In this week’s Week in Review: Twitch users turn against mid roll ads, Trump questions TikTok’s deal with Oracle, and Google faces another child privacy lawsuit. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Twitch Sparks Backlash with Mid-Roll Ads
Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch this week sparked a backlash from users after expanding its ad offering to include new mid-roll ads. Twitch already allowed mid-roll ads, but previously these had always been triggered by streamers, meaning they could run ads during appropriate moments. But the new mid-roll ads are triggered automatically by Twitch. The stream is still visible during the ad, but is minimised to a picture-in-picture view. Users complained that the format is overly interruptive – and can result in viewers missing key moments during a live stream.
Regardless, Amazon looks set to continue strengthening Twitch’s ad offering. The ecommerce giant this week added Twitch inventory to Amazon Advertising, meaning advertisers can buy Twitch inventory alongside other Amazon inventory.
TikTok’s Oracle Deal Questioned by Trump
Video sharing platform TikTok announced at the beginning of the week that it has selected Oracle as its “trusted technology partner” in the US, meaning Oracle will be tasked with handling US users’ personal data. But the deal has quickly been called into question, as US president Donald Trump indicated he may not approve the deal as it stands.
TikTok had previously been ordered by the president to separate its US operations from Chinese owner ByteDance for national security reasons. TikTok had been expected to sell off its US operations, with Microsoft, Oracle, and Twitter in contention. But the deal announced between TikTok and Oracle doesn’t constitute a sale, and ByteDance would maintain a majority stake in TikTok in the US.
Trump, when asked about ByteDance keeping a majority stake in TikTok, told reporters “Conceptually I can tell you that I don’t like that. If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that.”
Google Hit with $3.2 Billion Lawsuit for Use of Children’s Data
Google has been hit with a class action lawsuit seeking $3.2 billion in damages, over claims YouTube routinely breaks children’s privacy laws by tracking underage users. The suit has been brought to the UK’s High Court by privacy advocate Duncan McCann, and is backed by advocacy group Foxglove, who says YouTube’s practices go against the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.
“YouTube processes the data of every child who uses the service — including kids under 13,” said Foxglove. “They profit from this data, as they are paid by advertisers to place targeted advertising on their YouTube website. They do all this without getting explicit consent from the children’s parents.”
YouTube disputes the claims, saying that its terms of service state that children under the age of 13 aren’t allowed on the main YouTube site.
The Week in Tech
FTC Prepares Antitrust Suit Against Facebook
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is preparing to file an antitrust case against Facebook by the end of the year, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. In recent weeks we’ve seen numerous reports that the various antitrust investigations against the big US tech companies are starting to come to a head. The US department of Justice is expected to file a case against Google by the end of this month.
PRAM Invites Apple to Work with Ad Industry on Privacy
The Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM), a collaborative effort of industry trade bodies, this week penned an open letter to Apple asking it to work with the ad industry on issues around identity and privacy.
“As the leading organizations representing global brand marketers and the digital media and advertising industry, we welcome your decision to delay the proposed policy changes for Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) for iOS 14 until next year, and we request an urgent meeting to ensure we use that additional time to launch a collaborative process to address widespread questions and concerns around those upcoming changes,” said the letter.
AT&T Mulls Ad-Subsidised Mobile Plans
US telco AT&T is considering offering new reduced-cost mobile plans subsidised by ads, Reuters reported this week, which could come to market as soon as this time next year. “I believe there’s a segment of our customer base where given a choice, they would take some load of advertising for a $5 or $10 reduction in their mobile bill,”, AT&T chief executive John Stankey told Reuters.
WFA Unveils New Cross Media Measurement Solutions
The World Federation of Advertisers, an industry trade group representing brands and agencies, this week launched a new framework for cross media advertising, which is now set to be tested in the US and UK. The framework follows on from principles for cross media advertising established by the WFA last year. The WFA says the goal of the framework is that it will act as a catalyst for local development of new solutions.
Meanwhile ISBA, the UK trade association tasked with implementing the framework, reported that its cross media measurement tool Origin should see a prototype released next summer. Origin’s director Richard Halton laid out how Origin has been developing in an interview with VAN earlier this week.
YouTube Strengthens Video and CTV Tools in DV360
YouTube this week announced a number of changes to its video and CTV buying tools in Display & Video 360. Buyers can now include programmatic deals when using DV360’s forecasting tools, can access more YouTube inventory within DV360, and DV360 has expanded its ‘similar audiences’ functionality to cover connected TV devices.
Facebook Appeals EU-US Data Sharing Ruling
Facebook is appealing a decision from Ireland’s data regulator which ordered the social media company to stop transfers of personal data between the US and EU. “A lack of safe, secure and legal international data transfers would have damaging consequences for the European economy,” Facebook says. “We urge regulators to adopt a pragmatic and proportionate approach until a sustainable long-term solution can be reached.”
Verizon Media Launches OTT Smart Auction
Verizon Media this week announced the launch of OTT Smart Auction, a header bidding-like solution for OTT publishers. OTT Smart Auction is a server-to-server container integration that enables OTT programmatic demand to compete with reserved demand in a real-time, unified auction in a publisher’s ad server.
TVSquared and Blockgraph Launch Cross-Channel Measurement Solution
TVSquared and Blockgraph this week announced they have partnered to provide omni-channel TV measurement and audience activation. TVSquared’s measurement of reach and frequency across linear and OTT services will be combined with Blockgraph’s peer-to-peer audience insights and authentication platform.
Taboola and IAS Partner on Brand Safety Solution for Performance Advertisers
Taboola has announced a partnership with Integral Ad Science to introduce a new pre-bid brand safety technology for performance advertisers. The two say the integration will directly apply pre-bid brand safety within Taboola’s native discovery platform.
Hivestack Pairs with Clear Channel UK as Programmatic DOOH Partner
Programmatic digital out-of-home (DOOH) tech company Hivestack this week announced a new partnership with Clear Channel UK, which will make Clear Channel’s inventory available via Hivestack’s supply-side platform and exchange.
The Week in TV
BBC Faces ‘Era of Cuts’ After Posting £119 Million Deficit
The BBC’s new director general Tim Davie has warned that the broadcaster is facing an “era of cuts”, the FT reported this week, after the broadcaster posted a deficit of £119 million. “The simple fact is we have too much duplication, we can, we must and we will become more efficient,” he said. “Our public service headcount has to be smaller.”
ViacomCBS Rebrands Streaming Service as Paramount+
ViacomCBS is expanding its CBS All Access streaming service and rebranding it as Paramount+, the company announced this week. The service will relaunch with a slate of original shows as well as other content owned and licensed by ViacomCBS.
Premier League Cracks Down on Piracy
The English Premier League is cracking down on piracy, the FT reported this week, in order to better protect the value of its UK broadcasting deals. The league has secured new High Court orders which it says will allow it to take down more illegal streams than ever before.
ITV Aims for Carbon Neutrality by 2030
ITV announced this week it has set a net zero carbon goal for 2030. The broadcaster says it will hit this goal by reducing emissions and energy use from its buildings, cutting back on travel and supplier emissions, and investing in tree planting projects.
Canal+ Bolsters its MyCanal Streaming Service
French pay TV operator Canal+ this week moved to strengthen its MyCanal streaming service. All of the films it plays on its premium linear channel will now also be made available all at once on MyCanal.
eMarketer Predicts Disney+ Will Overtake Hulu in 2024
eMarketer says it expects Disney+, launched last year, to overtake fellow Disney property Hulu by 2024. eMarketer forecasts Disney+ to reach 123.4 million subscribers in 2024, compared to Hulu’s 115.6 million.
The Week in Publishing
YouTube Launches TikTok Challenger ‘Shorts’ in India
YouTube this week rolled out ‘Shorts’, its effort to compete more closely with video sharing app TikTok, in India. YouTube has likely targeted India first for the new feature since TikTok has been banned throughout the country, after border skirmished between India and China. Shorts features editing tools similar to TikTok, as well as the ability to choose songs from a library of licensed music to play alongside clips.
ViacomCBS Agrees Deal to Sell CNET
ViacomCBS has agreed a deal to sell publishing unit CNET to Red Ventures for $500 million, the two companies announced this week. CNET’s network of digital publications includes the eponymous CNET, as well as ZDNet and GameSpot.
Over 400,000 Register to Vote Through Snapchat
Video sharing app Snapchat has registered over 400,000 voters through a ‘register to vote’ portal built into the app, Axios reported this week. Snapchat has been running campaigns to encourage users to register to vote, this week releasing a new PSA staring President Obama and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Australian Regulator Tries to Call Facebook’s Bluff on Blocking News Content
Australia’s top antitrust regulator this week said that Facebook is welcome to begin blocking news content on its services, warning that the social media company would be weakened as a result. Facebook previously said it may start preventing users from sharing news content in response to proposed laws which would force platforms to pay for content shared on their services.
Kim Kardashian-West Joins Social Media Boycott
Kim Kardashian-West, the archetypal social media star, this week joined a day-long celebrity boycott of social media platforms. The campaign, organised by Stop Hate for Profit (the group behind the brand boycott earlier this year) protests weak protections against hate speech on social sites.
In support of the #stophateforprofit movement, @Skims will be going dark on our brand Instagram and Facebook accounts tomorrow. We will also be pushing the launch of our new Maternity collection by a day to Thursday September 17 at 9am.
— Kim Kardashian West (@KimKardashian) September 15, 2020
Vice Pushes to Bump Up User Registration
Vice is planning to double down on contextually targeted ads, and will look to encourage more users to register and log on to its digital properties, in response to the decline of third-party cookies, Digiday reported this week.
Spotify Adds Listings for Concert Live Streams
Spotify this week announced it is adding virtual events listings to its app, informing users when their favourite artists are live streaming. But for now at least, Spotify won’t host these streams itself, instead leading users to third-party sites.
The Week for Agencies
Magna Predicts US Ad Market will Stabilise in H2
IPG media agency Magna predicts that the US ad market will begin to stabilise in the second half of the year, as revenues are buoyed by campaign ads for US presidential and congressional elections. Magna predict H2 ad spend will be down two percent year-on-year, compared to a 7.2 percent drop in H1.
Havas Group Acquires Majority Stake in Camp + King
Agency holding group Havas has acquired a majority stake in indie creative agency Camp + King, AdAge reported this week. Camp + King’s clients include Papa John’s and Re/Max.
Kraft Heinz Plans to Ramp Up Ad Spend
Kraft Heinz said this week it is planning to ramp up its marketing spend by 30 percent, to around $1.4 billion, Reuters reported this week. An increase in ad budgets had been expected since Miguel Patricio, previously CMO for Anheuser-Busch InBev, took over as CMO.
Dentsu Aegis Network Launches Dentsu Curate
Dentsu Aegis Network and Xandr this week partnered to launch Dentsu Curate, a new programmatic supply solution from DAN. The two say the solution is built upon principles of quality and transparency for performance, and will leverage Xandr’s technology platform.
Indie Agencies Unite for ‘Land of Independents’ Campaign
A number of independent agencies including Total Media, the7stars, and Goodstuff have collaborated on a new campaign to promote the benefits to advertisers of working with independents. The campaign will include ads across OOH, print and digital.
Omnicom to Give Staff Election Day Off
Omnicom is giving US staff a day off on election day later this year, in order to make it easier for staff to vote, according to an internal memo seen by Agency Spy.
Publicis Ends Salary Cuts for UK Senior Ranks
Publicis has ended salary cuts for its senior staff in the UK earlier than expected according to Campaign. Temporary cuts had been introduced earlier this year in response to the pandemic.
Hires of the Week
Omnicom Names New US CEOs for PHD and Hearts & Science
Omnicom this week announced that is has appointed Catherine Sullivan as its new US CEO for PHD, and Ralph Pardo as the new US CEO for Hearts & Science.
Pete Stein Joins Merkle
Pete Stein, global CEO of Huge, is joining Merkle as global lead for experience and commerce.
This Week on VAN
Econometric Modelling in Advertising Explained, read more on VAN
Finally, TV Production is Returning to Normal for European Broadcasters, read more on VAN
ISBA’s Origin is Making Real Progress on Cross-Media Measurement, read more on VAN
VideoWeek Podcast #16, Lara Izlan, ITV, listen on VAN
Ad of the Week
B&Q, Build a Life, Uncommon