The WIR: Amazon Wants to Sell OTT Ads Outside of Fire TV, IAB Set Out Actions to Address the ICO’s RTB Concerns, and NBCU Launches a New Ad Buying Platform to Unify TV and Video

In this week’s Week in Review: Amazon is in talks to begin selling OTT inventory outside of its own Amazon Fire TV platform, the IAB lays out actions to address the ICO’s concerns around ad tech, and NBCUniversal launches a new platform giving unified access to TV and video inventory. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Amazon in Talks to Sell OTT Inventory Outside of Fire TV
Amazon is in talks to start selling inventory on streaming services outside of those run on its own Amazon Fire TV platform, the WSJ reported today. The ecommerce giant is in talks with app owners around possibly selling their inventory on Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation and Android TV, alongside the inventory it already sells on Fire TV, according to the report.

In return, publishers who sold through Amazon would be able to use Amazon’s shopping and browsing behaviour data to target their ads. Amazon claims this data allows it to sell CTV inventory at a much higher rate than publishers are able to by themselves, at CPMs of up to $40.

IAB Sets Out Actions to Address ICO’s RTB Concerns
In response to the ICO’s ‘Update report into adtech and real time bidding’, published in June 2019, industry trade body IAB UK has set out a series of actions which it says are designed to help companies engaged in RTB to understand and meet their data protection and privacy compliance obligations in practice. The IAB had been one of the key point of contact for the ICO as it engaged with the industry throughout the second half of 2019. The IAB’s actions are summarised as follows:

  • Data security: IAB UK will develop good practice guidance covering security, data minimisation and data retention, and work with IAB Europe to explore how the requirements in the Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) policies could be enhanced to support such good practice.
  • Special category data: A range of actions to be taken, including developing UK-focused guidance on the Content Taxonomy, education for the industry on special category data restrictions and requirements (developed with other relevant trade bodies, particularly on the buy-side), and work to identify potential controls to minimise risks arising from the content of referred URLs in bid requests.
  • Reliance on legitimate interests for cookies: IAB UK is committed to educating its members on the consent requirements of UK ePrivacy regulations, with reference to the ICO’s current cookie guidance, and promoting the use of the TCF, where appropriate, for obtaining this consent in a compliant way.
  • Legitimate interests assessments (LIAs): IAB UK will educate its members on LIA requirements, taking into account the outcomes of a joint (ICO/IAB Europe/IAB UK) review of anonymised example LIAs, and work with IAB Europe to develop resources to support companies to meet these requirements in practice.
  • Data Protection Impact Assessment (DPIAs): IAB UK will educate members on DPIA requirements and encourage them to review their processing operations in light of the ICO’s existing guidance. It will also identify whether additional guidance is needed for the industry, and work with other relevant trade bodies as they develop their own DPIA approaches and guidance.
  • Transparency and fairness of information provided to consumers: IAB UK will engage with IAB Europe on the outcomes of ongoing discussions about potential changes to TCF policies with respect to Consent Management Provider user interfaces, and then decide on any further action.

NBCU and Sky Release Cross-Platform Ad Buying Tool
NBCUniversal this week announced the launch of ONE PLATFORM, through which advertisers will be able to buy inventory across all of NBCU’s traditional TV and digital video content. The new tool will enable optimisation, planning and delivery across NBCU and Sky’s portfolio’s, as well as unified measurement via the company’s CFlight metric. NBCU says the service will give advertisers access to 97 percent of the US population, as well as a further half a billion people around the world.

“We know that viewers do not differentiate content by network, time or screen; instead, our fans see NBCUniversal as one giant home to the best stories, so that’s the mindset we’ll go to market with in 2020,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Advertising and Partnerships, NBCUniversal. “With One Platform, we’re following our viewers’ lead. Rather than rejecting the changes in consumer behaviour, we’re reflecting it.”

The Week in Tech

Tremor Acquires Unruly from News Corp
Tremor International (known as Taptica International until earlier this year) announced on Monday it has bought UK-based video ad tech specialist Unruly from News Corp. News Corp in return will receive 6.91 percent of Tremor International stock (worth just over £15 million at the time of writing), alongside a total minimum revenue guarantee of £30 million through a new three-year partnership between the two companies.

Unruly has exclusive access to outstream video on News Corp titles which include The Times, The Sun and The Wall Street Journal), and also sells inventory for The Telegraph, Variety, and Vogue among others. This exclusive access for News Corp titles will transfer over to Tremor has part of the deal. Read the full story on VAN.

DoubleVerify Launches Authentic Performance to Measure Ad Effectiveness
DoubleVerify this week announced the launch of Authentic Performance, a new data solution which DV says will provide predictive data to help drive campaign performance. The company says Authentic Performance will analyse data points on the exposure of a digital ad, and a consumer’s engagement with it, in real time. “Current tools are either fast but simplistic – with metrics like viewability and click-through rate (CTR); or they’re sophisticated but slow – with data reported post-campaign,” said DoubleVerify CEO Wayne Gattinella. “Authentic Performance is designed to provide predictive data that are correlated with digital advertising effectiveness, in real time – giving global brands clarity and confidence in their digital investment.”

RhythmOne Launches Self-Serve Tools for Premium Publishers
Tremor International-owned RhythmOne this week launched a new set of self-serve tools for publishers to activate programmatic deals across connected TV (CTV), video and banner inventory via deal IDs. The company says this will provide enhanced reporting and transparency to help publishers maximise yield for their premium inventory. To access the tools, the company also launched its new Partner Hub for publishers – a online portal designed to help publishers more easily and effectively manage revenue earned through the RhythmOne supply-side platform (SSP). “RhythmOne is committed to the success of our partners,” said Karim Rayes, chief product officer at RhythmOne. “Our goals are to arm them with tools that maximise their revenue generation potential, and provide a campaign platform that offers robust reporting and transparency to drive quality global demand, all at a very competitive fee structure.”

RTL AdConnect and TVSquared Partner for Performance Measurement
RTL Group’s sales house RTL AdConnect has partnered with attribution specialist TVSquared to provide “always-on proof of performance” across more than 150 TV channels and BVOD (broadcaster VOD) platforms throughout Europe. RTL AdConnect says its global advertiser base can now leverage TVSquared’s always-on attribution platform to understand the same-day performance of campaigns airing across RTL’s broadcast channels. From the platform, advertisers can evaluate TV performance by day, daypart, creative, program, station and region.

The Week in TV

Ampere Predicts 2020 to be “The Year of AVOD”
Industry analyst Ampere Analysis said this week it predicts 2020 will be “the year of AVOD” as free ad-supported streaming services build scale and roll out internationally. Ampere acknowledged that currently use of these services tends to be low (between 3-6 percent for the major services in the US), but the analyst described this as “the quiet before the storm”. Ampere said AVOD services have embraced older content as paid services have tended to focus more on new, original content, helping them too establish themselves. But Ampere director Guy Bisson said that “we can expect them to begin acquiring newer content and even moving into original production activity as they battle for eyeballs in an increasingly crowded market”.

Ampere ChartAmazon Claims to Have Lead Over Roku in CTV Race
Amazon and Roku both showcased a range of devices and smart TV partnerships at this week’s CES. Perhaps the most interesting announcement to come from either company was Amazon’s news that it is bringing Amazon Fire TV into the automobile, via partnerships with BMW and Fiat-Chrysler. And as the two compete for users, Amazon claims to have the edge, saying it has 40 million global active users, compared to Roku’s 32 million (though Roku’s figure was reported in November last year, so will almost certainly have grown since then).

Barclays Values Disney’s Streaming Business at Over $100 Billion
Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar estimated this week that Disney’s combined streaming services, Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, are worth around $108 billion. This would make Disney’s combined streaming unit worth just under 70 percent of Netflix’s total value, an impressive achievement that one of the three component, Disney+, was only launched late last year.

The Week in Publishing

TikTok Introduces New Community Standards
TikTok introduced a swathe of new rules on video content and user behaviour as it released new community guidelines. Among the new changes are the addition of hate groups and violent extremist organisations to the list of users barred from using TikTok, and the barring of manipulated content or fake news around elections. “These changes offer clarity around how we define harmful or unsafe content that is not permitted on the platform,” TikTok said in a blog post. “It’s important that users have insight into the philosophy behind our moderation decisions and the framework for making such judgements.”

YouTube Tightens Rules on Children’s Privacy
YouTube introduced new rules on Monday designed to help it comply with US child protection law COPPA. YouTube Studio, where creators can upload and edit videos, now gives users the option to designate videos as either ‘made for kids’ or ‘not made for kids’. And YouTube itself says it will use machine learning to help it identify children’s content which hasn’t been labelled as such. Videos which are then labelled as ‘made for kids’ will no longer support personalised advertising or other support features including comments, live chat, and the ‘save to playlist’ button.

YouTube hopes the changes will help satisfy regulators’ concerns about children’s privacy on its platform, following the $170 million fine it was handed last year for falling foul of COPPA. But some creators are concerned, saying that while their content isn’t designed for children, they will nonetheless have to change the sort of videos they make to avoid being picked up by YouTube’s algorithm.

Google Pulls Magazines from Google News
Google is discontinuing its print-replica magazine service from Google News, which let users buy PDF versions of physical magazines which could be view via phone or desktop. In an email sent to subscribers seen by Android Police, Google said it would be refunding users for their subscriptions, and suggested they visit the magazine’s website as an alternative to the magazine replica.

Twitter Introduces New Ad Unit, Promoted Trend Spotlight
Twitter announced this week a new ad unit, Promoted Trend Spotlight. Spotlight is a ‘takeover’ unit which lets advertisers run a video ad unit at the top of the ‘Explore’ tab for each user’s first two visits of the day. After these two visits, the placement moves to the standard ‘Promoted Trend’ spot, within the list of currently trending topics and hashtags. The format was previously trialled in the US, UK and Japan, and now will be generally available in these markets, as well as rolling out in 12 new markets including France, Germany and Spain.


The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital to Acquire Circus Marketing
S4 Capital announced this week it will add Mexico-City based digital agency Circus Marketing to its roster, the 11th acquisition of Sir Martin Sorrell’s venture. The addition will strengthen S4’s presence in Latin America – Circus Marketing has offices in Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain and the US. “Circus […] embraces our data-driven holy trinity model and embodies faster, better, cheaper or speed, quality and value,” said Sorrell. “They are buying into our unitary model, combining seamlessly with our content and programmatic practices.”

Ebiquity Buys Digital Decisions
Marketing and media consultancy Ebiquity this week announced its acquisition of Digital Decisions, a digital media monitoring and optimisation service, for an initial consideration of €700,000. Further payment will be based on Digital Decisions’ performance over the next three years. “Digital Decisions aligns perfectly with Ebiquity’s value proposition to clients and further strengthens our digital media advisory services,” said Ebiquity interim CEO Alan Newman. “Its team has developed a market-leading, purpose-built media transparency and accountability solution to help brands evaluate and build trust in their digital ecosystems.”

General Motors Shifts Ad Spend into CTV
American auto manufacturer General Motors is investing a significant amount of ad spend into connected TV, CMO Deborah Wahl told AdAge in an interview this week. Wahl said that over the past year, GM’s connected TV budgets grew by 66 percent, and that it now represents “a significant portion” of its overall media budget. She added that the company has seen speedy results from the change, citing a three month test by car brand Cadillac which found a ten percent increase in effectiveness.

Hires of the Week

IPG Mediabrands Promotes Caroline Foster Kenny and Andrea Suarez
IPG Mediabrands has handed new roles to Caroline Foster Kenny and Andrea Suarez. Foster Kenny, currently chief executive EMEA, will become global president of client solutions, Meanwhile Suarez, currently chief executive for Latin America, will become global president of specialist media unit Nestlé THRIVE.

Kaltura Hires Nuno Sanches as GM of Media and Telecom
Video tech company Kaltura has taken on Nuno Sanches as general manager of media and telecom. Sanches most recently worked at Vodafone, where he led global strategy and product development of Vodafone TV.

This Week on VAN

Tremor Acquires Unruly from News Corp, read more on VAN

The Buy-Side View: Q&A with Firebox’s Callum Watt, read more on VAN

Analysts and Agencies Question Amazon’s Commitment to Live Sports, read more on VAN

Can you Differentiate between FAST and AVOD? A Side-by-Side Comparison of Some of the OTT Challengers, read more on VAN

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