The WIR: ITV Moves into Addressable Ads, Tencent Invests in Snap, and Fox Considers Streamlining

Tim Cross 10 November, 2017 

In this week’s Week in Review:  ITV partners with Sorenson for addressable TV ads, Tencent buys a twelve percent stake in Snap, and reports emerge that Fox is considering selling much of its business to Disney. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

ITV Moves Into Addressable TV Advertising with Sorenson
ITV revealed this week that it is partnering with Sorenson Media to run linear addressable TV advertising campaigns across its broadcast channels, starting early next year. Advertisers will be able to deliver dynamically personalised ads on ITV’s channels using Sorenson Media’s addressable TV advertising solution on connected Smart TVs, according to a statement on Sorenson’s website.

Sorenson’s platform will use anonymised targeting data related to viewers’ interests, demographics and lifestyle to either dynamically replace existing ads with other, more relevant ads, or to enhance them with interactive content.

“This partnership with Sorenson Media is the first step in allowing us to deliver to advertisers the best of both worlds – TV’s unique ability to deliver mass audiences alongside more data driven targeting,” said ITV Commercial’s managing director Kelly Williams.

Tencent Buys Twelve Percent Stake in Snap
China’s Tencent bought a twelve percent stake in Snapchat’s parent company Snap this week, after Snap posted disappointing Q3 results. The photo messaging app has seen lower userbase growth than hoped for, with ad revenue suffering as a consequence, news which rocked investor confidence and sent share prices plummeting. The announcement of Tencent’s investment in Snap saw share prices bounce back though, as Tencent suggested it may look to take an active role in guiding Snap’s strategy going forward.

“The investment enables Tencent to explore cooperation opportunities with the company on mobile games publishing and newsfeed as well as to share its financial returns from the growth of its businesses and monetization in the future,” said Tencent in an emailed statement. For now though Tencent’s shares do not grant it voting rights, and the company will not have a board seat.

Fox Considering Disney Sales says CNBC
Fox is considering selling off most of its TV and film production units to Disney as it looks to streamline itself, according to CNBC. Fox reportedly believes a slimmed down package focused on news and sports would make it more competitive, and Disney is interested in buying the rest of Fox’s current products. CNBC claims Disney is looking to expand its content output as it moves to start its own streaming service, pulling its shows and films from rivals like Netflix.Fox shares jumped by nearly ten points on Monday after the news was announced.

The Week in Tech

RTL Announces Plans for SpotX and Smartclip Merger
German media company RTL Group released its Q3 results today where it announced that it plans to merge its two ad tech businesses, SpotX and smartclip, into one new company by the end of 2018. The new company will see current SpotX execs Mike Shehan and Steve Swoboda take the CEO and CFO roles respectively, with smartclip’s Jean-Pierre Fumagalli and Roland Schaber running European operations. According to an RTL statement, it will focus on “ad-server development, addressable TV,” and “bringing dynamic ad-insertion capabilities in house”, aiming to cater to customers’ “total video needs”. Read the full story on VAN.

AppNexus Launches Programmable DSP
AppNexus this week announced the launch of the AppNexus Programmable Platform, a new programmable Demand Side Platform (DSP). The platform will use machine learning to help professional traders execute customised strategies, which AppNexus says will enables greater efficiency in campaign setup, management, and calibration, as well a enhanced optimisation.

“Most demand side platforms today don’t fundamentally differ from the DSPs that were built during the first decade of programmatic, and that’s obviously a problem,” said AppNexus CEO Brian O’Kelley in a statement. “The next generation of DSPs should leverage machine learning to more efficiently manage an ever-larger number of campaign variables, minimize manual intervention, and deliver superior optimization tied to marketer KPIs.”

Artsai Launches to Handle Market Fragmentation
Artsai came out of stealth mode this week to unveil its new platform that uses artificial intelligence technology to consolidate the marketing stack for brands and publishers. Artsai says it will allow brands and publishers to !leverage previously siloed data insights and optimize the entire customer lifecycle journey for dramatically increased efficiency” in a company statement. The AI-powered tech, which is patent-pending, will be able to handle customer acquisition, user retention, retargeting, app monetisation and content optimisation.

PubMatic Announces Fraud-free Guarantee
SSP PubMatic has launched a new fraud-free guarantee, where demand-side partners will receive their money back if fraud is detected on the platform. PubMatic says it has a dedicated global inventory quality (IQ) team and operational processes to battle ad fraud, that the new guarantee will increase transparency in the programmatic landscape.The SSP also promotes the ads.txt initiative and partners with MRC-accredited inventory quality vendors including IAS and White Ops to help prevent fraud.

OpenX Takes Top Spot as Premium Publishers’ Leading Global Independent Ads.txt Partner
Open announced last Friday the results of a global audit of comScore 1000 publishers’ implementation of the IAB’s ads.txt initiative, which found that more premium publishers had selected OpenX as a preferred seller than any other independent exchange. Overall, OpenX’s exchange was the second most adopted ads.txt partner globally amongst the comScore 1000, behind Google’s DoubleClick for Publishers.

“Domain counterfeiting, or ‘domain spoofing’ as it has been termed, is not a victimless crime. It robs publishers of revenue, dilutes their brand and defrauds advertisers of their intended consumer engagement,” said Tim Cadogan, CEO of OpenX. “We are very pleased to see publishers recognising our commitment by selecting our exchange as one of their most trusted partners.”

The Week in TV

ITV Threatens Virgin Media Blackout
ITV is threatening to pull its flagship channel from Virgin Media’s broadcast service due to a dispute over broadcaster fees, with ITV asking Virgin to pay up to £80 million a year to host the channel. A recent law change now allows public broadcasters to charge retransmission fees for their content, though Virgin maintains that as a public broadcaster, ITV shouldn’t be charging. The UK government has said that it would prefer no money to change hands, but says it will not intervene and that the dispute should be solved commercially.

“Our position is very straightforward – ITV, and other public service broadcasters, should be paid fairly by pay-TV ­platforms that make money from our multi-billion pound investment in original UK content so that we can ­continue to invest in the programmes, particularly drama and entertainment, that our viewers enjoy,” said an ITV spokesperson in a statement.

Vivendi Launches Studio+ in US
Vivendi this week announced the launch of its SVOD service Studio+ in the US, following its rollout in Europe and Latin America last year. Vivendi describes its service as “the first app dedicated to short form and premium content series designed for mobile devices”, and has announced a new original series called ‘All you need is me’ to coincide with the launch.

Sky Considers Sky News Sale to Ease Fox Deal
Sky has suggested it might sell off Sky News in order to smooth the path for Fox’s proposed takeover. “Sky would likely be prompted to review the position in the event that the continued provision of Sky News in its current form unduly impeded merger and/or other corporate opportunities available in relation to Sky’s broader business, such as the [Fox] transaction,” said Sky in a statement to the Competition and Markets Authority published yesterday. The CMA has listed Fox’s ability to influence Sky News as a concern in its investigation of the proposed deal.

Majority Use OTT for Favourite TV Show says Hub Entertainment Research
Hub Entertainment Research’s annual Conquering Content study finds that 52 percent of viewers now watch their favourite show via an online TV platform, from 31 percent in 2014. The study also highlighted the importance of original content; 74 percent of Netflix subscribers said the original content it produces makes them more likely to keep their subscriptions, with 67% percent of Hulu subscribers and 57 percent of Amazon subscribers saying the same.

COBA’s Adam Minns Warns Brexit Threatens UK Broadcasters
Speaking in an interview with the BBC, the Commercial Broadcasters Association’s (COBA) executive director Adam Minns warned that Brexit might hurt the UK’s standing as “Europe’s leading international broadcasting hub. “International broadcasters based here would, reluctantly, be forced to restructure their European operations,” said Minns, emphasising the importance of the UK and EU reaching a deal before Britain formally leaves. “No deal would put at risk thousands of jobs in the UK broadcasting sector, hundreds of millions of pounds of investment every year, and would undermine the sector’s long-term global competitiveness,” he said.

WARC Finds TV Accounts for 35 Percent of Ad Spend
The WARC Global Ad Trends Report released this week focussing on TV says that only 34.9 percent of global ad spend is dedicated to TV advertising, down from a peak of 40.05 percent in 2010. Media agencies also expect TV advertising to become more expensive, with the cost of a 30 second spot expected to rise by five percent next year. The study of twelve markets also found though that high budget campaigns (with a $10m+ budget) spent much more heavily on TV, spending 66 percent of their budgets on TV.

The Week in Publishing

Twitter Begins Self-serve Ad Subscription Service
Twitter is beta testing a new monthly package for promoted Tweets designed to make advertising on Twitter more viable for small and medium advertisers. Promote Mode will let advertisers pay a $99 per month subscription fee, and in return will have their tweets and profile automatically promoted, with Twitter providing analytics to gauge the impact the promotion is having.

AOP and Deloitte Report High Growth in Video Ad and Subscription Revenue
Findings from the latest Digital Publishers Revenue Index (DPRI), a quarterly report on UK publishing from the Association for Online Publishing (AOP) and Deloitte, reveal strong video, subscription and sponsorship revenue growth; indicating a more diverse path for sustainably supporting premium content. The report, which surveyed 19 UK digital publishers, found online video revenue grew 74.9 percent from January to June compared to the previous year, while sponsorship revenue grew 19.3 percent.

“This research has put a spotlight on the way publishers are adapting their growth priorities to keep pace with industry innovation. Content producers are retaining a focus on key advertising areas, such as mobile and video, but also expanding their revenue generation strategy by developing areas such as sponsorship and subscriptions” said AOP managing director Richard Reeves.

Digital Content Revenues to Pass $200 Billion Next Year, Juniper Research Finds
A new study from Juniper Research, Digital Content Business Models: OTT & Operator Strategies 2017-2022, predicts that global consumer spend on digital content will reach $202bn in 2018, a ten percent increase on this year’s total of $184bn. Juniper Research says that SVOD (Subscription Video on Demand) services will be a primarily responsible, with major players Netflix and Amazon planning to spend $5bn over the next year, and new entrants Apple and Facebook expected to invest at least $1bn for the first time.

The study found that 76 percent of households in the US subscribe to one or more SVOD service, with Juniper suggesting that households subscribing to multiple SVOD services was becoming more common practice.

The Week for Agencies

Be Heard Buys The Corner for £12M
Holding group Be Heard has bought out ad agency The Corner in a deal worth £12 million, its fifth acquisition since its launch in 2015. Be Heard already owns Kameleon, Agenda21 and MMT, and the group says its latest buy will bring “brand and creative strategy, communications planning, digital design, social marketing and events and experiential capabilities”.

Havas Buys Malaysian Agency Immerse
Havas has strengthened its presence in Southeast Asia with the acquisition of ad agency Immerse, which will be rebranded to Havas Immerse. The agency, whose clients include Volvo, Mitsubishi and Dove, specialises in digital marketing solutions.

Partnerships of the Week

ProSiebenSat.1 and Unitymedia Sign Strategic Distribution Agreement
ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE and Unitymedia have concluded a long-term distribution agreement which covers the distribution of all free, pay, HD and video-on-demand offerings. The deal will give ProSiebenSat.1 an increased reach of 6.4 million households via Unitymedia’s cable network.

Pangaea Alliance Selects AppNexus ad Tech Partner
Digital advertising alliance Pangea Pangaea Alliance has selected AppNexus as its technology partner to provide a programmatic solution that enables brands and agencies to reach Pangaea’s audience through a single buying point. Pangea says new tech integrations such as traditional and server-to-server header bidding ensure that advertisers benefit from enhanced targeting and audience insights across inventory from all Pangaea Alliance members.

Pangaea also announced plans to is develop a new digital advertising trading platform as part of the Dennis Publishing-led Project Arete, which earlier this year received funding from the Google Digital News Initiative.

evania video Partners with Protected Media to Fight Fraudulent Traffic
Publisher management platform evania video announced this week the integration of Protected Media digital security technology into its offering, in an effort to help fight ad fraud. ​“Our ongoing commitment to maintain the highest standards of inventory quality has lead us to partner with Protected Media. We look forward to using their protective solutions to help us ensure that we continue to meet and exceed the highest industry quality standards” said Oded Shoham, CEO at evania video GmbH.

SpotX to Provide Ad Serving and Programmatic Enablement to PCH/Media
PCH/Media, the digital arm of Publishers Clearing House, has selected SpotX to provide programmatic infrastructure and ad serving across its primary desktop properties it revealed this week. By leveraging SpotX’s ad serving platform, PCH/Media (PCH) says it will be able to “deploy the full gamut of direct and programmatic sales techniques to monetise desktop inventory in transactions enhanced by industry-leading audience data”, according to a statement. SpotX will also provide mediation for PCH’s own direct-sold deals. Through this partnership, making use of SpotX’s dedicated Demand Facilitation team.

Hires of the Week

AT&T Hires Kirk McDonald as CMO of New Ads Business
AT&T has appointed Kirk McDonald, previously of PubMatic and Time. Inc, as CMO of its as-yet unnamed new advertising business. “As CMO, Kirk will be responsible for the creation and implementation of the marketing strategy for AT&T’s advertising and analytics company,” said a spokesman in an email statement.

AdRoll Selects Toby Gabriner as CEO
Retargeting platform AdRoll has appointed Toby Gabriner as CEO, moving him from his current position as President, with current CEO Aaron Bell becoming chief product officer.

Erickson Ilog Takes CFO and COO Roles at Zambezi
Los Angeles based independent agency has picked Erickson Ilog for the dual roles of CFO and COO, its first appointments to these positions. Ilog joins from WPP’s Iconmobile Group where he held the role of CFO.

MPP Appoints Darren Whyte to New Dubai Office
European cloud-based tech company MPP has appointed Darren Whyte as General Manager to its newly announced Dubai office, as well as appointing Gina Kang as VP of Marketing for North America.

The Week on Van

Can Connekt Make a Success of T-commerce? read more on VAN

Are Six-Second TV Ads the Future? read more on VAN

RTL Announces Plans for SpotX and smartclip Merger, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Boots, Show You Know Them, Ogilvy

It’s tempting for advertisers to go for a grittier, more realistic tone for their Christmas ads to make them stand out from the sweet and saccharine feel offered by most others, but they risk becoming over-dramatic and insincere. Boots gets the balance right with this ad, showing how the ups and downs of two sisters’ lives have bought them closer together while maintaining a feel of sincerity.


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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