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Week in Review: Sky to Launch on Snapchat, Tech Giants Pay for Ad Unblocking and Samsung in Hot Water Over in-App Ad Placement

Harriet Kingaby 13 February, 2015 

New ad platforms, viewability debates, rogue ad placement and new partnerships — here’s what happened this week in video advertising. For a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Sky News and Sky Sports Launch on Snapchat Discover

Sky has launched two content channels on the new Snapchat Discover platform for Sky News and Sky Sports. It will use the Snapchat service to publish daily editions of content featuring six to 10 ‘snaps’, using a combination of images, video and text.

With the rollout, Sky becomes one of the Snapchat’s first UK-specific partners for its Discover service launched at the end of last month, partnering with a host of other broadcasters and media companies such as National Geographic, Vice Media, Yahoo News, Comedy Central, CNN, ESPN and Scripps.

Google, Microsoft, and Amazon Pay to Unblock Ads

The Financial Times reports this week that tech giants have reportedly paid Adblock Plus to have their ads unblocked. Google was the first company revealed to have paid for whitelisting with the popular advert blocking extension for Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, but now it appears that Amazon and Microsoft are also implicated.

This is particularly interesting for the industry as DigiDay report this week that more than 25% of Web viewers in the United Kingdom and 50% in Germany employ ad-blocking technology.

Samsung Investigates Why its TVs Put Ads in Others’ Apps

It’s been a bad week for Samsung, Ars Technica reports that the tech giant is investigating why some of its smart TVs are adding adverts to television programmes and films played via third-party apps. Owners have complained of a silent ad for Pepsi interrupting playback several times an hour whilst using at least two smart TV apps.

Samsung has said it was only aware of the glitch affecting customers in Australia. The fault comes days after the company faced controversy over the way its TVs made use of voice recordings, prompted by fears that its smart TV sets might be ‘spying’ on viewers’ conversations.

Cinemagraphs, the Captivating New Ad Format

Cinemagraphs, subtly animated gif like photographs are catching on as the digital world’s equivalent of the glossy magazine ad. Facebook, along with its mobile photo network Instagram, wants more brands to try them out as it quietly introduces advertisers to the potential of this half-video, half-photograph style, according to digital marketing insiders.

A cinemagraph created at Inkaterra La Casona by Burg and Beck’s Ann Street Studio.

Good News in the Viewability Debate

The new chairman of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, David Morris, began his tenure by speaking about the challenges confronting publishers and ad-tech companies being pressured to transact on viewable impressions. Mr Morris’s comments came at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting in Phoenix, amid increasing pressure on publishers to charge only for those ads which have the chance to be seen.

The IAB recently recommended that advertisers seek 70% viewability during 2015, which it called a ‘year of transition.’  The latest quarterly report from, TubeMogul however, gives hope for achieving this target, reporting that the UK reached 50% overall viewability rate, the world’s highest for the second quarter in a row. Programmatic direct inventory reached 80%, a 27% increase quarter-over-quarter. This year’s strong mature advertising market, strong Black Friday and popularity of Christmas advertising have been indicated as the cause.

Xaxis’ David Moore Joins IAB Tech Lab Board

WPP Digital President and Xaxis Chairman David Moore stepped up as chairman of the IAB Tech Lab Board of Directors on Monday.

His goal is to help the IAB establish standards to promote interoperability within the ad tech diaspora. Efforts will include creating a code base to make it easier for tech companies to implement IAB standards and creating mobile and video versions of the DAA’s AdChoices, which allows consumers to control what ads they see.

Facebook Videos Upset YouTube at Super Bowl 2015

According to data from video ad tech company, Unruly, Super Bowl ads run through the Facebook player generated more shares than those launched on YouTube this year.
Unruly’s data indicates that, YouTube delivers more views (125.65 million to Facebook’s 60.74 million), but Facebook videos attract more shares (five times more, in fact). Unruly claims that shares across Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere are a much better measure of a brand’s viral success, ranking branded content by the volume of active pass-on and audience engagement, rather than the more passive metric of video consumption (views). The proof is in the fact that at week after the Big Game, Facebook videos hold four of the top five spots in Unruly’s chart of Super Bowl 2015 Aired Ads.

blinkx Launches In-View VideoGlider for Anchored Premium Video Content

blinkx, the Internet Media platform, today announced the launch of In-View VideoGlider. Anchoring pre-roll content to the bottom of browser windows, VideoGlider ensures video ad content stays fixed in place even when the consumer scrolls down the page. This means enhanced consumer engagement and reduces the concerns that many video advertisers have around below-the-fold or now-viewable ad views. The technology allows companies to place their pre-roll video adjacent to their own content, or content from blinkx’s own index of premium video content producers.

Half of Nordic Streamers Use SVoD Services

The newly released Arkena Nordic Video Index report looks at how people in the Nordic region consume Internet based video streaming services, such as Netflix and HBO Nordic. It finds that over half of the population in the Nordics currently subscribe to one or more streaming video services. Movies and TV series are the most popular and the computer is still our favourite device for watching them. Traditional linear TV is constantly losing ground to online video on-demand services.

British Pathé Selects Rightster as Online Video Partner

Rightster, the cloud-based video distribution and monetisation network, has been selected by British Pathé, the world’s leading multimedia resource, as its global online video partner both on YouTube and across Rightster’s publisher network. Rightster will manage British Pathé’s entire YouTube business and work with British Pathé to syndicate its online video content across their global network of over 7,500 additional publishers to coincide with timely events in order to drive views and revenue.

Joint venture between SpotXchange and RTL Netherlands for the Benelux region

Two RTL Group companies; SpotXchange, the leading video inventory management platform, and RTL Nederland (RTL), media and entertainment company, this week announced the launch of a joint venture for the Benelux region. The joint venture will operate as of mid-March from Amsterdam, where SpotXchange Benelux will be located. At launch SpotXchange Benelux provides agencies, advertisers and trading desks with direct access to broadcast quality video inventory of video-on-demand platform RTL XL, and other top gaming, sports, and entertainment publishers affiliated with the Videostrip network.

Return of RTVE Advertising Would Hit Commercial Broadcasters, Says Bank

A report by Spain’s CaixaBank has found that a move by the Spanish government to bring advertising back to public broadcaster RTVE could cost commercial broadcasters Atresmedia and Mediaset up to €185 million a year. The CaixaBank calculation is based on a return to the status quo ante of 2009, when RTVE lost its rights to sell commercials.

Elemental Technologies Release Implementing Live to VOD Whitepaper,

The white paper, available for download here, details how time-shifted TV services are structured and how Elemental Delta, a new video delivery platform designed to optimize the monetisation, management and distribution of multiscreen video across IP networks, enables pay TV operators, content programmers and other video providers to efficiently implement live-to-VOD offerings.

HbbTV 2.0 specification announced

The HbbTV Association has released the specification for Hbb 2.0, paving the way for a “new wave of consumer TV services.” HBB 2.0 will support HTML5, MPEG-DASH and advanced video delivery features like Ultra HD and HEVC, with the first compliant receivers expected to be released during 2016. The new standard will also support companion devices, including communication between an app on the second screen and an app on the TV, and synching between the second screen with media on the TV.

Ad of the week

In a week where B&Q reportedly warned their staff to be prepared for rocketing sales of duct-tape, this week’s Ad of the Week could only ever be Lego’s trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey.


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