The WIR: Accenture Buys Adaptly, Verizon Writes $4.5 Billion Off Oath’s Value, and Social Media Sites Overtake Newspapers as a News Source in the US

In this week’s Week in Review: Accenture bolsters its programmatic media buying arm with Adaptly acquisition, Verizon writes Oath’s value down to just $200 million, and social media sites surpass print newspapers as a source of news in the US. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Accenture Acquires Adaptly
Global consultancy Accenture bolstered its offering in the programmatic trading space this week with the acquisition of Adaptly for an undisclosed fee. Adaptly will be added to Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services, where Accenture says it will support its ability to activate, optimise and measure media cross-platform. “Consistent with our mission to create, build and run the best customer experiences on the planet, Adaptly will complement our full suite of experience services and enhance our ability to deliver better, faster and more effective advertising campaigns,” said Scott Tieman, global head of programmatic services at Accenture Interactive.

Accenture stirred controversy with the launch of its programmatic media trading arm earlier this year, with some claiming that Accenture’s role as an auditor creates a conflict on interest.

Verizon Writes Off $4.5 Billion from Oath
Verizon this week announced a $4.5 billion write down of its digital media division Oath, bringing its total value to just $200 million. Oath, formed by a merger of AOL and Yahoo, had once been pitched as a competitor to Facebook and Google, but has had a turbulent year as CEO Tim Armstrong stepped down, and the business conceded it would not reach its target of $10 billion in sales by 2020. Verizon said on Tuesday that the difficulties facing Oath are “expected to continue, and have resulted in a loss of market positioning to [Oath’s] competitors in the digital advertising business”. The telecoms company announced that over 10,000 jobs will be cut as it looks to cope with its struggles.

Social Media Sites Overtake Newspapers as a Source of News in the US
Social media sites are now used as a source of news by more adults than print newspapers in the US, according to research from Pew released this week. One in five US adults say they often get news from social media, compared to sixteen percent who often get news from print newspapers. Overall television is still the most popular source of news, with 49 percent saying they often get news from TV.

The Week in Tech

AppNexus Announces “Fee-Transparent” SSP
AT&T-owned ad tech company AppNexus on Tuesday announced that it is offering a “fee-transparent” supply side platform (SSP), thanks to a series of deals with publishers and third-party transparency companies. The company claims its SSP now gives buyers “an unprecedented level of visibility” into tech fees. Read the full story on VAN.

Google’s CEO Testifies Before Congress
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee this week on issues around protection of personal data online. In similar fashion to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing earlier this year, Pichai was asked questions which were at times baffling, including queries about hateful content appearing on iPhones (produced, obviously, by Apple not Google).

The hearing coincided with fresh problems around data security for Google, with the company announcing this week it is speeding up the closure of its social media offering Google+ due to recent discoveries around data leakage. Google said a bug it recently uncovered allowed data from 52.5 million users to be leaked to app owners.

World Obesity Federation Calls for Clampdown on Junk Food Ads that Target Children
Adverts that target children in online video games, apps, social media and other digital platforms are fuelling the obesity crisis and need to be regulated, according to a new evidence dossier published by the World Obesity Federation. The WOF says that targeting techniques which track children’s online behaviour – including their browsing history, location, preferences and ‘likes’ – are being used by advertisers to persuade children to purchase foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt. This includes using data from children who play game consoles, where advertisers can identify when they might be particularly emotive or vulnerable – such as needing to reach the next level – to help inform their approach to delivering ads at the right time.

The WBO called for more regulation of digital marketing which targets teenagers and children, as well as more specific regulation of junk food ads.

AppOnboard Raises $15 Million
AppOnboard, a tech company which enables users to trial apps before downloading them, revealed this week it has raised $15 million in a second round of funding, bringing total funding up to $50 million.

IAS and YouTube Brand Safety Solution Now Available for Advertisers
Integral Ad Science (IAS) and YouTube this week moved their Brand Safety and Suitability solution out of beta, making it available to all IAS clients. IAS says its solution incorporates a combination of machine learning and human review to constantly re-calibrate models, rather than solely relying on a static algorithm. “Solving brand risk within digital advertising will need stakeholders across the industry to work together on a cumulative solution – no one party can solve the issue alone,” said Nick Morley, EMEA MD at IAS. “In fact, this brand safety and suitability solution has seen great success in beta thanks to YouTube, IAS, and prominent brands working together to achieve a common goal.”

Pixability Launches Partner Programme for Cross-Channel Video Ad Campaigns
Pixability this week announced the launch of its new Partner Connect Programme, which it says provides its brand and agency customers with a curated marketplace of the world’s leading video platforms, in addition to creative, data, and measurement solutions. The programme involves supply partners (including Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and CTV providers), creative partners (including Celtra and VidMob) and measurement/data partners (including Moat, DoubleVerify, IAS, Nielsen and Experian).

The Week in TV

Hulu to Launch a Private Marketplace Next Year
US streaming platform Hulu has revealed it will open up a private marketplace (PMP) next year, allowing advertisers to buy inventory directly through their agency trading desks or their demand-side platforms (DSPs) without having to negotiate prices with Hulu’s sales team. The PMP will sell standard 30 second spots, and will be operated by Telaria. The marketplace will enable advertisers to define the value of the audience, and will offer viewability and fraud-free assurances, as well as brand frequency caps, according to MediaPost.

FranceTV Publicité and Canal+ Advertising Joint Forces
FranceTV and Canal+’s sales houses this week announced they will join forces to sell inventory on France 24, TV5Monde and Radio Monte Carlo Doualiya under one roof. FranceTV Publicité won a tender put out by its parent company France Médias Monde and TV5Monde to serve all broadcasting platforms for the three properties, and has invited Canal+ Advertising to supply the two global channels in sub-Saharan Africa.

Disney/Fox and Comcast/Sky to Spend One in Five Content Dollars Globally This Year
Disney, Fox, Comcast and Sky this year will have collectively spent one in every five dollars spent on video content globally, according to Ampere Analysis. The findings demonstrate the spending power that will be concentrated within Disney and Comcast, once they complete their respective takeovers of Fox and Sky. Fox and Disney are projected to have collectively spend $22 billion on acquiring and producing content this year, while Comcast and Sky will have spent $21 billion.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Watch Launches on Desktop Globally
Facebook this week made its video hub Watch globally available via desktop, while also revealing some of the first hard figures around the reception of the service. Facebook claims Watch is now used by over 400 million people monthly, and 75 million daily. The social network says that of those 75 million daily users, the average time spent on Watch is over twenty minutes.

Facebook’s previous silence over specific metrics of Watch’s success had contributed to scepticism around how popular the service really is, with some studies suggesting the majority of users paid it any notice.

Group Nine Media Launches In-House Branded Content Studio
Digital publisher Group Nine Media, which owns social-media focused brands NowThis, Thrillist, Seeker and The Dodo, is centralising its branded content offering under one studio, Brandshop. Brandshop will unite the creative services teams across Group Nine’s four brands, as well as the branded entertainment arm of its LA-based production studio JASH. “When you’re the no. 1 publisher on social and your stories reach 80 percent of people in their twenties, you learn a lot about how audiences consume content, across digital and in real life,” said SVP and head of Brandshop Yosef Johnson. “At Brandshop, these every day learnings inform the ways we partner with clients, developing creative brand storytelling and surround-sound distribution strategies that prompt young people to share and take action.”

Slate Staff Greenlight a Strike
Digital publisher Slate’s newly unionised editorial staff this week voted nearly unanimously to go on strike, by a margin of 52 to 1. Slate’s union has been bargaining with management over a number of key issues in workers’ contracts and says it is “dismayed” by the response to one if its key request centring around a ‘right to work’ clause. The clause would allow any union member to choose not to pay dues, while still receiving full benefits from the union.

7Sports and Form Joint Venture
ProSiebenSat.1-owned 7Sports and have announced a new joint venture this week which the two say aims to create the leading esports media platform in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The two will collaborator on top-level esports reporting, news, event coverage and analysis.

The Week for Agencies

WPP Plans 3,500 Job Cuts in Growth Strategy
WPP’s CEO Mark Read this week released his growth strategy for the company which will see cuts of up to 3,500 jobs, with $300 million over the next three years being committed to restructuring. While Read didn’t go into detail about the specifics of the transformation, he said the company will be refocused to cover four specific areas: communications, experience, commerce and technology. As part of this, the holding group will continue simplifying its business structure, and will renew its commitment to creative services.

“We describe our approach as ‘radical evolution’: radical because we are taking decisive action and implementing major change; evolution because we will achieve this while respecting the things that make WPP the great company it is today,” said Read.

Mastercard CMO Calls for United Action to Pressure Duopoly
Mastercard CMO Raja Rajamannar this week called for advertisers to form a united front in order to hold companies like Google and Facebook to account, in an interview with The Drum. Mastercard temporarily pulled ad spend from YouTube last year, but Rajamannar said he felt that not much would be achieved by individuals “jumping up and down”. He suggested that industry trade bodies like the World Federation of Advertisers might be best placed to keep Google and Facebook accountable.

John Lewis Christmas Ad Ranked Top by YouTube for Second Year Running
John Lewis’ Christmas ad has taken the top spot in YouTube’s UK ranking for 2018, beating out fellow Christmas heavyweights like Sainsbury’s and M&S. The retailer’s ad, which this year starred Elton John, was placed top by an algorithm which factors in organic and paid views, watch time and audience retention, alongside total number of views. Read the full story on VAN.

Hires of the Week

IAS Hires Lisa Utzschneider as CEO
Integral Ad Science (IAS) this week announced that Lisa Utzschneider will become its new CEO, replacing Scott Knoll, who will move into an advisory role for the company. Utzschneider most recently served as chief revenue officer for Yahoo.

Tim Castree Named GroupM North America CEO
WPP’s GroupM this week named Tim Castree, previously global chief executive of GroupM-owned Wavemaker, as its new CEO for North America. Castree fills the position left vacant for over a year since previous CEO Brian Lesser left to head up AT&T’s advertising arm.

This Week on VAN

Will HbbTV be Google’s Beachhead into TV Advertising? read more on VAN

AppNexus Announces “Fee-Transparent” SSP, read more on VAN

The Ad Tech CEOs Make Their 2019 Predictions, read more on VAN

John Lewis Christmas Ad Ranked Top by YouTube for Second Year Running, read more on VAN

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