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The WIR: Ofcom Warns BBC is Losing Young Viewers, WPP Returns to Net Sales Growth, and Discovery Launches an AVOD Service in the UK and Ireland

  25 October, 2019

In this week’s Week in Review: Ofcom warns the BBC that younger viewers are tuning out, WPP’s turnaround plan shows signs of success, and Discovery launched AVOD service Dplay in the UK and Ireland. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Ofcom Warns BBC is Losing a Generation of Viewers
British communications regulator Ofcom this week warned the BBC that it may be unsustainable in its current form, if it fails to do more to regain younger audiences who are tuning out of its services. Ofcom released its annual report on the BBC this week, saying that by-and-large the broadcaster is serving viewers and listeners well. But the report also found that last year for the first time, less than half of young people aged 16-24 tuned into BBC TV channels in an average week.
“The BBC is still a vital, valued part of British culture,” said Ofcom chief executive Sharon White. “But we’re concerned that a new generation is tuning out of its services. So the BBC must set out bolder plans to connect with younger viewers and listeners.”
WPP Returns to Net Sales Growth
Agency holding group WPP showed signs of progress on its efforts to return to sustainable growth this week as it reported a return to net sales growth in its Q3 financial results. Reported revenue was up 1.8 percent year-on-year to £3.2 billion, while revenue less-pass-through costs was up 0.7 percent, beating expectations of a 0.6 percent drop.
CEO Mark Read said the results were encouraging, and said major clients wins including Mondelez and eBay, as well as the retention of clients like the US Marine Corps and Centrica, had fuelled the growth. But he warned too that “there will be twists and turns along the way” as it focuses on its longer term goals.
Discovery Launches AVOD Service ‘Dplay’ in UK and Ireland
Discovery continued its investment in direct-to-consumer offerings with the launch of ad-supported streaming service Dplay in the UK and Ireland this week. The service includes content from Discovery’s selection of free UK TV channels including Quest, Food Network, Really and Home, and is available initially on Apple and Android devices, with plans for a roll out on additional devices in the first half of 2020.
The move comes at a busy time for the AVOD market – just last week US AVOD service Tubi announced plans for a UK launch next year, while Rakuten also announced a new pan-European AVOD service.

The Week in Tech

Roku Acquires Dataxu for $150 Million
Over-the-top device manufacturer and platform owner Roku has secured a deal to buy demand-side platform Dataxu for $150 million in cash and shares, the company announced on Tuesday. Roku says the addition of an established DSP to its business will help accelerate the growth of its advertising platform, as advertising continues to account for a larger proportion of Roku’s revenues.

“TV advertising is shifting toward OTT and a data-driven model focused on business outcomes for brands,” said Anthony Wood, chief executive officer at Roku. “The acquisition of Dataxu will accelerate our ad platform while also helping our content partners monetise their inventory even more effectively.” Read the full story on VAN.

Xandr Buys Clypd
Xandr announced last Friday that it has added clypd, a data-driven TV advertising platform for broadcast and cable TV networks, to its portfolio of products and services. Xandr says clypd’s capabilities complement Xandr Monetize, which helps publishers package, sell, and measure the performance of inventory across digital and addressable.

Rubicon Project Buys
Rubicon Project this week announced the acquisition of, provider of publisher-focussed tools and services for header bidding. RTK’s solution is built on Prebid, the same open source framework as Demand Manager, the header bidding solution Rubicon Project launched in May 2019. Rubicon says RTK’s technology and team enable the company to extend its Demand Manager product portfolio and client base.

TVSquared and Ampersand Partner for TV Attribution
TVSquared has partnered with Ampersand, an audience-based multi-screen TV advertising sales and technology company, to integrate its TV attribution reporting into Ampersand’s platform. Through TVSquared’s technology, the two say exposure metrics can now be linked to observed consumer actions, giving Ampersand advertisers with campaign performance insights in addition to standard reach and frequency reporting.

The Week in TV

ITV Hub Reaches 30 Million Registered Users
ITV announced this week it has reached over 30 million registered users for its on-demand service ITV hub, hitting the figure well ahead of its 2021 target. ITV Hub reported 26 million users this time last year, meaning around four million more have signed up over the past year. ITV said popular programming has driven the growth, with hit reality show Love Island and the ongoing coverage of the Rugby World Cup in Japan given specific credit.

French Broadcasters Plan to Triple Investment in OTT JV Salto
TF1, France Télévisions and M6 have pledged to triple their investment in Salto, a proposed joint subscription video on-demand service, according to a report in Les Echos. The three had initially planned to invest €45 million over three years, but have now agreed that this is too low to compete with the billions spent on content by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. As such, investment will be increased to €135 million over three years, split equally between the three companies.

Telenor and NENT to Merge TV Distribution Units
Telenor Group and Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) this week announced a deal to merge their TV distribution units, Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, which each company owning 50 percent of the new venture. The two say the new Nordic TV group will focus on satellite distributed pay-TV and streaming services, as well as IPTV on open fibre networks.

“The joint venture will combine the respective strengths of Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, leveraging synergies for the benefit of our customers and shareholders,” said Telenor Group CFO Jørgen C. Arentz Rostrup. “There is a compelling business rationale behind combining the DTH operations of Canal Digital and Viasat Consumer, with large synergies to be captured within areas including transponder capacity, IT and opex.”

The Week in Publishing

CNN Plans Digital News Aggregator
CNN is working on a news aggregation service, designed to compete with the likes of Google News, Apple News and Facebook’s upcoming news tab, The Information reported this week. CNN is considering paying other news organisations to be able to host their content according to the report, which would be a mix of subscription and ad-funded content. The news follows News Corp’s announcement earlier this year that it’s working on a similar service,

Twitter Stock Drops Twenty Percent as Revenues Disappoint
Twitter’s share price is down by over 20 percent since the company’s Q3 financial results were released earlier this week, which showed lower than expected revenue growth and costs rising for the social media company. Revenues overall were up nine percent year-on-year to $824 million, but this was lower than hoped, due to “revenue product issues”. The company has reported a number of bugs this year which resulted in improper use of its users’ data for ad targeting – fixing these bugs seems to have limited Twitter’s ability to sell targeted advertising, denting sales.

HuffPost Reportedly Up for Sale
Verizon is looking to offload news publisher HuffPost, according to a report in the Financial Times this week. HuffPost is one of the most popular media properties within Verizon’s media arm, but that business’s struggles have been highlighted by a $5 billion write down in its assets earlier this year. Verizon Media Group (formerly Oath) already offloaded Tumblr earlier this year for a nominal sum, after having paid over $1 billion for the social blogging site in 2013.

TikTok Rival Triller Raises $28 Million
Triller, a US-based rival to Chinese video sharing app TikTok, announced this week it has raised $28 million in a Series B funding round which values the company at $130 million, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. The app claims to have 13 million monthly active users, far behind the 500 million users TikTok claimed to have in July last year. But the app has substantial support from the US music industry, having recently renewed licensing deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group.

The Week for Agencies

IPG Posts 8.7 Percent Jump in Net Revenues
Agency holding company Interpublic Group posted solid Q3 financial results this week, reporting that net revenue was up 8.7 percent year-on-year to $2.06 billion, while organic net revenue rose 1.4 percent. IPG chairman and CEO Michael Roth said that strong performances in international markets led the growth, with the company battling “certain account-specific headwinds” in the US.

“We are pleased to post another quarter of solid financial performance,” said Roth. “Our growth was led by our media, healthcare marketing, public relations and sports & entertainment offerings.”

IAB Releases CCPA Compliance Framework for Public Comment
Trade association the IAB and its affiliated standard-setting organisation, the IAB Technology Laboratory,  on Tuesday released for public comment the IAB California Consumer Privacy Act Compliance Framework for Publishers and Technology Companies. The IAB says the framework is designed to help digital publishers and their supply chain partners comply with California’s upcoming data privacy legislation, which will come in to force on January 1st next year.

Video Powers Digital Ad Spend Growth in the US
The IAB released its Internet Advertising Revenue Report for H1 this week, finding that digital advertising reached $57.9 billion in the US in H1 this year, marking 17 percent growth year-on-year. Video advertising was cited as a major contributor to growth, with total video spend growing 36 percent year-on-year to $9.5 billion.

Hires of the Week

OMD UK Promotes Vicky Fox to Chief Planning Officer
OMD UK has promoted Vicky Fox to the position of chief planning officer, it announced this week. Fox joined OMD in 2013, and most recently worked as head of media planning.

Publicis Groupe UK Picks Clare Donald as Chief Production Officer
Publicis Group UK announced this week that it has taken on Clare Donald as its chief production officer, a role which will see her lead production across Publicis Groupe agencies. Donald joins from MDC Partners’ Unreasonable Studios.

Twitch Picks Doug Scott as CMO
Twitch has hire Doug Scott as its new chief marketing officer, replacing previous CMO Kate Jhaveri who left over the summer. Scott joins from Zunga, where he also held the CMO role.

This Week on VAN

It’s “Profoundly Undemocratic” for Social Media Platforms to Not be Regulated says Jack Straw, read more on VAN

Premium Content is Essential for AVOD to Compete with SVOD, read more on VAN

Interactive Video Has to Demonstrate Its Value to Consumers to be Effective, read more on VAN

Buyers Underestimate Social Media Influencers’ Reach and Devoted Audiences, read more on VAN

Roku Acquires Dataxu for $150 Million, read more on VAN

Language is SVOD Services’ Glass Ceiling in International Markets, read more on VAN

Ensuring Journalism is Properly Funded is Key for Fighting Fake News, read more on VAN

Innovators Will Win in a Privacy First World, read more on VAN

Nailing CTV’s Basics is Enough to Give Agencies a Competitive Edge, read more on VAN

How TV Media Owners Could Piggyback SVOD to Build New Audiences, read more on VAN

The Industry Has Had a Slow Start with Adopting CTV Standards, read more on VAN

Without Attribution, Social is Getting Credited with TV’s Successes, read more on VAN

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