Week in Review: Comcast’s Monster Acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Apple’s TV Ambitions and Google’s Brand Push

14 February, 2014 

Highlights from the world of video and connected TV advertising this week come courtesy of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Google, Comscore, Grabyo, Apple, Kaltura and Ebuzzing. To stay up to date and have the latest industry news and insights delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the weekly VAN newsletter.

Comcast to Acquire Time Warner Cable for $45.3 Billion

Acquisitions don’t get much bigger than Comcast’s $45.3 billion deal for Time Warner Cable, which will give Comcast a dominant position in the US cable market. As Rich Greenfield, Managing Director, Media and Technology Analyst at BTIG, noted, the deal ticks all the right boxes:

However, the deal will be closely scrutinised by regulators and the companies are already a storm of media criticism. Susan Crawford, writing on Bloomberg, said the deal is ‘bad for America‘, while the Guardian reported on how various consumer groups are hoping the FCC will stop it from going ahead.

Many US consumers already feel let down by cable providers, and customers often have to pay exceptionally high rates for ‘triple play’ services. For example, even today, choosing Comcast for Internet (25 MB), phone and TV (80 stations) would set you back $99 per month – and that’s with a two year contract.

Finally, Ad Age’s Jeanine Poggi wrote an interesting piece about the impact of the deal on the advertising industry, part of which quoted Jason Kanefsky, exec VP-strategic investments, Havas Media:

“One of the biggest obstacles to ad targeting at the household level has been a lack of broad reach, which makes running campaigns across multiple operators a clumsy and inefficient effort. The merger should eventually help expand the addressable universe to the kind of scale that advertisers desire and speed up advances in areas such as dynamic ad insertion.

And increasingly, Comcast will have the data to make addressable smarter. With about 30 million set-top boxes, it will have an even bigger trove of ratings information, viewing habits and personal data. Combined with marketers’ own data, that will help planners and buyers laser focus their media selections, Mr. Kanefsky said.”

Google Goes After Brand Money with ‘Advertiser-Driven Private Exchanges’ and Comscore Partnership

Last Friday Ad Age reported that Google launched the ‘custom brand exchange’, which is essentially a reverse-engineered private exchange, but one that starts with brand money and creates a ‘curated network’ for advertisers. Google is now also working with Comscore on integrating their Validated VcE into their Doubleclick Ad Exchange.

Apple Reportedly Prepping New Apple TV and Having Content Conversations with Time Warner Cable

It’ll be interesting to see the new Apple TV, but – in the absence of a content deal – it’ll be an empty box with a glossy user interface. These Apple TV stories pop up every few months or so, but we’re going to save our excitement for when a content deal is finally confirmed. Perhaps Apple can succeed where Intel couldn’t.

Read Full Story (Reuters)

Grabyo Poaches Gareth Capon from Sky

Grabyo, a London-based start-up, has hired Gareth Capon, BSkyB’s Product Development Director, as CEO. Grabyo enables broadcasters to quickly share real-time video across Twitter, Facebook, websites and mobile apps. Broadcasters can push out content such as instant sports replays, live reality moments and breaking news clips, enabling them to use social to boost TV reach and engagement.

Kaltura Raises $47 Million

Kaltura, the open source video platform, has raised $47 million, which it will use to accelerate product development, and extend operations into Brazil, Mexico, China, Japan, Australia, Singapore, and Korea.

Ebuzzing’s Revenue Hits €50 Million

Ebuzzing, a European video technology company, announced today it has achieved a profitable year in 2013, the second year in a row. With revenue of €50 million and €3 million estimated EBITDA, the company grew by 31% year-on-year. Video advertising revenue grew 41% to €45 million.

Ad of the Week

This is one from last year, but according to Marketing Magazine it’s the most shared romantic ads of all time, so it’s appropriate, what with today being Valentine’s Day and all that. ‘The Kiss’ was produced by Grey for Vodafone, and it’s a reminder of just how advertising can sometimes tell incredibly powerful stories in such a short space of time:

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