The WIR: Spotify Partners with Hulu for Content, European Commission Raids Fox Office, and Liberty Global Invests $7.5 Million in Samba TV

Tim Cross 13 April, 2018 

In this week’s Week in Review: Spotify and Hulu partner for a new joint subscription, the European Commission raids a London-based Fox office over sports rights cartel concerns, and Liberty Global invests $7.5 million in Samba TV. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Spotify Moves Into Video Content with Hulu Partnership
Spotify has struck a deal with Hulu which will allow it to offer Hulu-owned video content to its subscribers, potential first steps for the music streaming platform to move into video. Spotify customers can opt for a pricier subscription package for $12.99 per month, which works out cheaper than subscribing to the two services separately, and gives access to both Spotify Premium and Hulu’s ad-supported package.

The move comes at a time when Spotify is looking to turn its business profitable in the wake of its public listing which has seen the company valued at over $27 billion. The company’s filing for its IPO revealed dramatic losses of over $1 billion across the last two years, demonstrating the need for the business to figure out how to turn its large subscriber base into a profitable model. Some analysts are speculating that this deal shows Spotify testing the water with video content, though this is not necessarily the case. Alongside this new deal, Spotify is also planning a rework of its free offering later this year, according to Bloomberg.

European Commission Raids 21st Century Fox Offices
The European Commission, as part of an ongoing investigation into a possible sports broadcasting rights cartel, raided a number of offices this week including a 21st Century Fox London office. The unannounced inspections took place at a number of unnamed companies across multiple EU member states, though Fox Networks Group confirmed it was one of the affected businesses after being named in a Telegraph report.

“The Commission has concerns that the companies involved may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the Commission said in a statement. “Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step into suspected anti-competitive practices. (It) … does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.”

Samba TV Secures $7.5 Million Investment from Liberty Global
TV data company Samba TV announced on Tuesday it has secured $7.5 million in funding from Liberty Global. Samba says it will use the funding to expand the footprint of its TV audience platform, which uses video content recognition tech alongside household data and consumer behaviour to help identify and reach audiences. As part of the deal, Samba will endeavour, with support from Liberty Global, to secure adoption of the company’s audience-based advertising platform and marketing attribution solutions in global markets, according to the press release.

“The television markets in Europe are ready for the next generation TV experience and business model built on better data and greater personalisation for consumers,” said Ashwin Navin, CEO and co-founder of Samba TV. “Our work with Liberty Global and its partners, will enable us to reach even more clients interested in rolling out pioneering audience-based advertising models – and deliver those clients even more effective cutting-edge products and solutions.”

The Week in Tech

US Senators Consider New Privacy Laws as Mr. Zuckerberg Goes to Washington
US senators launched a new privacy bill this week as Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before the US Senate this week to face questioning over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Two senators introduced a new bill, the CONSENT Act, which would require explicit opt-in consent for users of online services to use, share or sell any of their information, and would require users to be informed whenever their data is collected, shared or used.

While the questions for Zuckerberg weren’t always very testing (he had to explain to one Senator that his business makes money by running ads), he was challenged on Facebook’s collection of data on non-users, and urged to switch to a model where users opt in to Facebook’s use of their data for advertising purposes. On these questions, Zuckerberg promised “my team will get back to you”, but the Senate may look to take more proactive action itself if it passes the CONSENT Act.

Meanwhile Facebook continued to roll out changes in response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The company will now require identity-verification for those wishing to run political ads or hosting large political or issue-based pages on the site, and will also label political ads with information about who paid for them.

Comcast Launches Trio of New Products
Comcast Technology Solutions launched AdStor at NAB this week. AdStor is a new cloud-based advertising platform which Comcast says streamlines the relationship between ad buyers and sellers by hosting advertising content in an aggregated library, making it ready for use across any platform. The company claims that AdStor has “near real-time” insertion capabilities, and that it will reduce the manual workload for ad ops teams.

IBM, Omnicom, Barclycard and Mindshare Among I-COM Award Winners
The I-COM award winners were announced on Tuesday as part of I-COM’s Global Summit 2018, held in San Sebastian, Spain. The awards celebrate companies using marketing data in creative, unique and valuable ways – a selection of winners are listed below:

I-COM Data Creativity Awards:

  • Overall & Data Visualisation Category Winner – IBM, USA
  • General Category Winner – Omnicom Media Group and NIKE, China
  • Artificial Intelligence Category Winner – Amplero and Sprint, USA
  • Attribution Category Winner – Flashtalking, Integral Ad Science & Tapad and Dish Networks, USA
  • CRM Category Winner – Wunderman and Shell, UK
  • Mobile Category Winner – GroundTruth and Outback Steakhouse, USA
  • Programmatic Category Winner – Cadreon & Universal McCann and BMW, USA
  • Emerging Market Regions Award Winner – Mindshare and Hindustan Unilever, India

I-COM Smart Data Awards:

  • Marketer of the Year – Barclaycard International
  • Smart Data Agency of the Year – Mindshare
  • Smart Data Agency Network of the Year – GroupM

UK House of Lords Calls for Competition Watchdog to Gather Evidence on Role of Facebook and Google
The UK’s House of Lords this week called for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate the digital ad industry and explore whether the competition laws are enough to regulate companies like Facebook and Google.

The House of Lords’ Communications Committee has been conducting an inquiry into the state of digital advertising since September 2017, and published a report today in which it also called for greater self-regulation within the industry, and for the government to take steps to protect the industry post-Brexit. Read the full story on VAN.

SpotX and ZypMedia Capture Local Advertiser Budgets for OTT
SpotX on Tuesday announced a case study with demand-side advertising platform ZypMedia which revealed strong month-over-month growth in over-the-top (OTT) ad spend. Based on SpotX and ZypMedia’s combined platform data, the case study explores the locally-focused OTT joint strategy which was responsible for 54 percent revenue growth between December 2017 through January 2018.

Over the course of the campaign, ZypMedia identified law, government and politics ad one of the leading categories for local OTT, accounting for ten percent of spend. “Politics typically eats up a huge chunk of local broadcast inventory but the tide is turning as viewership increases on OTT. With the 2018 midterm elections approaching, we expect political spend to increase considerably across OTT,” said Kelly McMahon, SVP, global demand operations at SpotX. “With their focus on local OTT, ZypMedia is well positioned to be a major contributor to this growth.”

The Week in TV

Disney Required to Match Sky Bid After Fox Takeover
The UK’s Panel on Takeovers and Mergers ruled this week that Disney must make an offer to buy Sky in its entirety if Fox’s own takeover bid is blocked, and that the offer must match Fox’s price of £10.75 per share. Fox, which already owns a 39 percent stake in Sky, made a deal to take over the rest of the company 17 months ago, but the bid has been held up by regulators. Disney, which has since agreed to buy the majority of Fox’s assets, including the stake in Sky, has maintained that it shouldn’t have to match Fox’s offer for Sky, but the UK Takeover Panel has ruled differently, saying it will have to make on offer for Sky within 28 days of buying Fox assets, unless Fox’s own takeover bid completes before then.

Lotame Maps 15 Percent Weekend-to-Weekend Drop in March Madness TV Viewing
Independent data management platform (DMP) Lotame announced the results of a study examining the composition of audiences for March Madness, a college basketball tournament in the US. Lotame measured audiences across millions of internet-connected TVs via a partnership with Inscape, and found that viewership decreased 15 percent weekend-to-weekend, driven by a drop in younger viewers, new parents and homeowners.

“This is important data,” said Doug Pollack, GM of aiTV products and innovation at Lotame. “It shows us that specific advertisers did well on some of their spots, but poorly on others. While they typically do not get to choose when their ads air, data like this could change that business arrangement where advertisers can start to demand specific spots and networks can sell at a higher price for doing so.”

The Week in Publishing

YouTube Ends Third Party Ad Serving in Europe
It was revealed this week that YouTube will no longer allow third-party ad serving on its platform in Europe, meaning all ads will have to come through Google’s own DoubleClick Campaign Manager. A memo seen by AdExchanger advises advertisers to re-traffic their ads through DoubleClick by May 21st to avoid downtime, saying the change is taking place in response to Europe’s upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Google will also end third-part pixel tracking on May 21st, a change announced last year. Despite YouTube’s claims the move is necessitated by GDPR, some worry that it is an effort by YouTube to gain total control over the supply chain, forcing advertisers to be completely reliant on the company’s own services.

Trinity Mirror’s Takeover of Express and Star Faces Watchdog Scrutiny
Trinity Mirror’s recent acquisition of Northern & Shell titles, including the Express and Start daily and Sunday editions, will come under scrutiny from an investigation by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority which was launched this week. The competition authority had previously warned it was looking into the £127 million deal, and has now formally launched an investigation to “assess whether this deal could significantly reduce competition within the UK media sector, in line with its merger guidance”. The deal has also been referred to the Department for Digital Culture, Media & Sport for examination, with the government able to block the deal within the four months prior to its closing if it finds cause to.

Hearst Pays Buys Out Fitch for $2.8 Billion
Hearst has agreed to pay $2.8 billion to buy out Fitch Group, a partner of Hearst which provides credit ratings and other financial services. Hearst has already built up an 80 percent stake in the company, but the completion of the takeover appears to signal a greater focus on financial products for the US publisher and media company.

The Week for Agencies

P&G Pilots Three New Agency Models
P&G revealed this week it has brought members of multiple competing agencies under one roof for a new agency, led by Publicis Groupe, to service all of P&G’s North American fabric-care businesses. P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard spoke at last month’s ISBA annual conference about his company’s plans to shake up the agency model, and fresh announcements this week appear to be the first fruits of those plans.

Alongside this new agency, which will draw talent from WPP and Omnicom as well as Publicis and is dubbed the “people first” model, Pritchard revealed two other agency models.The “fixed and flow” model will see P&G take on an agency of record for most creative work while also regularly handing out projects to a wider roster of creative shops. The third model meanwhile will see P&G bring more media planning in-house, as well as more buying.

Pritchard described these models as “pilots”, though they’re being rolled out at a large scale. The strategy has arguably already found significant success too, with Tide’s very popular Super Bowl ads having been produced under the “people first” model.

WPP Outlines Alcohol Guidelines for Work Events
WPP has issued new internal guidelines this week, prohibiting alcohol from being consumed at desks or in work areas, and saying that drinking should be restricted to designated areas and confided to no more than two hours beyond a work day. The new rules, revealed in a memo seen by PR Week, also require that intoxicated employees should be provided with safe rides home, and that it should be ensured that everyone drinking alcohol is old enough to do so.

The new rules come at a time when WPP’s work culture is under scrutiny, with CEO Martin Sorrell the focus of an internal investigation into alleged inappropriate conduct, and the company having been involved in a scandal over the Presidents Club dinner back in January.

Unilever Trials Charitable Ad Format
Unilever brand Knorr has begun trialling a new ad format which allows consumers to direct a portion of ad revenue to a charity of their choice, once they’ve watch the ad for a minimum of 15 seconds. The month long trial allows consumer to choose between three charities; The People’s Kitchen, The Trussell Trust, or Water Aid, which receive 50 percent of ad revenue if chosen. Publishers earn less per ad view than they would for a standard video ad, but the Guardian and Stylist are among those who have signed up nonetheless.

Partnerships of the Week

PubMatic Partners with Sizmek
Supply-side platform PubMatic on Tuesday announced a global supply path optimisation partnership with buy-side ad platform Sizmek, meaning PubMatic is now included in Sizmek’s network of preferred publisher platforms. The two say the agreement will help give agencies and advertisers more transparent access to premium inventory, while also eliminating the financial risk of fraudulent traffic through PubMatic’s Fraud-Free Programme.

“Consolidation is inevitable as the ad tech industry evolves and more scrutiny is placed on the digital supply chain,” said PubMatic CEO Rajeev Goel. “We are excited that Sizmek is finding value in our platform, and that this partnership helps us extend those benefits to our shared customers.”

Ooyala and MPP Global Team Up for Suite of Services to Increase Video Revenue
MPP Global, the provider of subscription platform eSuite, Ooyala this week announced a new worldwide partnership to bring a suite of services for broadcasters, operators and media companies which the companies say will allow them to easily, effectively and better monetize OTT and IPTV video services.

“Adding MPP Global to Ooyala’s partner ecosystem was a natural fit,” said Jonathan Huberman, CEO of Ooyala. “We’re able to build on their content monetization and customer acquisition and retention capabilities by providing an exceptional solution to help media companies build out new subscription offerings, while improving existing ones. In today’s world, where consumers demand premium video content anywhere, anytime and on any screen, every media company is looking for ways to enhance their video offerings and better engage viewers.”

Sublime Skinz Partners with TabMo to Integrate its Mobile Ad Units into Hawk DSP
Sublime Skinz announced a new partnership this week with video, display and native mobile demand-side platform (DSP) Hawk by TabMo. The partnership will give Hawk customers access to Sublime Skinz’ mobile formats through programmatic trading, and to deploy campaigns on Sublime Skinz mobile ad network.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Sublime Skinz,” said TabMo co-founder Hakim Metmer. “We place a huge emphasis on providing our customers with easy access to the most premium content available. This partnership has further enriched our library of deals by giving access to impactful and non-intrusive ad formats on premium environments.”

Fyber Integrates Nielsen Marketing Cloud, PlaceIQ, and Mobilewalla Data
Fyber, a programmatic trading technology platform, announced on Wednesday that it has enriched its data-driven segmentation platform, Audience Vault, with demographic, interest and audience data from the Nielsen Marketing Cloud, location data for offline activities from PlaceIQ, and mobile app audience measurements from Mobilewalla. Fyber says this information is automatically imported into Audience Vault, enabling publishers to create custom packages made up of their most lucrative audiences and make them available programmatically to their advertising partners.

Fyber says this addition data will help publishers better understand their inventory’s value through insights on consumers, including their shopping habits, demographics, brand affinity and app usage.

Hires of the Week

Index Exchange Announces Executive Promotions
Index Exchange on Thursday announced a string of promotions which the company says it the result of rapid expansion and projected growth for 2018. Former SVP of partner develpopment Alex Gardner is promoted to chief revenue officer, Will Doherty moves from VP of business develpoment to SVP of global marketplace develpoment, and James Prudhomme is promoted to head of international.

Dave Marquad Joins TVision as CPO
TVision Insights has hired advertising measurement veteran Dave Marquad as its new chief product officer, it announced this week. Marquad, who has previously worked at Integral Ad Science, Google and IBM, will manage the product roadmap and extend industry partnerships, according to the press release.

Lauren Fry Rejoins Simulmedia
Simulmedia announced this week that Lauren Fry has rejoined the company in the new position of vice president  of customer success and business analytics. Fry, who previously worked with Simulmedia from 2013 to 2106, joins from AT&T AdWorks where she held the position of Director of Tune-In Sales.

The Week on Van

Reach vs Effective Reach: How Clichés Can Help Make the Most of Your Video Campaign, read more on VAN

Three Experts Weigh In on Blockchain’s Viability in Advertising, read more on VAN

UK House of Lords Calls for Competition Watchdog to Gather Evidence on Role of Facebook and Google, read more on VAN

BidSwitch Report Major Progress on Ads.txt, but Video Lags Behind, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Monoprix, The Worst Song in the World, ROSAPARK

French supermarket Monoprix picks a very obscure benefit to home delivery to advertise its services, but that’s what makes this ad work. The silliness of the problem matches the silliness of the song itself, and makes for a funny twist at the end.


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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