The WIR: Google Unveils Google TV, France’s Data Regulator Cracks Down on Cookie Tracking, and Disney Offloads TrueX


In this week’s Week in Review: Google unveils its new OTT content aggregator Google TV, France’s CNIL announced new restrictions on cookie tracking, and Disney sells video ad tech company TrueX. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Google Launches OTT Aggregator ‘Google TV’
Google this week launched Google TV, a new CTV platform which will first be available on an upcoming Chromecast device. Google TV will aggregate content from across users’ various streaming services, via their Chromecast device. The new Chromecast device will also come with a remote, unlike previous models which have been controlled by the users’ mobile.

While Chromecast has previously just mirrored content from users’ phones onto a TV screen, Google TV acts much more like a platform, with Google surfacing and recommending content. Google TV therefore brings Google more closely into competition with Roku and Amazon’s OTT devices. And the platform gives Google a hand in content discovery, as well as the potential to collect viewing data on third-party streaming services, strengthening its own hand in the OTT space.

France’s Data Watchdog Imposes Harsher Cookie Consent Rules
France’s data regulator the CNIL this week imposed harsher rules on user consent for cookie tracking, going beyond the requirements of the EU’s general data protection regulation.

The CNIL’s new guidelines formally specify that publishers can’t infer consent from users continuing to browse their websites, having been shown a cookie notice. But the guidelines also state that businesses need to keep a register of users’ acceptance or refusal of cookie tracking for at least six months. And since if a user doesn’t interact with a cookie notice, they are effectively seen has having denied consent, businesses which drop cookies must keep a register of these users for at least six months.

Etienne Drouard, a lawyer at American-British law firm Hogan Lovells, told Reuters that this extra hurdle could be a “death sentence” for some publishers, media companies, and video platforms.

Disney Offloads Video Ad Tech Firm TrueX
Disney this week sold video ad tech business TrueX to location data company Gimbal, for a reported fee of under $100 million.

TrueX creates tools which gives viewers a choice to interact with a video ad in order to see less ads later on in a TV show or film on an ad-supported streaming service. Disney picked up TrueX as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets; Fox itself bought the company for around $200 million in 2014.

Disney is substantially invested in the AVOD space, via its ownership of Hulu. But the media giant saw the ad tech firm as surplus to requirements.

The Week in Tech

EU Plans to Prevent Tech Giants from Favouring Their Own Products
The EU plans to introduce new laws to prevent US tech giants from favouring their own services across their wide-ranging products, or from forcing users to sign up to bundled services, in an effort to curb their market power according to Reuters. And the EU plans to prevent ‘gatekeepers’ – companies with bottleneck power or strategic market status, from collecting data on their users in order to target ads or products to them, unless they share that data with competitors.

DoubleVerify Charts Rampant CTV Fraud
DoubleVerify says it has identified over 780 fake streaming TV apps this year, as CTV ad fraud continues to climb. And DV currently detects 500,000 devices per day which enable ad fraud by disguising themselves as connected-TV devices, CEO Mark Zagorski told the WSJ.

Epic Games Buys SuperAwesome
Games publisher Epic Games, owner of smash hit Fortnite, last Friday announced is has acquired kid tech company SuperAwesome for an undisclosed fee. “SuperAwesome is the company developers want to work with to make better online content for kids,” said Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney. “We share the belief that digital experiences are better when you go the extra mile to respect privacy and we’re thrilled to invest in this future alongside the talented SuperAwesome team.”

Google Plans to Block Election-Related Ads After Polls Close on Election Day
Google plans to block election-related ads posted after polls close for the US presidential election later this year, in an effort to prevent the spread of misinformation as votes are counted, according to Axios.

Samsung Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform
Samsung this week launched a new self-serve platform, Samsung DSP, for inventory on Samsung TV Plus and Samsung Content Network. Samsung says the tool will give advertisers direct access to Samsung Ads proprietary data, audiences, and inventory across 45MM households.

Discovery Partners with Magnite in UK, Japan and India
Supply-side platform Magnite this week announced an expanded relationship with Discovery in support of its streaming service dplay platform in the UK, Japan and India. Magnite says its platform will power ad podding, inventory hierarchy, targeting, and real-time reporting on dplay, and the two will also collaborate on custom solutions in the future.

IAS Partners with Google on Automated Tag
Integral Ad Science has partnered with Google Campaign Manager on automated tag to wrap campaigns with both ad server and third-party verification tags for Campaign Manager. IAS says time spent manually wrapping tags is one of the biggest pain points for digital advertisers today. With IAS’s new automated tag, they will now be able to reduce time spent wrapping tags, and will have a central location to manage tags and the flexibility to switch between ‘monitoring’ and ‘blocking’ without re-wrapping or re-trafficking campaigns.

Havas Media Group Partners with FreeWheel in UK and France
Havas Media Group this week announced it has chosen of FreeWheel’s Strata platform to power its media buying and management business in the U.K. and France. FreeWheel says Strata, its campaign stewardship system, provides end-to-end capabilities from media planning through activation, optimisation and reconciliation.

Accretive Media Launches New Tools to Extend CTV Campaigns
Accretive Media, a digital out-of-home advertising company, this week launched Accretive Connect, a new solution which it says enables sequential messaging between programmatic digital out-of-home (pDOOH) and connected TV (CTV) advertising.

The Week in TV

Presidential Debates Attract Buyers Back to TV
The televised presidential debates in the US are attracting buyers back on to TV, Variety reported this week. NBC, CBS and ABC all sold out of inventory for the first debate comfortably ahead of when it aired, and Fox News claims to have effectively sold out of inventory for all three debates.

Neuroscientific Research Breaks Down Addressable TV’s Impact
Finecast published research this week which used neuroscientific methods to outline the strengths of addressable TV advertising. “From the neuroscientific study, we found strong evidence that addressable TV advertising is more compelling to consumers than non-addressable, demonstrating that relevance to the household increases engagement,” said UCL professor Joe Devlin, who ran the experiment. Read the full story on VAN.

UK TV Ad Revenues Fell by Over Six Percent Last Year says Ofcom
UK television advertising revenues fell by between six and seven percent in 2019, according to UK communications regulator Ofcom’s ‘Communications Market Report’. But Ofcom’s data shows that the overall audiovisual market in the UK remains flat, with online growth making up for TV’s decline. Read the full story on VAN.

Pay TV Added Three Million New Subscriptions in Q2 says Ampere
Global subscriptions to pay TV services grew by three million in Q2 this year, according to Ampere Analysis. However this growth was not evenly distributed – of the bellwether companies Ampere looked at, only 44 percent saw growth in subscriber numbers, while the remaining 56 percent lost subscribers in the quarter.

ProSieben Puts Windstar Medical Up for Sale
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has put its online drugstore Windstar Medical up for sale, Reuters reported this week, as the company streamlines its technology investments.

BritBox Ahead of Schedule with Subscriber Count
BritBox’s subscriber count is exceeding internal expectations, MD Will Harrison claimed this week. While Harrison did not say how many subscribers the service has picked up, he said the company is “very happy” with how it’s performed since launching last year.

The Week in Publishing

Google Pledges $1 Billion in Publisher Payments
Google, facing pressure to pay publishers for the content it spreads via its various services, this week pledged $1 billion to partnerships with news publishers. The payments will be used for a new service, Google News Showcase. This new product “features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences,” according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Reach Reports Strong Bounce Back in Digital Ad Sales
UK news publisher Reach reported this week that it’s seen a strong bounce back in digital ad sales towards the end of Q2 and during Q3, as the company has begun recovering from the financial impact of the pandemic. Reach, which runs national titles including the Daily Mirror, the Daily Star and the Daily Express, said that in Q3, digital revenues were up 12.9 percent year-on-year. Read the full story on VAN.

Reddit Opens UK Offices
Social sharing site Reddit set up shop in the UK this week, as part of a stated mission to grow its UK community and advertising business. “With a dedicated team now fully operational in the UK, ambitious growth plans for 2021 and increased interest from local brands to be part of the Reddit community, we are primed to service the UK advertising market with best-in-class campaigns that cut through,” said Reddit COO Jen Wong.

TikTok Avoids a Download Ban
TikTok narrowly avoided a US download ban on Sunday, as a federal judge blocked an order from President Trump which would have suspended the app from US app stores. Trump has given his blessing to a deal worked out between TikTok, Oracle, and Walmart to separate TikTok’s US operations from its Chinese owner ByteDance, but the deal still needs approval from China.

Vox Media Launches New Self-Serve Ad Tools
Digital publisher Vox Media this week launched new self-serve tools for its Concert marketplace. Vox says advertisers can use the tools to access inventory across the Concert marketplace including publishers like NBC Universal, Penske Media, Quartz, and more in addition to Vox Media’s 13 topically diverse networks – reaching over 230 million unique monthly visitors.

Condé Nast Launches India Tech Centre to Grow Publishing Operations
International publisher Condé Nast is opening a new technology and product centre in Bangalore, in an effort to grow its digital capabilities and boost online revenues, Bloomberg reported this week. “We want to digitally reinvent brands like Vogue to be relevant to a younger demographic, those between 18 and 30 years,” said Sanjay Bhakta, chief product and technology officer at Condé Nast.

The Week for Agencies

IPG’s Kinesso and Matterkind Go Through Layoffs
IPG-owned businesses Kinesso and Matterkind both laid off dozens of employees in the states, Adweek reported this week, due to an upcoming restructure. The cuts will hit between 50-70 staff overall, according to Adweek.

Dentsu Aegis Network Rebrands to Dentsu International
Dentsu Group announced to the Tokyo Stock Exchange this week that it is renaming Dentsu Aegis Network, its international network of agencies, to Denstu International.

4As Hit Back at Trump’s Block on Diversity Training
US trade body the 4As this week pushed back against an executive order from US president Donal Trump which bans federal contractors from running diversity training programmes which covers topics like unconscious bias. Alison Pepper, executive VP of government relations for the 4A’s, told AdAge that the 4As is joining “several leading trade associations and companies that represent a broad array of industries to push back on this Executive Order”.

UK Ad Industry Promotes Itself to Global Clients
The UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG), a partnership between the UK government and ad industry, has been touting British ad agencies’ credentials to global clients as part of a new campaign. The campaign is led by a two minute film, which aims to demonstrate that the UK ad industry is open for business.

ID Comms Buys Auditing Firm PJL Media
Media and marketing consultancy ID Comms this week announced it is acquiring fellow media auditor PJL Media. PJL Media was founded by former NA CEO for Ebiquity PJ Leary, and Leary will now lead ID Comms’ auditing business.

Advertisers Hold Off on Experimenting with Formats
Ad buyers have been cutting back on experimenting with newer ad formats, Digiday reported this week. Various buyers told Digiday they are under pressure to deliver with limited time and resources, and are sticking with familiar formats as a result.

M&C Saatchi Suspends Share Trading
Trading of shares in agency M&C Saatchi was temporarily halted this week, as the agency failed to deliver audited 2019 results in time for its deadline. The delays were caused by accounting errors which came to light last year.

Hires of the Week

Facebook Promotes Alex Schultz to CMO
Facebook has chosen Alex Schultz, a growth and analytics executive, to be the company’s new chief marketing officer.

Droga5 Picks Tiffany Edwards to Lead Diversity and Inclusion
Droga5 has picked Tiffany Edwards as its new global head of diversity and inclusion. She previously worked as Droga5’s engagement and inclusion director.

Médiamétrie Appoints Estelle Duval as Director of Strategy
Data specialist Médiamétrie has promoted Estelle Duval to the role of director of strategy, a newly created post at the company.

This Week on VAN

Reach Reports Strong Bounce Back in Digital Ad Sales, read more on VAN

Neuroscientific Research Breaks Down Addressable TV’s Impact, read more on VAN

UK TV Ad Revenues Fell by Over Six Percent Last Year says Ofcom, read more on VAN

VideoWeek Podcast #17, Brian Cullinane, VideoElephant, listen on VAN

VideoElephant Brings Traditional TV’s Channel Hopping to Short-Form Content, read more on VAN

The OTT Advertising Guide 2021 is Now Available to Download, download on VAN

Ad of the Week

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