The WIR: Ofcom Set to Regulate Digital Video Platforms, France Considers Liberalising TV Ad Rules, and Viacom and CBS Reunite


In this week’s Week in Review: Ofcom is set to receive new powers to regulate digital video platforms, France considers relaxing archaic TV advertising laws, and Viacom and CBS finally reunite as ViacomCBS. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Ofcom Set to Receive Power to Fine Digital Video Platforms
UK media regulator Ofcom is set to gain new powers to regulate video sharing platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and TikTok under a new government proposal. The proposal would give Ofcom the ability to fine tech firms up to five percent of their global revenues, or to cut them off from the UK market, for failing to sufficiently protect children from harmful content.

The move is an implementation of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and may not be required if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal that binds it to this law, according to the BBC. And Ofcom’s powers are expected to be temporary regardless of Britain’s status in the EU, as the government hopes to establish a separate regulator to deal with online harms.

France Considers Relaxing TV Ad Rules
France’s government is considering relaxing some of the tight regulations which currently exist around TV broadcasting and advertising according to Bloomberg, in recognition of the fact that broadcasters compete with digital companies who operate in much more loosely regulated environments. National broadcasters currently aren’t able to tailor ads based on location or demographic data for example, or to show ads for movies or retails sales according to Bloomberg, but laws like these could be scrapped by the end of 2020.

Viacom and CBS Finalise Merger
After months of negotiations and multiple failed attempts over the past decade, US media giants CBS and Viacom announced this week they’ve agreed a merger. The deal, which will reunite the pair after splitting over ten years ago, will see the two become ViacomCBS, valued at around $30 billion. The merged company will combine Viacom’s MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and Paramount studios with CBS’s television network and Showtime streaming service.

One question for the company now is how they plan to use their over-the-top (OTT) products. CBS owns paid subscription services CBS All Access and Showtime, while Viacom owns ad-supported OTT service Pluto TV. The company has not announced its ambitions for these services, but it might be expected that each service will receive a raft of new content they now have access to through the deal.

The Week in Tech

Snap Launches New Version of Spectacles
Snapchat announced on Tuesday it is launching a new version of Spectacles, its sunglasses with an inbuilt camera that allows photos and videos to be uploaded directly to Snapchat. The product has so far struggled, with Reuters reporting that Snap wrote down $40 million in unsold glasses in 2017. But the new version, Spectacles 3, will be produced at a smaller scale.

Amobee Launches New CTV Data Marketplace
Amobee this week announced the launch of a new data marketplace for connected TV advertising, which it says provides brands and agencies with access to a large library of data for activation across connected TV and converged cross-screen campaigns. To launch the data marketplace, Amobee has integrated with more than 60 data providers and marketplaces—including Oracle Data Cloud, the LiveRamp Data Store, IRI, Inscape, Lotame, Eyeota and TruOptik, among others—to give advertisers access to more than 60,000 audience segments to create targeted campaigns for connected TV.

Unruly and The Ozone Project Unite to Drive Adoption of Video Header Bidding
Unruly and UK publisher alliance The Ozone Project on Thursday announced a partnership that will allow demand partners of UnrulyX to buy outstream placements via header bidding supported by The Ozone Project’s server-side wrapper. Unruly says nearly 80 percent of the internet’s top 1000 sites that sell programmatic ads in 2019 support display header bidding, but its deployment in the video space has been held back due to outstream video complexities, such as player type. The two say their partnership will avoid these historic complexities, and thus help drive further adoption.

Bauer Media Relaunches Bauer InStream
Bauer Media revealed this week it is relaunching its digital audio advertising platform, Bauer InStream, to provide creative and targeted digital audio advertising solutions via an expanded network of Bauer’s brands. Bauer InStream will be the only way for advertisers to buy inventory from Bauer’s digital audio brands, which include Absolute Radio, KISS, Magic Radio and the newly launched Scala Radio.

Advertisers will be able to buy Bauer digital audio advertising in two ways; by brand through Bauer Adventure creative and branded-content campaigns, and by audience using Bauer Audience Hunter which identifies Bauer’s engaged and quality listeners across all Bauer brands’ digital audio products.

The Week in TV

UK’s ASA Bans First Ads Under Gender Stereotyping Rules
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week band two ads for breaking gender stereotyping rules, the first time these rules have been enforced. The TV ads, for Philadelphia cream cheese and Volkswagen, were judged to have fallen foul of rules which ban the depiction of men and women engaging in gender-stereotypical activities. Both brands disagreed with the rulings, and Philadelphia-owner Mondelez complained that it was stuck in a lose-lose situation. Its ad, which featured two new dads temporarily losing a child, was judged to be stereotyping men as incompetent child carers. But Mondelez said it had chosen two dads instead of mums specifically to avoid stereotyping women as handling all childcare responsibilities.

Addressable TV Boosts Engagement and Cuts Channel Switching says Sky
Addressable TV advertising can boost ad engagement by up to 35 percent, and cuts channel switching by 48 percent, according to data released by Sky. Five years after launching its addressable product AdSmart, Sky released results of a study into the UK’s addressable TV market, in which it also found that viewers of addressable TV ads are ten percent more likely to recall an ad compares to linear TV advertising.

Sky says since launch, 1000 businesses have advertised on TV for the first time thanks to AdSmart, and 70 percent return for a second campaign.

French Broadcasters’ Netflix Rival Gets Go Ahead from Regulators
France’s digital media regulator the Conseil supérieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), and competition authority Autorité de la concurrence have given the green light to Salto, an over-the-top (OTT) service set to be launched by France Télévisions, M6 and TF1. Having received clearance, the three broadcasters say the subscription video on-demand service will launch in Q1 2020. Read the full story on VAN.

Consumers With More SVOD Subscriptions Are More Tolerant of Advertising
Consumers who are subscribed to multiple subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services are more tolerant of advertising, according to research from Ampere Analysis. The findings, in some ways counter-intuitive, might be welcome news for the advertising industry, suggesting that as SVOD services proliferate, ad-supported video on-demand (AVOD) services could become more appealing to customers. Read the full story on VAN.

The Week in Publishing

Verizon Sells Tumblr for $3 Million, Having Paid $1.1 Billion in 2013
Verizon has offloaded its social blogging site Tumblr for a reported $3 million to WordPress owner Automattic, after buying the site for $1.1 billion back in 2013. Tumblr was part of Verizon’s media and advertising business Verizon Media, alongside brands like Yahoo, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Build. Tumblr was monetised through sponsored display and video posts, but failed to generate substantial revenue for Verizon Media, which itself has struggled and was written down by $4.5 billion late last year.

Some users pointed to Tumblr’s banning of adult content from the platform as contributing to its decline – though that itself was a move designed to make the site more advertiser friendly. Automaticc CEO Mat Mullenweg says there are currently no plans to reverse this ban.

YouTube Moderators Claim Big Stars Escape Punishment for Rule-Breaking
YouTube moderators say that the platforms biggest stars get preferential treatment when it comes to rule-breaking, getting more lenient punishments that smaller creators, according to a report this week in the Washington Post. Moderators interviewed by the Post said that unlike some other platforms, YouTube only allows its moderators to recommend that content is removed or demonetised, rather than being able to do it themselves. But when they recommend content from big channels like PewDiePie, Logan Paul and Steven Crowder is removed or demonetised, they say they are often overruled by higher-ups. YouTube disputes this, saying it enforces its rules equally across the board.

News Brand Ad Sales Fall for Axel Springer
German media giant Axel Springer’s news brands ad revenue were down 10.6 percent year-on-year in Q2, accompanying an overall fall in revenue and earnings. Total revenues were down 3.6 percent to €759 million. Springer’s news segment included German brands Bild and Welt, alongside Politico, Insider, Techbook, Rolling Stone and eMarketer. And as ad revenues struggle, the company suggested it might look to subscriptions to support revenues, having conducted a study which it said demonstrated an increasing willingness to pay for digital content in Germany.

Twitch Apologises After Promoting Porn on Ninja’s Defunct Account
Twitch CEO Emmett Shear apologised this week after the company promoted an account broadcasting porn on the defunct channel of Ninja, a streamer who recently left the platform. Ninja, real name Tyler Blevins, caused a stir earlier this month by announcing he will no longer stream on Twitch, moving instead to Microsoft’s streaming platform Mixer. Twitch decided to keep Ninja’s page active and used it to promote other channels, but one of the channels it ended up featuring was (against Twitch’s terms of service) broadcasting pornography.

The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital Buys Influencer Agency IMA
S4 Capital announced this week it is buying influencer marketing company IMA in a deal worth €10 million, and will combine the company with its content arm MediaMonks. The move is a show of confidence in influencer marketing from S4 Capital’s executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell, who said “influencer marketing is an important subset of the digital content marketing industry and is predicted to double in size over the next three years”.

Accenture Interactive Buys Design Firm INSITUM
Accenture has entered into an agreement to acquire INSITUM, a service design and strategic research firm focused on innovation through a human-centered approach. Accenture says the acquisition will strengthen Accenture Interactive’s presence in Latin America by bolstering its design and innovation unit, Fjord. “With INSITUM, we will boost Accenture Interactive’s reach in the region and improve our Fjord design capability, which is a crucial component of our mission to deliver the best, most meaningful experiences to people,” said Eduardo Bicudo, Latam lead at Accenture Interactive.

Ogilvy UK Enters Global Partnership with Takumi
Ogilvy UK has agreed a new partnership with influencer marketing platform Takumi, which it says will allow it to scale its InfluenceO tool across multiple markets. Ogilvy says InfluenceO houses influencers across 60,000 categories, and provides real-time measurement to spot fake followers and influencer fraud. The focus of the partnership seems to be on enabling multi-market influencer campaigns in a variety of languages. “Our fantastic team and multi-market capabilities have created this exciting opportunity for brands to tap into the powerful creativity and influence of our Instagram content creators at scale,” said Takumi CEO Adam Williams.

Hires of the Week

Luke Bradley-Jones Chosen to Lead Disney+ in Europe and Africa
Ex-Sky chief marketing officer Luke Bradley-Jones has been chosen by Disney to run its upcoming streaming service, Disney+, in Europe and Africa. Bradley-Jones will start the role next year, with a release date for Disney+ in Europe not yet set.

Potashnick Promoted to MediaCom US COO
MediaCom has chosen Adam Potashnick as its new US chief operating officer, a new position in the company. Potashnick previously served as chief growth officer, and has been with MediaCom since 2006.

DAZN Hires Sexton-Chadwick
Sport OTT streamer DAZN has hire Paul Sexton-Chadwick as its new SVP of commercial propositions. Sexton-Chadwick joins from Sky Deutschland, where he headed up OTT-business Sky Ticket.

This Week on VAN

The Buy-Side View: Q&A with Betway’s Thanos Patsis, read more on VAN

French Broadcasters’ Netflix Rival Gets Go Ahead from Regulators, read more on VAN

Consumers With More SVOD Subscriptions Are More Tolerant of Advertising, read more on VAN

Will Ad Tech Get Caught in the Tech Tax Crossfire? read more on VAN

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