The WIR: Vice Cuts its European TV Business, The Trade Desk Inks Programmatic Sales Deal with Channel 4, and Publicis Stock Climbs After Promising Q2


In this week’s Week in Review: Vice pulls back on European TV, Publicis posts better-than-expected Q2 results, and The Trade Desk picks up a big win. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Vice Rolls Back European TV Operations
Vice has begun rolling back its linear TV operations in Europe, to help cut costs in response to the pandemic. The Telegraph reported this week that Vice has walked away from renewal discussion for its carriage deal with Virgin Media in the UK. And Vice has confirmed it is ending distribution for its linear channels via Ziggo and KPN in the Netherlands, and on Telenet and Proximus in Belgium.

While the exits are reportedly linked to the pandemic, Vice’s linear TV channels never gained huge amounts of traction in Europe. According to data from UK measurement body BARB, on the week starting July 6th, Vice’s audience share in the UK was 0.01 percent.

Channel 4 Agrees Programmatic Sales Deal with The Trade Desk
Demand-side platform The Trade Desk has agreed a deal with UK broadcaster Channel 4 to sell inventory across its linear and on-demand services, a major coup for the DSP. The two say The Trade Desk will transfer a ‘clock number’ (a unique identifier’) from the UK’s major ad clearance service Clearcast through the bid stream, to ensure ads meet product and age-specific advertising rules. Consumer goods giant P&G is the first brand to have bought Channel 4 inventory via The Trade Desk.

“As advertisers recognise the data-driven potential of CTV advertising to maximise ad relevance and improve the viewer experience, this partnership with Channel 4 represents a further boost in their ability to execute,” said Patrick Morrell, director of partnerships EMEA at The Trade Desk. “Broadening access to Channel 4’s inventory for brands across the open internet means better targeting for brands and greater revenue for broadcasters.”

Publicis Shares Rise After Better-Than-Expected Q2 Results
Agency holding group Publicis saw its share price rise by over 15 percent on Thursday after posting better-than-expected Q2 results. Organic revenues were down 13 percent year-on-year, while net revenues reached €2.29 billion, up 2.6 percent year-on-year.

“As anticipated, we have been hit in Q2 by the first economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis,” said Arthur Sadoun, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe. “But thanks to our unique offer combining seamlessly creative, media, data and technology, to our unmatched backbone of shared services and our strong balance sheet, we have been able to reduce its impact.” Looking forward, the group says it’s too early to say whether the second half of the year will be better or worse for its businesses than the first.

The Week in Tech

Big Tech Execs Prepare for Antitrust Hearings
Chief executives from Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple are preparing to appear before the US House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel on July 27th. The executives will give evidence as part of a wider investigation from the Committee into whether the US’s dominant tech companies harm consumers via anticompetitive practices. The House investigation is one of a number of antitrust inquiries into big tech, both in the US and abroad.

SpotX Invests in SpringServe
Video ad tech company SpotX this week announced a strategic investment in New York-based SpringServe, an ad serving platform for OTT and connected TV. “SpringServe’s steadfast approach to enabling seamless, effective ad serving for OTT publishers is something we have followed closely, and our investment in their company is a logical next step to build on our existing partnership while also enhancing our capabilities for partners,” said Sean Buckley, SpotX’s COO.

Google Bans Ads on Coronavirus Conspiracy Content
Google announced this week it will begin officially blocking ads on any “dangerous” coronavirus-related content which goes against the scientific consensus on the topic. The policy also bans ads promoting any coronavirus-related conspiracy theories.

Disney Slashes its Facebook Spending
Disney, the highest spender on Facebook advertising this year, has drastically cut its Facebook spend this month according to the Wall Street Journal. As many big name brands are boycotting the social platform, Disney has paused advertising for its streaming service Disney+ on Facebook, while also pausing ads for Hulu on Instagram.

US Department of Justice Gives Green Light to Taboola/Outbrain Merger
The US Department of Justice has said it won’t challenge the planned merger of content recommendation specialists Taboola and Outbrain, having investigated potential competition problems which might have arisen. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority however recently announced it has found concerns, and is investigating further to decide whether to block the move.

White Ops Uncovers Google Play Store Ad Fraud Scheme
White Ops’ Satori threat intelligence team this week said it has uncovered a large-scale ad fraud operation running on the Google Play Store. White Ops said it uncovered 29 apps, – one of which was downloaded 3.5 million times – which run “rampant out-of-context ads, and even launches an OOC web browser at random intervals while the phone is being used, generating significant fraudulent revenues for the creator while defrauding advertisers”.

DoubleVerify Offers “Fully On-Screen Completion Measurement” for CTV
DoubleVerify announced last Friday it is launching a new Connected TV (CTV) ‘Fully On-Screen Completion’ measurement offering. DV says the new offering will give quartile completion metrics, and fully on-screen metrics, which verify that impressions come from sources which deliver 100 percent of an ad’s pixels on screen consistently.

Chaotic Communication, Staff Churn and Manual Checks Bog Down Video Advertising
Behind the scenes workflow issues in video advertising are causing failed campaigns, lost sales opportunities, and lower return-on-investment, according to a report run by market research company CoLab on behalf of Peach Video, a video workflow management business. The research found that labour-intensive manual processes and time consuming communication between teams are key points of frustration for ad traffickers and ad ops professionals. Read the full story on VAN.

Nielsen Plans for Cookie-Free Future
Nielsen shed light on its plans for a cookie and MAID-free future in AdExchanger this week, saying the first stage of the overhaul of digital ad measurement will take place at the beginning of next year. Nielsen says it will lean into partnerships with big-name walled gardens, platforms, publishers, and other partners to power its independent, third-party measurement.

The Week in TV

ITV Scraps Late Booking Fees for the Rest of the Year
ITV has axed its late booking fees, the cost charged to advertisers booking their campaigns less than nine weeks in advance of transmission, for the rest of the year. The move, reported by Campaign, is designed to make it easier for brands to advertise on TV during the current difficult economic conditions.

AT&T Revenues Fall in All Segments
US telco AT&T reported falling revenues in all its areas of business in Q2 due to the pandemic. WarnerMedia, its media business, saw operating revenues drop 22.9 percent to $6.8 billion, due to falling ad revenues and content sales.

Roku Claims One in Three US Households Don’t Have Traditional Pay TV
Roku claimed this week that a third of US households don’t subscribe to a traditional pay TV service of any kind. A further 25 percent of consumer said they have cut back their pay TV subscriptions recently, and 45 percent of these ‘cord shavers’ said they intend to cut the cord completely within the next six months.

Ofcom Calls for Evidence on Future Technology
British comms regulator Ofcom has issued a call for evidence on “the emerging technologies that could shape how the communications industry looks in the future”. “We are particularly keen to hear more about technologies that deliver new services; reduce costs and lower barriers for providers entering markets,” said Ofcom. “We are also interested in hearing evidence about technologies that reduce the environmental impact of communications services and increase their security.”

Sky Shutters its Spanish OTT Service
Sky has announced it is shuttering its Spanish paid over-the-top service, Sky España, having struggled to compete in an increasingly crowded OTT market.

BritBox Reveals New Originals
BritBox, the British subscription video on-demand service owned by ITV and the BBC, has announced four new original shows. These include Crime, a series from Irvine Welsh, creator of Trainspotting, and The Beast Must Die, from Ridley Scott’s production company Scott Free.

The Week in Publishing

UK Music Magazine Q Closes Down
Q, a British music magazine, is closing down after 34 years, after the pandemic made its financial situation untenable. “We’ve been a lean operation for all of my tenure, employing a variety of ways to help keep our head above water in an extremely challenging print market,” said editor Ted Kessler. “Covid-19 wiped all that out.”

US Investors Explore TikTok Buyout
US-based investment groups are considering attempting to buy video sharing app TikTok from parent company ByteDance, as TikTok faces a potential US ban due to its connections to Beijing. General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital, US-based investors in ByteDance, are both considering a purchase, according to The Information.

Twitch Launches Dedicated Sports Section
Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch announced this week it is launching a new dedicated category to host sports content. Football clubs Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have signed up to stream live content on Twitch. At first, this will be behind-the-scenes style content, but in time it will grow to include live streams of friendly and youth team games, according to SportsPro.

Daily Mail Sees 45 Percent Drop in Ad Revenue
British news publisher the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) saw ad revenues fall by 45 percent in Q2, leading to an overall operating loss of £2 million for the period. But the news group says June was a profitable month as conditions improved, and that it’s “confident in the future growth opportunities at Mail Online, driven by increased engagement with the direct audience”.

Twitter’s User Base Grows, but Revenues Fall
Twitter reported strong growth in its daily user based in Q2, which was up 12 percent year-on-year to 186 million. But overall revenues were down by 19 percent year-on-year as ad spend on the platform dropped.

Trump Campaign Calls for TikTok Ban in Reelection Ads
President Trump’s reelection campaign has begun running ads calling for a ban on video-sharing app TikTok, owned by Chinese tech giant ByteDance. The ads encourage users to sign a petition to ban TikTok in the US.

Trump TikTok AdSnap Maintains Growth Through Q2
Snapchat’s parent company Snap reported Q2 revenues of $454 million, representing 17 percent growth year-on-year. Snap added that for the current quarter, it estimates that revenues are up 32 percent year-on-year.

Spotify’s Creative Director Launches Free Ad Academy for Black Students
Oriel Davis, creative director at Spotify, has launched One School, a free online portfolio school for Black creatives. The school describes itself as an intensive portfolio program designed to teach students the creative skills required to work at the world’s top ad agencies.

Twitch Signs Deal with Rapper Logic
Logic, a popular rapper who recently announced his retirement from the music industry, has signed a deal to stream exclusively on Amazon’s live streaming platform Twitch. The deal is worth seven figures according to The Verge, with Logic contracted to stream for an (undisclosed) minimum number of hours per week.

Adevinta Buys eBay’s Classified Business for $9.2 Billion
Norwegian classified ads giant Adevinta has agreed a deal to buy eBay’s classified ads unit for $9.2 billion, the two announced on Tuesday. The two companies say the combination creates the world’s largest classified ads business.

The Week for Agencies

Wieden+Kennedy Lays Off 11 Percent of Staff
Global agency Wieden+Kennedy has laid off 11 percent of its workforce, around 165 employees in total, in response to financial difficulties created by the pandemic.

Advertising Giants Agree to Evaluate Hate Speech Definitions
The Global Alliance for Responsible Media, an industry body which aims to increase safety, trustworthiness, and sustainability of media, is working to better define hate speech across the industry according to Axios. GARM’s members include tech and media companies like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as a number of global brands.

Video Props Up UK Digital Ad Spend
Digital video ad spend is keeping total digital ad spend in the UK afloat, according to research from eMarketer released this week. EMarketer predicts that total digital video spend will be up by 15 percent this year, keeping total digital ad spend positive at 0.3 percent growth.

Hires of the Week

NYT Names Meredith Kopit Levien CEO
The New York Times has chosen Meredith Kopit Levien, currently COO, as its next president and CEO. Kopit Levien will succeed current CEO Mark Thompson on September 8th.

Publica Hires Paul Gubbins as Head of Strategic Partnerships
CTV ad tech specialist Publica has hired Paul Gubbins as head of strategic partnerships. Gubbins, previously programmatic strategy lead at Unruly, will lead the company’s expansion into Europe

The Trade Desk Promotes Sims, Goldberg and Hulst
The Trade Desk announced three promotions this week. Tim Sims has been appointed CRO, Matt Goldberg has been chosen as EVP of global operations, and Michelle Hulst has been picked as EVP, global data and strategy.

DDB Picks Marty O’Halloran as CEO
Omnicom-owned agency DDB Worldwide has picked Marty O’Halloran as its new global CEO. Meanwhile Justin Thomas-Copeland has been chosen as its new North America CEO.

This Week on VAN

Are the Chinese Tech Giants’ Western Ambitions Dead in the Water? read more on VAN

Chaotic Communication, Staff Churn and Manual Checks Bog Down Video Advertising, read more on VAN

France is Repealing Archaic Ad Laws to Take the Breaks Off Addressable TV, read more on VAN

SSPs and DSPs Will Look Completely Different in Five Years Time, read more on VAN

VideoWeek Podcast: #12, Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy, listen on VAN

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