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The WIR: Amazon Plans Live TV Offering, Ofcom Says it Would Consider Suspending Social Platforms if Appointed as Regulator, and French Court Rules in Favour of Cookie Walls

Tim Cross  26 June, 2020

In this week’s Week in Review: Amazon job listings suggest the company is planning to add live TV to Prime Video, Ofcom’s new CEO says she would consider suspending social platforms if appointed online harms regulator, and France’s highest administrative court says the CNIL can’t block cookie walls. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Amazon Plans Live Linear TV for Prime Video
Amazon looks to be planning to add live linear TV to its Prime Video service, having posted multiple job listings which reference linear TV. One job ad, posted on LinkedIn, says that “Linear (24/7 Television or broadcast programming) is one of the key options for Prime Video customers. We in Prime Video Catalog are building next gen linear catalog systems to provide best-in-class Linear TV experience to Prime Video customers. It is Day 1 for the linear TV experience on Prime Video.”

Amazon already has experience with live broadcasting, having bought a number of live sports rights packages, including for the English Premier League. But Amazon’s listings suggest the e-commerce giant wants to run persistent linear channels covering a greater range of content. Tech magazine Protocol cites an industry insider as saying Amazon is actively pursuing content deals for a linear service, adding that “you should assume they’re talking to everybody”.

It’s not clear whether these channels would run ads. None of the job listings seen by VAN make any explicit reference to advertising or ad tech. But Amazon has been experimenting with advertising within Prime Video, having run ads on its Premier League streams last year.

Ofcom Says it Could Temporarily Block Social Platforms in Regulatory Role
Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, says it would consider temporarily suspending social platforms which are found to have caused significant harm, if it were to be given responsibility for regulating social platforms.

An ‘Online Harms’ white paper released by the UK government earlier this year recommended that Ofcom be appointed as ‘Online Harms’ regulator, giving it oversight of the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter for the first time. And Ofcom’s newly appointed CEO Melanie Dawes said this week that if given the role, Ofcom would temporarily suspend social platforms which were found to have caused harm in extreme cases. Speaking to the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, Dawes also said she would not hesitate to impose fines on platforms which fail to deal with harmful content.

French Court Says Data Regulator Can’t Block Cookie Walls
France’s highest administrative court the Conseil d’État ruled this week that the CNIL, France’s data regulator, cannot block publishers from using ‘cookie walls’.

Cookie walls, adopted by some publishers after the introduction of Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) two years ago, stop visitors from viewing content if they don’t give consent to tracking cookies being deployed. The CNIL has prohibited use of these cookie walls within its guidance for publishers, saying that users must be able to access content even if they don’t consent to use of cookies.

The ruling means that French publishers will still be able to make free access to their content conditional of users giving consent to personalised advertising, so long as users are given other ways of accessing that content (for example by paying for a subscription or signing in with an email address).

Coronavirus News

Google Ad Revenues Forecast to Fall for First Time
Market research company eMarketer forecast this week that Google’s ad revenues for 2020 will be down year-on-year, the first drop since eMarketer started modelling Google revenues in 2008. The drop comes in large part due to Google’s reliance on travel companies for search ad revenues, which have been battered by the pandemic.

Accenture Interactive Sees “Significant Impact” From Pandemic
Accenture Interactive said it has been “significantly impacted” by the pandemic so far. Quarterly revenue growth slowed to 1.3 percent in Q1, compared to 8.4 percent a year earlier, according to Campaign.

Bundesliga Rights Drop in Value Post-COVID
German football league the Bundesliga completed its rights auction this week, with Sky and sports streamer DAZN paying a combined €4.4 billion for the majority of domestic rights, a €200 million drop from the previous auction. The Bundesliga is the first of Europe’s major leagues to auction broadcast rights since the COVID-19 pandemic caused huge disruption to live sports.

Ofcom Reports Lockdown Surge in Social Video Viewing
UK comms regulator Ofcom said the UK has seen a surge in use of social video platforms during lockdown. Live streaming platform Twitch has seen particularly strong growth, with the number of visitors growing from 2.3 million in January to 4.2 million in April.

The Week in Tech

Google Lifts the Lid on Tech Fees
Google this week gave insight into its fee structures for DV360, Google Ad Manager and Google Ads, via two blog posts. Google says that in 2019, for transactions made through DV360 or Google Ads, publishers kept 69 percent of revenues on average.

Apple Begins Restricting MAIDs
Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference this week that it is requires users to opt-in to use of Apple’s app ID, the IDFA, on an app-by-app basis. The move will make it much easier for users to stop apps from using the ID for tracking purposes.

Roku Unveils Premium Ad Offering at NewFronts
Roku used its NewFronts presentation to tout a new offering for advertisers called ‘Roku Reserve’ which allows them to buy inventory on the top one percent of Roku channels (judged by clicks, visits and streaming hours).

Facebook Sees 50 Percent Revenue Drop for Non-Personalised In-App Ads
Facebook this week said in a test comparing publisher revenues for personalised and non-personalised mobile app install ads, publishers saw a 50 percent drop in revenue when ads weren’t personalised. The study comes as the future of mobile app IDs seems to be in doubt, with Apple making it easier for users to opt out of tracking by App Store apps.

Amazon Touts Benefits of Combining its DSP and SSP
Amazon this week posted a blog touting the benefits of combining its SSP Amazon Publisher Services and its DSP. When APS inventory is purchased through the Amazon DSP Amazon doesn’t charge supply fees. Amazon says this benefit, combined with the benefits of direct integrations with publisher, can lead to a 25 percent improvement in return on ad spend.

US Justice Department and State AGs Meet to Discuss Google Antitrust
The US Department of Justice is meeting with state attorney generals today (Friday) to discuss ongoing antitrust probes into Google, Reuters reported this week.

The Week in TV

KKR Increases Stake in ProSiebenSat.1
Private equity company KKR has increased its stake in German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, up to 6.61 percent of the company. KKR also owns German publisher Axel Springer, and Deutsche Bank in a note to clients said that KKR might have ambitions to unify Springer and ProSieben’s advertising businesses, according to Advanced Television.

Channel 4 Finds Branded Entertainment Boosts Brand Perceptions More than Traditional Ads
UK broadcaster Channel 4 this week published the results of a study into the value of branded entertainment, finding that branded entertainment can boost brand perceptions +29 percent compared to a traditional TV ad. The study also found that six in ten viewers feel positive about branded entertainment as an approach to advertising.

Disney+ to Expand Into Eight New European Markets
Disney’s new subscription streaming service Disney+ will expand into eight new European markets on September 15th, the media giant announced this week. From that date Disney+ will be available in Portugal, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Belgium and Luxembourg.

NENT and Elina to Combine Streaming Services
Nordic Entertainment Group and Finnish telco Elina have announced they will combine their streaming services in Finland at the end of this year. The new service, called Elisa Viihde Viaplay, will combine content currently hosted on the two separate platforms.

Hulu Pitches New Transactional Ad Format
US streaming platform Hulu pitched a new transactional ad format called GatewayGo at its NewFronts presentation this week. The format will use QR codes and push notifications to let audiences interact with an ad and complete purchases via their phone after seeing the ad on Hulu.


ITV Pledges to ‘Supersize’ Hub During Summer
ITV said this week it will “supersize” its catalogue of content available via on-demand service ITV Hub this summer. “As more and more of our audiences look to the ITV Hub to watch ITV programming, we’re continuing our transformation of the platform by expanding our programming catalogue over the summer to ensure we give our viewers the opportunity to binge on the best drama, factual and reality shows from 2020,” said Steve Forde, director of digital products at ITV.

ARTE Launches New HbbTV Service ARTE Extra
European broadcaster ARTE is launching a new HbbTV-based service called ARTE Extra, designed to merge the company’s linear and non-linear offerings. “The merging of linear and non-linear offerings through ‘ARTE Extra’ proves ARTE’s pioneering role and offers viewers a new quality in programme experience”, said Bernd Mütter, programme director at ARTE.

ARTE Extra

The Week in Publishing

Microsoft Shutters Mixer and Joins Forces with Facebook to Compete with Twitch
Microsoft has announced it is shuttering Mixer, its video game live streaming platform, and will instead work on integrations between its Xbox gaming brand and Facebook’s live streaming service, Facebook Gaming. Microsoft invested heavily in Mixer since acquiring the company in 2016, but says that it was unable to grow its user base quickly enough to be viable, amid competition from rival platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming itself. Read the full story on VAN.

Instagram Tests TikTok Competitor ‘Reels’ in France and Germany
Instagram has expanded its trial of ‘Reels’, a TikTok-like feature which sits within Instagram, to Germany and France. Instagram began testing the feature in Brazil last year.

Black Creators File Class Action Discrimination Lawsuit Against YouTube
Four black YouTube creators have filed a class action lawsuit against the video sharing platform, saying that YouTube and its algorithms discriminate against black users by removing their content without justification. The suit, filed by Kimberly Carleste Newman, Lisa Cabrera, Catherine Jones and Denotra Nicole Lewis, says the four have earned less money from the platform as a result of racial discrimination, according to Adweek.

TikTok Launches New AR and Influencer Offerings Under ‘TikTok For Business’
TikTok, a short-form video sharing app owned by Chinese tech giant Bytedance, has launched ‘TikTok For Business’, a hub for its marketing and advertising solutions, including a newly announced augmented reality (AR) ad format. But as the viral video platform integrates brands more deeply into the user experience, the company is asking advertisers to adapt to the culture and style of TikTok, rather than running standard creatives which they might use elsewhere. Read the full story on VAN.

Google Agrees Licensing Deals with News Publishers
Google announced this week it has agreed deals with a number of European publishers to license their content for republishing on Google News, as well as for use within Google’s Android operating system. Publishers include Germany’s Spiegel Group, Brazilian media company Diarios Associados, and Australian local news publisher Solstice Media, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump Team Weighs Up Alternative Social Platforms for Reelection Campaign
US president Donald Trump and his team are weighing up alternatives after finding various campaign messages blocked on the likes of Twitter and Facebook. These alternatives include moving to Twitter substitute Parler, or focussing campaign efforts on Trump’s own campaign app, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Vice Calls Out Advertisers for Not Advertising Next to BLM Content
International publisher Vice this week called out advertisers who are avoiding advertising next to any content relating to the death of George Floyd or the Black Lives Matter movement, according to TubeFilter. Speaking at the company’s NewFronts presentation, Vice’s SVP of impact Marsha Cooke said a number of brands have blocked keywords like ‘black lives matter’, ‘protest’, and in one case, ‘black people’.

The Week for Agencies

Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia Join Facebook Boycott
More brands including Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia joined a growing boycott of Facebook advertising this week, calling for the social platform to do more to tackle hate speech and racism.

Digital to Account for Over Half of Global Ad Spend This Year
WPP’s media-buying arm GroupM this week released its global ‘This Year, Next Year’ report, forecasting that this year for the first time, digital ad spend will account for over fifty percent of total global ad spend.

The Barber Shop Launches Diverse Talent Database
Independent agency The Barber Shop this week launched ‘Diverse Speakers‘, a tool to help event organisers find diverse talent from across the industry. The Barber Shop’s founder Dino Myers-Lamptey said the tool is designed “to help anyone who believes in the power of diversity and elevating diverse talent to an equal stage”.

French Agency Rosapark Considers Rename
The founders of French agency Rosapark have said they are rethinking the company’s name after facing backlash on Twitter, due to the fact that its name seems to reference American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, but is run entirely by white men. The agency claims its name is not a reference to Rosa Parks but says it will rethink the name nonetheless.

Dentsu Partners with Global Esports Federation
Japanese agency group Dentsu has partnered with the Global Esports Federation in an initiative to promote “global health” of the industry, Reuters reported this week. “We look to Dentsu for their expertise to bring together the best of esports and sport, further fulfilling our mission to elevate esports and the world’s esports ecosystem,” said Chris Chan, president of the Global Esports Federation.

Ad Industry Doesn’t Understand Normal People’s Aspirations finds Reach Study
The advertising industry doesn’t understand the aspirations and goals of normal people according to a study from UK publisher Reach. Reach’s study found that advertising and marketing professions overestimate the public’s desire to be well known, to stand out, and to have many expensive possessions.

Hires of the Week

Andy Main Picked to Succeed John Seifert as Ogilvy CEO
Ogilvy has announced it has picked Andy Main, global head of Deloitte Digital, as its next global CEO. Main will replace current CEO John Seifert when he steps down at the end of July.

Bill Swanson Joins IRIS.TV as EMEA Strategy Lead
IRIS.TV this week announced the appointment of Bill Swanson as EMEA Strategy Lead. He will be responsible for driving the strategy and expansion of the IRIS.TV Contextual Video Marketplace with SSPs, DSPs, agencies and publishers in the EMEA market.

This Week on VAN

The Buy-Side View: Q&A with Total Media’s Mihir Haria-Shah, read more on VAN

Microsoft Shutters Mixer and Joins Forces with Facebook to Compete with Twitch, read more on VAN

A Total Ban on Gambling Advertising Would be Hard to Enforce Online, read more on VAN

TikTok Launches New AR and Influencer Offerings Under ‘TikTok For Business’, read more on VAN

The Industry Reacts to Google Unveiling its Fee Structures, read more on VAN

VideoWeek Podcast #7, Shingy, listen on VAN

Ad of the Week

P&G, The Pause, Grey New York

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