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The WIR: Trinity Mirror in Talks to Buy The Express and The Star, Sizmek Completes Acquisition of Rocket Fuel, Roku Files for 100 Million Dollar IPO, SpotX Announces New Header Bidding Suite Designed Specifically for Video

  08 September, 2017

In this week’s Week in Review: Sizmek has completed its acquisition of Rocket Fuel, Roku has filed for a 100 Million Dollar IPO, and SpotX has announced a new header bidding suite designed specifically for video. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Trinity Mirror in Talks to Buy the Express and Star

Trinity Mirror is reportedly in talks to acquire The Express, The Sunday and The Daily Star for £130 million from Richard Desmond’s Northern & Shell Group, according to The Guardian. The deal would also includes Northern & Shell magazines including OK!, New! and Star. The two companies held talks about a potential deal over two years ago but it fell through and Trinity Mirror acquired regional news publisher Local World for £220 million.

Roku Files for 100 Million Dollar IPO
Streaming device maker Roku has filed a registration statement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering at a proposed maximum offering price of US$100 million. The US IPO will see Roku list shares of its Class A common stock on the NASDAQ Global Select Market. Roku said it plans to use the offering to increase its capitalisation and financial flexibility.

Roku recently announced that as of June 30 it had 15.1 million active accounts and that its users streamed more than 6.7 billion hours on the Roku platform in the first six months of this year up 62 per cent year-on-year. Roku makes 59 per cent of its revenue from the sale of its streaming players, and 41 per cent from its platform in the form advertising revenue and a share of subscription revenues.

SpotX Announces New Header Bidding Suite Designed Specifically for Video
SpotX has announced a new header bidding suite built specifically for video, featuring a server-side wrapper and an advancement of the company’s shift from tag-based integrations. SpotX’s header bidder wrapper and direct integrations suite provide media owners with the more advanced tools video publishing requires to maximize yield and improve efficiency.

SpotX continues to move away from VAST tag-based integrations in favor of more advanced integrations with SpotX’s Platform, via a Direct Integrations Suite comprised of OVP plugins, javascript players, iOS and Android mobile SDKs, and tvOS and other connected TV SDKs. The direct integration initiative, which was introduced last year as a best practice policy, is now rolling out platform-wide across SpotX’s customer base.

The Week in Tech

Visual IQ Launches New Marketing Intelligence Platform
Visual IQ has launched its new Marketing Intelligence Platform, a solution that combines audience demographic and behavioural attributes with tactical marketing performance within a single user interface. The launch marks the completion of Visual IQ’s acquisition of Refined Labs, the German attribution and customer journey analytics provider based in Munich.

Visual IQ’s Marketing Intelligence Platform aims to solve targeting and measurement challenges by unifying people-based insight with multi-touch attribution, so marketers can optimise marketing and advertising performance by audience segments.

Sizmek Completes Acquisition of Rocket Fuel
Sizmek Inc. has announced the completion of the acquisition of Rocket Fuel Inc. Sizmek claims that the acquisition creates the largest independent buy-side platform, to offer agencies and brands “a richer set of products at a global scale”. Combined, the companies will service more than 20,000 advertisers and 3,600 agencies to global audiences in over 70 countries.

The acquisition will kill the Rocket Fuel brand, which will cease to exist in the coming months. Mark Grether, previously the company’s executive chairman, has been named CEO, while Randy Wootton, who had been the CEO of Rocket Fuel since 2015, will become a special advisor to Sizmek.

OpenX Launches Transparent First-Price Auction for Programmatic Buying
OpenX has launched a fully transparent first-price auction solution, to enable buyers and publishers to effectively navigate the changing auction dynamics in programmatic advertising. The announcement follows a year long development effort in partnership with demand-side platforms (DSPs) and supply-side platforms (SSPs) seeking greater control and transparency into how inventory is bought and sold via programmatic auctions today. 

EC Green Lights ProSiebenSat.1, TF1 and Mediaset Advertising Joint Venture

The European Commission has approved the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX) a joint venture to be created by ProSiebenSat.1, TF1 and Mediaset to market advertising around digital video. The EC said that the JV did not raise competition concerns as it would have a very limited impact on the structure of the market in Europe. The three groups teamed up to respond to advertiser demand for brand-safe environments and pan-European video campaigns. The exchange will initially focus on programmatic video campaigns. The new company will be headquartered in London.

my6sense Enhances AI in its White Label Programmatic Native Platform and Exchange
Programmatic native ad platform and exchange, my6sense, has enhanced its AI technology to improve ad optimisation, relevancy and personalisation for advertisers. The company’s Digital Intuition advanced machine learning algorithms and optimisation engine is now capable of learning user behaviours, publisher patterns and context (for targeted and source content), in order to match the right content to the right users.

White Ops and Trade Desk Team-Up to Block Bot Traffic Before Advertisers Buy It
White Ops and The Trade Desk have signed an agreement that aims to prevent ad fraud by cutting out bot traffic before an online ad impression is bought. According to the two US ad tech companies, as of October the 1st, programmatic ad buys ordered via The Trade Desk will eliminate bots and other non-human “viewership” from the inventory offered by supply-side platforms. This capability will come by way of White Ops’ Human Verification program, which uses real-time data analysis to verify that the device viewing an impression is human.

Sublime Skinz Launches Enhanced Mobile Video Ad Format
Sublime Skinz has announced it will launch an enhanced mobile video ad format at this year’s dmexco. The company claim that the enhanced format boasts vertical video display that fits seamlessly with the user’s browsing experience, fuelling the demand for premium video advertising on mobile.

AdSecure Launches in Beta to Beat Malvertising
AdSecure, a new ad verification tool aimed at Ad Networks, Ad Operations Teams and Publishers, has launched in beta. AdSecure technology is based on a custom-made crawler that utilises behavioural targeting techniques and can perform checks from multiple browsers and devices. That means clients can auto-scan ad tags and landing pages for malware and non-compliancy. When the system detects a threat, it generates a real-time notification alert.

The Week in TV

Curzon Taps Easel TV for New SVOD Service
OTT video services provider Easel TV has added SVoD with membership on Curzon’s Home Cinema service, AdvancedTV reports. Easel TV has combined the use of TVoD and SVoD, as well as linking SVoD with cinema membership, giving Curzon multiple ways to market and monetise its Home Cinema service. The service, CURZON12, is curated and programmed by the Curzon cinemas team using Suggested TV.

Freesat RFP Seeks Next-Gen STP Proposals
UK subscription-free satellite TV platform Freesat has published a Request for Proposals from manufacturers to develop a set-top box for its next gen consumer product. The product requirements are based on an open technical specification set by the Free TV Alliance, which is a collaboration between Fransat , HD Plus, TivùSat and Freesat. Freesat will announce manufacturing partners in the autumn with a view to bringing a next generation set-top box to market as soon as possible.

YouSee Launches Android TV App
Danish cable and telecom operator TDC/YouSee has launched an Android app as a multi-room service for Danish homes with a YouSee set-top. The app will enable YouSee customers to stream their TV content to all rooms in the house, or to their holiday homes, via retail Android TV devices. The telco said the app was the first step in a major strategy to deliver TV content across multiple platforms.

NexGuard and Ericsson Partner to Tackle Piracy Using Network ID Watermarking
Forensic watermarking technology and solutions provider NexGuard has unveiled its Network ID product, set to be launched as a technology partnership with Ericsson. The Network ID solution inserts a forensic watermark in primary distribution feeds for linear TV, be it satellite or fibre. The watermark provides evidence of the distribution path to determine the source of illegally distributed signals. The Network ID watermark also serves as proof of ownership to enable the take down of pirated streams.

Deutsche Telekom’s EntertainTV adds Netflix, Fox+, and UFA
Deutsche Telekom’s new Ultra HD-ready MR 401 media receiver will provide EntertainTV customers with direct access to Netflix following its launch this autumn, along with a raft of new content from the likes of Fox. Deutsche Telekom has secured the German launch rights to Fox Networks Group Europe and Africa’s on-demand service, Fox+. Whilst a new partnership with German film and television production company UFA has added German movies and made-for-TV films to the service.

ProSiebenSat.1 Launches Live Streaming App for User-Generated Content
ProSiebenSat.1 has teamed up with Tokyo-based Line Corporation to launch a new mobile live streaming platform in Germany, focusing on the 17-plus youth audience. “Line Live” will enable its audience to share their live streams with the world. The service launched in Japan in 2015 and garnered an audience of 350 million aggregated views in its first six months. Line Live in Japan currently has over 24 million active users.

ProSiebenSat.1 said that it also plans to extend its partnership and launch Line Live in other European markets.

Discovery to Create Slate of Originals for Facebook Watch
Discovery Communications has announced a deal with Facebook to create a slate of original shows for Facebook Watch. Some of the content will be based on existing Discovery franchises and some will be created exclusively for Facebook. The first Discovery show to launch on Watch is Animal Planet’s Celebrity Animal Encounters.

Connected TV Now Accounts for 35 Per Cent of Australian Broadcaster Online Video
CTV now accounts for up to 35 per cent of Australian broadcaster’s online video supply, according to IAB Australia’s Video Council. The study examines why advertisers are yet fully to embrace CTV as an advertising platform, despite its rapid growth. Connected TV streams have experienced massive growth across the four major free to air broadcasters in Australia, increasing by 351 per cent between January 2016 and March 2017.

The Week in Publishing

Mediaset and Fininvest Demand Additional €3 Billion from Vivendi
Vivendi’s quarterly financials have revealed that Mediaset and leading shareholder Fininvest have filed a fresh lawsuit against it, claiming an additional €3 billion in damages. Mediaset filed a complaint claiming damages totaling €2 billion, while parent company Fininvest is claiming €1 billion. The complaint related to Vivendi’s acquisition of Mediaset shares at the end of last year.

Vivendi is also being investigated by Italian regulators and the Milan prosecutor over alleged market manipulation, and Vivendi is appealing a ruling by media regulator AGCOM that its simultaneous holding of stakes in Telecom Italia and Mediaset was in breach of Italian law.

Google AdWords Updates to Aid Conversion Optimisation
Google has introduced rotation settings that will allow marketers to adjust campaigns to optimise on the AdWords that are most effectively achieving their specified campaign goals. With a setting named ‘Optimise’ marketers will now be able to tap into signals from keyword, search term, device, and location, and rely on AI to optimize a campaign for clicks to a landing page. The new setting will also allow planners to attribute equal budget across chosen AdWords, in a setting referred to as Rotate Indefinitely.

It is not presently clear whether the new functionality will raise the cost per click, as it has in the past on similar Google rollouts. The update went into effect on 1st September.

WhatsApp Seeking to Monetise with New Features for Businesses
WhatsApp is introducing a number of new features designed to help it monetise its platform. The tools are designed to make it easier for businesses and regular users to communicate on the platform, and people will also be able to place orders on WhatsApp, and receive updates from companies through it.

The blog notes that companies will be able to use its Business App solutions to provide customers with notifications like flight times, delivery confirmations, “and other updates”, raising fears users will be spammed.

Vodafone Launches ‘Youth’ Tariff with Free Social Media Data
Vodafone has launched its youth-orientated mobile network sub-brand ‘Voxi’. Voxi will offer three SIM-only mobile plans for people aged 25 and under. These plans focus on offering free data for social media apps such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Vodafone has already launched Yorn, a sub-brand dedicated to under-25s, in Portugal. A move it claims has been “massively successful” and resulted in it growing to a 60 per cent market share of this segment.

Vivendi to ‘Merge’ Dailymotion with Watchever
Vivendi is merging its struggling YouTube rival Dailymotion with VOD technology unit Watchever, according to Journal du Net. The French tech publication claimed to have obtained a copy of the internal document laying out the merger process, which aims to create a larger platform with a clearer strategy and more efficient operation. According to the Journal du Net, Watchever chiefs Simon Gilham and Karim Ayari will become part of the Dailymotion team under Maxime Saada.

YouTube’s Teen Viewers Complain of Too Many Ads
More than four in ten teen YouTube users aged 12 to 17 say there are too many ads on the platform, according to Forrester Research. By comparison, just over one in ten teen users of Snapchat and Instagram complained about excessive ads.

However, the comparatively heavy ad load hasn’t deterred teens from using YouTube. As the study also found that 77 per cent of teens use it daily. Compared to 55 per cent using Facebook daily.

The Week for Agencies

Bell Pottinger CEO Quits as PRCA Bans Agency for Five Years
Bell Pottinger CEO James Henderson has resigned, in the same week that the Public Relations and Communications Association announced that is has banned the agency from membership for five years. The PRCA said Bell Pottinger was unethical and unprofessional, had brought the industry into disrepute and has banned the firm from its membership for at least five years.

In a further development in the damaging scandal over the agency’s controversial work for South African client Oakbay Investments, John Sunnucks, the head of Bell Pottinger’s financial PR division has also quit. Sunnucks was one of the company’s most senior account managers and was seen as a contender to become the next chief executive.

WPP Unveils ‘Wavemaker’ as Name for Merged MEC-Maxus Agency
WPP has announced that the global media network resulting from the merger of its MEC and Maxus agencies will be known as “Wavemaker”. The name appears to have been taken from MEC’s content division, MEC Wavemaker, which launched in April 2016 and has grown rapidly. Global CEO Tim Castree said the Wavemaker name underscores the agency’s ambition to be “a leader” which is “in front of transformation” and “making waves by making bold choices”.

The Wavemaker brand will “go live” in local markets over the next few months in a makeover that is due to complete by January 2018.

Liam Fox Taps Ogilvy to Drive New UK Exporters
The international trade department is drawing up plans to encourage 30,000 small businesses to start selling abroad as part of a revamped export drive, and Ogilvy has been appointed to run the initiative, The Times reports. That campaign to date has not inspired enough businesses to sign up for export assistance from the government, it is understood, and ministers have decided a new direction is required.

Partnerships of the Week

Videology Partner with Yospace for End-to-End Addressable TV Ad Delivery  
Videology has announced a technology partnership with Yospace. The two companies will collaborate to offer a full end-to-end addressable advertising solution across multiple platforms and devices. Yospace’s server-side Dynamic Ad Insertion technology will be combined with Videology’s advanced forecasting and decisioning capabilities, so that broadcasters can control the ads that are seen by each viewer at both an individual and household level.

InMobi Partners Wynck Music App to for Mobile In-App Ad Placement
Mobile advertising platform InMobi has partnered with Indian music streaming app Airtel Wynk Music in an exclusive display ad monetisation partnership. The pair claim that it will to enable advertisers to reach more than 21 million monthly active users via high-impact in-app ad experiences.

Hires of the Week

Sizmek Makes Gether CEO
Sizmek has announced that Mark Grether, previously the company’s executive chairman, has been named CEO. His role will remain the same, but will work across both Sizmek and Rocket Fuel teams throughout the transition period following this week’s acquisition.

Blessington Joins YouTube
YouTube has hired Wieden + Kennedy Portland’s Tom Blessington for the newly created role of vice president of brand, media and experiences.

Fox Hires Thorn as Head of Entertainment
Fox Broadcasting has appointed Michael Thorn as its new head of entertainment. Mr. Thorn, who was most recently a senior development executive at Twentieth Century Fox Television, will replace David Madden, who is leaving the company.

SpotX Hires Fabio Zoboli as Managing Director for Italy
SpotX has appointed Fabio Zoboli as a new Managing Director for Italy. Zoboli will be based in Milan, and responsible for building the SpotX business working with local media owners and demand partners. Zoboli joins from Strossle.  

This Week on VAN

The Ultimate Guide to Video@DMEXCO 2017, read more on VAN

Q&A: Mozoo’s Max Pepe on his Company’s AI-Driven Meta-SSP for Mobile, read more on VAN

RhythmOne Confirm They are to Acquire YuMe for $185 Million, read more on VAN

Help Support the Grenfell Community by Signing Up for AdLand’s Biggest Ever Music Quiz, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Epic Skeletor, MoneySuperMarket, Mother

Mother harnesses He-Man’s ‘powers of Greyskull’ and Skeletor’s surprisingly slick moves in another funky slot for MoneySuperMarket.

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