WiR: Trump & Microsoft Tag Team TikTok, ITV’s Pandemic Profits Plunge, Ofcom Maps Out UK Media


In this week’s Week in Review: Trump and Microsoft tag team TikTok, ITV’s ad revenues get smashed by the pandemic, whilst Ofcom publishes its outstanding Media Nations Report for 2020. 

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Top Stories

US Issues Executive Orders Banning Businesses from Working with WeChat and TikTok

The United States has passed two executive orders prohibiting American companies from doing business with WeChat and Tiktok. The order will come into effect 45 days, after president Trump’s new deadline for Microsoft and Bytedance to arrange for a takeover deal.

Donald Trump says the government should get a cut from the sale of TikTok’s US unit if an American firm buys it. The US president said he made a demand for a “substantial portion” of the purchase price in a phone call at the weekend with Microsoft’s boss.

He also warned he will ban the app, which is owned by China’s ByteDance, on 15 September if there is no deal. ByteDance is under pressure to sell its US business – and possibly it’s entire business globally –  after Mr Trump threatened a crackdown on Chinese tech companies.

ITV Advertising Revenues Fall 43 Percent

ITV has had a turbulent second quarter which has seen advertising revenues fall by 43%. Despite an increase in overall viewing of ITV channels there was a 17 percent decline in total broadcast revenue and a 50 percent fall in adjusted operating profit. ITV have said it is not possible to provide financial guidance for the remainder of the year.

Ofcom Releases its Third Annual Media Nations Report

Ofcom has released its Media Nations Report 2020 this week. Results show changing behaviour during the pandemic appears to be accelerating the growth in viewing of online video, particularly subscription services such as Netflix and Disney+.

In April 2020, when the UK was in full lockdown, the average amount of time people spent watching AV content increased to an estimated 6 hours 25 minutes per person per day, an hour and a half more than the average figure for 2019.

Most of this viewing was on broadcaster TV (an average of 3 hours 46 minutes a day watching live, recorded or on demand) – up by 32 minutes on 2019, with most of the increase due to news viewing. However, the greatest growth was in subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) services, such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+, with people in the UK watching an average of 1 hour 11 minutes a day on these services in April 2020 – 37 minutes higher than in 2019. Young adults aged 16-34 watched these services for two hours a day on average.

As lockdown measures eased, broadcast TV viewing fell, but by the end of June was still 11 percent higher than in the same week in 2019. However, TV set viewing of SVoD and other non-broadcaster content (including YouTube and video games) retained much of its lockdown uplift and was up 71% year on year in the last week of June. An estimated 12 million online adults took up a new SVoD subscription during lockdown, with around 3 million subscribing for the first time. Some of these new SVoD users were in older age groups, who typically watch a lot more broadcast TV than younger people. Almost a third (32%) of 55-64-year-olds used SVoD services in the early lockdown period, up from 25% pre-lockdown, while 15% of over-64s used them (up from 12%).

Competition in subscription video-on-demand services has intensified, with Disney+ making the biggest impact among several new market entrants. Before lockdown, 53% of UK households already subscribed to SVoD services, with 15 million homes subscribing to at least one of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or NOW TV in the first quarter of 2020. Disney+’s launch date of 24 March (the start of UK lockdown) supported rapid take-up that saw it surpass NOW TV to become the third most-subscribed-to SVoD service – 16% of online adults had subscribed by early July. Netflix was subscribed to by 45% of online adults at this time, and Amazon Prime Video by 39%.

The Week in Tech

Instagram launches Instragram Reels 

Instagram has launched Instagram Reels, a TikTok-like short-form video service, in the UK and US market. Instagram Reels allows users to create 15 second videos set to music or audio and these can be posted to their feed. Top Reels will be shared on the Explore page and Featured Reels, selected for being entertaining, creative and interesting, will be highlighted within Reels. 

FTC Probes Twitter over Ad Targeting Practices 

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is probing Twitter for alleged violations of a law that prevents them from using personal data provided for security purposes to target ads. Twitter disclosed on Monday that they received a draft FTC complaint alleging violations between 2013 and 2019. The company estimates a probable loss in settlement charges of between $150 million and $250 million.

Facebook to Lease 730,000 Square Feet of Office Space in The Farley Building

On Monday Facebook announced the first major reinvestment in New York City real estate since the coronavirus lockdown by signing a lease in the landmark Farley Building.  The move could boost the number of Facebook employees in the city to 10,000 and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio heralded the company’s investment in the city as ‘part of our economic rebirth’.

PubMatic Establishes Global Integration with LiveRamp on Identity Hub.

LiveRamp’s people-based identifier will be available in Identity Hub, PubMatic’s Prebid-based identity management solution. Identity Hub is rapidly becoming the market standard for publishers seeking to manage multiple identity solutions and maximise revenue. The integration is now available across the open web and will soon be available on connected TV and mobile in-app.The partnership will ensure improved omnichannel addressability across new channels.  

The Week in TV & Publishing

BBC iPlayer sets new record for biggest month ever with 570m programmes requested

Viewers flocked to BBC iPlayer in record numbers in May, which has become iPlayer’s biggest month ever. There were 570m requests to stream programmes on iPlayer in May and 72% more programme requests than a year ago. Despite the easing of lockdown measures, viewers continued to return to iPlayer to stream hit shows like Normal People and Killing Eve.

ViacomCBS streaming growth offsets decline in ad revenues

ViacomCBS reported its Q2 2020 earning results this week. The report showed ViacomCBS achieved a second consecutive quarter of improvement in operating income, adjusted OIBDA, operating cash flow and free cash flow, demonstrating financial momentum and commitment to shareholder Value. The company executed significant distribution deals, highlighting progress in unlocking value-creation opportunities across combined asset base, delivered robust growth in streaming, with record revenue, subscribers, MAUs and consumption across free and pay services, accelerating adoption of Pluto TV internationally and significant progress in transforming CBS All Access into a diversified super service. Despite managing costs in response to COVID-19, the company reported increased target for annualized merger-related cost synergies.

Comcast Abandons Plan to Launch International News Channel NBC Sky World News

Comcast has dropped its plans to launch its new international news channel, reported this week by The Financial Times. The new channel, named NBC Sky World News, would united NBC and Sky brands for the first time. Comcast had planned to launch NBC Sky World News over the summer but the plan has been shelved due to COVID-19 making the business model not commercially viable at this time.

The Week for Agencies

Tom Goodwin Leaves Publicis 

Publicis Groupe has parted ways with Tom Goodwin, head of futures and insight, after he posted a series of controversial tweets about the coronavirus, reported by Campaign. Publicis released a statement in which they said “These posts and exchanges by Tom Goodwin this week on social media do not meet the standard of conduct we expect of our company’s employees and were not aligned with our values.”

Dr Johnny Ryan Leaves Brave

Dr Johnny Ryan, Chief Policy & Industry Relations Officer at Brave the privacy-focused browser, is departing the company to work with the Irish Council of Civil Liberties and OpenMarkets, an organisation that works to protect liberty and democracy from extreme concentrations of private power.

UK Advertisers Pulled More Than £1.1bn Spend During Covid lockdown

Advertising spend across the UK media fell from £2.3bn to £1.2bn year on year during the coronavirus lockdown, according to figures that reveal the government has become the UK’s biggest advertiser during the pandemic. From the start of lockdown on 23rd March to 30th June there was a 48% decline in traditional advertising spend, including TV, newspapers and magazines, radio and cinema as well as poster sites and billboards.

You & Mr Jones Acquires Collectively 

You & Mr Jones elevates influencer offering by acquiring Collectively, The Drum reported this week. The influencer agency, who’s clients include Adobe, HP, Old Navy and Intuit, is one of the oldest influencer marketing companies in the US. You & Mr Jones will combine Collectively with tech and data-driven influencer platform theAmplify, acquired in 2016, to create a global player. 

Hires of the Week

DoubleVerify Announces Strategic Senior EMEA Hires

DoubleVerify announced two senior EMEA hires this week, marking their mission to spearhead growth across EMEA. Hugo Munro will become DV’s first Regional Vice President for Northern Europe. He will lead the company’s growth strategy and focus on building relationships with regional agencies and brands. Carole Dubourg has been appointed as DV’s Regional Vice President for Southern Europe. Based in Paris, she will oversee local teams in the Southern Eastern operation and accelerate DV’s growth across the region.

Adverty Continues Expansion of UK Team and Operations with Senior Hires 

Adverty announces senior hires to spearhead further growth following the launch of its UK office earlier this year. Christian Atack will join the team as Senior Director of Business Development. He will be responsible for building an extensive sales and ad operations team in the UK whilst working with agencies and brands. Nicola Halpin has been announced as Senior Director of Sales and will be focused on agency and brand sales for the European market.

DAZN announces senior reshuffle 

DAZN has announced a leadership reshuffle to align with the companies new focus on non-live user experience and growing subscribers. The most senior appointment is John Gleasure, one of the original founders, as executive vice chairman. Ed McCarthy has been announced as DAZN’s new chief operating officer. Veronica Diquattro is elevated to the new role of chief customer and innovation officer and Paul Morton has been promoted to chief revenue officer from EVP, Finance. The final executive shift is the promotion of Ben King, former Apple services business manager, to a newly created role of chief subscription officer.

This Week on VAN

Out Of Home is Finally Seeing Green Shoots Emerge Post-Lockdown, read more on VAN

The Double-Edged Sword of Server-Side Ad Insertion, read more on VAN

How the New Normal has Changed Brand Safety, read more on VAN 

VideoWeek Podcast #13, Denise Collella, NBCUniversal read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Nike, You Can’t Stop Us 


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