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The WIR: Altitude Digital and Genesis Media Merge, ANA Report Claims Non-Transparent and Unfair Production Practices at US Agencies, Facebook Launches Longish-Form Content

  11 August, 2017

In this week’s Week in Review: Altitude Digital and Genesis Media merge, ANA report has found non-transparent and unfair production practices at US agencies, Facebook has enhanced its video offer with a new service to rival VOD giants, and Fox’s Sky deal may be jeopardised by a case against Fox News being heard in the US. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Altitude Digital and Genesis Media are to Merge

Genesis Media, a publisher analytics company, announced yesterday it has merged with Denver-based, Altitude Digital, a programmatic video technology company. The new company will operate as Genesis Media.The merger will bring together combine Genesis’s publisher content analytics with Altitude Digital’s supply-side platform and unite them in single stack. Buyers will also be able to bid on impressions with data that measures the quality of individual pieces of publisher content and how the user interacts with that content. The terms of the merger were undisclosed.

Facebook Enhances Video Offer with New Service
Facebook is launching a new video service as it ramps up its video offering to take on the likes of YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Using the the “Watch” tab viewers will be able to see a range of live and recorded content, including original shows funded by the social network. Content will be personalised for users with an algorithm organised around what the user likes and what their friends are watching. The videos will also serve up targeted advertising before and during the shows. Watch is first being introduced to a limited group of people in the US, but the plan is to roll it out world-wide “soon”.

ANA Report Finds Non-Transparent and Unfair Production Practices at US Agencies
An Association of National Advertisers investigation into the US ad industry has reportedly found that agencies steer business away from their vendors and into their own in-house production units through deliberate manipulation of the bidding process. According to the ANA, advertising agencies and holding companies engage in non-transparent practices when it comes to the production of commercials, music, events and other materials, including asking independent post-production houses to submit bogus, inflated “check bids” so that agencies can route jobs back to their in-house production shops.

The findings come fourteen months after the ANA delivered a scathing indictment of the lack of transparency in the media buying process, the Association of National Advertisers has turned its attention to production.

The Week in Tech

Integral Ad Science Brand Safety Solution Reaccredited by ABC
Integral Ad Science (IAS) has announced the ABC’s reaccreditation of its brand safety solution. The certification verifies that IAS’s technology prevents ad delivery alongside inappropriate content and adheres to the JICWEBS Content Verification Product Principles. Nick Morley, EMEA MD at IAS, comments: “… it’s critical that brand safety solutions accurately assess the content and context of a page. This certification, alongside our other accreditations, highlights our continued work to help solve the issues that our customers face daily.”

YouTube Launches Tools for In-App Video Sharing for Mobile Users
YouTube has launched new functionality that makes it possible for mobile users to share videos without leaving the YouTube app. The video site said it is rolling out the new sharing features globally, with a new tab on the mobile app allowing users share videos directly with friends and family. As part of the new functionality, users can also chat, reply and invite others to take part in the conversation.

Adbrain Pledges to Improve After Rebuke for ‘Cumbersome’ Opt-Out
Adbrain has committed to revising its opt-out procedures after criticism from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). According to the BBB, the opt-out mechanism “appeared to be so incomplete and cumbersome… as to present serious issues”. In response, Adbrain promised to update its opt-out mechanism, and confirmed its ongoing work with ePrivacy and “several other consultants” to comply with EU’s General Data Protection Regulation.

Facebook Ban on Deep-Linking Broadsides Tune’s Measurement
Mobile analytics and performance company Tune is having to turn off its deep-linking ad-measurement following a Facebook policy change. The changes mean companies will no longer be able to use deep links to measure app installs and page visits, or direct audiences toward a specific location within an app. In a Tune blog post CEO Peter Hamilton described the situation for Tune and its customers as tough, and spelled out their response.

Snap Reports Disappointing Results, Upgrades Self-Serve Ad Tech

Snap shares plunged 14 percent on Thursday after the social media firm reported more than $400m (£310m) in quarterly losses and fewer than expected users. The share price fall extended a decline that started almost immediately after Snapchat started trading earlier this year. The firm reported 173 million daily users, up 4 percent on the previous quarter. Snap’s stock, which was priced at $17 for its public offering in March, is now trading at less than $14, as the company’s growth has been stifled by some aggressive moves by Facebook.

The company has also released an update for their new self-serve ad platform The latest addition for their self-serve platform is called ‘Advanced Mode’, and is essentially their clone of Facebook’s Power Editor, providing more ad placement and control options for managing campaigns. The updated tool helps to automate time-intensive tasks, with a goal of helping advertisers scale their efforts. Advanced Mode is presently active for select advertisers and will have a wider release this month.

Salesforce Launches Einstein Vision’s AI-Powered Image Recognition for Marketers
Salesforce is introducing Einstein Vision for Social Studio, delivering AI-powered image recognition within Marketing Cloud’s social media marketing solution. The idea is that by being able to automate the discovery and identification of images that consumers post, marketers will be able to identify customers even when they have not specifically mentioned a brand, product or service by name. The product currently only works with Twitter.

Kantar Updates TV Ratings Tool to Cover Facebook
Kantar Media has announced the integration of Facebook data into its Kantar Twitter TV Ratings tool, which it has renamed as the “Kantar Social TV Ratings” tool. Kantar Media’s collaboration with Facebook now enables clients to see counts of posts, likes, comments and shares, pertaining to TV programmes, across the Facebook platform. The enhancement also enables clients to access data on the highest engagement on programmes, the most shared links and example posts published by public users relating to specific TV programmes.

Wireless VR Set to Strain Data Networks
Juniper Research has released forecasts for wireless VR headsets data consumption which show growth by over 650 per cent over the next four years, from nearly 2,800 Petabytes in 2017 to over 21,000PB in 2021. That is equivalent to over three billion hours of 4K video streaming. And the figure rises to over 28,000PB when combined with traffic generated by VR headsets tethered to PCs and consoles. Due to the additional data strain Juniper argues that future demand needs to be taken into account now, when considering specifications like minimum frame rate and resolution.

The Week in TV

Disney to Launch its Own Streaming Service
Disney has announced that it intends to pull all its movies from Netflix and launch a branded Disney direct to consumer streaming service. CEO Bob Iger told CNBC that Disney had a “good relationship” with Netflix, but decided to exercise an option to move its content off the platform. Movies to be removed include Disney as well as Pixar’s titles, but Marvel TV shows will remain. The company will also launch its own ESPN video streaming service in early 2018.

HomePod Firmware Suggests Apple TV to Support 4K and HDR
Apple looks set to launch a version of Apple TV with 4K and High Dynamic Range support, after code referring to these technologies was spotted and tweeted by iOS developer Guilherme Rambo. Rumors of a new Apple TV with 4K and HDR have existed for months, but appear to have been confirmed by Rambo’s tweeted image of code from Apple’s Homepod Speaker firmware referencing Apple TV support for 4K, HDR10, Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log Gamma.

Vodafone Hits Back at Orange in Spanish TV Football Battle
Vodafone is offering Moto GP and F1 content for free, “as a gift”, to all Vodafone One TV clients with Vodafone Fútbol. Subscribers will be able to view the content for free until the end of 2017. The move comes after Orange launched its €1 per month promotion for all Spanish football.

Fox’s Sky Deal Jeopardised by US Fox News Case
Whilst Rupert Murdoch’s attempt to fully buy-out of Sky has hit delays with Ofcom directed to  investigate “new evidence” relevant to 21st Century Fox’s £11.7bn bid. In the US right-wing Fox News channel is being sued for allegedly using quotes it knew were faked in a false story smearing the Democratic Party. A previous Murdoch bid was withdrawn in 2011 in the immediate aftermath of the News of the World phone hacking scandal.

TiVo Advanced TV Now in 23 Million Homes
In its latest earnings announcement, TiVo claims that approximately 23 million subscriber households around the world now use TiVo advanced TV experiences. TiVo also noted Dish’s transition to TiVo Metadata among its quarterly high-points. Overall TiVo’s second quarter revenue increased 67 per cent year-on-year to $208.6 million. Its Q2 net loss was $4.8 million, compared to a net loss of $9.4 million a year earlier.

BeIN Media Adds Raft of CBS Content
BeIN Media has inked a new multiplatform licensing deal with CBS to secure access to a raft of CBS and CW programming. Under the deal BeIN Media channels will broadcast CBS series including Macgyver, Salvation and The Late, Late Show with James Corden. The agreement also covers ‘first-window’ rights to new series. Content will also be made available on BeIN’s on-demand platform as part of its SVOD offering, as well as via catch-up.

Liberty Global Boosts European Next-Gen TV to 7.2 Million
Announcing its second quarter and first half results, Liberty Global says it added 406,000 RGUs across its European markets, including a 16 per cent year-over-year improvement in Western Europe. Liberty’s next-generation TV subscriber base has reportedly now reached 7.2 million across its Horizon TV, Horizon-Lite, TiVo, Virgin TV V6 and Yelo TV platforms. The group saw notable next-generation TV performance in the UK, where it added 78,000 customers in Q2, Belgium where it added 69,000, and Poland with 53,000 additions.

Liberty lost a total of 16,100 video subscribers overall in Europe in Q2. Halving the loss of 39,500 during Q2 2016. Overall customer additions across all product areas came to 162,000 as softer broadband and voice growth was partially offset by better video trends.

Rostelecom Adds Half Million New Subs
Russian service provider Rostelecom has reported an additional half a million TV subscribers in the year to June, taking its total to 9.5 million pay TV homes. The number of IPTV homes served by Rostelecom increased by 18 per cent to 4.6 million. The operator claimed to now account for over 80 per cent of Russia’s IPTV additions in the first half of the year, as well as for about half of all new broadband subscriptions. Rostelecom’s total Q2 revenue was 75.166 billion RUB, up five per cent.

Eleven Bolsters MMA Offer with UFC Rights for Belgium and Luxembourg
Eleven SportsSports network Eleven Sports has won the rights to show all UFC combat sports events live across Belgium and Luxembourg. As well as broadcasting 40 live events per year, Eleven Sports will deliver more than 150 hours of additional content for fans including magazine review shows. The UFC shows will be available on the Eleven Sports 3 channel, on the web or via the Eleven Sports app.

The Week in Publishing

P&G Sales Rise Whilst Adspend is Cut to Lowest in a Decade
P&G has reported a two per cent increase sales in spite of a $140 million reduction in its digital ad budget in its financial year. Overall, the world’s biggest advertiser, spent $125 million less on advertising in the 12 months to June 2017 compared to a year earlier. From a high of $8.19 billion annual ad expenditure in 2013, the consumer goods giant has cut over $1 billion to reach a low of $7.12 billion. A level not seen since 2006. P&G has said that they want to cut their planned marketing spending by as much as $2 billion over the next five years.

Vimeo Performs Best for Email Marketing with Video
Vimeo performs better than YouTube in marketing emails, according to GetResponse. The study analyzed almost two billion emails sent during March to May 2017, in 126 countries and across 19 industries. They report that emails with Vimeo videos had an open rate of 47.35 per cent, and click-through rate of 12.50 per cent than emails with YouTube videos, which had an OR of 31.90 per cent and CTR of 5.56 per cent.

Gender-Positive and Empowering Ads Drive Engagement
Adverts that are gender-positive and empowering for women are more positively received than those promoting sex appeal, according to Facebook IQ. The study found that people responded eight to ten per cent more positive towards gender-positive ads. Whilst 79 per cent of women and 75 per cent of men said they felt more positive toward a brand if it promoted gender equality. The survey also indicates that 75 per cent of women believe the most important thing brands can do is promote gender equality and retire the image of women as sex symbols.

Netflix Acquires Millarworld
Netflix first-ever acquisition has been confirmed as Millarworld, the comic book publishing powerhouse founded by Mark Millar. Netflix and Millar aim to bring Millarworld’s portfolio of critically-acclaimed character franchises to new audiences via films, series and kids’ shows available exclusively through Netflix. Millar is the creator of successful cross-over characters and stories such as Kick-Ass, Kingsman, and Old Man Logan.

Israel Working Towards Al Jazeera Ban
Israel’s Communications Minister, Ayoob Kara, has outlined plans to revoke the press credentials of Al Jazeera’s journalists, and in effect banning the news channel from operating in Israel. Al Jazeera, has said in response that it will take legal action against the decision, and will continue operating in the Gaza Strip and out of the occupied West Bank region.

Duopoly Account for Over a Quarter of UK Internet Time
According to measurement firm Verto Analytics, British adults accumulate 42.7 million days a month across Google properties, the equivalent of more than one in every six minutes, or 17 per cent of UK internet time. Around eleven per cent of time is spent on Facebook-owned properties which include WhatsApp and Instagram. Between them the pair account for one in every three and a half minutes of the time Britons’ spend online.

Online Campaigns Struggle to Target Women
Only half of UK online ad campaigns targeted at women actually reached them, according to Nielsen’s study of 60,000 campaigns across 20+ countries by measurement company. Only 50 per cent of ad impressions served in the UK that were meant for women were served to women, compared to the 62 per cent success hit rate when targeting men. This discrepancy was even more pronounced when targeting 18-34 year olds, with just 22 per cent successfully hitting women but 33 per cent for men.

The Week for Agencies

Accenture Acquires Brand Learning
Accenture has acquired London-based marketing and sales consultancy Brand Learning.  Brand Learning has around 160 clients in over 60 countries. Its clients come from across the retail, consumer goods, automotive, resources, life sciences and financial services industries. Following the acquisition, Brand Learning’s advisory team will combine forces with Accenture’s customer and channels management consulting and industry experts.

Kargo Expands New Zealand Presence
Kargo has announced the launch of a second outpost in New Zealand, at it continues to develop it presence in the Asia Pacific region. Tim Richards will be heading the new location as Kargo’s New Zealand Sales Manager. He will be based in Auckland. In order to drive Kargo’s expansion in the country, Richards will be promoting its ad capabilities to brands and agencies.

Partnerships of the Week

Fox to Launch “Commercial-Free Subscription Option” FX+ with Comcast
21st Century Fox’s FX Networks unit has partnered with Comcast to launch a premium ad-free service subscription video-on-demand service for Comcast’s Xfinity TV subscribers. The new service, FX+, will be launched on 5 September and will let Xfinity TV customers add to their existing video packages for a cost of $5.99 per month. FX+ will provide over 1,100 series episodes in total. The shows will be rolled out progressively, with the complete roster expected to be available next year.

Taboola Chooses Digital Element for Mobile and Desktop Accuracy
Digital Element has announced that Taboola, has chosen its NetAcuity Pulse technology to help identify users’ IP, worldwide. Using Digital Element’s technology Taboola hopes to better identify consumer’s location, connection speed, and connection type without the user becoming personally identifiable.

Hires of the Week

Former UK Chief Exec of MullenLowe Joins Greenhouse Group M
Richard Warren, the former UK Chief Executive of MullenLowe Group, has joined WPP’s Greenhouse Group M, which services Lloyds Banking Group. Warren left MullenLowe last year, and has since been working as a strategic consultant to Studio of Art & Commerce.

Havas London Hires Sarla
Havas London has appointed Eleni Sarla as Managing Partner. Sarla joins from Grey London, having previously also held senior roles at Saatchi & Saatchi.

Channel 4 Promotes Tonge to Creative Chief
Channel 4 has promoted Alice Tonge to head of its in-house creative agency, 4Creative. Previously she was head of creative and design at 4Creative, having joined in 2005

Caspar Lee Joins Influencer
YouTube influencer Caspar Lee has become the Chief Innovation Officer of social media marketing agency Influencer. As part of the role, Caspar will be tasked with leading the strategic and business direction for the agency’s clients such as Uber.

This Week on VAN

Videology Close $80 Million Credit Facility for Advanced TV Push, read more on VAN

New Forms of Data are Allowing TV Industry to Offer more Accurate Audience Guarantees, read more on VAN

Tremor Video Sells its DSP Tech to Taptica for $50 Million, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: GIF, Brahma Beer, Santo

Armando Bo and Brahma beer urge you to stop giffing your life away, and make time for a beer.

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