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The WIR: DoubleVerify Files for an IPO, Amazon Goes All-In on Live Sports, and iProspect Reveals New Global Positioning

Tim Cross  19 March, 2021

In this week’s Week in Review: DoubleVerify files for an IPO, Amazon wins exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football, and iProspect pitches its services as s a blend of performance and brand-building.

Top Stories

DoubleVerify Files for an IPO
Measurement and verification specialist DoubleVerify filed for an initial public offering (IPO) this week, the latest ad tech companies looking to take advantage of Wall Street optimism towards the tech sector. DoubleVerify’s S-1 filing doesn’t outline exactly how much the company is seeking to raise, though reports last year suggested it would be seeking a valuation of around $5 billion.

This would represent quick growth for the business, which was valued at roughly $300 million after private equity firm Providence took a majority stake in the company in 2017. But the S-1 filings revealed that DoubleVerify’s revenues have surged in recent years, from $104 million in 2018 to $224 million last year. And net income grew from $3 million to $20.4 million in the same period.

Amazon Doubles Down on Sports with NFL Rights Deal
The NFL has signed a deal that would expand its presence on streaming platforms, most notably allowing Amazon Prime to exclusively screen Thursday Night Games. The deal begins with the 2023 season and extends through to 2033. While the financial specifics of the deal have not been revealed, it is rumoured to be costing Amazon around $1 billion a year, according to NBC sources.

“NFL games are the most watched live programming in the United States, and this unprecedented Thursday Night Football package gives tens of millions of new and existing Prime members exclusive access to must-watch live football on Prime Video,” said Mike Hopkins, SVP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios in a press release.

While Amazon has been experimenting with live sports for a few years, this deal represents Amazon’s biggest commitment so far to mainstream sports streaming. And there may be more big deals in the pipeline too. F1’s director of media rights, Ian Holmes, this week revealed that the motorsport was in “specific discussions” with Amazon about the possibility of streaming races on the platform.

iProspect Repositions as ‘Performance-Driven Brand Building’ Specialist
Agency holding group Dentsu is repositioning media agency iProspect as an end-to-end global media shop which combines performance marketing with brand-building. Dentsu hopes to carve out a unique proposition for the new-look iProsepct as it completes its merger with fellow Dentsu-holding Vizeum.

The merger was designed to place iProspect as one of three major media agency shops within Dentsu, alongside Carat and Dentsu X, with all of Dentsu’s media agencies being folded into these three. iProspect’s focus will be on blending performance marketing with brand-building. “When we talk about performance marketing and brand building, it’s one ecosystem,” Peter Huijboom, global CEO for media and global clients at Dentsu International told Campaign Asia. “Increasingly, we have been bringing these teams together on behalf of our clients.”

The Week in Tech

Google Scrapping Third-Party Cookies Prompts US Antitrust Scrutiny
Google’s decision to get rid of third-party cookies is a “source of concern” for the US Justice Department, who may look into the move on antitrust grounds, Reuters reported on Thursday. Questions from the US investigators centre around what effect the removal of third-party cookies would have on the advertising and news industries. Executives from around a dozen companies from different sectors have spoken to the investigators.

French Competition Authority Rejects Complaint Against Apple’s IDFA Changes
The French Competition Authority has rejected a request to block Apple’s new privacy measures, which will force app developers to ask for explicit consent to use Apple’s advertising identifier. The request was brought by advertising lobbies, who hoped to challenge the introduction of the new privacy measures on antitrust grounds. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Sprinklr Files to Go Public
Sprinklr, a marketing software startup founded in 2009, has confidentially filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. The company has high-profile clients such as Microsoft and Verizon and provides software that helps clients with advertising and marketing. Sprinklr did not disclose how many shares would be on offer, or their value.

Chinese Government Asks Alibaba to Sell Media Assets
The Chinese Government has asked e-commerce group Alibaba to sell off some of its media assets, as officials have grown more concerned about the influence that big tech companies have over public opinion in the country. Alibaba holds a long list of media assets including stakes in popular Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo, and the English-language newspaper South China Morning Post which operates in Hong Kong.

One-Third of Smartphone Owners Will Not Allow Tracking Under Any Circumstances
Smartphone owners are extremely cautious about marketers’ use of their data, with one-third saying they won’t allow tracking under any circumstances, according to new research from AppsFlyer and MMA Global. The survey of US smartphone owners found that the majority are “very” to “extremely” concerned about the use of personal online data by companies. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Amobee and InfoSum Partner on Alternate Identifiers
Amobee and InfoSum have announced a partnership to bring alternative identifiers to advertiser and publisher clients. The partnership will allow both Amobee and InfoSum to offer their clients access to identity and media buying solutions through InfoSum’s customer data ecosystem, and Amobee’s cross-screen and programmatic advertising platform. The identity solutions offered will be privacy-compliant and aim to guard against the devaluation of third-party cookies.

IAB Europe Backs Didomi’s QR Code Approach to CTV Consent Collection
Didomi, a European consent-management platform (CMP), has this week announced that it is expanding its solution to allow consent to be collected on connected-TV CTV devices and applications. The company says its CMP, which uses QR codes to let users read through full privacy policies on their phones, is the first to have been deemed compliant with IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Research Shows Consumers More Likely to Buy From Contextually Relevant Ads
Research from the Channel Factory shows that consumers are more likely to buy based on adverts if the brands are relevant to the content they are watching. Their research found that 73 percent of consumers would be more likely to buy from brands whose advertising is relevant to the content they are viewing on YouTube. The research also found that more than half of consumers would have a negative opinion of brands who run their ads on content made by creators whose social values they disagree with.

The Week in TV

Ad-supported HBO Max Streaming Service to Launch in June
HBO is to launch its long-awaited ad-supported version of its streaming service in June. HBO has long been ad-free, but will now introduce a cheaper version of its streaming service that includes ads. AT&T revealed the news in a recent call with investors, stating that it had $80 million in upfront commitments from marketers who wanted to place advertisements on the new service.

Fox to Invest in “Cost-Effective” Original Content for Tubi
Fox plans to invest in its OTT offering Tubi, partly by procuring more original content for the platform. Fox purchased AVOD service Tubi last year for $440 million, and CEO Lachlan Murdoch predicts it will be worth a billion in a few years time. Fox CFO Steve Tomsic said last week that the company was looking to commission more “cost-effective” original content for Tubi, saying that it had already had some success in the area.

Wells Fargo Analyst Calls for Comcast to Split Off NBCUniversal
A Wells Fargo Analyst has called for Comcast to split off from NBCUniversal, saying that he believes the company would be more profitable apart. Steven Cahall covers the cable distribution sector and wrote in a report on Wednesday that undoing the ten years’ old merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal would “unlock profit”.

Password-Sharing on Netflix to be Made More Difficult
Netflix is set to start cracking down on password-sharing between people who do not live in the same household. Netflix has not confirmed whether the planned crack on the practice would require each customer to authenticate their identity, only that it would target those from different households who share passwords

Channel 4 and E4 Launch on TikTok
Channel 4 and TikTok have announced a partnership which is aimed at serving young audiences. Channel 4’s collaboration with TikTok is part of the channel’s Future4 digital strategy and will see the broadcaster trialling the use of branded content on the short-form video platform. Channel 4 will release exclusive content on TikTok featuring some its most popular shows and stars. 

@channel4We’ve all had a curry with a ‘Jeremy’ ##peepshow♬ original sound – Channel 4

BBC to Move Key Jobs Out of London
In a bid to be less London-centric, the BBC is to move more news, television and radio jobs out of the capital. The BBC says the move, which will result in 400 jobs being relocated to other regions of the UK, is to better represent the public service broadcaster’s audience. 200 journalists are among those whose jobs have been moved. Key programmes like Newsnight and Radio 4 programme Today will be presented from different regional bases. 

Advertising Spending in Italy Set to Grow Four Percent This Year
Advertising spending in Italy is expected to grow by four percent in 2021, the chairman of national advertising group UPA said on Tuesday. The rise is partly down to a recovery from the slump in 2020 which was caused by the financial impact of coronavirus. Under this scenario, television advertising would grow in line with the average, while online advertising would do a little better.

EDO Partners with Univision on AVOD Measurement Solution
EDO has expanded its Ad EnGage measurement solution so that it can be used in AVOD environments, which are traditionally a blindspot for marketers. The measurement tool is designed to measure ad activity on AVOD platforms like Hulu, ParamountPlus, Peacock and Hulu. Those who use the platform will get insight into ad occurrence, targeting and messaging strategies and trends. They can monitor both the performance of their campaigns and those of their competitors. 

The Week in Publishing

Facebook and News Corp Reach Deal in Australia
News Corp said on Monday that it had reached a three-year deal with Facebook to let the social media platform feature news from some of its Australian media companies, which are among the biggest in the country. The deal follows a new law passed by the Australian Government, which effectively requires Facebook to negotiate with publishers over payment for stories. The financial specifics of this deal have not been disclosed.

Reach to Close London Offices
UK local news publisher Reach is planning to close its London office, and have most staff permanently working from home, according to City A.M. Reach, which owns the Daily Mirror, Daily Express, and Daily Star, is making the move as a cost-cutting measure which will help prevent staff redundancies.

Improperly Collected Grindr Data Should Be Deleted, Norwegian Watchdog Says
Norway should force dating app Grindr to delete data that it collected improperly, says Norway’s influential Consumer Council. Earlier this year the Norwegian Data Authority said it planned to fine the app 100 million Norwegian crowns ($11.8 million) for what it said was illegal disclosure of data to advertising companies.  The Consumer Council has said that the Authority should now force Grindr to identify and delete this data, which they say could still be being used.

Facebook and Google Fight Against Bill to Help US News Industry
Facebook and Google are lobbying against a new US bill which would aim to help news publishers by allowing them to negotiate collectively with the tech companies around revenue sharing and other deals. The bill was introduced by US lawmakers in Congress and is aimed at redressing the perceived power imbalance between big tech companies like Google and Facebook and news organisations, many of whom are struggling to keep afloat.

Telegram May Turn to Ads to Raise $700 Million Debt
Telegram may start showing ads in a bid to pay off the $700 million debt that it owes to creditors, WSJ reports. Despite enjoying a year where it added tens of millions of users, the messaging and social media service needs to pay its creditors $700 million by the end of April. One option that the company is looking at to pay off its debts is putting adverts in its public channels. Advertising can be difficult to integrate into the user experience on messaging platforms like Telegram.

Instagram Plans Separate App for Under-13s
Facebook confirmed plans this week to create a separate version of its photo-sharing app Instagram specifically for under-13s, as a child protection measure. Instagram also unveiled new safety features for younger users on its main app, including the use of “privacy conscious” AI to determine the actual age of its users and apply age-appropriate features.

The Week for Agencies

Sir Martin Sorrell Eyes 20 Percent Profit Growth for S4 Capital This Year
S4 Capital’s executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell expects a prompt recovery for the global economy this year, telling Reuters that tech and healthcare are leading an ad spend recovery. Sorrell said he expects his company to meet the top end of market expectations of 15-20 percent growth in like-for-like gross profit this year.

UK Ad Exports Jumped Seven Percent in 2019
The Advertising Association published its annual UK Advertising Exports Report this week, showing that international trade in UK advertising and market research services grew 7 percent year-on-year to reach a new record level of £11bn in 2019The AA said this trend was largely driven by UK companies gearing more of their business towards international clients.

Soap Media Tops UK Digital Agency Census for Client Satisfaction
Soap Media topped The Drum’s UK Digital Agency Census, which surveyed agency clients over their satisfaction with agency partners. Brave Spark, Adtrak, Push Group and Kyan completed the top five.

Zimmerman Advertising Reportedly Pressures Staff Over Swift Office Return
Zimmerman Advertising president Ronnie Haligman has reportedly been pressuring staff to quickly return to the office as COVID measures allow, according to AgencySpy. Two Zimmerman employees reported one-on-one calls with Haligman, with one saying they felt their job was at stake, depending on how that conversation went.

Hires of the Week

Mediahub Appoints Sean Corcoran as US CEO
Interpublic Group-owned media agency Mediahub has promoted its US president Sean Corcoran as its first US CEO. Corcoran has held the role of president since 2019.

Leslie Sims Picked as Chief Creative Officer at Deloitte Digital
Leslie Sims has been appointed as Deloitte Digital’s new chief creative officer. Sims has held the CCO role at a number of agencies, most recently WPP’s Ogilvy.

Jeremi Gorman Joins Samba TV’s Board of Directors
Jeremi Gorman, who currently as chief business officer at Snap, as been appointed to real-time TV data specialist Samba TV’s board of directors.

This Week on VideoWeek

Breaking Up Big Tech’s Data Stockpiles Could Reign In the Tech Giants, read more on VideoWeek

IAB Europe Backs Didomi’s QR Code Approach to CTV Consent Collection, read more on VideoWeek

VideoWeek Podcast #23 Founders: Amy Williams, Good-Loop, listen on VideoWeek

Hyper-Targeting Has Been a Crutch for Weak Creative says VidMob’s Alex Collmer, read more on VideoWeek

French Competition Authority Rejects Complaint Against Apple’s IDFA Changes, read more on VideoWeek

One-Third of Smartphone Owners Will Not Allow Tracking Under Any Circumstances, read more on VideoWeek

The California Privacy Rights Act Explained, read more on VideoWeek

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Apple, Jump, TBWA

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