The WIR: Disney+ Undercuts Netflix, Adform Raises “Significant” Funds, and eMarketer Forecasts Falling US User Base for Snapchat

In this week’s Week in Review: Disney reveals new details for Disney+, Adform announces new funding, and Snapchat’s stock is hit by a grim eMarketer forecast. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Disney Undercuts Netflix With New Streaming Offering
Disney revealed a number of new details for its upcoming subscription streaming service Disney+ on Thursday, announcing it will launch in the US on November 12th as a cost of $6.99 per month. That price significantly undercuts rival service Netflix, which recently raised the price of its standard plan in the US to $12.99 per month. A number of original shows for the service were also announced, including three TV shows based on characters from the Marvel film franchise, while it was also revealed that Disney+ will hold exclusive streaming rights for ‘The Simpsons’, following Disney’s recent purchase of Simpsons producer 21st Century Fox.

It appears however that the service’s international roll out could be quite slow. No specific launch dates were given for any markets besides the US, and the BBC’s US tech correspondent Dave Lee reported that expiration dates for streaming rights on various competing platforms are complicating matters. Lee said that the rest of North America and Western Europe are next in line, but that it could take up to four years to launch in some markets.

Adform Raises “Significant Funds” from GRO Capital
Indie ad tech platform Adform announced this week it has received an injection of “significant funds” from GRO Capital. The company positions itself as a full-stack alternative (with an ad server, demand-side platform and data management platform) to the ‘walled gardens’ provided by the large tech platforms. The funding comes at a good time for the company as one of its big rivals, Sizmek, filed for bankruptcy a few weeks back. “It’s a perfect timing for us to raise the funds, given that one of our largest competitors is facing a challenging time at the moment and we have a significant influx of potential clients and we want to use this investment to ensure that we deliver for them both in the near term and longer term,” Adform’s COO told Adweek.

Adform told VAN that it anticipates using some of the funds to capitalise on the opportunities it sees in video and TV. “We’re excited not only by the prospect of video as a central channel, but to see the increasing programmaticisation of traditional linear TV,” said a spokesperson. “With the video wars truly heating up in recent months, and many providers making major acquisitions and launching new video content creative strategies, we anticipate new and exciting opportunities to leverage programmatic tools to empower advertising in previously limited areas of video and TV.”

Snap Stocks Fall After eMarketer Forecasts Falling Subscriber Numbers
Snap’s share price fell by six percent on Wednesday after market researcher eMarketer projected that Snapchat’s monthly US user count will fall for the first time this year. EMarketer forecast on Tuesday that Snapchat will have 77.5 million monthly US users in 2019, a 2.8 percent fall from 2018, following the app’s unpopular redesign last year. However Snap hit back, claiming that the methodology used for eMarketer’s forecast was “flawed”. “The report does not factor in key recent developments at Snap, such as our revamped Android app, or reference our statement in February that we do not anticipate a sequential decline in our daily active user total in Q1 2019,” the company said in a statement. Snap’s stock rallied somewhat, but was still 3.5 percent down compared to Tuesday at the time of writing.

The Week in Tech

IPONWEB Claims Bid Shading Solution Cuts Media Buying Costs by Up To 15 Percent
Following Google’s recently announced shift to first-price auctions, IPONWEB is promoting its Optimal Price Discovery service, claiming that buy-side partners using the tool are seeing a 15-30 percent reduction in media costs. “Bid shading provides a way for buyers to participate in first-price auctions with greater confidence that they aren’t overpaying for media. This technique takes into account a number of variables about any given programmatic auction – publisher, ad size, device, geo-location, platform, etc – and calculates a new (lower) maximum a buyer needs to bid, without reducing their probability of winning the auction,” said IPONWEB in a statement.

LiveRamp Buys Faktor
Identity resolution service LiveRamp has bought consent management platform Faktor for an undisclosed fee. LiveRamp CEO Scott Howe said the acquisition was made with one eye on upcoming privacy regulations in California, as well as the EU’s existing General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). LiveRamp says its privacy tools will be fully integrated with Faktor’s offering, which will enable central consent management and persistent cross-device privacy controls for consumers.

American Trade Groups Team Up to Influence US Privacy Law
A number of advertising industry bodies this week announced the launch of ‘Privacy for America’, a new coalition designed to influence the direction of privacy regulation in the US. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) make up the group’s steering body. The group is hoping that by proposing regulatory measures itself, it can avoid more stringent laws similar to California’s upcoming privacy law being implemented at a national level, according to Reuters.

Facebook Commits to Greater Transparency Under EU Pressure
Facebook this week agreed to address concerns from the European Union over its terms of service, which the EU felt have previously not given consumers enough information about how their personal data is used. Facebook has agreed to more clearly explain to users how it uses their personal information to sell targeted advertising, and to make it clear that it can be held liable for misuses of data. Facebook said that changes made will be rolled out globally, not just in the EU.

The Week in TV

Fox Experiments With “Fast Break” Commercial Pods
Fox is experimenting with a new commercial pod called “Fast Break”, Variety reported this week, a 60 second ad break which will contain no more than three different ads. The pod would appear as the first commercial break during a particular programme, with viewers being told beforehand that the break would be shorter than usual. Fox has offered similar short breaks before, rolling out a two-ad pod called “JAZ Pod” last year, and other broadcasters have similarly been experimenting with cutting down ad loads on linear TV as they look to make linear TV more competitive with its ad-free digital rivals.

Comcast to Merge Sky with NBCUniversal’s European Business
Comcast is planning to merge parts of NBCUniversal’s European operations with those of Sky, following its takeover of the UK broadcaster last year. NBCUniversal’s pay TV channels will be merged with Sky’s entertainment channels, Sky’s international distribution division will be folded into NBCU’s global distribution unit, and a number of NBCUniversal offices will be relocated to Sky headquarters.

Viacom Reveals New Details of Plans for Pluto TV
Viacom revealed new details of its plans for its over-the-top (OTT) service Pluto TV which it bought earlier this year, with CEO Bob Bakish saying that Viacom will add between ten and fifteen new linear channels to Pluto TV starting next month. Some of these channels will be variations of its flagship linear channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, according to Adweek. But others may be centred on a single show – Bakish said for example that Viacom plans to release a pop-up channel featuring ‘The Hills’ to promote the show’s revival on MTV.

The Week in Publishing

YouTube Experiments With ‘Choose-Your-Own-Invention’ Video Format
YouTube is producing ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ style shows under a new division focused on interactive storytelling, the company announced this week. The format caught a lot of press when Netflix released its choose-your-own-adventure short film ‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ last year, and now YouTube is looking into the format as a way to draw in more viewers and boost ad sales.

Pinterest Lowers Expectations for IPO
Pinterest slightly lowered its expectations for its initial public offering in an amended S-1 this week, pricing shares between $15 and $17. This would bring Pinterest’s total value to between $10 billion and $11.3 billion, lower than its previous aim of $12 billion. As AdExchanger reported, the move could be seen as a sign of scepticism around Pinterest’s core business, but Digital Capital Advisors managing director Elgin Thompson told AdExchanger the lower value is likely a result of the underwriter exercising more caution.

Facebook Launches New Brand Safety Tools
Facebook introduced a new brand safety filter this week for in-stream, Instant Article and Audience Network ad placements. The filter will offer buyers three options – ‘Full Inventory’, where ads will be placed on all eligible content, ‘Standard Inventory’, which excluded “sensitive content”, and ‘Limited Inventory’, which will exclude all “moderate and sensitive content”.

The Week for Agencies

P&G Pledges to Funnel Spend into ‘Civil’ Platforms
P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard this week said that his company is pushing to direct its ad spend to platforms which are brand safe not only on the content they host, but also on the comments around that content. Speaking at the ANA Media Conference this week, Pritchard called for all media to “handle editorial comments in a way that promotes freedom of expression, but in a way that creates a balanced and constructive discourse”. Pritchard said he’s specifically looking at platforms which moderate their comments sections, and link opinions with real identities.

Accenture Buys Shackleton
After buying creative shop Droga5 last week, consultancy Accenture continued its acquisition streak this week with the purchase of Spanish brand communications agency Shackleton for an undisclosed fee. “The addition of Shackleton proves our commitment to fostering creative talent and expanding our capabilities globally so that we can help our clients build highly creative and effective brand experiences,” said Anatoly Roytman, head of Accenture Interactive in Europe, Africa and Latin America.

Vodafone Initiates Global Media Buying Account Review
Vodafone has initiated a review of its global media buying account, worth around £400 million according to Campaign, an account which has been held by WPP’s Wavemaker since 2014. Vodafone has been one of the more notable brands to bring a portion of its media buying in-house, after in-housing its biddable digital media less than a year ago. But this agency review is not linked to this in-housing initiative, according to Campaign.

Hires of the Week

Refinery29 Picks George Rogers as Chief Development Officer
Digital media company Refinery29 has appointed George Rogers, formerly chief revenue officer at WPP, as its new chief development officer. Rogers will oversee ad sales, marketing solutions and client services in the role, according to Campaign.

Kantar Hires Reed Cundiff as NA CEO
WPP’s Kantar has appointed Reed Cundiff as its CEO for the North America region, replacing Wayne Levings. Cundiff previously worked as general manager of customer and market research for Microsoft.

Emir Teffaha Confirmed as UK MD for Sublime
Sublime this week announced the appointment of Emir Teffaha to managing director UK, and his new team with Eddie Boyle as commercial director, and Lucy Zakrzewska as head of publishers.

This Week on VAN

Broadcasters in a Strong Position if They Get Their Strategy Right says Liberum’s Whittaker, read more on VAN

How ‘Web 3.0’ Will Change Digital Advertising, read more on VAN

Legacy Brands May Struggle to Adopt DTC Brands’ TV Advertising Tactics says A+E Networks’ Heftman, read more on VAN

For Addressable TV Advertising, Linear TV Trumps OTT says TDF’s Grivet, read more on VAN

Browser Tracking Restrictions Will Drive More Spending on Contextual Targeting says Zefr’s Atwood, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week, Limitless Yous, RPA

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