The WIR: COVID-19 Sets Back Industry Diversity Efforts, EU Calls for Monthly Reports on Fake News from Social Giants, and Disney+ Becomes the UK’s Third Most Popular SVOD Service

In this week’s Week in Review: The IPA and Creative Equals find that the COVID-19 crisis is hitting minority groups hardest, the EU calls for more action on fake news from Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and Disney+ quickly rises to become the UK’s third most popular SVOD service. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

COVID-19 Has Led to Industry Diversity Setbacks says IPA
Women and minority groups in the advertising industry are feeling the greatest strain from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a joint report from the Institute of Practitioner in Advertising (IPA), a publisher trade group, and Creative Equals, a diversity consultancy. In the Covid-19 Inclusion Pulse survey run by the two organisations, 47 of BAME staff reported that they feel they’ve been treated unfairly during the pandemic, and 79 percent of BAME people felt that the crisis would set back diversity efforts in the industry. Meanwhile women were found to be more likely than men to have taken a pay cut while working the same hours (21 percent for women, compared to 15 percent of men). And 86 percent of LGBTQ+ professionals reported they have struggled psychologically due to the crisis, the highest of any group surveyed.

The results come at a time when the advertising industry is facing questions around diversity, sparked by the ongoing protests against racial injustice in the US and Europe. Advertising trade group the WFA and the UN released a joint statement this week urging brands do more to tackle racial intolerance. But while many brands have released statements in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, some appear to be reluctant to advertise next to content relating to the protests. Paul Wallace, VP of global revenue products and services at Vice Media, told AdAge that CPMs on stories relating to the protests have been 57 percent lower than on other news stories, due to advertiser keyword blocking.

EU Calls for Social Platforms to Report Monthly on Fight Against Fake News
The European Union has called for social platforms to step up the fight against fake news, and release monthly reports on their efforts to combat fake news by preventing its spread on their services. EU foreign policy head Josep Borrell and the European Commission’s Vice President for values and transparency Vera Jourova said that the spread of fake news relating to the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the extent of the problem, and the influence of foreign actors in spreading fake news.

“It really showed that disinformation does not only harm the health of our democracies, it also harms the health of our citizens,” said Jourova at a press conference. “It can negatively impact the economy and undermine the response of the public authorities and therefore weaken the health measures.” The two senior officials have called for monthly reports from Facebook, Twitter, and Google specifically. These reports will include details on the actions those companies taken to promote authoritative content, and to limit coronavirus disinformation and advertising related to it.

Disney+ Becomes UK’s Third Most Popular SVOD Service
Just months after launching, Disney’s new subscription video on-demand (SVOD) service Disney+ has become the UK’s third most popular paid streaming service, ahead of Sky’s Now TV and behind Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, according to market research company Omdia. A survey from Omdia taken at the end of April found that Disney+ had reached 4.3 million UK subscribers, meaning it reaches 16. 8 percent of UK consumers who subscribe to online services. This still places it some way behind Netflix and Amazon, which reach 58.4 percent and 46.9 percent of online subscribers in the UK respectively.

Maria Rua Aguete, senior research director, video, TV and advertising for Omdia, said Disney+ has been boosted by the lockdown. “Disney+ arrived in the U.K. just as COVID-19 social distancing and quarantine measures commenced,” she said. “Streaming services like Disney+ and Netflix have become the biggest winners during the lockdown as consumers have sought new entertainment experiences to keep themselves entertained. In particular, the current catalogs offered by these services have become increasingly alluring to viewers, given than the pandemic has halted production of new video content.”

Coronavirus News

News Corp to Cut Jobs in UK Newspaper and Radio Businesses
Media giant News Corp has announced it is cutting jobs in its UK newspaper and radio businesses as a cost-saving measure, Reuters reported this week, though the company has not specified how many jobs will be affected.

ProSiebenSat.1 Media Reports Sustained Hit to Ad Revenues
ProSiebenSat.1 Media CEO Rainer Beaujean said that ad revenues in May were in line with the 40 percent drop which the company reported in April, and that the first days of June appear to be following the same trend. But Beaujean told reporters that ProSieben is looking to achieve a medium-term return on capital employed of at least 15 percent, according to Reuters.

Discovery Sees Savings From Lockdown Production
Discovery is reviewing production costs after having seen significant savings on content produced under lockdown conditions, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Discovery says it has saved on average $300,000 for every hour of content shot from home for its HGTV, Food Network and DIY channels.

Publishers See Recovery in Video Ad Revenue
Publishers are starting to see recovery of video ad revenues on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube according to a report from Digiday this week, with rates now not far off their pre-pandemic levels.

The Athletic Lays Off Eight Percent of Staff
Sport-focussed digital publisher The Athletic is laying off eight percent of its workforce, and implementing a company-wide pay cut, to help deal with the financial strain caused by the pandemic. “With sports on pause due to the ongoing pandemic, today we made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our staff in select coverage areas, affecting approximately eight percent of employees,” a company spokesperson told Axios.

Sky Media Expands AdSmart Support Scheme for SMEs
Sky Media has expanded its scheme giving away free media to small and media enterprises via its addressable TV advertising tool AdSmart. Sky says it will now allocate £2.5 million in free inventory, up from its initial pledge of £1 million.

Pinterest Reports Growth in Requests for Payment Extensions
Social sharing platform Pinterest is seeing an increased number of advertisers asking for extensions to their payment dates, the Wall Street Journal reported this week, as those advertisers deal with their own financial difficulties. Pinterest’s CFO Todd Morgenfeld said the company is having to weigh up either bearing the financial burden its self, or risking harming relationships with its advertising partners.

The Week in Tech

IAB Tech Lab Releases Spec for CCPA Data Deletion Requests
Industry standards body IAB Tech Lab this week released a spec for handling data deletion requests made under the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). “This is the first technical standard of its kind for the digital advertising industry and has potential application beyond CCPA—e.g., it could be extended to other circumstances where publishers and vendors look to signal user requests for data deletion,” said Tech Lab. “Avoiding one-off, proprietary builds per partnership and policy, or just as bad, manual processes to reach out to partners for deletes, can save the industry real money and reduce room for error.”

Google Releases New CTV Tools in DV360
Google has released a new set of tools within its DV360 advertising platform which it says are designed to help advertisers take advantage of the boom in CTV viewing. Google is releasing a dedicated TV section within DV360 Marketplace, where TV audiences will be available across devices. The tech giant is also working on releasing pre-packaged bundles of CTV inventory to give advertisers an option to quickly buy inventory without going through the negotiation process.

Mediarithmics Raises €8 Million for UK Expansion
Data marketing platform mediarithmics announced this week it has completed an €8 million funding round, which will be used to expand its reach in the EU and UK. “The current environment, and particularly the scheduled end of third-party cookies, supports the mediarithmics vision: all market players have to rely on a flexible, open and scalable platform engineered to seamlessly adapt to technological evolutions,” said mediarithmics founder and CEO Stéphane Dugelay.

DoubleVerify Launches New CTV Transparency and Reporting Solution
DoubleVerify this week announced the launch of a new transparency and reporting solution for CTV inventory. DV says the new solution is designed to give CTV buyers full transparency and accurate data on where their campaigns are running across all major CTV devices. “With our new solution, CTV advertisers can get consistent evaluation standards, making it easier to track campaign quality and performance,” said Matt McLaughlin, COO of DoubleVerify.

Disney Joins Nielsen’s Addressable TV Beta
Disney was announced this week as the newest partner for Nielsen’s addressable TV advertising beta, which is designed to help broadcasters with yield optimisation by letting them toggle addressability on and off for linear campaigns, based on how they’re performing against KPIs. Nielsen claims that with the addition of Disney, broadcasters involved in the beta represent 75 percent of linear TV impressions in the US.

Inscape Footprint Reaches 15 Million Smart TVs
Inscape, a smart TV data company and subsidiary of VIZIO, this week announced it has surpasses a consumer opt-in footprint of 15 million smart TVs in the US. The company also announced the launch of a National Representative Panel (NRP), which it says applies anonymous consumer data from reputable sources to make Inscape data representative across a broad set of consumer and household attributes.

Zeotap Launches Universal Identity Solution ID+
German data company zeotap this week announced ID+, a new universal identity solution built off the back of zeotap’s identity graph, which is designed to help advertisers overcome challenges created by the demise of third-party cookies. “The launch of ID+ is a major step for zeotap and an industry facing an uncertain future. For a ‘universal ID’ to gain widespread adoption and claim true universality it needs a multilateral governance model. Nobody wants to see one duopoly give way to another,” said Projjol Banerjea, founder & CPO at zeotap.

Comcast Technology Solutions and FreeWheel Partner for Programmatic Sales of STB VOD
Comcast-owned companies FreeWheel and Comcast Technology Solutions this week announced they’re partnering for a new solution which will enable programmatic sales of set-top box video on-demand inventory. The two say the solution allows both content owners and distributors to unify STB VOD content with other inventory sold programmatically across connected TV and digital video channels. The new offering combines the ad targeting capabilities of FreeWheel’s ad decision engine with the ad creative distribution capabilities of Comcast Technology Solutions’ Ad Store.

Pluto TV Passes 100 Channels in the UK
Linear OTT platform Pluto TV announced this week that it now has over 100 channels available in the UK, after launching with just 13 channels a year and a half ago. “Since launching a year and a half ago with only 13 channels in the UK, 100 channels was a first goal to offer viewers a healthy, diverse line-up,” said Olivier Jollet, MD Europe at Pluto TV.

The Week in TV

Channel 4 Launches £3 Million Airtime Fund for First-Time TV Advertisers
UK broadcaster Channel 4 has launched a new initiative offering £3 million in free airtime to first-time TV advertisers, in an effort to attract more ad spend during the lockdown. Through the ‘Greenhouse Fund’, Channel 4 will match the amount that first-time TV advertisers spend on media buys across the broadcaster’s portfolio, effectively doubling their investment. Read more on VAN.

Over 60 Percent of Pay TV Operators Predicted to Gain Subscribers
Two-thirds of the world’s pay TV operators will gain subscribers between 2019 and 2025 according to a forecast from Digital TV Research. Digital TV Research also predicts that 59 percent of operators will see revenue increases during the same period.

AMC Signs Up to ‘On Addressability’ Initiative
US TV network AMC this week became the first partner of the ‘On Addressability’ initiative, a joint venture between Comcast, Charter, and Cox designed to deliver addressable advertising on traditional linear TV. AMC will allocate a portion of its inventory to the initiative, which will then be targetable by household at a national level.

Mediengruppe RTL Launches GZSZ Voice App
Mediengruppe RTL this week launched its new voice app for its show GZSZ, available on Alexa and Google. Through the app, users will be able to ask their smart speakers what happened in the last episode of GZSZ, or get a preview of the upcoming episode.

The Week in Publishing

NYT and Bon Appétit Editors Resign
The editors of both the New York Times and Bon Appétit resigned this week after they were called out in separate incidents relating to the ongoing protests against racism in the US. The NYT’s Opinion editor James Bennet resigned after an outcry over the publishing of an Op-Ed by Republican senator Tom Cotton, which called for the military to be brought in against protestors. And Bon Appétit’s Adam Rapoport resigned after a photo of him dressed in ‘brown face’ surfaced on social media.

Facebook News Goes Live for All User in the US
Facebook’s revamped news tab, Facebook News, has gone live in the US for all users, following a limited rollout last year. The news tab will have a strong focus on local news sources according to the social media giant according to Facebook, and human vetting of content will help guide its editorial selection process.

Snap Launches Slate of New Originals
Snapchat announced a slate of new original programming for Snapchat Discover this week, a mix of scripted, unscripted, and docuseries content, some of which will include augmented reality (AR) elements. In the announcement, Snap claimed that over half the US Gen Z population are now tuning in to Snap originals.

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Resigns from Board and Asks to be Replaced by Black Candidate
Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of social sharing platform Reddit, resigned from the company’s board this week, and urged the board to replace him with a black candidate. Reddit has historically struggled with hate speech on its platform, with former CEO Ellen Pao calling the company out on Twitter this week over a lack of action against extremist groups.

Twitter Trials Feature Prompting Users to Read Articles Before Sharing
Twitter has announced it is trialling a new feature which asks users whether they would like to read an article linked in a tweet, before they retweet it.

LinkedIn to Remove Violent or False Posts from Politicians
Professional social network LinkedIn says it will remove posts from politicians, including US president Donald Trump, which could incite violence or contain false information. ““We have rules around harmful content, hate speech, misinformation, incitement to violence, and we don’t have different rules for politicians and members,” said LinkedIn general counsel Blake Lawit in leaked audio from an internal meeting heard by Adweek. “So, if a leader, for instance, were to make a statement on our platform that violated our rules about inciting violence, then we would take action.”

The Week for Agencies

Black Advertising Leaders Call for Urgent Change from Agency Leadership
Over 600 black leaders in advertising have signed an open letter calling for urgent change from agency leadership to make tangible progress on tackling racial inequality. The letter states that despite “decades of well-intentioned diversity and inclusion efforts,” there has been little progress in making black voices a more representative part of the creative process, or in moving towards more equitable representation of black professionals in leadership positions. The letter outlines 12 actions for all US agencies to take to help combat systemic racism within the industry.

GroupM Issues Brand Safety Playbook
WPP’s investment arm GroupM this week released new category-specific brand safety guidance, designed to address the evolving nature of brand safety concerns. The report gives specific advice around policy shifts (such a GDPR and CCPA), the COVID-19 pandemic, fake news and deepfake video, connected TV, digital out-of-home and gaming.

Advertisers Pull Facebook Ad Spend Over Stance on President Trump
A number of advertisers and agencies have begun pulling spend from Facebook over the social platform’s decision not to take action against incendiary comments made by US president Donald Trump, according to a report this week from the New York Times. The Times (often itself a target of Trump’s ire), cited a number of agency leaders and advertiser who said they’ve pulled or cut advertising budgets on Facebook due to its stance on comments made by the president.

Essence Wins ITV Media Account
UK broadcaster ITV has appointed WPP-owned Essence as its new media agency, taking charge media strategy, planning and buying. Essence will take over of ITV’s responsibilities in August, in place of ITV’s current agency Goodstuff.

Hires of the Week

BBC Appoints Tim Davie New Director General
The BBC has chosen Tim Davie currently head of BBC Studios, to replace Tony Hall as director general this summer. David will take over in the role on September 1st.

Horowitz Chosen to Head Up FuboTV Ad Sales
FaceBank Group has appointed Diana Horowitz to the role of senior vice president, advertising sales at fuboTV. Horowitz joins from Telestream, where she was vice president of sales.

McDonalds Promotes Macrow to Global CMO
McDonals has promoted Alistair Macrow to the role of global chief marketing officer.

This Week on VAN

Where are VCs Investing in Media and Advertising? read more on VAN

Channel 4 Launches £3 Million Airtime Fund for First-Time TV Advertisers, read more on VAN

What Ever Happened to the AR Revolution? read more on VAN

The Idea that Broadcasters Have Anchored Themselves in Legacy Positions is Nonsense, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

P&G, The Choice, Grey and Cartwright

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