The WIR: Amazon Considers Premier League Bid, Tencent Over Takes Facebook in Value, and Fetch Counter-sues Uber

Tim Cross 05 January, 2018 

In this week’s Week in Review: Amazon reportedly prepares for a potential bid for Premier League rights, Tencent’s value surpasses Facebook’s, and Fetch sues Uber over unpaid bills. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Amazon Reportedly Considering Bid for Premier League Rights
Amazon is seriously considering putting in a bid for broadcasting right for the 2019-2022 seasons of the Premier League, according to Telegraph Sport. Sources have reportedly revealed the e-commerce giant has been consulting industry experts on the practical steps it would need to take to be able to broadcast the world’s richest football league.

Sky and BT, the current UK rights holders, have been keen to stop bidding from spiralling out of control, but an Amazon bid could drive prices up even further. Experts have speculated that Amazon could use sports rights as a loss-leader to drive new registrations to Amazon Prime, which would then boost sales on Amazon. Amazon already has experience with live sports, having bought the UK rights to the tennis US Open and ATP World Tour last year, but these are significantly lower profile events in the UK than the Premier League, and came at a comparatively small $80 million for a five year deal.

Tencent Becomes More Valuable than Facebook
Chinese tech company Tencent’s market value has overtaken Facebook’s, making Facebook no longer the world’s most valuable social network, nor one of the world’s top five companies by market value, according to the World Economic Forum. Tencent’s properties have so far been largely concentrated within Asia, though the company says it is looking for new international growth opportunities.


Fetch Counter-sues Uber over Unpaid Invoices
Mobile agency Fetch is suing Uber over $19.7 million of unpaid invoices. Uber itself sued Fetch last year, saying that the agency had billed it for fraudulent ads and had caused around $50 million of damages. The company withdrew the case in December however after it was assigned to district judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who has previously overseen lawsuits involving Uber.

Fetch has always denied the claims, saying that Uber was using the lawsuit as a distraction from its own troubles over allegations of mistreatment of staff. Now Fetch is seeking to claim unpaid bills, filing a case at the same California court Uber had filed with, meaning this case will also be overseen by Rogers.

The Week in Tech

Sizmek Pledges Transparency on its Ad Tech Platform
Sizmek says it will start giving clients “total transparency” into the costs associated with their ad buys, offering itemised information about tech fees and other charges, it announced this week. The company will allow clients to audit how much they are spending on different publishers over Sizmek’s platform, and will also give more insight into how exactly its AI based media recommendation tech works.

“Agencies and advertisers are demanding greater visibility and control. They want their partners to move away from black box practices which hide true campaign costs and weaken confidence that media investments impact results,” said Sizmek’s CEO Mark Grether. “That’s why we’ve decided to lead the industry with AI-powered recommendations for traders and AI-powered optimization across the entire media plan offered with full transparency.”


ProSiebenSat.1 Continues Ad Tech Spending Spree with Kairion Acquisition
German media group ProSiebenSat.1 is acquiring Kairion, a provider of e-commerce media solutions, from German agency Cocomore AG, the company announced today. The purchase is the latest addition to an already sizeable ad tech stack which the broadcaster has been building up over the past few year, designed to diversify revenue streams while also strengthening ProSieben’s ad offering for brands and agencies. Read more on VAN.

TiVo Launches “Next-Gen Platform”
TiVo this week launched of a series of new cloud-based products for a range of devices which it’s calling its “next-gen platform”. TiVo says it’s new products will enable operators to deliver their content to the platforms their customers are using, including set-top-boxes and Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, web and mobile. It will also provide tools for personalisation, recommendations and voice control.

JPMorgan Chase Build Proprietary Tool for YouTube Brand Safety
JPMorgan Chase has built its own tool for ensuring its ads don’t appear next to unsavoury content on Youtube, according to a report from Business Insider. Dissatisfied with YouTube’s existing tools for brand safety, the bank has built its own algorithm which plugs into YouTube’s API to ensure that ads only appear on a list of around 3,000 approved channels. The tech uses 17 filters to determine which channels are safe, which take into account subscriber count, total video count and general topics channels focus on, as well as other factors.

The Week in TV

Channel 4 Prises BT Sport’s Digital Inventory Away from Google
Channel 4 has announced the launch of a new digital ad sales house, and has won a contract to handle ad sales for BT Sport’s digital platforms, a contract previously held by Google. The broadcaster’s new digital sales team has signed up BT Sport as a launch partner, and will exclusively sell dynamic advertising inventory on BT Sport’s on-demand mobile, tablet and browser based platforms, via 4 Sales. Read more on VAN.

Citi Analysts say 40 Percent Chance Apple will Buy Netflix
Analysts from Citi have sent a note to clients saying there is a 40 percent chance Apple will buy Netflix in the near future. Apple has been investing in video, most notably commissioning a reboot of Steven Spielberg TV series Amazing Stories, but it does not currently have it’s own subscription video on-demand service in the mold of Netflix or Amazon Prime. The analysts say given that Apple has over $250 billion to fund acquisitions, Netflix is the most likely acquisition.

Viacom Claims Record Year for Channel 5
Media conglomerate Viacom says 2017 was a successful year for Channel 5, which saw audience growth of 5 percent, the best of any public service broadcaster in the UK. This gives it a 6.5 percent audience share in the UK, and is its best performance since 2004 according to Viacom.

UK Kids TV Gets Government Cash Injection
The UK government has announced a £60 million fund to boost production and distribution of children’s TV within the country. Producers making content for public TV broadcaster, other free TV networks, and on-demand services can apply to receive up to 50 percent of production and distribution costs from the fund, as the government seeks to increase the range and quality of kids TV programming.

OTT Viewing Doubled Last Year, finds Conviva
OTT viewing double over the past year for customers of Conviva, a measurement and analytics provider for video on-demand services. Across Conviva’s global customer base, there were 12.6 billion viewing hours measured in 2017, which represented a 100 percent growth rate this past year. The company says it expects to see continued accelerated growth over the course of 2018.

The Week in Publishing

UK Consumer Spending on Video Up 7.5 Percent
UK consumer spending on video increased by 7.5 percent in 2017, according to the British Association for Screen Entertainment (BASE). Data from IHS Markit and the Official Charts Company shows that spending reached £2.69 billion this year, with purchases of digital or physical copies of content accounting for 38 percent of spending; renting and streaming makes up the other 62 percent.

Snapchat Considers Delayed Skip Ads
Snapchat is considering making users watch at least three seconds of some of its ads before giving them the option to skip, as the company looks to make its inventory more appealing to advertisers. The social photo/video sharing platform has been hesitant to force ads on users in the past, with CEO Evan Spiegel particularly critical of intrusive ads. However AdAge reports that the ability to easily skip video ads has given Snapchat ads an average viewing time of around one second, leading Snapchat to consider delaying the skip ability in the same way YouTube often does.

Vevo Nears Profitability as it Records 30 Percent Growth
Music video streaming service Vevo has recorded 30 percent growth in revenues over 2017, and says it is nearing profitability. The company broke even for the first time with turnover reaching $650 million this year, up from $500 million in 2016 according to the Financial Times. As online music streaming continues to boom, Vevo is committed to making its ad supported model work, and appears to be on the cusp of doing so. Read more on VAN.

The Week for Agencies

Dentsu Aegis Buys HelloWorld
Holding company Dentsu Aegis has bought digital marketing firm HelloWorld to strengthen its marketing agency Merkle. HelloWorld, which specialises in loyalty marketing and counts Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft among clients, will be rebranded as HelloWorld, a Merkle Company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Peter DeNunzio will remain as CEO, and there are no plans to cut staff from HelloWorld.

Advertisers Expect Benefits from Cross-Screen Platforms, says VideoAmp
Agencies and brands expect cross-screen campaigns for TV and video to outperform conventional campaigns, and are increasingly seeing their digital strategies influenced by their TV strategies, according to research carried out by Industry Index on behalf of VideoAmp. Among the headline figures of VideoAmp’s first annual TV & Video Advertising Survey were that 60 percent of marketers believe campaigns executed through a cross-screen platform for TV and digital video will outperform conventional campaigns, and that 63 percent are planning to increase spend on these platforms in 2018.

ANA Buys Word of Mouth Marketing Association
US trade body the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has bought fellow trade group the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) for an undisclosed fee. WOMMA, as the name suggests, focusses on word of mouth and social media marketing, and was founded 13 years ago. This continues the ANA’s expansion through acquisitions its pursued over the past five years, buying the Business Marketing Association, the Brand Activation Association and the Advertising Educational Foundation since 2014.


Hires of the Week

Truth Adds Digital Veterans to Advisory Board
Blockchain-based agency Truth has added a host of new advisors to its board, including PHD co-founder Jonathan Durden, Morph founder Tim Hipperson, and Mimi Turner, former SVP of strategy at Vice UK. “Bringing in such vast array of experience is another signal of our intent to become a major player and disruptive force in the media world,” said Truth CEO Mary Keane Dawson.

Twitter Promotes Stephanie Prager to Head of Global Agency Development
Twitter has promoted Stephanie Prager from head of US agency development to head of global agency development, it announced this week. Prager will be responsible for handling relationships with the major holding companies, and has said Twitter wants to partner with agencies more often to do “bigger, more innovative work” with its video tools.

Be Heard Group Shakes Up Leadership
Be Heard Group announced a few changes to its leadership this week, with founder Peter Scott moving from executive chairman to group chief executive. Non-executive director David Morrison will step into a non-executive chairman role, and the group plans to split the roles of COO and CFO, both currently held by Robin Price.

The Week on Van

Channel 4 Prises BT Sport’s Digital Inventory Away from Google, read more on VAN

Vevo Nears Profitability as it Records 30 Percent Growth, read more on VAN

ProSiebenSat.1 Continues Ad Tech Spending Spree with Kairion Acquisition, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Black Mirror, Happy New Year, B-Real

Black Mirror has an uncanny knack for predicting the future, which is worrying given how the show specialises in showing us terrifying dystopic futures, often created by technology. The feasibility of the ideas and scenarios presented though is a large part of why it’s so successful in creeping out audiences, and this ad for the new series plays on this, interspersing clips and audio from the show with real life footage to suggest that a Black Mirror future isn’t as far off as we might like.


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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