The WIR: IRIS.TV Raises $18 Million, DAZN Mulls Over IPO, and New UK Regulator Targets Tech Giants

Tim Cross 09 April, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: IRIS.TV Raises $18 Million, Google says programmatic TV is growing rapidly, and the UK’s new Digital Markets Unit launches to target the tech giants.

Top Stories

Intel Invests Leads $18 Million Investment Round in IRIS.TV
Intel Capital has led an $18 million Series B investment into IRIS.TV Inc, a video data firm that provides information on video content to allow marketers to target ads based on context. Intel Capital is the investment arm of Intel Corp, and backed the contextual solution as the deadline for the degradation of third-party cookies draws closer. 

IRIS.TV provides marketers the ability to target consumers based on the content of a particular TV show or movie, rather than on the user’s identity. IRIS.TV can provide analysis on videos that are viewed on computers and mobile phones, but the company is particularly interested in expanding in the CTV market. 

“We are looking at companies that are addressing large, growing markets,” Andy Fligel, senior managing director at Intel Capital said. “Video streaming and connected TV meets that definition—that’s a trend that we think will be unabated for years to come.”

DAZN Weighs Up IPO
Sports streaming specialist DAZN is reportedly considering an IPO as it targets further growth. Co-CEO James Rushton told Reuters that “if circumstances were right, I can see us tapping the public capital markets or the private capital markets over the next few years.” Rushton added that DAZN may look to compete for English Premier League rights once the tender comes out – which could potentially mark DAZN’s biggest sports rights bid yet.

DAZN has been considering its options having been hit hard by the pandemic, with the vast majority of live sports cancelled. The pandemic put the breaks on DAZN’s plans for a global rollout, delaying the expansion until December last year.

New UK Regulator Will Aim to Curb Influence of Google and Facebook
The Digital Markets Unit (DMU) is being set up in the UK and will look to establish a new code of conduct to regulate the relationship between tech platforms and news providers. 

The new unit will be “unashamedly pro-competition” and will seek to prevent big tech companies from abusing their market dominance. The DMU will be set up inside the existing Competition and Markets Authority. 

The recent row in Australia between the Government and big tech companies highlighted how Google and Facebook’s dominance has created a difficult atmosphere for local news organizations. The new regulator in the UK will seek to even the playing field. 

The Week in Tech

Google Wins Long Running Legal Battle with Oracle
Google this week came out on top in a legal battle with software giant Oracle, over Google’s use of Oracle’s Java API in its Android phone operating system. The US Supreme Court ruled that Google’s use of the code did not represent copyright infringement, saying that Google was entitled to use the code under fair use protections.

Publicis Groupe Signs Up to Trade Desk’s Cookie Alternative
Publicis has signed a deal with Trade Desk, aimed at ensuring its customers can still use targeting after the degradation of third-party cookies. The deal will give Epsilon, the data firm owned by Publicis access to Trade Desk’s Unified ID solution. The unified ID aims to build consumer profiles based on anonymised information like email addresses, the information is scrambled to protect privacy.

Apple Begins Rejecting Apps That Conflict With IDFA Changes
Apple has been rejecting app updates that conflict with its privacy updates in iOS 14, Forbes reports. The apps that Apple have been rejecting are those that use fingerprinting technology. Forbes reports that a software development kit from mobile measurement company Adjust may be what’s causing the problems. 

SpotX Reports Record Performance in 2020
SpotX has reported record revenues in 2020, despite the impact of the pandemic. It reported seeing 42 percent year-on-year growth in global ad spend on the platform. Much of the growth was driven by SpotX’s CTV clients, who now account for 70 percent of overall ad spend. SpotX opted to invest in the CTV market, something which it says is now paying dividends.

Digital Ad-Auctioneers Asked to Name Foreign Clients by US Senators
A group of bipartisan US senators have called on digital advertisers to name their foreign clients, as the user-targeting ability of tech companies draws national security concerns.

A group of senators led by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden have sent a letter to some of the largest companies who run ad auctions AT&T Inc., Index Exchange Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Magnite Inc., OpenX Software Ltd., PubMatic Inc., Twitter Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc, asking them to ensure that companies who join ad auctions will not use the information they obtain during them for anything other than ad sales. 

Amazon Surpasses 10 Percent Share of US Digital Ad Market
Amazon now has a 10.3 percent share of the US digital advertising market, according to eMarketer. The e-commerce giant’s share of the market was 7.8 percent in 2019. 2020 was a good year for Amazon advertising, which grew 52 percent. 

The report by eMarketer predicts that Amazon’s share of the advertising market will continue to grow. Only Google and Facebook are ahead of Amazon in terms of share of the ad market, but this report predicts that the e-commerce site will continue to gain on its rivals. 

LiveRamp Integrates ID Products With Google Cloud
LiveRamp has partnered with Google, and will bring its identity products to the Cloud. The two companies were already working together on data changes, but this integration in the Cloud will make it easier for marketers to apply LiveRamp identity solutions to their analytics and measurement that take place in Google Cloud.

AppLovin Aims for $30 Billion Valuation in IPO
AppLovin, a mobile app and gaming company said on Wednesday that it is aiming for a valuation of more than $30 billion in its US initial public offering. AppLovin is backed by private equity firm KKR & Co., and is aiming to raise as much as $2.13 billion by selling 25 million shares at a price range of $75 to $85 per share.

Privacy Complaint Filed Against Google in France Over Android Advertising Tool
Google failed to get users’ consent for its Android advertising tool, alleges a complaint filed against the tech company by a privacy activist in France. Privacy activist Max Schrems’ group, Noyb filed a complaint against Google with France’s privacy regulator CNIL. The group alleges that Google places identifiers on users’ Android phones without their knowledge.

Samba TV Announces Partnership With Pubmatic
Samba TV has announced a multi-market partnership with Pubmatic. The partnership will combine Samba TV’s CTV first-party data with Pubmatic’s SSP platform. The deal will bring advertisers these capabilities across four European markets: the UK, Germany, France and Italy. 

The Week in TV

Roku Announces Plans for Roku Recommends
Roku plans to launch Roku Recommends, a new brand-sponsored video format for promoting content across its platform. Roku has been pitching agency executives on sponsoring videos which promote content on its CTV platform, reports Digiday. The format is expected to be introduced in Q2 or Q3. 

Netflix Lost Almost A Third of Its Market Share in 2020
Netflix lost 31 percent of its market share in 2020, as other SVOD services entered the market, according to Ampere Analysis. Despite actually gaining over 40 million subscribers in 2020, the streaming company now has a smaller slice of the pie, as more competitors enter the market. New competitors like HBO Max and Peacock meant that Netflix’s share of the global market dropped from 29 percent in 2019, to 20 percent in 2020. According to Ampere, other existing streaming services also saw their share of the market drop, with Amazon Prime’s market share decreasing from 23 percent to 16 percent. 

Programmatic TV Ad Impressions Grew by 70 Percent in Q4, According to Google Ads TV Report
Google Ads Manager released a 2020 Advanced TV Inventory Report, which showed impressive growth in programmatic advertising, despite the impact of the pandemic. In Q4 2020, the figures from Google showed that programmatic impressions grew by more than 70 percent.

While traditional reservations still make up the majority of transactions, these suffered a big loss when the pandemic hit. In Q2 2020, these fell by 35 percent year-on-year. In contrast, programmatic advertising only fell by one percent in that same quarter.

Pluto TV Predicted to Pass $1 Billion in US Ad Revenues in 2022
Pluto TV, Viacom CBS’s free streaming service, will surpass $1 billion in ad revenues in 2022, predicts eMarketer. eMarketer predicts continued growth for the SVOD over the next couple of years, it says Pluto TV will receive $786.7 million in US ad revenue in 2021, a figure which would represent a growth of 77.7 percent.

Finecast Announces New TV Supply Partners
Finecast announced on Wednesday that it is extending its TV reach by teaming up with four new supply partners; Roku, Rakuten, Pluto and YuppTV. The supply partnership represents Finecast reaching out beyond traditional broadcasters. The move will enable advertisers to reach and measure audiences at scale across the platforms. 

The Week in Publishing

Private Investors Make $680 Million Bid for Tribune Publishing
Hotel magnate Stewart Bainum and Swiss billionaire Hansjörg Wyss have made a $680 million offer for US publishing group Tribune which is now favoured to beat out a rival offer from hedge fund Alden Global Capital. A win for the private investors would be a win for Alden’s critics, who say Alden has been overly aggressive in its cost-cutting measures, which would hurt the local news industry.

Byron Allen and Verizon to Run Black-Owned Media Summit
American media mogul Byron Allen is partnering with Verizon to launch a Black-owned media summit this May, which aims to promote Black-owned media and encourage more ad spending with these businesses. Allen recently called out US car manufacturer GM for a lack of spending with Black-owned media, sparking renewed conversations around advertisers’ bias against Black-owned media.

TikTok Still Most Downloaded App in Q1
TikTok’s impressive growth continued into Q1 this year according to app analytics company App Annie, as TikTok was the most downloaded app globally during the quarter. TikTok was followed by Facebook, Instagram, Telegram and WhatsApp.

Pinterest Expands Ad Business to Latin America
Social sharing site Pinterest has expanded its advertising business into Latin America, Bloomberg reported this week, starting with Brazil. The vast majority of Pinterest ad revenues come from the US, despite that fact the most Pinterest users are outside America.

Twitter and Nielsen Integrate to Expand Video Ad Reach
Twitter is expanding its integration with Nielson to increase the reach of the social media site’s video ad platform. Twitter will use Nielsen’s audience measurement and cross-media planning tools to attract more advertisers to their Twitter Amplify platform. 

Twitter Amplify consists of professionally produced videos hosted on Twitter from a range of publishers such as the NBA, NFL and NBCUniversal.

YouTube to Share Violative View Rate Metric
YouTube will begin sharing a new ‘violative view rate’ metric which will show the percentage of views on the platform which come from content that violates YouTube’s policies. The metric will be shared in YouTube’s Community Guidelines Enforcement Report. The most recent VVR, for Q4 2020, was between 0.16 to 0.18 percent.

Facebook Introduce Dynamic Ads for Streaming Services
Facebook is introducing a new specialist ad service, Dynamic Ads for Streaming, which allows video streaming brands to showcase particular content to relevant audiences. The new feature, which became available for advertisers to use yesterday, allows streaming services to showcase their whole content library, without having to create individual ads for each piece of content. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

The Week for Agencies

TikTok Grants IPG Mediabrands Preferred Access to Creators
Interpublic Group’s media buying arm IPG Mediabrands has signed a deal with video-sharing platform TikTok which will see Mediabrands get enhanced access to TikTok creators. The initiative, called The Creator Collective, will see TikTok creators meet with IPG clients each quarter to provide feedback on their campaign plans.

GroupM to Take More Responsibility Focussed Approach to Media Buying
WPP’s media buying arm GroupM this week announced its new “Responsible Investment” buying framework. GroupM says the framework’s five focus areas – brand safety, data ethics, DE&I, responsible journalism and sustainability – signals a new media era where scale serves clients through a commitment to make advertising work better for people.

Cannes Lions Scraps Plans for In-Person Event
The Cannes Lions festival has announced it plans to run this year’s event virtually, scrapping previous plans to hold the event in-person. “Over the last year, we’ve been consulting with our customers and working on our plans, including the development of Cannes Lions Live as part of the new Lions Membership platform,” said Philip Thomas, chairman of Cannes Lions. “We are now able to move fully to this format for 2021 – which will have all the celebration, inspiration and participation of Cannes Lions – to unite the global community virtually during Cannes Lions Live this June.”

Digital Ad Spend Grew 12 Percent in 2020 Despite Pandemic
The IAB’s latest Internet Advertising Revenue report, which found that digital ad spend grew 12 percent year-on-year in 2020, despite the pandemic. The report also found that programmatic revenues grew by nearly 25 percent last year.

US Advertising Employment Grew by 2,200 Jobs in March
The job market in advertising is continuing to recover in the US, AdAge reported this week, with employment in advertising, public relations, and related services increasing by 2,200 in March alone.

Unilever Kicks Off Massive Media Review
FMCG giant Unilever has formally kicked off a media review covering North America and most of the world, with a mix of incumbents and new entrants pitching for work. This represents Unilever’s biggest media review since 2015, according to AdAge.

Hires of the Week

Fernando Machado Joins Activision Blizzard as CMO
Fernando Machado, who just recently announced his departure as Burger King’s chief marketer, has been chosen for the CMO role at games publisher Activision Blizzard.

IPG Mediabrands Announces Two Global Leadership Appointments
Marlene Pelage-Bates joins IPG as Global CFO from Charles Schwab. Meanwhile Guy Beach has been promoted to global president.

DoubleVerify Appoints New CSO, Doug Campbell
DoubleVerify this week announced the appointment of Doug Campbell as chief strategy officer. In his role, Campbell will be responsible for global strategy and corporate development.

George Rogers, Former WPP Exec, Joins The Fantastical
The former WPP Global Business Director, George Rogers has joined the small strategic and creative agency, The Fantastical. Rogers joins the Boston-based agency as Chief Operating Officer.

This Week on VideoWeek

How Bloomberg Media’s Streaming Service Built a Seven Million Strong Audience in Four Months, read on VideoWeek

Facebook Introduce Dynamic Ads for Streaming Services, read on VideoWeek

Context Isn’t a Silver Bullet for Replacing Third-Party Cookies, read on VideoWeek

The Definition Wars: CTV vs. OTT, read on VideoWeek

How to Demystify the Future of Identity Through Testing and Collaboration, read on VideoWeek

Agencies Are Betting Big on In-Game Advertising, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Mint Mobile, Dream Job Maximum Effort Productions


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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