In this week’s Week in Review: Roku’s platform business continues to grow, the BBC’s chairman warns against a subscription model for the BBC, and Instagram trials video ads on its IGTV service. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Roku Doubles its Video Ad Impressions 2019
Roku’s platform business, which includes its ad sales, grew by 78 percent last year, climbing to account for 63 percent of the company’s total annual revenues. While Roku primarily started off as a manufacturer of OTT devices, its platform business is grown in recent years to overtake hardware sales in terms of revenue for the company, as it has moved into advertising. Roku forecasts that platform revenues will account for two-thirds of its business by the end of this year.
The number of video ad impressions monetised on Roku doubled through the course of 2019, as viewing of ad supported streaming services on the Roku platform continues to grow. The company reported that total streaming hours on its platform grew were up 60 percent in Q4 compared to the same period in the previous year. Roku gets ad revenue both through its own ad-supported channel, The Roku Channel, as well as through helping third-party apps sell their inventory, taking a cut of the revenues in the process.
BBC Chairman Says Subscription Model Would Weaken the Whole Nation
The BBC’s chairman David Clementi warned this week that the UK as a whole would be weakened if the BBC were to switch to a Netflix-style subscription model. The UK government is currently considering decriminalising non-payment of the license fee, which is currently mandatory for anyone watching or recording live television broadcasts, and which largely funds the BBC. A Netflix-style subscription model has been proposed as an alternative. But Clementi said this model would weaken the BBC’s ability to “bring the country together” through its coverage of national events like Royal weddings and Olympic successes.
Clementi also warned that the change in model would also make the BBC “very unlikely to continue the level of properly curated programmes for children”, or its BBC Bitesize educational services. He said the BBC will “engage fully” with the government’s consultation, but added that “a decision of this scale, taking hundreds of millions out of the BBC and creative economy, must not be taken in isolation”.
Instagram Trials Video Ads on IGTV
Instagram has confirmed that its has prototyped a partnership programme allowing creators on IGTV, its hub for longer video content, to monetise their video content via ads, TechCrunch revealed this week. The move was first leaked by prominent reverse-engineer Jane Manchun Wong on Twitter.
Instagram is working on IGTV Ads to let influencers monetize their content by running short ads on their IGTV Videos pic.twitter.com/wOhbnpsfjL
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) February 7, 2020
The programme would allow eligible creators to run short ads on their video content, and take a cut of the ad revenue in return. So far creators have had to rely on sponsorship to make money off IGTV content, or have had to push their users to other, more monetisable platforms.
The Week in Tech
IAB Launches ‘Project Rearc’ to Build a Replacement for Third-Party Cookies
Digital media and marketing trade association the IAB this week launched ‘Project Rearc’, an effort to ‘re-architect’ the digital advertising ecosystem for a post third-party cookie world. The IAB says Project Rearc will bring together IAB, IAB Tech Lab, governmental, and other industry/consumer organisations with the goal of “creating standards of behaviour, codes of conduct, legal agreements, and enabling technologies to address consumer demands for personalisation, and privacy”.
The initial idea for Rearc is to use hashed email addresses or phone numbers as an identifier, which advertisers could then use for audience targeting. But the project is still in its infancy according to AdExchanger, meaning the eventual outcome of Project Rearc could look very different to what is currently being proposed in its early stages.
Criteo Shifts Away from Retargeting as Revenues Drop Three Percent in Q4
Ad tech company Criteo is seeking to shift away from its reliance on its core retargeting products after it posted a three percent drop in revenues year-on-year in Q4, and projected that revenue ex-TAC (traffic acquisition costs) will drop by ten percent in 2020. Criteo has been hurt by browsers’ moves to restrict and block the use of third-party cookies, which have been widely used for retargeting.
But the company says it is confidence it can survive the turbulence. New CEO Megan Clarken, 80 days into the job, acknowledged the challenges presented by the browsers’ privacy-focused moves, and the decline of its retargeting business. But she said that Criteo is actually well placed to capitalise on the decline of third-party cookies. “Today, we already have solutions, through our direct publisher integrations, our mobile ID-based solutions and Retail Media, that operate using multiple first-party or cookie-less mechanisms,” she said.
Lack of Tech is Publishers’ Biggest Block to Managing Video Monetisation Finds PubMatic
PubMatic has released the findings from its study on global video ad monetisation trends, commissioned with Forrester Consulting, finding that for 64.2 percent of publishers, a lack of available technology is their biggest obstacle in managing video monetisation. The study also found that client-side header bidding it the most-used integration strategy for programmatic monetisation of video inventory, with publishers reporting better fill rates and higher ad revenues as a result. In terms of the sorts of tech partners they’re looking for, PubMatic found that 59 percent of publishers are after partners who can help monetise first and second-part data.
Brainlabs Buys US Agency Hairpin
Performance marketing specialist Brainlabs this week announced the acquisition of US agency Hairbin, a specialist in paid search, paid social, programmatic and CRO. “I’ve seen how Hanapin has taught and inspired the industry through their client work and their awesome PPC Hero and Hero Conf and all while growing and maintaining an amazing company culture – our union is clearly a match made in marketing heaven,” said Daniel Gilbert, CEO of Brainlabs.
The Week in TV
Salto to Launch in France on June 3rd
Salto, an upcoming streaming platform created by France Télévisions, TF1 and M6, will undergo a test launch on June 3rd, managing director Thomas Follin announced this week. The service will cost between €5-€10 per month, and will have around 15,000 hours of content at launch according to Follin, which will rise to 20,000 hours by the end of the year. This newly added content will include original Salto titles.
Premier League Boss Touts D2C OTT Service
Richard Masters, the new chief executive of the Premier League, told a press conference this week that the league is considering launch its own direct-to-consumer over-the-top (OTT) service in some international markets, cutting out broadcasters in the process. Masters said that the Premier League had considered a D2C offering during the last rights bidding process for the 2019-2022 seasons, but ultimately decided against the idea. But given the resources already invested in exploring the idea, Masters said the league would be ready to launch a D2C product during the next rights bidding process for the 2022-2025 seasons.
The product would be unlikely to launch in the UK any time soon, where the Premier League can make plenty of money from selling off the rights to broadcasters, but would be an alternative in other less lucrative markets.
ProSiebenSat.1 Bundles Entertainment Brands as ‘SevenOne Entertainment’
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 this week announced the formation of SevenOne Entertainment, a new division which will bundle ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland with its stations, SevenOne Media, and the company’s other entertainment divisions. The focuses of the new group will be producing more of its own content, the distribution of this content across more of its platforms, and the growth of cross-platform advertising products. “We have long since ceased to be a mere TV company, but are consistently developing into a platform-agnostic entertainment house,” says Wolfgang Link, Co-CEO of entertainment at ProSiebenSat.1 Media . “And we are succeeding in this by producing more of our own content, which we can offer and exploit on different platforms.”
‘The Week in Publishing
Reuters to Begin Fact-Checking Content Posted on Facebook and Instagram
Reuters and Facebook have agreed a new partnership which will see news agency Reuters fact-check content posted on Facebook, as well as on Facebook-owned Instagram. A newly created unit within Reuters will fact-check user-generated photos, videos, headlines and other content for Facebook in the US specifically, in both English and Spanish. Reuters will join the seven other fact-checking partners Reuters works with in the US, which includes AP and Agence France-Presse.
Ofcom Set to Oversee Social Media Platforms as ‘Online Harms’ Regulator
UK communications regulator Ofcom is set to be given responsibility for regulating ‘online harms’, ensuring UK users are protected from harmful, offensive and illegal content online. Ofcom’s expanded role will give it oversight of tech companies like Facebook and Google for the first time. The news comes as the UK government lays out its response to the public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper which was published last year, asking what role the government and regulators should play in protecting citizens from harmful content online. Read more on VAN.
Rakuten Launches ‘Rakuten Advertising’
Japanese media and e-commerce company Rakuten has announced it is bringing together its media and technology assets together into one destination for advertisers, Rakuten Advertising. “Through the unification of Rakuten’s performance and data businesses and our new collaboration with our media properties, advertisers and agencies can now go to one place to access a rich combination of audiences, media, content networks and consumer insights,” said Nick Stamos, CEO, Rakuten Advertising. “Together, we create the right conditions to reach and engage new customers and sustain long-lasting loyalty.”
The Week for Agencies
IPG Hits 3.3 Percent Organic Revenue Growth in 2019
Agency holding group Interpublic Group published its full-year results this week, with organic growth for the full year reaching 3.3 percent. In a strong financial report for the company, IPG reported net revenue growth of 7.4 percent for the full year, with net revenues reaching $8.63 billion. IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth said the strong performance was particularly fuelled by media, data and tech, according to AdAge.
Unilever to Stop Targeting Children with Food and Beverage Ads
Fast-moving consumer goods giant Unilever has announced it will stop targeting children under 12 years old with ads for its food and beverage products, part of its ‘responsibility framework’ set by ex-CMO Keith Weed. Unilever will also limit the use of cartoon characters to promote its food and beverage products, and stop working with influencers and celebrities whose target audience is primarily children. The change will be first implemented for its ice cream brands, which include Magnum, Walls, and Ben & Jerry’s.
MDC Partners Unites Five Agencies in New Collective ‘Constellation’
MDC Partners has brought together five of its agencies into a new collective, which it calls a ‘constellation’, designed to help the five work together more closely. The constellation will bring together 72andSunny, Instrument, Redscout, Hecho Studios and CPB. The five will still operate separately, but will collaborate to determine the best combination of their services they can offer clients. “For so long, we’ve been part of the same family, but sitting at different tables,” said 72andSunny creative co-chairman John Boiler. “Now we can work together to solve problems on a bigger scale, learn from each other, and have a bigger impact for our clients and in the world.”
Hires of the Week
Amazon Hires Mike Hopkins to Lead Entertainment Unit
Amazon has taken on Mike Hopkins, currently chairman of Sony Pictures Television, to become SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios. Hopkins will report directly to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
Alastair Bannerman Joins Wavemaker
Wavemaker has appointed Alastair Bannerman as global client president, it announced this week. Bannerman currently works as global category and client president for fellow GroupM holding MediaCom.
TAKUMI Hires Mary Keane-Dawson as Group Chief Executive
Influencer marketing service TAKUMi announced this week that it has hired Mary Keane-Dawson as its new group chief executive, a former non-executive board member of the company. Keane-Dawson has previously held C-suite roles as WPP, Steak Media, Reform and Collective London.
This Week on VAN
Five Reasons Why Regulators Won’t Break Up Big Tech According to Arete’s Richard Kramer, read more on VAN
The Gaming World’s Battle for Live Streaming Talent is Heating Up, read more on VAN
Ofcom Set to Oversee Social Media Platforms as ‘Online Harms’ Regulator, read more on VAN
Ad Tech Vendors Are Exploiting Addressable TV’s Inconsistent Terminology, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Sony Playstation, Feel the Power, Adam&EveDDB