The WIR: Comcast’s Peacock Goes Live, EU Strikes Down the US Privacy Shield, and Amazon Releases New Live Streaming Product for Publishers

In this week’s Week in Review: Peacock goes live in America, the EU’s top court invalidates the Privacy Shield agreement with the US, and Amazon releases a new live streaming product for publishers. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

NBCUniversal’s Peacock Goes Live in the US
NBCUniversal’s new over-the-top (OTT) service Peacock made its full debut this week, having partly rolled out for subscribers to Comcast’s Xfinity TV and internet bundles back in April. Peacock runs ads, unlike many entrants in the streaming wars. And a lot of the content is available for free, though non-Comcast subscribers have to pay $4.99 for Peacock Premium, which adds a further 7,000 hours of content. Subscribers can also pay a further $5 to opt out of ads.

Peacock’s full debut is particularly significant as it means all of the major US SVOD and AVOD services are now live, following the launches of Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max and Quibi over the past year. Time will now tell how much room there is in the market for this multitude of services, and how big of an impact they’ll have on Netflix. Netflix’s own Q2 results released yesterday suggest it may be feeling the effects of competition. The streaming service expects to add 2.5 million subscribers in Q3, less than half of what Wall Street had expected.

EU’s Top Court Invalidates US Privacy Shield
The EU’s top court this week invalidated the ‘Privacy Shield’, a 2016 agreement between the US and EU which gave America privileged access to EU citizens’ personal data. The ruling means US companies will face similar restrictions to other non-EU countries, according to Reuters.

The Privacy Shield had let US companies agree to a set of privacy protections for EU citizens’ personal data in return for easier access to that data. But the deal was challenged in court by privacy activist Max Schrems, who cited concerns about US surveillance practices and said the Privacy Shield could see EU citizens subjected to snooping by the US government.

American companies will now have to sign up to ‘standard contractual clauses’, the same agreements used by companies outside of the US, which will govern transfers of EU citizens’ data.

Amazon Uses Twitch Tech for New Live Streaming Offering
Amazon is using technology developed for its live streaming platform Twitch to power Amazon Interactive Video Service, a new product for publishers which enables them to run interactive live streams on their mobile and web applications. Amazon says publishers will be able to integrate interactive features like virtual chat spaces, votes and polls, moderated question and answer sessions, and synchronised promotional elements.

“Customers have been asking to use Twitch’s video streaming technology on their own platforms for a range of use cases like education, retail, sports, fitness, and more,” said Martin Hess, GM, Amazon IVS. “Now with Amazon IVS, customers can leverage the same innovative technology that has taken Twitch over a decade to build and refine. Any developer can build an interactive live streaming experience into their own application without having to manage the underlying video infrastructure.”

Amazon Live, Blackboard, 17Live, DeNa, and ScreenCloud are among customers using Amazon IVS.

The Week in Tech

Google Accused of Giving Preferential Treatment to YouTube Content
An investigation from the Wall Street Journal this week claimed that Google gives preferential treatment to YouTube content within Google search results, even when other video content should seemingly be surfaced higher. The WSJ found that a search for video of NBA star Zion Williamson’s debut put YouTube’s clip as the top result. But a nearly identical clip on Facebook with the same title has over five times as many views and over twice the number of comments as the YouTube video. The WSJ claims it saw similar results for a range of clips and channels which were available on YouTube and rival platforms.

UK Government Removes Huawei Tech from 5G Infrastructure
The UK government this week ordered that tech from Chinese company Huawei must be removed from the UK’s 5G networks by 2027. The government said that US sanctions imposed on Huawei earlier this year remove the firm’s access to products which have been built based on US semiconductor technology. And the government said it is not confident in the security of replacement products available to Huawei.

Mediaocean Acquires 4C for $150 Million
US TV ad tech company Mediaocean announced this week it has acquired analytics company 4C Insights for $150 million. Mediaocean says 4C’s optimisation tech will be integrated into its own media management platform. And the two say the combination will create an omni-channel solution, combining Mediocean’s TV tools and 4C’s integrations with the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon.

LiveRamp Buys Acuity Data
LiveRamp has bought French data startup Acuity Data, Adweek reported this week. The CPG focused tech company will bolster LiveRamp’s ‘Safe Haven’ product according to Adweek, which helps advertisers and media owners form privacy-safe data partnerships.

Index Exchange and JW Player Partner Announce New Partnership
Index Exchange this week announced a new partnership with JW Player, which will make JW’s publisher supply available through Index Exchange. “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Index Exchange as we continue to help publishers demystify the complexities of video header bidding,” said Michael Schwalb, Co-GM of advertising at JW Player. “Those who leverage this turnkey solution will be able to maximise advertising revenue all while maintaining a positive user experience.” 

Cavai Partners with Telegraph Media Group
Telegraph Media Group this week announced it has partnered with conversational advertising platform Cavai to launch Telegraph Engage, which the two say will allow advertisers to engage users in a pre-defined dialogue within TMG’s full range of display ad units, including its cinematic Skylight format.

Advertisers Perceptions Report Names DV360 as Top DSP
The latest DSP rankings from Advertiser Perceptions has placed DV360 top of the pile, ahead of The Trade Desk and Amazon. Forty-five percent of those surveyed said they’re spending through DV360, up form 33 percent six months ago. Meanwhile 43 percent said they’re spending through the Trade Desk, and 41 percent said they’re spending through Amazon Advertising.

The Week in TV

ITV’s McCall Calls for Urgent Change to UK PSB Regulatory Framework
ITV’s chief executive Carolyn McCall called for urgent changes to be made to the UK’s regulatory framework for UK broadcasters in an opinion piece for The Telegraph. “Fundamentally we need the right for the products and services of public service broadcasters to be included on television platforms in the digital, online, on-demand era,” said McCall. McCall also called for more prominence for PSB services, and for regulation to ensure that PSBs receive fair value from global platforms for their content investments.

BBC News Cuts 520 Jobs
BBC News announced job cuts made partly in response to the pandemic this week, saying that 520 jobs will be cut. This includes 450 job cuts which were announced in January as part of a wider cost-cutting effort, but were then put on hold during lockdown.

Hulu Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform
US OTT service Hulu has launched a new self-serve ad platform, in an effort to attract more small and medium sized businesses to invest in the platform. Minimum spend for a campaign run through Hulu Ad Manager is just $500.

Discovery Launches New Audience Product OneGraph
Discovery this week launched OneGraph, a new ad sales product designed to unify audiences across Discovery’s portfolio for targeting and analytics, powered by LiveRamp. “As the industry moves away from age and gender and embraces audience-based buying, we have heard from many of our clients that they want the ability to activate a unified audience target across all screens combined with the ability to analyse on the back end,” said Sam Garfield, VP of data strategy and analytics at Discovery.

Quibi Wins Court Battle Over ‘Turnstyle Feature’
Mobile-first streaming service Quibi won a court battle over its ‘Turnstyle’ feature, which seamlessly adapts video content to fit a phone screen whether the user is holding it horizontally or vertically. Video tech company Eko had claimed Quibi had stolen the tech for its Turnstyle feature, but Judge Christina Snyder refused to place an injunction which would have forced Quibi to disable Turnstyle.

SVOD Services Are ‘Narcissistic’ says Singula Decisions
Subscription over-the top services tend to show “narcissistic tendencies” according to a report form business intelligence firm Singula Decisions. The report said that subscription services tend to invade consumers’ boundaries when asking for subscriptions, insufficiently tailor the user experience to fit different moods and mindsets, and build “avoidant” relationships with users that don’t build loyal relationships.

Tess Alps Leaves Thinkbox After 14 Years
Tess Alps, non-executive chair and founding CEO of Thinkbox, a marketing body for the UK’s commercial TV broadcasters, has announced she is retiring after 14 years with the company. Alps has overseen Thinkbox’s transition from a purely virtual organisation without an executive body, to an important and influential part of the UK broadcasting ecosystem. Read the full story on VAN.

Trump Spends $147 Million on Upcoming TV Ads
President Donald Trump has invested $147 million in TV ad bookings for his reelection campaign, according to the Ad Age Campaign Ad Scorecard, with these ads set to air between Labor Day (September 7th) and election day (November 3rd). Rival Joe Biden meanwhile has invested just $1.6 million in TV over the same period.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Prepares to Roll Out TikTok Clone ‘Reels’ Globally
Facebook is preparing a global rollout for ‘Reels’, a TikTok-like feature which sits within Instagram, NBC News reported this week. The move comes as TikTok faces a possible ban in the US due to security concerns.

The Guardian Cuts 180 Jobs
The Guardian said this week it is cutting 180 jobs in both editorial and commercial roles, as the economic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the media industry. Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner and Guardian Media Group chief executive Annette Thomas said in a joint statement that the publisher was facing unsustainable annual losses in future years if actions weren’t taken to cut costs.

Twitter Hack Targets Verified Users
Multiple high-profile Twitter users including Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Elon Musk were targeted by hackers this week, causing Twitter to temporarily lock down verified accounts. The hackers ran a bitcoin scam, asking users to send bitcoin to a certain address, saying they would pay back double in return.

Snapchat Tests Brand Profiles
Snapchat began allowing brands to run profiles on its platform this week. Brand profiles host brands’ existing investments on the app, including AR Lenses, native commerce stores, and content highlights.

YouTube Launches ‘RPM’ Metric
YouTube has debuted a new metric for its creators, ‘revenue per mille’, to help them better understand monetisation of their content. Unlike CPMs, RPMs show users how much they make after YouTube takes its cut, helping them to see their revenue share through different methods of monetisation.

Ofcom Launches Call for Evidence on Video Service Providers
UK communications regulator Ofcom this week launched a call for evidence on how video service providers should be regulated, having been appointed the regulator for VSPs under the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive. Ofcom said it would “like to hear from platforms, experts, users and other interested parties about current good practice, technical capabilities of VSP services, and any issues and challenges to further our understanding of the sector and the risks of harm”.

Vox Media Prepares for Layoffs
Digital publisher Vox Media is preparing for layoffs after Q2 advertising revenues slumped, CNBC reported this week. Vox furloughed around 100 staff earlier in the year, but many of those who hadn’t taken buyouts will now be laid off according to the report.

BuzzFeed Doesn’t Expect Profitability This Year
BuzzFeed, which had been targeting profitability in 2020 before the pandemic, expected it will still make an overall loss this year despite cost-cutting measures taken during lockdown. CEO Jonah Peretti told The Information that though the business is still stable, he expected some of the worst of the pandemic is still to come as stimulus measures dry up and US infection rates rise.

The Week for Agencies

Half of Black Ad Industry Employees Feel Unsafe in Their Workplace
Over half of Black ad industry employees surveyed by The Current said they don’t think their workplace is safe for Black people, saying that their business hadn’t created an inclusive environment. “We have to check our mannerisms at the door, speak a certain way and not be true to ourselves,” said one respondent, as reported by Campaign. “This is particularly obvious to those who are entry level or just starting out in their careers.”

S4 Capital Seeks to Raise £100 Million to Fund New Acquisitions
Sir Martin Sorrell says his new holding group S4 Capital is looking to raise £100 million to fund new investments, as he looks to maintain his company’s sharp growth. Sorrell said S4 has three potential deals currently in the works – one for a US e-commerce company, one for a British analytics business, and one for a German digital creative agency

Forty Percent of UK Advertisers Have Cut Video Budgets finds IPA Bellwether Report
A net balance of 40 percent of UK advertisers cut their budgets for video advertising (covering both TV and online video) in Q2, according to the IPA Bellwether Report released on Wednesday. The report, which documents how marketers have adjusted their budgets and how they expect their budgets to change in the future, found that total marketing budgets are falling at their quickest pace since the IPA started collecting data over twenty years ago. Read the full story on VAN.

WPP Ends Salary Cuts for Top Executives
Holding group WPP is ending salary cuts it implemented for top executives towards the beginning of the lockdown period, Campaign reported this week. Around 3,000 senior staff at WPP agencies had taken voluntary pay cuts between 10-20 percent.

Agency Groups Face Below Average Growth says Credit Suisse
Agency holding groups should expect to see “below average” long term growth after the pandemic, according to a report from investment bank Credit Suisse. The report predicts a long-term growth rate of just one percent, though agency workers interviewed for the report held a wide range of views around how challenged the agency model really is.

UM Launches ALL IN FOR SMALL to Aid Small Businesses
IPG agency network UM this week launched ALL IN FOR SMALL, an initiative designed to support small businesses struggling through the pandemic. UM says ALL IN FOR SMALL provides a resource hub for small businesses looking for the latest information on how COVID-19 is impacting their industry, including webinars, playbooks and thought leadership pieces.

Visa to Consolidate Global Creative Account
Visa is planning to consolidate its $200 million global creative account, Adweek reported this week, with incumbents BBDO and Saatchi & Saatchi among those invited to pitch.

Hires of the Week

Dailymotion Appoints Bichoï Bastha as Chief Revenue and Business Officer
Dailymotion, a Vivendi-owned video platform, this week announced the appointment of Bichoï Bastha to Chief Revenue and Business Officer. Previously the Chief Ad Tech Officer at Dailymotion, Bastha will be responsible for driving company growth and revenue, globally.

Magnite Announces EMEA Leadership Team
Magnite, the newly rebranded combination of Rubicon Project and Telaria, this week announced the company’s leadership team for EMEA. James Brown will oversee EMEA and APAC as Head of International, based in London, and Steve Wing has been promoted to Head of EMEA, from his previous role of Head of UK and Nordics. Additionally, Mark Giblin has been named Senior Director, International Buyer to support global buy-side partners.

Channel Factory Continues Expansion with Senior UK and US Hires
Channel Factory this week announced two new additions to its team, Rob Blake and Spencer Janis. Rob Blake joins as Country Manager UK, while Spencer Janis joins as Head of US Holding Company Partnerships – East.

This Week on VAN

Why the Growth of Subscription VOD is No Bad Thing for Advertisers, read more on VAN

Shoppable Video Could Prove its Worth as Cookies and MAIDs Disappear, read more on VAN

Forty Percent of UK Advertisers Have Cut Video Budgets finds IPA Bellwether Report, read more on VAN

Tess Alps Leaves Thinkbox After 14 Years, read more on VAN

What are Hate Speech Campaigners and Advertisers Asking Facebook to Do? read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Apple, The Whole Working-From-Home-Thing

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