shows in the UK, and live streaming of TV sees huge global growth. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Facebook Admits Watch “Still Well Behind YouTube”
Facebook gave fresh details on how its video hub Watch is faring during its Q3 results, admitting that the service faces financial challenges. CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg said Watch was intended to ensure video content on Facebook doesn’t stymie social interaction by separating out video content, but that the service is “still well behind YouTube”, though he also claimed it is now “growing incredibly quickly”.

“There is also a business challenge, which is that video monetises significantly less well per minute than people interacting in feeds,” he said, adding that as video grows, it will displace other services which make more money. Nonetheless, the company still sees video as the future and is throwing its full weight behind its video products.

Overall results for Facebook were mixed, with revenues up 33 percent year-on-year to over $13 billion and daily active users up nine percent. Both of these were short of expectations, but shareholders seemed unperturbed, with shares rising six percent after the results were announced.

Snapchat Shows Launch in UK
Snapchat is set to launch its TV-style shows in the UK as it continues to search for ways to attract users back onto its platform. Seventeen UK-based publishers and broadcasters including Channel 4, The Guardian and Sky will make TV-like content for Snapchat, which will be monetised via non-skippable six second ads.

“We want authoritative and credible content,” said Snapchat’s head of international content partnerships Rami Saad. He claims that the TV-like content is popular in the US, and has seen watch time tripled since the app was redesigned earlier this year.

Live TV Streaming Grows 54 Percent Globally
Global streaming of live TV has grown 54 percent year-on-year according to a report released this week by video measurement company Conviva. The research found that total hours watched grow 64 percent, and total sessions grew 52 percent as audiences quickly shift to watching live TV streamed onto internet connected devices. Most of these sessions are still taking place on the big screen too, with connected TVs now accounting for over 50 percent of hours spent watching live streamed TV.

“Streaming TV consumption shows no signs of slowing down, and publishers have stepped up to the plate, delivering better quality and reliability that viewers have come to expect,” said Conviva CEO Bill Demas.


The Week in Tech

Criteo Revenues Fall Six Percent as Apple Tracking Prevention Woes Continue
Retargeting specialist Criteo announced a six percent drop in revenue year-on-year in its Q3 results this week, due in large part to problems posed by Apple’s ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention’ and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. The results however were above expectations, with Q3 revenues reaching $528 million. Criteo itself remains positive, with CEO JB Rudelle saying he believes the business has weathered the worst of the effects of GDPR and Apple’s tracking prevention. The company is also diversifying its offering away from just retargeting, and also announced this week the acquisition of app-install business Manage.

UK Announces New Tax on Tech Giants
The UK government this week announced a new digital services tax aimed at digital businesses making over £500 million per year globally. These companies will have to pay two percent of revenues earned from search engines, social media services and online marketplaces, meaning any services the likes of Google, Facebook and Amazon run which don’t fall under these categories won’t be taxed.

UK chancellor Philip Hammond said that a global agreement on taxing the tech giants would be preferable, but that progress has been too slow, and so the UK is taking unilateral action to ensure these companies “pay their fair share”. Politicians in the US have since hit back, claiming the tax is an attack on US companies specifically.

LiveRamp Revenues Grow Twenty Percent
Identity resolution company LiveRamp this announced twenty percent growth of revenues year-on-year, with total income reaching $65 million. Subscription revenues meanwhile saw 30 percent growth, reaching $55 million. “Looking ahead, we are focused on further extending and strengthening our network and delivering innovative solutions to our global customers,” said CEO Scott Howe.

Simulmedia Launches TV Marketplace Designed for Direct-to-Consumer Marketers
Simulmedia this week announced it has launched a marketplace specifically designed for direct-to-consumer marketers. The marketplace, called, uses bidding, small daily minimums, bottom-up reporting, and distribution across more than 200 billion national TV ad impressions weekly from top cable and broadcast networks. Simulmedia claims D2Cx offers the most inventory ever combined in a single marketplace, and empowers brand direct marketers to target a wider audience, acquire new customers, and scale their businesses.

Flashtalking Debuts Cross-Device Personalisation
Flashtalking has announced the expansion of its ID Connect capability to allow advertisers to orchestrate identity across partners and to deploy more effective cross-device personalised creative. The company says this allows a marketer or agency to work with the cross-device partner of their choice and target off of a partner identity, and to improving match rates with their DMP.

LoopMe Raises $17 Million in New Investment
Video ad tech company LoopMe this week announced it has secured $17 million in fresh investment, led by UK growth investor BGF. This takes the company’s total funding to $32 million. The new funding will be used primarily to fuel growth of the platform in the US.

The Week in TV

TF1 Reports Ad Sales Growth
French broadcaster TF1 saw revenue for the first three months of 2018 grow 6.9 percent to €1.6 billion, driven in part by growth in ad sales. TF1 said the FIFA World Cup in particular, as well as its post-summer line of of content, had helped boost ad sales, which grew 2.5 percent to €1.5 billion. The company is also looking expand its digital revenues, which were €61 million over the nine month period – TF1 is aiming to hit €250 million in digital revenue by 2021.

OTT New-Entrants at Risk of Disruption by TV Establishment says GroupM
There are no new signs of life for linear television, but that doesn’t mean its dying either says GroupM in its ‘State of Video 2018′ report released today. The report strikes a similar tone to last year’s, finding hope in some of the new technologies and alliances used by traditional TV players, but also warning that progress is too slow in some key ares. GroupM however was positive about efforts of established broadcasters to compete with Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, saying that Disney’s acquisition on Fox and Comcast’s acquisition of Sky are positive steps. Read more on VAN.

ProSieben Buys eharmony
ProSiebenSat.1 Media announced on Monday it has bought US based dating website eharmony for an undisclosed fee, continuing a series of acquisitions as the broadcaster looks to diversify its revenue streams. ProSieben already owns Germany’s own market leader in online dating, Parship. “We are bringing together two strong brands and will build them into one of the world’s leading online dating businesses,” said ProSieben CEO Max Conze.

Channel 4 to Open Leeds HQ
British broadcaster Channel 4 is the latest to shift resources out of the capital, announcing this week that it is opening up new headquarters in Leeds. While the company will keep its London HQ, it will shift around 200 of its 800 staff to Leeds in a bid to boost the channel’s representation of areas outside of the London.

The Week in Publishing

Spotify Shares Fall as Company Plans Continued Losses
Spotify announced 30 percent year-on-year growth of revenues which reached €1.35 billion in Q3, and the business came close to turning a profit for the first time. However the company said that its near profitability was due to shortfalls in hiring, and that it plans to continue spending high and running at a loss in order to generate future growth.

Meanwhile the company’s ad-supported subscriptions continue to grow, reaching 109 million monthly active users in Q3, up eight percent from the previous quarter. The results also revealed that programmatic sales now account for almost a quarter of all of Spotify’s ad revenue.

Recode and Vox Merge
Vox Media is to merge two of its digital brands, Vox and Recode, it was announced this week. The move comes as tech journalism becomes increasingly less niche and tech related stories appear more and more in mainstream news – Recode (a tech publication) said that it hopes the merger will allow its stories to reach a much bigger audience. “The partnership will make Recode bigger and Vox’s coverage better,” said an article in Recode explaining the decision.

Facebook’s ‘Paid For’ Political Ads are Easily Manipulated, Claims VICE
VICE News released a report this week in which it claimed its journalists were able to pose as US senators on Facebook, as part of the process of buying political ads on the platform. Facebook has introduced features which state who has paid for any political ads posted via its platform, but VICE claims it was able to lie about who was buying ads. This would have resulted in users seeing ads “paid for” by specific US senators, which were actually paid for by VICE journalists (VICE didn’t actually buy any ads, it simply required approval for the ‘paid for by’ certification).

The Week for Agencies

IPA and ISBA Announce Joint Initiative to Drive Sustainable Media Agency/Client Relationships
ISBA and the IPA, two trade bodies representing advertisers, announced this week a new joint initiative which seeks to champion sustainable client/media agency relationships. The two say the key aims for the initiative are:

  • Commercial transparency and effectiveness for clients.
  • Proper remuneration for agencies via better alignment of advertiser marketing and procurement teams.
  • Understanding and creating a joint framework setting out the role of consultancies, intermediaries and auditors in the relationship.

All Ogilvy UK Staff Offered Redundancy
Ogilvy UK has offered all of its staff redundancy as part of the agency’s restructuring process, in which it is cutting out its sub brands and presenting itself as one united entity. Staff have been given until today to opt in, but according to The Drum the company might be forced to make compulsory redundancies if the opt in rate is too low.

WPP’s Mark Read Pushes for More Focused Diversity Initiatives
WPP CEO Mark Read said this week he plans to introduce more group-wide diversity initiatives across all of WPP’s holdings, saying the company currently has too many small-scale efforts. “We do many different things within different WPP companies to tackle gender diversity in the organisation and maybe that’s part of the problem,” he said, speaking at an event hosted by Women in Advertising and Communications London. “We have initiative-itis. Part of what we need to do is to standardise and roll out some bigger programmes.”

Hires of the Week

WPP Appoints Marc Bignell as Global Head of Trading
WPP has appointed Marc Bignell as its new global head of trading, replacing Johan Roserup who moved to Omnicom earlier this year. Bignell himself has previously worked as chief investment officer for Omnicom, and has also held roles at Yahoo and Miroma Ventures.

Havas Media Group Hires John Paul Cadman as Chief Planning Officer
Havas has picked John Paul Cadman for the newly created role of chief planning officer. Cadman joins from Carat, and also also previously worked for OMD and MEC.

R/GA Chooses Sean Lyons to Replace Bob Greenberg
R/GA founder and chairman Bob Greenberg has announced he is stepping down as CEO, and the company has chosen the agency’s US president Sean Lyons to replace him. Greenberg, who started the agency in 1977, will continue on as executive chairman.

This Week on VAN

We Need to Set the Ground Rules for Programmatic Auctions says BidSwitch’s Barry Adams, read more on VAN

Why Digital Native D2C Brands are Turning to TV, read more on VAN

European Broadcasters are Still Interested in Building a Joint Ad Tech Stack says SevenOne Media’s Mittnacht, read more on VAN

OTT New-Entrants at Risk of Disruption by TV Establishment says GroupM, read more on VAN

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