The WIR: Half of Large Multinationals Defer Ad Spend by Over Six Months, Facebook Adds New Targeting Tools to Watch, and Sky Joins NBCU’s One Platform

In this week’s Week in Review: The WFA reports the majority of large multinationals are holding back ad spend, Facebook adds new targeting options to Watch, and NBCUniversal expands its One Platform. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Over Half of Large Multinationals are Holding Back Ad Spend says WFA
Fifty-two percent of large multinationals are now holding back ad spend for six months or more, according to a survey carried out by advertiser trade group the WFA in April. Only 19 percent of large multinationals said they were taking similar action when the WFA asked the same question back in March. With more advertisers cutting budgets, the WFA expects total global ad budgets to be down by 36 percent for the first half of the year, and 31 percent for the full year.

TV is expected to be hit hard by campaign deferments, with the WFA predicting a 31 percent drop in TV investment for the year. The Wall Street Journal reported this week that in the US, many brands are now cancelling TV spend they’d already committed to Q3. Ad buyers predict that up to $1.5 billion worth of Q3 commitments could be cancelled, according to the WSJ.

The WFA however says digital video is one of the least affected channels, with digital video budgets in Q1 and Q2 down by just seven percent.

WFA reportFacebook Adds New Targeting Tools to Watch
Facebook announced this week it is introducing new targeting tools to Facebook Reserve, its tool for buying guaranteed in-stream inventory on Facebook Watch. Facebook had previously allowed buyers to target using Nielsen region and demographic-based audiences. But in an effort to expand its appeal to TV buyers, Facebook will begin allowing advertisers to use interest group and behavioural targeting for Facebook Reserve buys. The social platform eventually plans to let advertisers use custom audiences too, using their own first-party data to define audiences and target users on Watch.

Sky Joins NBCUniversal’s ‘One Platform’
Comcast-owned broadcaster NBCUniversal this week announced that sister company Sky is joining ‘One Platform’, its unified buying tool which sells TV and video inventory across NBCU’s portfolio. NBCU says that advertising and partnership opportunities across both media companies, including Sky’s global IP and international news, can be planned, optimised, delivered and measured via One Platform. The offering will include ad targeting via Sky’s AdSmart tools, and measurement using NBCU’s unified advertising metric ‘CFlight’.

NBCUniversal’s chairman of advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino told Reuters that “this effort matters more now than ever,” in the context of the pandemic, saying that the automated tool could lower costs for advertisers.

Coronavirus News

Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg Blames Struggles on Lockdown
Jeffrey Katzenberg, founder of mobile-first streaming service Quibi, said this week he attributes everything that has gone wrong for the service to coronavirus. The service has had a slow start, falling off the App Store and Play Store charts shortly after debuting. The company is introducing new features to allow its shows to be cast onto TV sets, to better fit with consumers’ lockdown viewing habits.

Omnicom Media Group Reports Sharp CPM Drops
Omnicom Media Group this week reported its seeing sharp drops in CPMs during the lockdown, with display ad CPMs down 40 percent across all formats, and YouTube CPMs down by an average of 25 percent. CTV however has been less impacted – inventory has increased by 40 percent, but prices have largely held due to the majority of OMG’s CTV investment being coupled to fixed-rate deals.

Publicis Maintains Working From Home Guidance Despite Economies Reopening
Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun said in a video address to the company this week that the holding group is continuing to ask its staff to work from home where possible, even in markets where lockdown restrictions are easing. How and when Publicis agencies return to office work will depend on local context and guidance, Sadoun said.

NYT says Layoffs Likely in Ad Department
The New York Times’ head of advertising Sebastian Tomich said this week that layoffs within his department are likely as ad revenues fall during the pandemic. The NYT saw a 15 percent drop in ad revenues in Q1, and anticipates that they could be down by 50 percent in Q2.

Mediaset Reports Ad Revenue Slump
European broadcaster Mediaset has seen its revenues hit by the pandemic, due to a significant slowdown in the ad market. The broadcaster reported net revenues of €682.1 million, down from €718.2 million in Q1 2019. Profits meanwhile fell from €36.7 million to €14.6 million.

McDonald’s Ramps Up Ad Spend to Prepare for Recovery
McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said the fast food chain is ramping up its marketing spend in order to speed up its post-lockdown recovery. The move comes as the chain begins to reopen some of its restaurants while bringing in social distancing measures.

Givewith and Sublime COVID-19 Ad Response Initiative
Givewith Advertising UK and Sublime have partnered to create bespoke campaigns for brands that will align with their sales messages whilst funding Givewith’s COVID-19 Response Initiative. The two say brands will be able to use Sublime’s ad format to create campaigns which achieve the advertiser’s commercial goals while also raising funds for charities helping deal with the social impacts of COVID-19.

The Week in Tech

ICO Pauses its Ad Tech Investigation
The UK’s data regulator the ICO has announced that it is pausing its investigation into ad tech in light of the pandemic. “It is not our intention to put undue pressure on any industry at this time but our concerns about ad tech remain and we aim to restart our work in the coming months, when the time is right,” said an ICO spokesperson.

Roku’s Platform Revenues Grow 73 Percent
OTT platform and device manufacturer Roku announced in its Q1 financial results that platform revenues, which includes ad revenues, were up 73 percent year-on-year. Platform revenues now represent nearly two-third of Roku’s total revenues.

Google Begins Running Privacy Sandbox Experiments
Google has begun inviting ad tech companies to take part in bid request experiments using some of the proposals laid out within its Privacy Sandbox, Digiday reported this week. Google told Digiday these experiments are in early stages, and it plans to publish updates and progress reports via Github.

Twitter Buys Mobile DSP CrossInstall
Twitter has acquired mobile demand-side platform (DSP) CrossInstall for an undisclosed fee. CrossInstall owns a proprietary bidder, as well as playable and interactive ad units, according to AdExchanger.

FTC Recruits Ad Tech Experts
US trade regulator the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is recruiting two ad tech experts, to help it better understand and regulate the digital advertising ecosystem, AdExchanger reported this week. Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, told AdExchanger that “visibility into these quickly evolving market dynamics is critical to fulfilling our consumer protection mission”.

CTV Spend Through The Trade Desk Grows 100 Percent Year-on-Year
The Trade Desk announced in its Q1 financial results this week that CTV spend on its platform grew 100 percent year-on-year, as the company continues to make connected-TV one of its primary focusses. Total revenues were up 33 percent year-on-year, reaching $160.7 million.

FreeWheel and Adform Launch Joint Programmatic Buying Initiative
Comcast-owned FreeWheel this week announced an expansion of its European partnership with Adform which the two say will make programmatic buying via their respective softwares easier. The two will work together on tailor-made demand-side platform (DSP) deals, with FreeWheel’s advanced video and connected TV (CTV) inventory accessible via Adform’s omni-channel DSP.

CTV Ad Impression Volume Up 69 Percent Year-on-Year
Innovid this week said it’s seeing 69 percent growth year-on-year in total volume of CTV ad impressions, for the week starting May 3rd. Innovid, which claims to serve 1 in 3 US video ad impressions, says 49 percent of all video ad impressions during this period were on CTV, compared to 36 percent on mobile and 15 percent on PC.

The Week in TV

KKR Buys Stake in ‘Undervalued’ ProSieben
Global investment firm KKR this week bought a 5.2 percent stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, saying that it believes the business’ value is not currently reflected in its share price.

Fox Says Majority of Autumn Content has Already Been Filmed
Fox this week unveiled its Autumn schedule, revealing that all but one show has already been filmed, giving it a solid slate of programming despite the production disruption caused by the pandemic. Fox has also begun talking with agencies about the upcoming NFL season, with live sports set to return soon in the US, according to Adweek.

NBCU Pledges to Cut Back on 15 Second TV Ads
NBCUniversal said in its ‘One Industry Update’ this week that it is cutting down on the number of 15 second ads it runs on linear TV. Laura Molen, president of ad sales and partnerships at NBCU, said the broadcaster is finding that cramming too many 15 second ads into linear commercial breaks “just doesn’t work”, though she said the format does tend to work well on digital platforms.

ViacomCBS to Expand and Rebrand its SVOD Service
ViacomCBS’s president and CEO Bob Bakish said on an investor call this week that the company is planning to rebrand and expand its paid streaming service, CBS All Access. The rebranded service will be available internationally, rather than just in the US, and will have a wider library of content according to Bakish.

Apple TV+ Signs Content Deal with Ridley Scott
Acclaimed director Ridley Scott and his production studio Scott Free has signed a deal with Apple’s paid subscription service Apple TV+ to create content for the service, Hollywood Reporter reported this week.

Over Half of UK Household Subscribe to SVOD says BARB
UK measurement body BARB said in its ‘Viewing Report’ released this week that over 50 percent of UK households are now subscribed to at least one of the three major SVOD services – Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Now TV.


The Week in Publishing

BuzzFeed Closes UK and Australia News Operations
BuzzFeed this week announced it is shuttering BuzzFeed News in the UK and Australia, focusing on its US news operations instead. The company’s branching out into hard news won plaudits and awards for its journalism, but ad revenue has been hard to come by according to The Guardian.

TikTok Introduces Youth Portal
Video-sharing app TikTok this week released a new ‘Youth Portal‘, a resource for young people and their parents to help them stay safe on the platform. The portal has information and best practices for account safety and security, as well as guides for video creation.

YouTube Reports Massive TV Screen Viewing Growth
YouTube reported this week it is seeing massive growth on connected-TV screens, saying that it has seen 800 percent growth in movie viewing and 200 percent growth in live content viewing year-on-year.

TikTok and Roku Join IAB Newfronts
Industry trade group IAB this week released the schedule for its revised ‘Newfronts’ event, which had been postponed due to the pandemic. TikTok and Roku were among the new additions.

Restructuring at Quartz Results in 80 Layoffs
Digital news publication Quartz’s parent company Uzabase announced this week it is restructuring the business, resulting in 80 layoffs. The restructuring, which will largely affect the advertising business, has already been planned, but has been accelerated by the pandemic according to the New York Times.

The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital Revenues Grow 73 Percent
S4 Capital’s Q1 revenues were up 73 percent year-on-year, reaching £71 million, while gross profits were up 85 percent to £61 million. The holding group said in a statement that despite the pandemic, it still has a “fighting chance” to achieve its three-year plan of doubling revenues organically.

DAN Combines Non-Japanese Creative Shops
Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) this week announced it is rolling all of its non-Japanese creative agencies into one shop, Dentsumcgarrybowen. The new shop has 3,000 staff working in 33 offices across 24 markets, according to Campaign.

MasterClass Spent More on Ads in March and April than in All of 2019
Online education brand MasterClass spent more on advertising in March and April than it did in all of 2019, according to data from MediaRadar. In addition to an extensive digital push, the company advertised on TV for the first time. MediaRadar says the education software industry as a whole has seen a hike in ad spend during the lockdown.

Hires of the Week

Harold Klaje Joins Reddit as VP of Advertising
Social sharing platform Reddit has hired Harold Klaje as its new VP of advertising, Digiday reported this week. Klaje joins from Pinterest, where he was global head of growth.

Nick Lawson Takes Over as MediaCom Global CEO
Nick Lawson has been appointed as MediaCom’s new global CEO, replacing Stephen Allan, who steps down after 12 years in the role.

This Week on VAN

Some are Concerned that Google’s Privacy Sandbox Could Limit Innovation and Stifle Competition, read more on VAN

Online Video Platforms Will Be Regulated Like Broadcasters Under New EU Rules, read more on VAN

With Budgets Stretched in Lockdown, Brands Are Focussing More on Advertising Outcomes, read more on VAN

VideoWeek Podcast #2, Tom Rogers, Captify, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Ad Council, Seize the Awkward, Droga5

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