In this week’s Week in Review: Facebook is rumoured to be working on a new streaming device, Amazon opens up inventory on Fire TV to third party DSPs, and Rubicon Project posts an impressive Q1. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.
Facebook Seeks Streaming Services for New OTT Device
Facebook is working on a TV streaming device which could release later this year, according to a report this week from The Information, and is seeking to sign up over-the-top (OTT) services to host their apps on the device. The device is ostensibly designed for making video calls via a TV set, using the same technology as Facebook’s camera-equipped speaker Portal. But this appears to also be a play by Facebook in the OTT space, with the company reportedly having approached Netflix, Disney, Hulu, HBO and Amazon about making their streaming services available on the device.
An OTT device would give Facebook more video inventory to sell, assuming it goes the same route as Roku and Amazon and takes a portion of hosted apps’ inventory to sell itself, as well as a new platform for its Facebook Watch service.
Amazon Opens Up Fire TV Inventory to The Trade Desk and Dataxu
Amazon last Friday announced that ad inventory on its Fire TV OTT platform can now be bought through The Trade Desk and dataxu TouchPoint, as well as Amazon’s own demand-side platform (DSP), marking the first time Amazon has opened up this inventory to third party DSPs. Amazon says advertisers can use the three DSPs to access its new advanced TV private marketplace (PMP), which it says will give access to all of Amazon’s connected-TV inventory. The PMP supports competitive separation and will minimise repeated ads, according to the announcement.
Amazon provides its own OTT inventory through its ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV and its live streaming platform Twitch. But it also claims thirty percent of inventory on third party apps hosted on Fire TV in order to sell the inventory itself, with this inventory also available via the new PMP.
Video Helps Rubicon Project Revenues Grow 32 Percent
Rubicon Project reported a strong Q2 this week, with revenues up 32 percent year-on-year to $37.9 million. The company saw strong revenue growth in mobile revenue, which grew 42 percent year-on-year. Video revenue meanwhile grew at twice the industry growth rate, with CFO David Day saying in an earnings calls that the industry rate is somewhere in the thirties.
“Video inventory remains an extremely high demand, and we continue to work with our publishers to bring more video to market,” CEO Michael Barrett said on the earnings call. “Prebid’s [an open-source header bidding solution] video capabilities continue to expand, which we believe will increasingly provide access to more inventory and drive additional video growth for us. We believe engagement and ROIs are very high across all forms of video propelling significant growth and that this growth will continue for quite some time.”
The Week in Tech
Teads Offers Advertisers to Only Pay for 100 Percent Viewable Ads
Outstream specialist Teads announced this week that it is offering advertisers 100 percent viewability on their campaigns, based on the advertisers’ own specifications for how much of the ad must be watched. The company says advertisers can measure the total viewable exposure time of each ad impression, and will be able to transact based on custom duration requirements, via a new partnership with Oracle’s analytics platform Moat. Read the full story on VAN.
Google Adds New Inventory for App Ads
Google this week announced several new sources of inventory for app developers advertising through Google App campaigns. Developers will now be able to access inventory on Google Discover (formerly Google feed), in YouTube search results, and can also buy in-stream ads on video content within Google’s display network.
YouTube and Netflix Set to Arrive in Tesla Cars
Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted this week that YouTube and Netflix will both soon be available in Tesla cars via the electronic dashboard. The two services will only play when the car is stopped, but the move seems to be in anticipation of a driverless future, as Musk said playback will be enabled while driving once fully self-driving cars are approved by regulators.
Ability to stream YouTube & Netflix when car is stopped coming to your Tesla soon! Has an amazingly immersive, cinematic feel due to the comfy seats & surround sound audio.
— E (@elonmusk) July 27, 2019
Gowthaman Ragothaman Launches Aqilliz to Drive Blockchain Solutions in Digital Marketing
Gowthaman Ragothaman, former global client lead at WPP, has announced the launch of Aqilliz, a blockchain solutions provider. Designed to address sector-specific challenges in the field of digital marketing, Ragothaman says Aqilliz will facilitate a fairer ecosystem underwritten by greater trust, transparency, and engagement. Aqilliz is created in collaboration with Zilliqa, a high-throughput public blockchain, which Aqilliz says will provide the infrastructure for secure and scalable futuristic solutions for enterprise clients. “In today’s platform economy, tech solutions are trying to address the needs of either the brands, platforms or the consumers, and not the entire platform economy as a whole,” said Ragothaman. “With the help of blockchain, we can address these needs equitably and in turn, unify all players in the digital marketing landscape.”
Narrative Adds Smart TV Data Through Partnership with Inscape
Narrative, a data commercialisation platform and marketplace, this week announced a new partnership with Inscape which will see Inscape’s ACR- insights integrated into Narrative’s raw data marketplace. The two say the partnership will mean companies gain access to a suite of tools that make it easier to standardise, price, manage and distribute data and the ability to integrate data into all platforms and applications.
The Week in TV
Growth of VOD Didn’t Prevent TV Ad Sales Fall in UK in Q1
UK ad spend hit £6 billion in Q1 this year, marking 4.2 percent year-on-year growth, according to the Advertising Association and WARC’s latest Expenditure Report. One of the standout areas of growth was TV video on-demand (VOD) advertising, which grew 17.5 percent compared to Q1 2018. But despite this growth, TV ad spend as a whole still fell by 2.5 percent year-on-year. The report predicts that TV’s troubles are only temporary tough, forecasting that TV ad spend as a whole will be up 0.9 percent in 2019.
The report also highlighted the difficulties facing publishers in the UK. While overall online display advertising (which by the AA/WARC’s definition includes video) grew by 16.6 percent in Q1, publishers saw both their digital and print ad revenues fall. Digital ad spend on national news brands fell by ten percent year-on-year in Q1, while regional news brands fell by 0.2 percent, and spending on magazine brands was flat.
Ofcom Clear’s BBC’s Proposed Changes to iPlayer
UK media regulator Ofcom on Thursday announced it has approved the BBC’s proposed changes to it’s on-demand iPlayer service, which will see content kept on the service for 12 months after first airing, rather than 30 days as is currently the case. But while Ofcom agreed that the changes are necessary, the regulator remains concerned about the impact they will have on other UK broadcasters. It expects the updated iPlayer will draw views away from other broadcasters’ linear and over-the-top (OTT) services, rather than from the subscription video on-demand (SVOD) giants. Read more on VAN.
Altice Europe Returns to Growth in France
European telco Altice Europe reported that it’s French unit, which accounts for more than 70 percent of its activity, returned to growth in its most recent quarter, with revenues rising four percent year-on-year. Total group revenues were up 3.3 percent on a constant currency basis, reaching €3.59 billion, while core operating profits reached €1.43 billion. “Altice France and Altice International are accelerating their revenue growth, with stronger EBITDA growth, paving the way for an acceleration of the deleveraging, already noticeable,” said Altice Europe founder Patrick Drahi. “This successful operational turnaround allows us to increase our full year guidance.”
US Broadcaster Sue Free TV Service Locast
The four big US broadcast networks, CBS, ABC, NBCUniversal and Fox Corp, have collectively filed a suit against AT&T-backed free TV service Locast. Locast streams broadcasts from local TV stations in the 13 cities it serves, and is non-profit, funded only by donations. But the broadcasters, for whom fees from pay-TV distributors have become increasingly important, argue that Locast violates copyright law by re-transmitting content it doesn’t own or have permission for, according to the WSJ.
Pluto TV Launches Three My5 Channels in UK
Pluto TV this week announced that three channels from My5, Channel 5’s VOD platform, will launch on its service in the UK. My5 Crime, My5 Documentaries and My5 GPs: Behind Closed Doors debuted on Pluto TV earlier this week. “The launch of three My5 channels on Pluto TV extends the availability of strong performing Channel 5 content to new audiences in the OTT space,” said Oli Thomas, VP of digital for Viacom International Media Networks UK, Northern and Eastern Europe. “We’ve had great success with Pluto TV content on My5, currently accounting for 5% of viewing to the platform just a month after launch.”
The Week in Publishing
EU Court Finds Publishers Liable for Data Transferred by Social Media Plugins
The EU’s top court ruled this week that sites which have a Facebook ‘like’ button embedded within them must seek users’ consent for data sent to the social network under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ), ruling on a case against German online fashion retailer Fashion ID, declared that “the operator of a website that features a Facebook ‘Like’ button can be a controller jointly with Facebook in respect of the collection and transmission to Facebook of the personal data of visitors to its website.”
Vice Considers Merger with Refinery29
Vice is contemplating a merger with fellow digital native publication Refinery29, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal this week. Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc is seeking to return the company to profitability, partly by diversifying its audience and expand into revenue streams. Refinery29, a women-focused publication which has had recent success in diversifying its revenue streams, would seem to help achieve both these goals.
Snapchat Adds New Video Ad Creation Tool
Snapchat this week added new ‘Instant Create‘ tools for crafting vertical video ads for the Snapchat platform. Advertisers can access Instant Create through Snapchat Ads Manager and select their objective: web visits, app installs or app visits. They can then generate video ads from existing assets – for example it can pull photos directly from an advertiser’s own website as the basis for the ads, and apply popular templates and extra details.
The Week for Agencies
P&G Posts Strong Sales Growth Amid Falling Ad Spend
P&G reported seven percent sales growth in it’s last quarter, despite trimming back its ad spend over the past year. In the last quarter specifically, increased marketing reinvestment actually outweighed savings made, but CFO Joe Moeller said over the past fiscal year as a whole, ad spending was down in absolute terms. Moeller said the company has focussed on cutting out excess frequency of ads which target the same customers, instead opting for greater reach.
Uber Cuts 400 Marketers
Uber cut around 400 of its marketing staff, roughly one third of its marketing arm, this week as the company seeks to cut bloat. Chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in an email to staff that some teams had become too big, which created overlapping work and inefficiency, arguing that the company needs to become more agile.
Hires of the Week
Reach Chooses Jim Mullen as CEO
UK publishing group Reach has chosen Jim Mullen to replace Simon Fox as CEO. Fox, who will step down later this month, oversaw the acquisitions of the Express and Star, as well as Local World Holdings. Mullen similarly has a reputation as a deal maker, having overseen the takeover of Gala Coral while CEO of UK gambling company Ladbrokes.
Craig Stimmel to Become Snap’s Head of Brand Partnerships
Snap is taking on Craig Stimmel as its new head of brand partnerships according to Business Insider. Stimmel joins from P&G, where he is currently head of digital media and global partnerships, and is credited with overhauling the company’s digital media business across North America.
Dentsu Aegis Network Chooses Nakamura as Executive Director of Entertainment and Sports Division
Dentsu Aegis Network has chosen Mike Nakamura as executive director of its new DAN Entertainment & Sports business. Alongside his new role Nakamura will retain his role as global president of Dentsu X.
This Week on VAN
Can TikTok Succeed Where Vine Failed? read more on VAN
Teads Offers Advertisers to Only Pay for 100 Percent Viewable Ads, read more on VAN
Meet the Companies Making Sense of the OTT Clutter for the Consumer, read more on VAN
BVOD – Not SVOD – Most Likely to Be Hit by iPlayer’s 12 Month Content Window, read more on VAN
Ad of the Week
Ikea, Planet Sleep, Ogilvy New York