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The WIR: DAZN Seeks $1 Billion in Funding, OMG Holds Social Giants to Account, and Programmatic Trading Continues to Soar

Tim Cross  21 August, 2020

In this week’s Week in Review: DAZN seeks as much as $1 billion in funding, Omnicom Media Group launches a new initiative to lobby for more insights and control from social platforms, and programmatic trading accounts for 41 percent of digital media spend. To receive an update on the industry’s top stories every Friday, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

DAZN Seeks $1 Billion in Funding for Pandemic Recovery
OTT sports streaming service DAZN is seeking as much as $1 billion in funding to aid its recovery post-pandemic. DAZN had just begun a large global expansion when the pandemic hit, and had hired an advisor last year to help it raise $500 million to fuel this growth. But these plans were shelved after the pandemic hit, which deprived DAZN of sports events to broadcast.

Unlike traditional sports broadcasters, DAZN offers month-long subscriptions, meaning it was more exposed to the live sports shutdown since its users weren’t tied into contracts. But the company says the return of live sports is leading to a swift recovery. Acting CEO James Rushton told staff this month that the company should return to its pre-COVID subscriber count by Q4 this year, Bloomberg reported.

Omnicom Media Group Cracks Down on Social Giants
Media buying agency Omnicom Media Group has launched a new initiative designed to hold social media companies to account for their content moderation policies. The Council on Accountable Social Advertising, formed by Omnicom and several of its clients including cleaning brand Clorox, is lobbying social media companies for greater control of ad placement and the independent measurement of ad performance, according to the New York Times. Facebook, Reddit, Snap, TikTok, Twitter and YouTube have agreed to most of the proposals submitted by Omnicom Media Group, which says it will be monitoring their implementation of these new practices.

The move follows fellow media agency IPG Mediabrands’ announcement a few weeks back that it will begin running regular audits of social platforms, to measure their progress on protecting audiences and brands from harmful content.

Programmatic Channels Account for 41 Percent of Digital Media Spend
Forty-one percent of digital media spend now flows through programmatic channels, according to data from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) and IPONWEB. This marks significant growth since 2016, when programmatic accounted for 16 percent of digital media spend.

But while programmatic trading continues to rise, more of this spend is being concentrated within private exchanges. Just 52 percent of those surveyed said they spend through open auctions and exchanges, and 43 percent said their spend in open auctions is decreasing. Meanwhile all of those surveyed said they spend through invite-only auctions, and 91 percent said they spend through programmatic guaranteed channels.

The Week in Tech

Google Calls on YouTube Creators to Protest Australian Antitrust Laws
Google this week hit out against Australia’s proposed ‘News Media Bargaining Code’, which would force Google to pay publisher for snippets of news it republishes in its search results. In a blog post, YouTube claimed that the proposed laws would give begin media companies unfair advantages over smaller creators, and asked YouTube creators to flood Australia’s competition regulator with complaints.

IAB TCF 2.0 Goes Live
The second version of the IAB’s Transparency and Consent Framework, TCF 2.0, was rolled out across multiple vendors on Saturday, with Adobe, Google, GroupM, Magnite, The Ozone Project, The Trade Desk and Xandr among those signed up to use the framework. “TCF v2.0 takes the standard to the next level with respect to consumer transparency and choice, publisher control over data processing for advertising and content personalisation, and cross-industry collaboration,” said IAB Europe CEO Townsend Feehan.

Adikteev Finds High IDFA Opt-In Rates in Experiment
French mobile DSP Adikteev ran an experiment to gauge the opt-in rate for use of the IDFA on Apple devices, once Apple forces app publishers to ask for explicit consent later this year. Adikteev says it served randomly chosen users a mock-up of Apple’s consent notice, and found that 73 percent opted in. Adikteev also found that opt-in rates were actually lower when users were served an interstitial notice asking them to opt in to tracking in order to help sustain the company, prior to being served the Apple notice.

DoubleVerify Reports 161 Percent Increase in CTV Fraud
Verification and measurement company DoubleVerify this week released its Global Insights Report, finding that CTV fraud rates increased 161 percent between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020. DV also found that 78 percent of fraud incidents on CTV are accounted for by bots (compared with 26 percent of overall fraud incidents).

Apple’s Market Value Hits $2 Trillion
Apple became the first US company to ever reach a market cap of $2 trillion, just two years after becoming the first company in the world to pass $1 billion.

Bidstack Partners with Norwich City and BADU Sports for Charitable Initiative
In-game advertising company Bidstack has partnered with Norwich City, the Championship football club and BADU Sports, the sports education organisation, for an new charitable initiative. The three will work together to give students from underrepresented backgrounds the opportunity to attend, train and learn from various teams on the corporate and performance side of Norwich City Football Club.

Facebook Files Official Comments on Data Portability with Federal Trade Commission
Facebook this week submitted comments to the Federal Trade Commission as part of the FTC’s enquiry into the costs and benefits of data portability. Facebook’s comments ask that the FTC recommend dedicated federal portability legislation and provide advice to industry on policy and regulatory tensions.

The Week in TV

Room for Three Billion SVOD Subscriptions Across Major Media Markets
There is room for three billion additional streaming subscriptions across the world’s largest media markets, even though some territories are moving towards a ‘stacking ceiling’, according to research from Ampere Analysis. Ampere estimates that this maximum ceiling for SVOD services per household is highest in the US, at roughly eight. In Europe, the figure is lower, at between two to five services per household.

RTL CEO Calls for European Broadcaster Mergers
Thomas Rabe, CEO of RTL Group (and its parent company Bertelsmann) this week echoed his previous calls for European competition authorities to allow mergers between European broadcasters. “There is a strong case and a need for consolidation,” he told the Financial Times. “I’m convinced that partnerships are more important than ever, especially after the coronavirus, which hurt European TV broadcasters and has helped the US streaming platforms.”

Ad-Supported Streaming Growth is Outpacing SVOD in the US
Time spent on ad-supported streaming services in the US is growing faster than subscription video on-demand (SVOD), according to US measurement body Nielsen. Nielsen’s data shows that streaming as a whole has grown significantly as a whole over the last year. Streaming now accounts for 25 percent of total time spent watching TV, up from 16 percent last year. Read the full story on VAN.

Hulu Launches Creative Services for SMEs
Shortly after debuting self-service buying tools geared towards SMEs, Hulu has released new creative services designed to help small businesses start advertising on TV. The service will help brands either repurpose existing video for a streaming TV campaign, or start entirely from scratch.

Mediapro Secures Téléfoot Distribution on Bouygues Telecom
Spanish broadcaster Mediapro has secured an agreement with French telco Bougyues Telecom to distribute its new Téléfoot football channel to Bouygues subscribers.

Dropping Fees Gives Quibi Best Chance of Success says TDG
Dropping its subscription fee and becoming a solely ad-supported service will give mobile-first streaming platform Quibi its best chance of success, according to The Diffusion Group. Quibi has already launched completely free ad-supported tiers in Australia and New Zealand, and TDG says research it conducted earlier this year suggested it would attract significantly more users as a free app.

UK Monthly Spend on VOD Up £100 Million in Lockdown
Monthly spend on VOD services in the UK is up £100 million in lockdown, according to research from cloud video platform Grabyo, representing 25 percent growth.

IPTV Leads Pay TV Growth
Global pay TV subscriptions increased by 16 million to 1.028 billion in 2019 according to Digital TV Research. IPTV led this growth, adding 49 million new subscribers, while satellite and cable both lost subscribers.

Netflix Tests a Shuffle Button
Netflix has extended tests of a shuffle button, which will let viewers jump straight into a random film or TV show, a move designed to help users find content even when they have nothing specific in mind to watch.

The Week in Publishing

Viacom Mulls CNET Sale
Viacom is considering a sale of tech news and reviews site CNET to digital media holding co Red Ventures, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Viacom expects CNET to fetch around $500 million, according to the WSJ’s report.

Oracle Enters the Fray for TikTok Acquisition
Oracle has thrown its hat into the ring for a potential acquisition of video-sharing app TikTok, the Financial Times reported this week, joining fellow suitors Microsoft and Twitter. Under an executive order signed by US president Donald Trump, TikTok has under 90 days to find a buyer to separate its US operations from Chinese owner ByteDance, after which it will be banned in the US.

Bustle Digital Group Acquires W Magazine
Publisher Bustle Digital Group plans to acquire American fashion magazine W from Future Media, with plans to expand W’s digital operations according to Adweek.

Facebook Enables Events via Video Live Streams
Facebook this week rolled out a new feature which allows businesses to run paid live events via video streams. In doing so, Facebook added its voice to criticisms of Apple’s tight control of transactions on App Store apps. Facebook said it doesn’t take a cut of revenues from these live stream events, but Apple wouldn’t waive its 30 percent fee.

The Weather Channel Settles its Data Lawsuit
The Weather Channel app, operated by IBM, has settled its data lawsuit filed by the city of Los Angeles over use of data. The app was accused of tricking users into handing over data without explaining it would be passed on to third parties. But IBM has changed its data disclosure practices, and has pledged to donate $1 million worth of technology to the city and county.

Facebook Expands its Anti-Violence Policy
Facebook this week introduced updates to its anti-violence policy, announcing it is taking action against Facebook Pages, Groups and Instagram accounts tied to offline anarchist groups that support violent acts amidst protests, US-based militia organisations and QAnon.

The Week for Agencies

IPG Mediabrands Finds YouTube to be Most Responsible Social Platform
Interpublic Group’s media buying unit IPG Mediabrands this week released its first media responsibility audit, aimed at tracking brand safety and responsibility from the social platforms. YouTube ranked top, which IPG said was thanks to changes it made to brand safety measures after its brand safety crisis three years ago.

IPG’s Kinesso Opens Up APIs to Third-Parties
Interpublic Group’s Kinesso is open up its owned and operated APIs to third-parties, Adweek reported this week. IPG says the move will make it easier and more cost effective for its clients to work with third-party tech solutions and platforms.

Zenith Wins TikTok Media Buying Account
TikTok this week shifted its global media buying account to Publicis media agency Zenith, effective next month. TikTok’s media account was previously handled by PHD.

Starcom and Carat Reportedly in the Running for Kraft Heinz Account
Publicis Groupe’s Starcom and Dentsu Aegis’ Carat are in the running for Kraft Heinz’s media account, according to AgencySpy. Starcom, the incumbent, is expected to retain media planning and buying in North America, while the international account is still being decided.

Brands’ Keyword Blocking Down Year-on-Year
Despite the controversy around brand keyword blocking of terms relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests, keyword blocking as a whole is lower this year than it was in 2019 according to DoubleVerify. DoubleVerify said that overall, the rate at which ads have been pulled due to keyword blocklisting has been down by three percent year-on-year.

Hires of the Week

Kirk McDonald Appointed NA CEO of GroupM
WPP has appointed Kirk McDonald as its new North America CEO. McDonald arrives from Xandr, where he was chief business officer.

Jack Smith Joins DoubleVerify as Chief Product Officer
DoubleVerify this week announced that Jack Smith has joined the company as global chief product officer. Smith previously worked at GroupM, where he held the same role.

Rishad Tobaccowala Joins LoopMe’s Advisory Board
Attribution company LoopMe announced this week that Rishad Tobaccowala, former chief growth officer at Publicis, has joined its Data Advisory Board.

This Week on VAN

SMEs Are Experimenting with In-House Video Production during Lockdown, read more on VAN

Brands are Mostly Just Reposting TikToks on Instagram’s Reels, read more on VAN

Ad-Supported Streaming Growth is Outpacing SVOD in the US, read more on VAN

VideoWeek Podcast #14, Liam Brennan, Mediacom, listen on VAN

Ad of the Week

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