The WIR: YouTube Works on a TikTok Rival, UK News Publishers Warn of £50 Million Loss from COVID-19 Blacklisting, and Telaria and Rubicon Project Complete Their Merger

In this week’s Week in Review: YouTube is reportedly developing a rival to TikTok, UK news publisher trade groups warn they’re taking a heavy financial hit from coronavirus blacklisting, and Telaria and Rubicon Project complete their merge. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

YouTube Reportedly Developing a TikTok Rival
YouTube is working on a short-form video feature called ‘Shorts’ designed to compete with TikTok, The Information reported this week. The new feature will sit within YouTube’s mobile app according to The Information, and will launch later this year. Users who upload videos will also have access to YouTube’s library of licensed music for use within their clips. Shorts will also offer a separate feed of content from the main app.

Having rapidly grown its userbase, TikTok now finds itself challenged on a number of fronts – with both established tech companies and new entrants seeking to knock it off its perch. Facebook has developed two similar products in Facebook Lasso and Instagram Reels. And Dom Hofmann, one of the co-founders of TikTok predecessor Vine, earlier this year launched a successor to Vine called ‘byte’.

UK News Publishers Fear £50 Million Loss from COVID-19 Blacklisting
A group of news publisher trade groups including Newsworks, the News Media Association, and the Association of Online Publisher this week released an open letter warning that UK publishers risk losing £50 million in revenues if brands continue blacklisting COVID-19 related coverage as some are currently doing. Launching a campaign called ‘#BackdontBlock’, the trade groups warned that coronavirus’ inclusion on blacklists “has had the unintended consequence of penalising newspapers for producing vital, informative journalism covering the most important issue to affect the country for a generation”.

Publishers around the world are calling for more support as they find their revenues threatened by reduced ad spend resulting from the pandemic. David Chavern, head of America’s News Media Alliance, told Press Gazette this week that he fears some US publishers will collapse within weeks if they don’t receive support from the federal government. And a group of MPs in the UK have called for a break on business rates, currently being granted to some sectors, to be extended to cover news publishers too.

Telaria and Rubicon Project Complete Merger
Ad tech companies Telaria and Rubicon Project this week completed their merger, announced at the end of last year, formally bringing the two companies together. The combined company will launch with a new name in the coming months, but for now will continue to be traded on the New York Stock Exchange under RUBI. Rubicon Project CEO Michael Barrett will be CEO of the combined company, while Telaria CEO Mark Zagorski will be president and COO.

The two reiterated, upon completion of the merger, that connected-TV will be a big focus for the two. “We are very pleased to begin this new chapter for the combined company,” said Rubicon Project CEO Michael Barrett. “Going to market as the world’s largest independent omnichannel sell-side platform with robust CTV capabilities puts us in a great position to help publishers monetise across all auction types and help buyers safely and efficiently meet their campaign goals.”

Coronavirus Updates

Coronavirus continues to dominate the news cycle, and most stories and events have been impacted by the pandemic in one way or another, but here are some of the biggest stories of the week directly related to COVID-19:

ITV Introduces 23 Discount for March and April Bookings
ITV has introduced two new measures to attract more ad spend during the coronavirus disruption. ITV says it’s providing a 23 percent discount on linear and VOD ads bought for March and April, and that it is also scrapping late booking fees. ITV has previously said it’s seeing a sharp drop in ad revenues as advertisers pause campaigns and pull budgets.

TripleLift Confirms Staff Cuts and Furloughs
Ad tech company TripleLift confirmed that it is cutting seven percent of its global headcount and furloughing an unspecified number of its staff Adweek reported today, amid tough economic conditions caused by coronavirus

BBC Voted Best Broadcaster for COVID-19 Information
The BBC was voted the best broadcaster for coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic in a poll of Press Gazette readers, with over half of readers (58 percent) saying that either BBC One or BBC News has provided the best coverage out of UK news sources. Meanwhile 18 percent believe Sky News has produced the best coverage, and 11 percent voted for Channel 4.

Sorrell Describes Spending Through Recession as “Nonsense”
S4 Capital executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell said in an interview with PRWeek that those arguing brands should spend their way through recessions are talking “nonsense”, saying brands have been right to “batten down the hatches”. But he also predicted a swift recovery from the disruption of COVID-19, saying that brands will “let rip” in Q4 this year.

JWPlayer Sees 40 Percent Increase in Video Consumption in Past 30 Days
Video player JWPlayer says it’s seen a 40 percent increase in video consumption across its network, with a particularly pronounced surge in the past few weeks, with audiences stuck inside and seeking out news and entertainment. Since January 20th, video plays, viewer sessions, and time watched have increased by 46 percent, 49 percent and 74 percent respectively.

WPP Cuts Executive Salaries
Agency holding group has cut salaries for its executive committee by twenty percent for the next three months, to help deal with financial difficulties resulting from coronavirus. WPP has also pulled its guidance for the year, ended its share buyback scheme resulting from its sale of Kantar, and suspended its 2019 dividend.

Cannes Lions Festival Cancelled for 2020
Organisers of the Cannes Lions festival announced this morning that this year’s event has been cancelled, with the next event taking place in 2021. The event had previously been postponed to October, but exhibitors had been reluctant to commit to the new dates given remaining uncertainty around whether the new dates world be workable.

RTL Group Withdraws Guidance
RTL Group withdraw its guidance issued earlier this month which it said had not reflected the disruption caused by coronavirus, and said it is not in a position to issue new guidance for the year ahead, given the remaining levels of uncertainty.

Facebook Pledges $100 Million for News Organisations Hurt by Coronavirus
Facebook has pledged $100 million in grant money and promised ad spending to news organisations which are seeing revenues severely dented by the COVID-19 outbreak. “Advertising money is shrinking fast and even though news consumption is up, it is not making up for those losses, so we are trying to help bridge that gap,” said Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of global news partnerships.

Gannett Expects Significant Impact on Revenues from COVID-19
Publishing group Gannett said this week it expects to see a significant impact on its revenues from COVID-19, with advertising and events revenues expected to decline due to social distancing measures. The company added it expects to see expenditures drop due to staff cuts and furloughs.

Twitch ‘Stream Aid’ Raises $2.8 Million to Fight Coronavirus
A charity live stream hosted on Twitch to raise money to fight coronavirus has raised $2.8 million for the World Health Organisation (WHO), pulling in 135 million concurrent viewers. Celebrities involved in the live stream included singer/songwriter John Legend, actor Joe Jonas, and streamer Tfue.

TV Viewing in Italy Up 108 Minutes Per Day
TV viewing in Italy is up by 108 minutes per day per consumer compared to this time last year, reaching an average of 356 minutes per day, according to Auditel and Nielsen data. News and in-depth analysis shows specifically have seen a 20 percent increase in consumption, according to the data.

Forty Percent of Marketers Expect Layoffs
Forty percent of marketers and retailers expect to have to make layoffs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a poll run by Digiday.

Rakuten Viber Develops COVID-19 Chatbot with WHO
Rakuten Viber has developed a chatbot alongside the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help fight misinformation around the COVID-19 outbreak. The chatbot is designed to help those seeking accurate information about the virus, answering questions and leading users to WHO resources.

The Week in Tech

Video Will Account for Half of All Advertising in the Future says The Trade Desk’s Jeff Green
The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green said in an interview with AdAge released this week that he believes in the future advertising will be one of a handful of trillion dollar industries, and that video in its various forms will account for half of that. Green also said that he believes linear TV will eventually die out, and that he believes that Netflix will be forced to launch an ad-supported tier in the not-too-distant future.

Media Buyers Want More Direct Paths to Inventory finds BidSwitch Analysis
Advertisers and agencies want more direct ways to purchase premium inventory as supply path optimisation (SPO), brand safety and transparency issues continue to be a concern according to BidSwitch’s Programmatic Insights 2019 report. Media spend on inventory sold direct using ads.txt, the IAB programmatic advertising transparency initiative, increased 45 percent in Q4 2019 compared to the equivalent period in 2018, while spend on reseller and unauthorised supply decreased.


Taboola Announces Collaboration with Moat to Offer 100 Percent Guaranteed Viewability
Taboola this week announced a collaboration with Moat by Oracle Data Cloud which the two says gives Taboola advertisers the ability to purchase video impressions on an outcome-based method, including viewable or video completion events. Taboola video advertisers will be able to only pay for impressions that meet their desired outcome. This means that when buying on a vCPM model, advertisers will only pay for viewed impressions, and when buying on a CPCV model, advertisers will only pay when their ad has reached their desired completion point, both as verified by Moat.

IAB Europe Claims Positive Uptake on TCF 2.0
IAB Europe claims it’s seen a positive uptake of its Transparency and Consent Framework 2.0 designed to help industry participants comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Since launching the revised framework in August 2019, IAB Europe says 365 vendors have registered to integrate TCF v2.0.

UK Sees Mobile-Led Rise in Viewability says IAS
The UK has seen a slight jump in viewability, according to Integral Ad Science’s Media Quality Report, which found that mobile web video inventory hit 70.7 percent viewability in H2 2019, exceeding the 70percent in-view benchmark that desktop impressions achieved in H1 2019. Mobile web display ads surpassed the global viewability average of just over three-fifths (63.3 percent), to reach a UK benchmark nearing three-quarters (68.3 percent) for H2 2019.

IAS Graphic

The Week in TV

BBC Suggests Linking License Fee to Household Bills
The BBC has suggested changing its funding to model to one where its fees are linked to common household bills, similar to what happens in other European countries. The BBC made its comments in response to a government proposal to change or scrap the current license fee system. The BBC also warned however that any changes which decriminalise non-payment of the fee will result in cuts to programming.

Dubbing is Core to Netflix’s International Strategy says Ampere Analysis
Netflix is focusing heavily on dubbing foreign language titles in international markets, according to research from Ampere Analysis, as part of its localisation strategy. One of the challenges Netflix faces outside of the US and UK is creating native-language content in a multitude of markets. Now its prioritising dubbing shows in French, German, Italian and Spanish, due to how widely these languages are spoken.

France Télévisions seeks Compensation from Canal+ for Airing Films for Free
France Télévisions is seeking compensation from Canal+ after the latter gave all viewers free access to a number of its pay-TV channels due to the coronavirus pandemic. Canal+’s move gave all viewers access to new feature films which normally would have been restricted to paying subscribers. But France Télévisions says Canal+ does not own free-to-air rights to those films, and it will seek reparations for damage caused.

Standard General Calls on Tegna to Open Books to Prospective Buyers
Hedge fund Standard General, one of the largest shareholders in US TV station operator Tegna, has called on the company to open its books to prospective buyers. Tegna has been reluctant to open its books as it’s been hit by coronavirus disruption, and the two prospective buyers have not yet signed confidentiality agreements. But Standard General says Tegna must not create arbitrary barriers to a potential sale, according to Reuters.

Vivendi Closes Sale of Universal Music Group Stake
European media group Vivendi has closed the sale of a ten percent stake in Universal Music Group. The stake has been sold to a consortium led by Tencent for €3 billion, giving UMG an implied value of €30 billion.

The Week in Publishing

Anonymous Investor Funds HQ Trivia Return
HQ Trivia, a live quiz app which shuttered earlier this year, returned last weekend having been bankrolled by an anonymous investor. The app had closed down as viewership had dwindled and it had struggled financially, but many had commented that the app could be well placed to thrive at a time where many are stuck in doors. One hundred thousand viewers tuned in for the start so the return stream, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook Releases New Video Creation and Discovery Tools
Facebook on Tuesday released new tools for video creation, management and discovery via its Facebook Watch video hub. The new tools include the ability to create series distributed via Facebook Pages, the ability to bulk upload and manage video content, and updates to playlists.

FB Video ManagementTikTok Tops AppsFlyer’s Growth Ranking
TikTok topped AppsFlyer’s ranking of the fastest growing media sources for app advertising in H2 last year, with TikTok Ads more than doubling its share of the app install market with 120 percent growth. Meanwhile Google grew its share of the app retarget market by 44 percent, moving closer to market leader Facebook.

The Week for Agencies

Publicis Accelerates Launch of Marcel
Publicis Groupe has said it’s accelerating the launch of Marcel, its AI-based internal communications platform, starting to roll it out in the US next week. CEO and chairman Arthur Sadoun said that he doesn’t expect the rollout to be perfect, but the group has decided to bring the launch date forward given the heightened need for connectivity during coronavirus disruption.

Consumers Say They’re Less Inclined to Buy a Product from Companies Which Use Their Data
A report on consumer trust in digital marketing released by GroupM this week found that six out of ten consumers report they’re less inclined to buy or use a product if their data is used for any purpose by the company which makes it. GroupM’s report also found that on average, two times more consumers say TV ads provide a more positive impression of brands than common digital formats.

Essence Wins Zoopla Media Account
Housing market website Zoopla this week announced it has handed it media buying account to Essence, following a four-way review managed by AAR. Goodstuff Communications had previously held the account, but decided not to pitch for renewal according to Campaign.

EasyJet Scraps CMO Position
Airline EasyJet has announced that its chief marketing officer Lis Blair is stepping away from the role, and that it is choosing not to hire a replacement.

Hires of the Week

WarnerMedia Chooses Jason Kilar as CEO
AT&T-owned WarnerMedia announced this week it has chosen Jason Kilar, former head of Hulu, as its new CEO.

Adform Hires Troels Philip Jensen as New CEO
Adform has chosen Troels Philip Jensen as its new CEO, replacing co-founder and former CEO Gustav Melletin. Jensen joins from Swedish software giant Itiviti AB, where he was COO.

This Week on VAN

Cannes Lions 2020 Cancelled, Postponed to 2021, read more on VAN

Why Balancing Video Ads with In-App Purchases is a Challenge for Games Producers, read more on VAN

The Agency View: How Are Advertisers Adapting to COVID-19? read more on VAN

How the Industry is Using Spare Inventory to Spread Coronavirus PSAs, read more on VAN

The First Day of Q2 Gave Rise to Some Cautious Optimism, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Virgin Media, ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Connected’

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