The WIR: Facebook Capitalises on TikTok Bans, UK’s Competition Watchdog Investigates Taboola-Outbrain Merger, and Trade Groups Claim Apple’s Privacy Moves aren’t GDPR Compliant


In this week’s Week in Review: Facebook readies Instagram Reels to step in as TikTok faces bans, the UK’s CMA launches an in-depth investigation into Taboola’s merger with Outbrain, and trade groups speak out against Apple’s recent privacy announcement for mobile apps. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Facebook Looks to Capitalise on TikTok Bans
Facebook appears to be attempting to capitalise on TikTok’s ongoing security issues by expanding Instagram Reels, it’s TikTok-like feature which sits within the main Instagram app.

TikTok, alongside a host of other Chinese-originating apps, was banned in India a few weeks ago due to an ongoing border conflict between China and India. And this week Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, said that the US government is considering banning TikTok over concerns the app could be used by China to spy on US citizens.

Facebook looks sets to step into the breach, should TikTok be banned. Instagram Reels, which began testing in Brazil last year, was rolled out to users in India on Wednesday. The feature is still not available in the US, but should the government ban TikTok, it looks likely that Reels would be ready to seize the opportunity.

UK’s Competition Regulator Refers Taboola-Outbrain Merger for In-Depth Investigation
The UK’s competition authority, the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) this week announced it is referring the planned merger of content recommendation specialists Taboola and Outbrain for an in-depth investigation.

Taboola and Outbrain announced their merger last October, saying that as a combined entity, they would be better placed to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook for ad spend. But the CMA says it is concerned that the merger may result in “a substantial lessening of competition” within the market. The CMA now has until December 22nd this year to decided whether this is the case, and whether it will take action to block the deal.

Trade Groups Claim Apple’s MAID Update Isn’t GDPR-Compatible
Industry trade organisations including IAB Europe and News Media Europe wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook this week arguing that privacy-focused changes to Apple’s iOS aren’t compatible with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.

The groups claim Apple’s new pop-up, which asked users to give permission for apps to use Apple’s mobile advertising identifier (MAID), doesn’t comply with the GDPR’s standards for consent collection. And the letter adds the tool isn’t compatible with the industry’s existing privacy standards, like the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF).

But the trade groups applauded Apple’s decision to not scrap its advertising identifier completely. “Following recent rumours around Apple potentially scrapping the IDFA [Apple’s advertising ID] altogether, with drastic knock-on effects on the sector, we trust Apple’s decision to keep IDFA will reinforce mobile identifiers as a standard of reference for online identity that is respectful of personal data and user privacy,” said the letter.

The Week in Tech

EU Prepares New Legislation to Rein in Tech Giants
Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition commissioner, this week laid out the Union’s strategy for tackling the US tech giants, saying that regulation will come through multiple new laws and directives. She said the EU’s plan is “full complex of things, it’s not done with just one piece of legislation,” with new laws set to target content, competition and taxes, according to the Wall Street Journal.

OpenSlate Rejoins YouTube Measurement Programme
Video analytics and measurement company OpenSlate is rejoining YouTube’s Measurement Programme after a standoff with Google over restrictions on what measurement partners are allowed to report. YouTube has not specified whether these restrictions were changed, in order to get OpenSlate on board, AdExchanger reported this week.

Nielsen to Lay Off 3,500 Staff as a Cost-Cutting Measure
Measurement company Nielsen is laying off 3,500 staff as part of a cost-cutting restructuring process, the company announced this week. The layoffs are expected to result in $250 million in annual savings.

Permutive Raises $18.5 Million Series B Funding
Publisher-focussed data management platform Permutive this week announced it has raised $18.5 million Series B funding, led by Octopus Ventures with participation from EQT Ventures and earlier investors. The new capital will be used for international expansion, as the company continues to grow market share in North America.

DMEXCO 2020 Cancels its Physical Event
DMEXCO, one of the industry’s biggest trade shows, announced this week that it will be a digital-only event. The organisers had previously planned to run a scaled back physical event alongside digital sessions, but has now decided to cancel the physical event as a safety measure.

Parrot Analytics Launches New TV Analytics Platform ‘TV360’
Parrot Analytics, a TV content data and analytics company, this week launched TV360, a new subscription platform which gives access to TV content analytics other content insights.

Fiksu DSP Launches CTV Advertising Platform ‘BidMind’
Fiksu, a cross-environment programmatic platform, this week announced the launch of BidMind, a self-serve platform for advertising on CTV. “Today, BidMind pioneers the CTV environment with an even better approach – a combination of experience and innovation,” said Anna Kuzmenko, Fiksu’s COO. “Our goal is to spearhead the transition into the CTV environment through establishing meaningful connections between brands and their audiences.”

Roku Expands its Live TV Channel Guide
Roku continued growing its live linear offering this week, expanding its live TV guide to include HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz and Epic. The live guide will also include any channels a TV set receives through over-the-air transmission, making it a more comprehensive guide of live options available to the viewer.

ID5 and CafeMedia Partner for Cookie-Free IDs
Identity specialist ID5  this week announced a partnership with CafeMedia which the two say will allow CafeMedia’s publishers to create and distribute a shared, privacy-compliant first party identifier with their advertisers.

The Week in TV

UK Broadcasters Unite to Champion British TV
The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 this week united to collectively celebrate the role UK broadcasters play in British culture, with each channel airing the same jointly-produced short film across their channels at the same time on Wednesday.

French Audiovisual Sector Takes €5 Billion Hit from COVID-19
The French film and audiovisual sector will see a €4.9 billion drop in activity compared to 2019 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to figures released by France’s Ministère de la Culture (Ministry of Culture). This equates to a €5.1 billion drop in activity compared to what would have been expected without the crisis.

Banijay Completes Endemol Shine Acquisition
French content production and distribution company Banijay has completed a $2.2 billion deal to buy fellow production outfit Endemol Shine Group, following approval by antitrust authorities. The integration of the two companies is now expected to take around six months, according to Variety.

British Government Relaxes Restrictions for Sports, TV and Film Production
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced this week it has reached a deal which will allow selected international sporting events and production on some of the biggest film and television productions to get underway safely this summer. Sports stars travelling from abroad and their support teams, and certain actors, producers and directors travelling from overseas will be except from quarantine when arriving in the UK.

Discovery Takes Over Tele 5 in Germany
International broadcaster Discovery has reached a deal to buy German free-to-air channel Tele 5 from current owner Leonine for an undisclosed fee. The deal also involves a content agreement, which will give Discovery access to Leonine’s content library.

DAZN Continues International Rollout
Sports OTT specialist DAZN is continuing its international rollout from July 24th, after the pandemic slowed progress, Digital TV Europe reported this week. DAZN has emailed registered users in new markets offering “free early access to the new home of fight sports as a Beta Community tester,” according to DTVE. The previously announced expansion into 200 new international markets had been pegged for May 2nd, but the rollout was put on hold due to the cancellation of live sports caused by the pandemic.

Disney Reaches Content Deal with Colin Kaepernick
Disney has reached a deal with Colin Kaepernick, the NFL star who drew international attention for his kneeling protests during the national anthem at the start of NFL games. Kaepernick and Disney will work together on “scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity,” according to the announcement, which will “showcase the work of Black and Brown directors and producers”.

The Week in Publishing

Reach Cuts 550 Jobs
UK publisher Reach, which owns titles including the Daily Mirror and Daily Express, is cutting around 550 jobs as a cost-cutting measure in response to the pandemic. Reach said second-quarter revenue was down 27.5 percent, with print revenue down 29.5 percent and digital revenue down 14.8 percent, according to Reuters.

Auditors Say Facebook Isn’t Doing Enough to Tackle Hate Speech
Auditors brought in by Facebook to asses its response to hate speech and harmful content on its platform concluded Facebook’s approach to civil rights “remains too reactive and piecemeal,” according to the final report. “Many in the civil rights community have become disheartened, frustrated and angry after years of engagement where they implored the company to do more to advance equality and fight discrimination, while also safeguarding free expression,” said the report.

TikTok Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform
TikTok pitched to smaller advertisers this week with a new self-serve advertising platform, which includes creative tools and performance features. Alongside the announcement, TikTok launched a “Back-to-Business” ad credit program, which will see the social video platform provide $100 million in ad credits for small businesses.

Twitter Works on Subscription Feature
Twitter appears to be working on some sort of paid subscription feature, judging by job postings published by the social network. One job posting, for a ‘Senior Full-stack Engineer’, says the applicant will “lead the Payment and Subscription client work” as part of a new team codenamed ‘Gryphon’.

Quibi Reportedly Sees 90 Percent Drop-Off After Free Trial Ends
Quibi, the new mobile-first streaming service launched earlier this year, has reportedly seen 90 percent of users drop-off after their 90 day free trials ended, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower. While this isn’t a particularly unusual drop-off rate according to The Verge, Quibi hadn’t managed to pull in many viewers in the first place, with only around 72,000 users sticking with the app once the free trial ended.

The Telegraph Partners with Infosum for New First-Party Data Solution
UK publisher The Telegraph this week announced it has teamed up with Infosum for a new data solution. The product will allow The Telegraph to share its data with advertisers in a privacy-compliant manner via Infosum’s ‘data bunker’ technology, according to Digiday.

Google Launches Digital Growth Programme for European News Publishers
The Google News Initiative (GNI) this week announced the launch of the Digital Growth Programme for European publishers. The Digital Growth Programme is a free training programme for small-to-medium publishers, giving guidance on subjects including change management, subscriptions and audience growth.

The Week for Agencies

Jobs in Advertising On the Rise
Research from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week showed that employment in the advertising sector is on the rise, having fallen during lockdown. The BLS found that the number of people employed in U.S. advertising, public relations and related services rose by 5,000 in June.

Traditional Media Spend Will Plummet This Year says eMarketer
Spend on traditional advertising in the UK will fall by 22.6 percent this year, according to research from eMarketer, while total ad spend will drop by 7.5 percent. However eMarketer predicts a swift rebound in 2020, forecasting that total spend will jump by 15.3 percent, bringing it back above total spend in 2019.

OMG Marketplace Formally Launches
OMG Marketplace, an Omnicom Media Group initiative to introduce more transparency into the programmatic ecosystem, has now officially launched, Campaign reported this week. OMG had already been letting clients trade through Marketplace, which as VAN reported in May, lets buyers see exactly where fees are going throughout the programmatic chain.

London Ad Agency Leads by Example by Ramping Up Its Own Ad Spend During a Recession
UK creative agency LONDON Advertising this week launched a new campaign to market itself to potential clients, in an effort to attract returning ad spend as Britain begins to come out of lockdown. Read the full story on VAN.

Vast Majority Haven’t Stopped Engaging with Influencers During Lockdown
Ninety-six percent of consumers who follow influencers are interacting with those creators either more frequently or as frequently as they were prior to lockdown, according to a report from GlobalWebIndex and Influencer.

WPP-Owned PR Firms Merge
Three WPP-owned public relations firms; Glover Park Group, Finsbury, and Hering Schuppener; have announced they are merging to form Finsbury Glover Hering. Managers from the three firms are combining to buy a 49.99 percent stake in the new business from WPP, leaving WPP as the majority shareholder.

Hires of the Week

Priya Dogra Named President of WarnerMedia EMEA & APAC
WarnerMedia has chosen Priya Dogra as its new president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks for EMEA and APAC. Dogra will also continue with her current role as EVP of strategy and corporate development.

Johannes Larcher Chosen to Lead HBO Max International
WarnerMedia announced this week that Johannes Larcher is joining the company to head up the international version of its new SVOD service, HBO Max. Larcher joins from MBC Group, and has previously worked at Hulu.

Parag Vohra Joins IPONWEB
IPONWEB on Thursday announced the appointment of Parag Vohra as VP of principal partnerships for its Global Solutions Group. Vohra will develop strategies to acquire, grow and retain IPONWEB’s brand, agency and publisher clients according to the announcement.

This Week on VAN

London Ad Agency Leads by Example by Ramping Up Its Own Ad Spend During a Recession, read more on VAN

How Do the Industry’s Forecasts for 2021 Compare to Each Other? read more on VAN

Broadcasters Are Wary of Compromising GRPs by Investing in Addressable Advertising, read more on VAN

Convergence 2.0: Gaming and Video are More Entwined than Ever Before, read more on VAN

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