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The WIR: Google’s Fraud Refunds, Uber Sues Fetch, and Roku Doubles IPO Price

Tim Cross  22 September, 2017

In this week’s Week in Review: Google introduces anti-fraud initiatives for DoubleClick Bid Manager, Uber sues Fetch after claims it lied about the effectiveness of its advertising, and Roku doubles its IPO offering. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Google to Issue Refunds to Advertisers for Fake Traffic

Google has introduced a series of anti-fraud initiatives for its DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), and has confirmed that it will provide refunds for adverts bought on websites with fake traffic. The Wall Street Journal reported in August that Google had begun providing refunds for the platform fee it charges to use DBM, but now Google has announced that a handful of exchanges have agreed to issue full refunds too for the cost paid for the inventory.

Google will now work more closely with supply partners to combat ad fraud, creating a streamlined refund process and giving suppliers detailed reports of where DBM has detected and filtered out fraud in order to help suppliers take action. Advertisers too will receive more information of where ad fraud has been filtered out in their campaigns, and will be able to choose to only work with DBM partners who provide full refunds for fake traffic. There are also plans to make ads.txt a requirement of DBM in the future.

Uber Sues Agency Fetch for Ad Fraud

Uber filed a lawsuit against Dentsu owned media agency Fetch this week over allegations that Fetch had squandered money it received from Uber, and took credit for downloads which had nothing to do with its adverts.

Uber claims that Fetch spent millions of dollars buying adverts for Uber which were not viewable, and in some cases non existent adverts, or adverts on websites which didn’t exist. It says it discovered the issue after investigating reports of Uber adverts appearing on controversial conservative website Breitbart, which Uber had asked specifically not to be advertised on. It transpired that impressions from Breitbart had been masked as coming from domains like ‘Magic_Puzzes’ and ‘Snooker_Champion’. After ending its contract with Fetch earlier this year, Uber says it did not see a corresponding drop in sales, suggesting Fetch had vastly overstating the effectiveness of its advertising.

Fetch hit back that Uber was trying to deflect attention away from its own problems; Uber has been hit with several scandals recently including allegations of sexism within the company. Fetch’s CEO James Connelly described Uber’s claims as “unsubstantiated”, saying they were designed to “draw attention away from Uber’s unprofessional behavior and failure to pay suppliers”.

Roku Doubles IPO Price
Roku, providers of dedicated set top boxes and software for streaming of entertainment, has set the terms for its upcoming IPO where it aims to raises as much as $252 million, offering around 18.01 million shares for $12 to $14 each. This is more than double the $100 million forecast at the IPO’s launch, an will value Roku at over $1 billion. Roku, which has 15.1 million active users as of June earlier this year, has been diversifying its revenue streams recently away from a focus on its set top box to include sales of services and advertising.

The Week in Tech

ViralGains Announces Closure of its $13.5 Million Series B Round

ViralGains, which bills itself as “the industry’s only video advertising journey platform”, announced that it has secured a total of $13.5 million in Series B equity and debt funding, including $10 million. ViralGains, which provides a platform for choice-based advertising, and seeks to create an authentic connection with consumers by delivering different messages at each stage of the buying journey. It says it will use the funding to increase its market share in video advertising.

YuMe Launches New Cross-Platform CTV SDK
Video adtech business YuMe, recently bought by RhythmOne for $185m, announced the launch on Wednesday of a new connected TV software development kit. The SDK will give advertisers and publishers the ability to reach consumers on multiple CTV platforms with adverts delivered programmatically, according to YuMe. The YuMe CTV SDK currently integrates with Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, and is being used by publisher Popcornflix.

Centro Integrates with Sharethrough to Power In-Feed Native Ads
Native advertising specialists Sharethrough announced a partnership with programmatic software creators Centro this week. The deal will see Centro’s Basis DSP integrate with Sharethrough’s exchange, which transacts 8 billion impressions each month. Advertisers buying with Centro will have access to publishers including Time Inc. and Wenner Media who use Sharethrough’s exchange

“In-feed native display and video ads have become the gold-standard in the advertising industry, and with more and more brands realising the potential of un-interruptive ads that fit the context of the user experience, integrations like this one between Sharethrough and Centro are fuelling the scale of the programmatic native market and bringing new buyers to the table,” said Alex White, VP of product marketing at Sharethrough. “Centro’s Basis, with its intuitive and integrated buy-side tools, will allow marketers to access these in-feed ad units and easily break down how they’re supercharging their ad investments.”

Mirada and Anevia to Provide Joint OTT TV Offering

French OTT and IPTV software vendor Anevia and Mirada, Spanish providers of products and services for digital TV broadcasters and operators, are teaming up to provide a joint OTT service for broadcasters. Mirada’s Iris multiscreen platform has been fully integrated with Anevia’s Infinite and EDS technologies to create a product which offers services including live TV, catch-up and VOD, and a Cloud DVR service.

The Week in TV

TF1 Acquires Rights for F1

French broadcaster TF1 agreed a deal with F1 this week that will see Formula 1 racing return to free-to-air TV in France. TF1 and F1 agreed a three year deal commencing at the start of the 2018 season, granting exclusive broadcasting rights for four races including the returning French Grand Prix, and the Grand Prix De Monaco. “This agreement marks the return of Formula 1 to free-on-air on the TF1 TV channel, a long-standing partner of the sport,” said Gilles Pélisson, Chairman and CEO of TF1, “and forms part of our strategy to broadcast top-notch international sporting events”.

Millicom Begins Rolling Out Next Gen TV Service in Latin America

Luxembourg based telecoms provider Millicom launched its next gen TV service Tigo ONE TV in Colombia this week, that first stage of a roll out to take place across Latin America. Tigo ONE TV is the result of a collaboration with TiVo which combines linear TV with a variety of OTT platforms including HBO and YouTube, and is aimed as an entry level product for emerging markets. “We have been accelerating the build-out of our high-speed cable networks in Latin America, toward our goal of passing 15 million homes” said Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos, “and this is a good example of the type of partnership that we are seeking to sustain our rapid growth by offering a superior user experience to our customers.”

Most of TV Networks Not for Streamlined Sales of TV and Video Ads

A survey released by SintecMedia this week show that TV executives are not confident that their networks are ready to sell advanced TV and digital video adverts in one streamlined process. Of the executives surveyed, 35%  said they were not well prepared for streamlined says, and 29% were not sure about their ability to do so, though 41% felt their organisations were very well prepared for such a process. Some may look to third parties for the technology to sell all their inventory in a streamlined process, as 59% or respondents said their companies currently use home-grown technology to sell their advertising.

Sony India Completes Purchase of Ten Sports

Sony Pictures Networks India and Zee Entertainment Networks have completed a deal worth $366.3 million which will see ownership of the Ten Sports Channels. This completes a move started earlier this year where Sony India bought a number of Ten Sports channels, re-branding them to include the Sony name and launching HD versions of a few of the channels.

Western Europe to Reach 65 Million SVOD Subscriptions by 2022

Digital TV Research forecast this week that subscription based video-on-demand services will have 65 million customers in Western Europe by 2022, drawing revenues of $65 billion. If Digital TV Research’s prediction is correct, this would mean subscription nearly doubling in just six years, as the subscription count for Western Europe was 33.96 million at the end of 2016. Netflix is predicted to still be the largest pan-regional SVOD service, with an expected 29.61 million paying subscribers in 2022.

Wind Hellas and Vodafone Secure Rights for Nova Sports Channels

Competing telecoms providers in Greece Wind Hellas and Vodafone IPTV have both agreed deals with Forthnet to secure access to Nova Sports on their TV platforms. Nova Sports channels hold exclusive broadcasting rights for Greece’s football league, as well as right’s for Europe’s top basketball league and various other sports leagues and events from around the world, including Wimbledon.

The Week in Publishing

Smartphones Now Twice as Popular as Desktops for Going Online in UK
Research from Verto Analytics released this week shows that twice as many adults now use the internet on a smartphone than do on a desktop computer, and that smartphones have become the most popular device for going online at every hour of the day.

The supports the argument of those industry experts who suggest that advertisers should plan their campaigns primarily around mobile as opposed to desktop. As the report noted, the research didn’t include under 18s, who are known to prefer mobile to desktop even more heavily than adults.

Google Signs Deal to Fight Piracy in France

Google has agreed a deal with French anti-piracy group l’Association de Lutte Contre la Piraterie Audiovisuelle (ALPA) to enable ALPA to identify instances of piracy on YouTube via its Content ID tool. ALPA will now be able to block any content which holds illegally republished copyrighted material, matching the ability of anti-piracy groups in the US. The agreement marks an improvement in relations between Google and ALPA; ALPA president Nicolas Seydoux said the deal will help dismantle the “wall of incomprehension” that had previously existed between the two.

Facebook COO Promises Tighter Controls Following Racist Targeting Controversy

Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg issued a response to last weeks revelations of Facebook allowing advertisers to use racist targeting terms, stating that Facebook is updating its targeting policies. ProPublica revealed last week Facebook offered advertisers to option to target those who identified as ‘Jew-haters’, and those who said they studied ‘how to burn Jews’, a discover which Ms. Sandberg said had left her disgusted and disappointed. In a Facebook post, she announced that Facebook will ensure any content which violates its community standards cannot be used for targeting, and that more human overview and better tools for reporting abuses of the ad system which be introduced.

Snapchat Recruits 14 New Creative Partners to Increase Advertising ROI

Snapchat have announced 14 new partnerships with creative companies, including creators of custom games, interactive videos and haptics-based content, to help drive ROI for advertisers. These companies will help add value to the content customers see once they ‘swipe up’ on a brand, creating more interactive experiences and content which users will connect with. Among the new partners are Whalar, who help match brands with influential online creators and Adludio a platform for integrating haptics and gyroscope feedback into mobile experiences.

The Week for Agencies

Havas Acquires The 88
New York based agency Havas Worldwide has bought social media digital shop The 88, and brought in its founder Harry Bernstein as Chief Creative Officer of its New York office. The 88, which specialises in digital strategy, will be rebranded as Annex88, and all of its staff will join Havas New York.

“The advertising industry is a broken model, and right now the industry is gasping for breath to figure out what it should be,” said Jason Peterson, chairman and chief creative officer of Havas Creative U.S. “We had an idea – and Harry was the missing piece in this – to create a new model of a consumer-first journey with a media agnostic approach, so taking a strategic and creative idea and being able to execute it flawlessly in every channel and touchpoint that our consumers are actually using.”

Partnerships of the Week

RTL partners with Wochit
German media group RTL has announced a partnership with Wochit, a cloud-based social video creation platform, part of its ongoing push into digital video. RTL has credited recent strong growth to its ‘total video strategy’ whereby it has made a number of investments in ad tech and digital video, and says the Wochit partnership will enable quick creation of short-form social and online content for its brands.

Main Capital Partners Buy Majority in evania video GmbH
Main Capital has bought a majority stake in German adtech company evania video. Evania video. Evania video serves the supply side in digital advertising, providing a video player, tracking, and video content management services to publishers. Main Capital will support evania in further international expansion, as well as helping it diversify through selective and complementary acquisitions, according to a press release.

Playwire Media Announce Partnership with Crunchyroll

Advertising representation firm Playwire Media, specialists in gaming and entertainment, have signed deal with Crunchyroll, the world’s largest distributor of anime and manga. According to the agreement, Playwire will exclusively represent Crunchyroll’s OTT, desktop and mobile content which attracts 20 million subscribers. This is the seventh major deal Playwire has signed this year.

Globo Broadcasting Agrees Deal with Google to Host VOD Platform

Globo Broadcasting, Brazil’s largest television broadcaster, has agreed a deal with Google to expand its VOD platform Globo Play onto Google Play, and to make it accessible via Android TV and Chromecast. The partners will work together to make it possible for customers to pay their subscription directly through Google Play.

Hires of the Week

Zefr Hires Fox TV’s Toby Byrne

Zefr, provider of YouTube targeted advertising solutions, have named Toby Byrne as President. Mr Byrne spent two decades at Fox TV in ad sales, and will now head Zefr’s marketing and sales operations.

SKY TV Appoints Mike Darcey as an Independent Director

New Zealand pay-TV operator SKY TV have appointed Mark Darcey as an independent director to the SKY board. Mr. Darcey has previously worked at Sky UK, and was CEO of News UK between 2013 and 2015.

TBWA\London Appoints Sara Tate as CEO

Sara Tate has been announced as CEO of British agency TBWA\London, completing the new senior management team alongside new CCO Andy Jex and CSO Anna Vogt.

The Week in VAN

Apple Set to Launch Anti-Tracking Update for Safari, Amid Advertisers’ Protests, read more on VAN

Making Native Compete with Standard Formats via Header Bidding, read more on VAN

Use of Illegal Set Top Boxes Costs UK Industry £9 billion Per Year, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Netflix is a Joke

After a series billboards bearing the slogan ‘Netflix is a joke’ started appearing around the US, Netflix aired its latest campaign at last weekend’s Emmys, where comedy stars add a touch of humour to scenes from Netflix’s flagship shows.

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