The WIR: Apple Blocks Facebook Tracking, Facebook’s Privacy Woes Continue, and Unilad is “Exposed”

Tim Cross 08 June, 2018 

In this week’s Week in Review: Apple reveals plans to block Facebook’s tracking of users while also planning to launch its own ad network, Facebook faces fresh privacy concerns after users unknowingly publish posts publicly, and a source emerges claiming to expose Unilad. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Apple Blocks Facebook’s Tracking Tools Amid Plans to Reboot Ad Business
Apple this week announced that the next versions of its iOS and Mac operating systems will contain tools which attempt to block Facebook’s tracking of users across the web, shortly after reports emerged the Apple is planning to relaunch its app-based ad network.  Apple’s software chief Craig Federighi told the audience at Apple’s developers’ conference that the next version of the company’s web browser Safari will ask users’ permission before allowing companies like Facebook to monitor their activity. Federighi seemed to be referring specifically to how Facebook is able to track users across website via ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons embedded in a multitude of domains.

The news followed the Wall Street Journal’s report that the company is planning to launch an app-focussed ad network. Apple has already has one attempt at an ad network, iAds, which it shut down in 2016, but is now apparently considering having a second attempt as it looks to make up for a slowdown in hardware sales. The company has reportedly met with companies like Snap and Pinterest, to gauge their interest in the product, but their are no solid plans as of yet.

Facebook’s Privacy Woes Continue as it Leaks 14 Million Users’ Content
A software bug on Facebook resulted in millions of users unknowingly posting updates to their pages publicly, the company revealed this week. Facebook lets users choose whether they post content privately, meaning only certain users can see it, or publicly, meaning anyone can see it. The bug changed users’ default setting for posts to ‘share publicly’, even if they had previously set their default to private sharing. Facebook’s head of privacy Erin Egan apologised for the mistake, and said users will be notified if they might have been affected.

Unilad “Exposed”
A website called ‘uniladexposed‘ emerged this week making claims that UK-based social publisher Unilad is tied up in a mix of cyber crime and fraud. The site features a video in which an actor claiming to represent Unilad CTO Simon Swales accused the publisher of links to cyber crime, organised crime and violence, backing the claims up with screenshots of what appear to be conversations between Swales and Unilad founder Sam Bentley. The question is, is this a genuine exposé, or a publicity stunt orchestrated by the publisher? Our guess is it’s the latter.

The Week in Tech

Vista Equity Partners to Acquire Majority Stake in Integral Ad Science
Vista Equity Partners announced on Monday it has entered into an agreement to buy a majority stake in measurement company Integral Ad Science (IAS) for an undisclosed free. Vista claims to be a value-added investor, saying it will “further enable IAS’s commitment to drive innovation and solve for the most pressing digital advertising challenges,” as well helping it to expand its offering and enter new markets.

“Our goal at IAS was to find an investment partner that shared our vision and commitment to leveraging our expertise and data to provide valuable products and solutions that our customers depend on,” said IAS executive chairman Don Epperson. “With Vista’s support, we can continue to scale our business and build solutions that help our clients protect and grow their digital investments.”

CTV Impressions Increased 178 Percent in 2017, says Innovid
Connected-TV (CTV) usage is still growing rapidly, with the number of CTV impressions delivered having increased 178 percent between 2016 and 2017, according to Innovid’s Annual Global Video Benchmarks report. The study also found that between 2016 and 2017, the number of advertisers running ads on CTV increased by 30 percent.

Defy Media Sued Over Unpaid Bills
Shortly after shutting down its ad network, Defy Media is being sued by publisher Topix, and faces further complaints from a number of other partners over unpaid bills. Topix claims Defy Media owes it $300,000 for ads it ran as part of Defy’s ad network, according to a Digiday report, while quiz website Sporcle says it’s owed $7,000.

The Week in TV

Amazon Secures Rights for Premier League Streaming
Amazon has secured the final UK live broadcasting rights package for Premier League football matches for three seasons from 2019, the Premier League announced today. Amazon’s package holds the rights for 20 matches per season from one bank holiday and one midweek fixture programme. Sky meanwhile holds the rights for 128 matches for each of the next three seasons, and BT holds the rights for 52 matches. Read the full story on VAN.

UK Government Gives Green Light for Fox Takeover of Sky
The UK’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport Matt Hancock this week set up a bidding war between Fox and Comcast for Sky as he gave the green light to a Fox acquisition of Sky. Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky had been under investigation by competition authorities, but Hancock said the deal can progress if Fox is willing to sell Sky News. Hancock had also previously said he would not be inclined to investigated a Comcast acquisition of Sky, setting up the two businesses to enter a bidding war.

French Government Begins Restructuring of Public Broadcasting
The French government laid out the first details this week of a restructuring of its public TV and radio broadcasting services, as it looks to save up to €500 million by 2023. France 4, a children-focussed channel, is moving from linear broadcast to digital only, a move France’s minister for culture Françoise Nyssen has compared to BBC3’s transition to digital only. The announcement however sparked backlash from the French animators, who say the channel help showcase France’s animation industry.

Nyssen also announced plans to produce to amount of regional programming on France 3 as she aims to improve the quality of France’s public broadcasting, which President Macron described last year as the “shame of the republic”.

Discovery Buys PGA Tour Rights for $2 Billion
US broadcaster Discovery this week bought global distribution rights for the PGA Tour for the next 12 years, in a deal worth $2 billion. The deal follows Discovery’s acquisition of European rights for the Olympics a few years ago, and marks another significant step in the broadcaster’s push into live sports broadcasting. The company plans to show coverage of the PGA Tour both via its regular TV channels, and over a new streaming service it will build to house the content.

The Week in Publishing

Facebook Creates News Hub for Watch
Facebook announced its plans this week to build a new news hub on its Watch video service, revealing it is working with a number of mainstream broadcasters which will produce news content exclusively for the platform. The announcement marks a new direction for Watch, which has so far focused largely on entertainment and sports. The new shows, scheduled for release this summer, include a daily brief with CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, and weekday updates with Fox News’ Shepard Smith. “We think that this is a great opportunity to test a viewing destination for high quality news content within Watch and are excited about the possibilities here with the broader ecosystem of news publishers,” said Facebook’s global head of news partnerships Campbell Brown in a statement.

Instagram Targets Move into Long Form Video
Social photo and video sharing platform Instagram could be targeting a move into long form video, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The feature could be an attempt to challenge YouTube as well as Snapchat, which has also pushed into higher quality, longer content through its ‘Shows’ format. Long form content on Instagram would reportedly be up to an hour long (currently the maximum length of videos is one minute), and would be in the vertical format.

Johnston Press Blames GDPR Impact as Revenue Falls Nine Percent
British publisher Johnston Press complained of the impact of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) today as it reported that revenues for the first five months of the year were down nine percent year-on-year. Shares in the company fell by 13 percent in the wake of the announcement, while stocks for Johnston Press’s rivals also fell as the news stoked fears that GDPR is squeezing income for publishers which already were under substantial pressure to remain profitable. Trinity Mirror and Daily Mail and General Trust share prices also fell as the London Stock Exchange opened, though both have since recovered. Read the full story on VAN.

Twitter Dissolves Live Video Team
Social media platform Twitter has dissolved its live video team, and folded the unit into its content partnerships team, as part of a content shakeup. The move isn’t seen as a shift away from live video, as video generally has been a strong source of growth for the company over the past year, but rather as an integration of live video alongside Twitter’s wider video offering.

AOP Audit Finds Fall in Ad Blocking Levels, but Revenue Loss Increases
The UK’s Association for Online Publishing (AOP) on Monday released the results of a two-year ad blocking audit among its members, which found that while ad blocking levels have fallen over the past few years, revenue losses have continued to rise for publishers. The study, conducted between Q1 2016 and Q4 2017, found that ad blocking levels peaked at 12.6 percent in Q2 2016, and fell to 11.3 percent in Q3 2017. However, lost revenue as a result of blocked ads continues to rise, reaching a total of £13.7 million in lost revenue across AOP members in 2017, a 27 percent increase on the previous year.

The Week for Agencies

Unilever’s Keith Weed Warns that Agencies are Moving too Slowly
“The world has moved very fast and in my experience, the agencies haven’t moved fast enough,” warned Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed, speaking at IAB Engage in London on Thursday. Weed said that in his experience agencies are in many cases catching up with what brands are after, giving the example of Unilever’s ‘people data centres’: “agencies shouldn’t be enabling companies like ours to do that, they should be ahead of us, they should build that capability themselves and offer it to us as a service,” he said.

Advertisers Often Don’t Measure the Metrics they Claim to Value Most says IAB
While advertisers, agencies and publishers all acknowledge the need to update the metrics they use to measure the impact of digital advertising, in order to keep up with trends and developments in the industry, many aren’t actually using these metrics according to IAB Europe. The trade body’s Digital Brand Advertising and Measurement Report, released today, surveyed around 650 buy-side and sell-side industry stakeholders to gauge which metrics they believe are most valuable, and which they actually use. The results show in many cases a wide disparity between what those in the industry believe they should do, and what they’re actually doing. Read the full story on VAN.

Forty-Five Percent of Advertisers say Social Media Falling Short on Brand Safety
Forty-five percent of advertisers are unhappy with how social media platforms are handling brand safety, according to a new study released by Advertiser Perceptions and Oath, and 42 percent say sites hosting user-generated content aren’t addressing their brand safety concerns. The research also showed that the topic of brand safety is still top of mind for many marketers, with 94 percent saying they are still worried about brand safety.

Partnerships of the Week

Channel 4 to Broadcast VICE Content
UK broadcaster Channel 4 has agreed to broadcast over 900 hours of long form content from VICE via its on demand service, All 4. The content will be available via a VICE branded hub on the platform, which Channel 4 CEO Alex Mahon said will help draw young viewers onto the service.

Vodafone to Offer Amazon Prime Video as Part of Mobile Plans
British telecoms company Vodafone has agreed a deal which will see it offer Amazon Prime Video as part of its mobile plans. The content will be available to users who buy Vodafone’s Red Entertainment Plan, which lets customers access content from one of several partners.

ISBA Partners with Ebiquity Partner to Improve Standards
British trade group the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and marketing consultancy Ebiquity announced a new partnership this week which they say will “drive the effectiveness and attribution agenda” on behalf of its membership. The partnership mirrors a few others which ISBA has established to help it deliver its agenda.

NextVR Partners with NBA for VR Finals Broadcast
Virtual reality platform NextVR has partnered for the second year in a row with NBA Digital to offer virtual reality highlights for the ongoing NBA Finals. Highlights are available the day after each game via the NextVR app.

Hires of the Week

MiQ Appoints Giles Ivey as UK CEO
Marketing intelligence company MiQ announced on Wednesday it has appointed Giles Ivey in the newly created role of CEO, UK. Ivey, who has worked previously in roles at Avid Media, Collective, BSkyB, News UK and AOL, is tasked with overseeing the company’s continued growth in the UK.

Anything is Possible Hires Sam Fenton-Elstone as CEO
New media buying entity Anything is Possible announced this week that Sam Fenton-Elstone, former chief digital officer for VCCP Media, has joined the company as CEO as it launches in the UK. Fenton-Elstone joins Mark Raymond, COO, on Anything is Possible’s executive team.

GeoSpock Chooses Allen Dickson as CCO
Analytics and insights company GeoSpock announced on Tuesday the addition of Allen Dickson to its executive team, who joins as chief commercial officer (CCO). Dickson will lead and drive all aspects of sales, channel and alliance strategies globally and manage all commercial partnerships and opportunities, according to the company’s statement.

Paula David Joins Realeyes as VP of Sales, US
Emotional analytics company Realeyes on Tuesday announced it has hired Affectiva’s Paula David as its VP of sales for the US. David will be responsible for accelerating Realeyes’ revenue growth across the US, with a specific focus on channel partners and media platforms, according the the company’s statement.

The Week on Van

As Exchanges Strip Out User IDs Post-GDPR, Does Programmatic Advertising Need a Rethink? read more on VAN

Johnston Press Blames GDPR Impact as Revenue Falls Nine Percent, read more on VAN

Advertisers Often Don’t Measure the Metrics they Claim to Value Most, read more on VAN

Who Invented What in Ad Tech? – Part One, read more on VAN

Amazon Secures Rights for Premier League Streaming, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week

Umbro, How to Make a Hit Football Anthem, Love
This week we’ve seen two highly contrasting World Cup themed ads from two competing sportswear brands. Adidas’ ‘Create the Answer‘ must have driven up a hefty bill as it features Stormzy, Messi, David Beckham, and just about every current Premier League footballer, yet the result is polished but fairly generic. Umbro on the other hand paid presumably quite bit less for this piece of branded content with YouTuber Brett Domino, and while Umbro’s spot might not clock as many views as Adidas’, it’s certainly more unique and memorable.


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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