The WIR: Agencies Call Out Late Payments, YouTube Reworks its Premium Offering, and Video Game Ad Spend Doubles During Lockdown


In this week’s Week in Review: Agencies team up to call out late payment from clients, YouTube launches ‘YouTube Select’, and MediaRadar reports that video game ad spend has doubled during lockdown. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Agencies Unite to Call Out Late Payments
An alliance of agency trade associations including the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA), Association of American Advertising Agencies (4As), European Association of Communication Agencies (EACA), and the Association of Accredited Advertising Agents (4As Malaysia) this week launched a new alliance calling out late payments from clients. The alliance, called VoxComm, claimed that a number of advertisers are using the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse for delaying payments to their agencies, and called on those advertisers to mend their ways.

“Today, Fortune Global 500 firms spend around $20 billion a year on CSR activities,” said a statement announcing VoxComm’s formation. “And yet we are hearing from our members all around the world that many of those same ‘corporately responsible’ companies are using the crisis to delay paying their agencies. Late payment is a pernicious habit that even cash rich companies employ to falsely enhance their liquidity ratios.”

YouTube Launches New Premium Offering for Advertisers, YouTube Select
YouTube this week launched ‘YouTube Select’, a reworking of its ‘Google Preferred’ offering which lets advertisers buy inventory alongside a curated list of YouTube channels. YouTube says Select offer ‘lineups’ of select channels within specific content categories like beauty & fashion, entertainment, technology, sports. Select will also let advertisers buy specifically alongside smaller up and coming or niche channels, with brand safety assurances from YouTube.

Perhaps most interestingly, YouTube Select will also packages specifically designed for connected-TV, as YouTube viewing on TV screens grows. ‘Streaming TV’, as the offering is called, combines inventory on YouTube’s linear TV platform YouTube TV, as well as inventory on lineups content, both on TV screens. “That means being able to easily reach your audience with a single, scalable offering on the big screen across the best content, including popular creators, YouTube Originals, live sports, feature length movies, timely news and more,” said Vishal Sharma, VP of product management for YouTube Ads.

Video Game Advertising Doubles During Lockdown
While many brands have slashed ad spend during the lockdown, research from MediaRadar this week highlighted one vertical where ad spend has grown rapidly – video games. According to MediaRadar’s stats, weekly ad spend from mobile video game companies specifically has doubled during the lockdown, from $700,000 per week to over $1.4 million. Games retailers have also massively ramped up spend, with games postal service GameFly’s ad spend up 500 percent year-on-year.

With consumers spending more time at home, many are spending more time with video games, and its promising to see that ad spend in the category is rising dramatically as a result.

Media Radar Games

Coronavirus News

Vice Media Lays Off Over 150
Vice Media has laid off over 150 staff from its US and international locations, due to the slowdown in advertising revenues caused by the pandemic. CEO Nancy Dubuc said the cuts are focussed on Vice’s digital media business, where costs are higher relative to revenues.

Omnicom Reveals Three Phase Plan for Office Returns
Omnicom Group CEO John Wren this week revealed the company’s three phase plan for returning to offices. Phase 1 will see 25 percent occupancy of Omnicom offices, phase 2 will be 50 percent occupancy, and phase three will bring offices back to 100 percent occupancy. Omnicom also released guidelines for office etiquette as workers return.

Condé Nast Launches New Pandemic-Specific Data Offering
International magazine publisher Condé Nast has launched a new first-party data offering specific to the coronavirus pandemic. Advertisers can target three consumer categories based on Condé Nast data: ‘Now’ (those who are shopping through the pandemic), ‘New’ (those who are trying new brands during the pandemic) and ‘Next’ (those who will be quickest to resume spending as businesses reopen.

UK Broadcasters Unite for Guidelines on Resuming TV Production
ITV, BBC, Sky, Channel 4, Channel 5, STV, ITN, the Association for Commercial Broadcasters and On-Demand Services (COBA) and Pact have joined forces to introduce new industry wide guidelines for producing television safely in the weeks and months ahead, as production resumes. The contributors say the guidance covers the broad range and scale of all TV programme making in every genre for TV.

Essence Goes Through Round of Layoffs and Furloughs
WPP-owned agency Essence went through a round of furloughs and layoffs in its North American offices last week, as well as cutting pay and hours for a number of its remaining employees. “All companies are being affected by the pandemic in some way and unfortunately the current situation requires us to make further adjustments across our business,” said an Essence spokesperson.

COVID-19 Could Cost Ad-Funded Entertainment Industry $137 Billion Over Next Five Years
The COVID-19 pandemic could cost the global ad-funded entertainment industry over $137 billion in lost growth over the next five years according to research from Ampere Analysis, a media analyst firm. The entertainment industry as a whole, including paid services, is projected to lose over $160 billion due to the outbreak. Read more on VAN.

IPG Reopens Some International Offices
Interpublic Group has begun reopening some of its international offices, in locations including New Zealand, Sri Lanka, China, Singapore, and in parts of Europe. But CEO Michael Roth maintains that the company will not be rushing back in all locations, and will take a cautious approach to reopening offices.

Nine in Ten Consumers want Brands to Continue Advertising says Union
Research from Union, a joint venture between five EMEA video technology providers, this week found that nine in ten European consumers want brands to continue advertising during the pandemic. Two of the markets hit the hardest by COVID-19 were most positive about brands continuing advertising – Italy (93 percent approval) and Spain (92 percent).

The Economist Lays Off 90 Staff
The Economist has let go of 90 non-editorial staff, and announced it it shuttering the print edition of its magazine 1843, as a pandemic related cost-cutting measure. “We have made the difficult decision to restructure and reduce roles in the parts of our business most affected by COVID-19,” The Economist Group said in a statement.

Ad Revenues Down but Subs Up for Boston Globe Media
US news publisher Boston Globe Media this week told Digiday it has seen a 30-35 percent fall in advertising revenue during the pandemic. But it’s seen growth in digital subscriptions at the same time, which have risen 35 percent over the past ten weeks.

IBC 2020 Cancelled
Annual media and tech show IBC announced this week that its 2020 event, which had been due to take place in September, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. “Right now, despite the best work of the IBC team and our Dutch colleagues, there are still many unknowns,” said IBC CEO Michael Crimp. “Therefore, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to deliver a safe and valuable event to the quality expected of IBC.”

The Week in Tech

DOJ Plans to File Antitrust Charges Against Google
The New York Times reported this week that the US Department of Justice is planning to file antitrust charges against Google this summer, citing two people familiar with the matter. State attorneys could then choose to join the DOJ’s case, or file their own separate charges.

CNBC Reporter Demonstrates Ease of Monetising Plagiarised News Sites
CNBC reporter Megan Graham ran an experiment to demonstrates the ease with which plagiarised news sites can be monetised, starting a new site and filling it with content pulled from CNBC. Graham said that within days she was able to run ads, including some from big name advertisers, having been approved by ad tech partners Sovrn, Media.net and Infolinks.

Watching That Introduces Video Header Bidding Support
Watching That, a video intelligence platform, this week introduced header bidding support, which the company says will give clients full descriptive and diagnostic control of their video header bidding setup. Watching That will provide data including total revenue generated by the auctions; how many auctions are being run successfully and who’s participating; and what the average winning CPMs are per bidder.

Mobile Will Lead Digital Recovery for Publishers According to PubMatic QMI Report
Mobile advertising has been hit far less hard by the pandemic than desktop according to PubMatic’s Q1 2020 Quarterly Mobile Index report released this week. Mobile impression volume on publisher sites was flat between pre- and post-COVID 19 impact, as well as quarter-over-quarter, while desktop volume declined.

Google Introduces ‘Custom Bidding’ to DV360
Google this week introduced a new tool called ‘Custom Bidding’ to automated bidding in DV360. Google says Custom Bidding lets buyers set a KPI and proxy signals to help predict success in that KPI. DV360 will then build a script to value impressions based on this information, and adjust bids according to those valuations.

Facebook Launches News Shopping Platform
Facebook launches a new shopping feature called Facebook Shops this week, designed to let small businesses open up virtual storefronts which are accessible via both Facebook and Instagram.

The Week in TV

Putting Content First is Crucial for TV Planning Strategies says Vevo’s Cornish
Identifying the best and highest quality content that builds the broadest audiences will be the best way forward for planning TV campaigns says James Cornish, VP of international sales at Vevo, as the rise of connected-TV and digital platforms leads to more fragmented distribution. Cornish says that approaches which prioritise data, precision and addressability can de-prioritise quality of content, and contribute to problems around brand safety and transparency. “A content-first planning strategy for digital channels would alleviate many, if not all of these challenges, and surface the primetime, brand building opportunities that genuinely exist and are often over-looked in digital media,” said Cornish.

Apple to License Archive Content for Apple TV+
Apple has begun licensing older TV and film content for its Apple TV+ subscription service, Bloomberg reported this week, to build up a bigger library on content and better compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney+. Apple had previously relied on original content for its service, which launched late last year.

BBC Four Could Become a Global Subscription Service
The BBC commented this week on possible changes to its two channels BBC Three and BBC Four. BBC Three, which became digital only in 2016, could return as an on-air channel. BBC Four meanwhile, which has been rumoured for the axe, could become a global subscription service as it explores “potential commercial opportunities”.

TF1 Set to Close MyTF1
TF1 is set to shutter its transactional video on-demand (TVOD) service TF1, according to a report from Capital. MyTF1 has reportedly struggled to make significant headway in the French VOD market. And with Salto, a joint subscription streaming service of which TF1 is a founder, set to launch later this year, TF1 has decided its TVOD service no longer serves a purpose.

NBCU Unveils First Original Content for Peacock
NBCUniversal this week unveiled its first original content for its new subscription streaming service Peacock, which will be available when its premium tier launches on July 15th. Previously announced shows including Brave New World, The Capture, Intelligence and Lost Speedways will be available at launch. There had been speculation around how many originals Peacock would have available at release, given the disruption coronavirus has caused to TV production.

Brave New World
A still from Peacock Original ‘Brave New World’

HBO Max Set to Air Justice League Directors Cut
AT&T’s upcoming subscription streaming service HBO Max will air a directors cut of 2017 film ‘Justice League’, which a number of fans have been calling for. The move highlights a potential interesting new avenue for streaming services looking for original content – Netflix made a similar move in 2018, releasing a recut of comedy series ‘Arrested Development’s controversial fourth season.

Analyst Forecasts UK SVOD Market to Double in Five Years
Global Data, a data and analytics company, forecast this week that the number of subscription video on-demand (SVOD) subscriptions in the UK will double between the end of last year and the end of 2024 from 22.4 million to 44.6 million. Total market revenue, exclusive of VAT, is expected to also double from £1.5 billion in 2019 to £3 billion in 2024.

UK SVOD GD

The Week in Publishing

New York Times to Phase Out Use of Third-Party Data
The New York Times is planning to completely phase out its use of third-party data in advertising according to a report from Axios this week. The move comes as the NYT builds out its first-party data targeting capabilities. Starting in July, the paper will offer advertisers 45 new proprietary first-party audience segments to target ads, according to Axios.

News UK Opts Out of Publishing ABC Figures
News UK will stop publicly releasing their ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulation) figures, an independent measure of newspaper circulation, following in the footsteps of The Telegraph. ABC has said it will stop automatically publishing national newsbrands’ figures. But agencies will still be able to see the figures, provided they sign a non-disclosure agreement, to inform their media buying.

Google Accused of Censoring Search Results After Fake Claims
Google was this week accused of blocking links to news stories after people featured (in a negative light) in those stories made bogus copyright claims. An investigation by the Wall Street Journal claimed that convicted criminals among others have abused Google’s copyright claims tools to remove links to unfavourable news articles, often using fake identities to do so.

Facebook Buys GIPHY
Facebook this week bought gif database GIPHY for $400 million, announcing that the new acquisition will be folded into its photo-sharing app Instagram. “By bringing Instagram and GIPHY together, we can make it easier for people to find the perfect GIFs and stickers in Stories and Direct,” said Vishal Shah, VP of product at Facebook.

Twitter Releases New Reply Limiting Features
Twitter this week released a new feature which lets users set tweets so that only those mentioned in the tweet are able to reply. The feature will help brands and users exert more control over the conversations on their tweets and pages.

The Week for Agencies

Publicis Wins McDonald’s Media Planning Duties in China
Publicis Groupe has been awarded media planning duties for fast-food chain McDonalds in China, the French holding group announced this week. The account, which involved planning duties across channels, was previously held by Omnicom’s OMD.

Marketing Company Tiny Horse Bought by Whistle
Digital media company Team Whistle, which distributes sports and entertainment content on social platforms, has bought marketing firm Tiny Horse for $30 million, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Team Whistle will use Tiny Horse, which handles marketing for a number of streaming services, to pitch its own offering to advertisers.

Walkers Splits with AMV
PepsiCo-owned crisp brand Walkers has split with Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, its creative agency of 22 years. Walkers will conduct a review to choose AMV’s replacement.

Hires of the Week

TikTok Hires Disney’s Kevin Mayer as CEO
Video sharing platform TikTok this week hired Kevin Mayer, currently chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment, as its new CEO. Mayer is credited with building out Disney’s recently launched subscription streaming service Disney+.

Unruly Appoints Former Verizon Director Toby Williams as VP Business Development, APMEA
Unruly, now part of Tremor International, this week the appointment of former Verizon director, Toby Williams, to the position of VP of business development in the APMEA (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) regions. In his new role, Williams will be responsible for driving Unruly’s media footprint across the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region by building strategic partnerships with publishers and media companies.

MediaMath Bolsters Leadership
MediaMath this week announced the appointment of two new executives – former WW International executive Kimberly Samon joins MediaMath as its chief people officer while the product team welcomes Anudit Vikram, former Edge by Ascential product leader as senior vice president of product.

Picnic Media Hires Alex Taylor as Partnerships Director
Ad marketplace Picnic Media has appointed Alex Taylor as partnerships director. Alex has the remit to  grow Picnic Media’s existing partnerships with UK publishers, as well as to lead European and American expansion.

This Week on VAN

The Lockdown is Making Broadcasters More Flexible, Consultative and Creative, read more on VAN

YouTube TV is Becoming a Serious Player in the US Pay TV Market, read more on VAN

Media Agencies Hope that SSP Tie Ups will Help Address the ISBA Report’s Concerns, read more on VAN

COVID-19 Could Cost Ad-Funded Entertainment Industry $137 Billion Over Next Five Years, read more on VAN.

Ad of the Week

KFC, KFC is Back


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