The WIR: ITV Forecasts 90 Percent Ad Revenue Growth in June, Buyers Shift Budgets from Broadcast to CTV, and YouTube Unveils New CTV Formats

07 May, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: ITV forecasts rapid ad revenue growth, IAB charts budgets shifting to CTV, and YouTube touts its CTV credentials.

Top Stories

ITV Forecasts 90 Percent Advertising Growth in June
ITV is forecasting that their ad revenue will make a bounce-back in coming months, predicted that June will see growth of 90 percent year over year. ITV posted their Q1 2021 results this week revealing a six percent year over year decline in advertising revenue. 

The pandemic began to impact the UK in March 2020, the year over year results show that ITV’s ad revenues for January were down nine percent, February down 15 percent, but March was up eight percent. ITV is predicting that the March figures will just be the start of ad revenue recovery. In their financial report they said that The broadcaster said total ad revenue was up by 68 percent year over year in April and is forecast to be up by about 85 percent in May and between 85 percent and 90 percent in June. 

ITV is counting on its TV events, which it said is generating a lot of interest from advertisers. These include the Euro 2020 football tournament (which was delayed from last year) and reality TV show Love Island (which was also cancelled last year).

Three Quarters of Buyers are Shifting Budgets from Broadcast to CTV
CTV saw its highest gains to date in ad spend in 2020, growing 22 percent year over year. The figures come from the IAB’s 2020 Digital Video Advertising Spend Report, and were released at the IAB 2021 New Fronts. The report says that CTV ad spend rose from $16.4 million in 2019 to $20 million last year. 

Digital video ad spend is a whole is on the up, and is projected to outpace linear TV ad spend in 2021. Nearly three quarters (73 percent) of buyers report that they are shifting budget from broadcast and cable advertising to CTV in 2021.

“This is a bellwether moment in media that reflects the continued acceleration and shift to digital,” Eric John, vice president of IAB Media Center stated. “While we are seeing growth across all digital video, the movement to more audience-based buying approaches has resulted in increased buyer demand for CTV.”

YouTube Unveiled New Made-for-CTV Ad Formats and Content
YouTube placed connected-TV centre stage at its NewFronts presentation this year, revealing new CTV ad formats and pitching the strength of its content in the living room.

YouTube unveiled a new shoppable ad format for connected TVs called “brand extensions”. Unlike similar products which use QR codes, users click a ‘send to phone’ button on their TV which then opens an ecommerce URL to their mobile. The video platform says it’s working on other interactive ad products for CTV which it will release further down the line.

And YouTube also unveiled a slate of original content commissioned for the year ahead, including new shows with actor Will Smith and musician Alicia Keys.

The Week in Tech

Verizon to Sell Digital Media Assets to Apollo
Verizon is selling its digital media group, which includes Yahoo and AOL, to Apollo Global Management for an agreed price of around $5 billion. Verizon is moving out of the digital media space to focus on its primary telecoms business. Yahoo and AOL are being sold for much less than Verizon bought them for. Verizon bought AOL in 2015 for $4.4 billion, and Yahoo in 2017 for $4.5 billion.

Peach Launches New Global Digital Video Ad Delivery Platform
Global video ad management platform Peach this week launched a new convergent video offering which makes its linear TV and digital video distribution services available in one place. Peach described the product as an end-to-end, collaborative platform for sourcing and distributing content. “Since its launch in 1996, Peach has been shaking up the way advertising content is managed and helps power the world’s most ambitious creative. We’re proud to unveil our new and improved platform that delivers collaboration, quality, visibility and increased efficiency,” said Ben Regensburger, CEO at Peach.

PubMatic Extends Its Fraud-Free Program to CTV
PubMatic announced on Tuesday that it would be extending its fraud-free program for premium CTV and OTT inventory. The program carries the option for demand-side platforms to get their money back if fraud is verified on PubMatic’s platform. The program is designed to expand scale and engagement opportunities for buyers and allow the CTV sector to develop from a limited number of top-tier channels and apps, to a broader range of channels and apps.

Magnite Closes SpotX Acquisition
Magnite formally completed its $1.14 billion acquisition of video ad tech business SpotX from RTL Group this week after the move was cleared by competition authorities. “Acquiring SpotX positions us to become the world’s largest, independent source of highly-coveted CTV and video inventory,” said Magnite CEO Michael Barrett. “Two-thirds of our revenue is now concentrated in the fastest-growing segments of the market, and as linear TV dollars move to CTV, the greatest opportunity is still ahead of us.”

Zynga Acquires Chartboost for $250 Million
Mobile games company Zynga is buying mobile advertising platform Chartboost for $250 million. Zynga CEO Frank Gibeau had earlier indicated an interest in ad tech during the company’s Q4 2020 earnings report in February, he said then that Zynga was looking to buy an ad tech asset as the company was building its own ad network. The $250 million acquisition of Chartboost is a notably good result for the mobile advertising platform, which has raised just $21 million since its $2 million Series A in 2011.

7th Minute selected by Publicis Media initiative NextTECHNow
7th Minute, a broadcast data company, has been selected as an official partner by Publicis Media initiative NextTECHNow. The scheme, which matches the agency’s clients with start-ups whose innovative technology will boost their business, will see 7th Minute provide advertisers with data-driven insight that informs their media planning and decision-making.

The move comes as 7th Minute launches its 7M Insights-as-a-Service platform. The cloud-based offering uses granular TV contextual data and in-depth analysis to determine the specific steps advertisers need to take to deliver on their business goals.

JW Player Acquires Vualto
JW Player, a video software and data insights platform, is acquiring VUALTO, a live and on-demand video streaming and Digital Rights Management (DRM) solutions provider for an undisclosed fee. Dave Otten, CEO and co-founder of JW Player, said, “Over the past two years, digital video has become ubiquitous. We now live in the digital video economy, and as a platform company that empowers our customers with independence and control, JW Player is uniquely positioned to succeed in this environment.

The Week in TV

RTL Gains Half a Million Subscribers in Q1
RTL Group posted organic revenue growth of 3.9 percent year-on-year, as it saw impressive growth to its various streaming businesses. The European media giant added over 500,000 new paying subscribers in the first three months of this year alone, and streaming revenues from its TV Now and Videoland products were up 40.5 percent year-on-year.

Meredith Sells Local Television Business to Gray for $2.7 Billion
Meredith is selling its broadcast-media branch to Gray for $2.7 billion. Gray has purchased Meredith’s broadcast business which operates 17 television stations that reach 11 percent of US households. Meredith says the deal will allow them to better focus on their magazine and digital-media properties. 

YouTube TV App Removed from Roku
Roku has removed YouTube TV from its channel store following a carriage dispute. The carriage dispute was over Roku’s allegations that Google was acting in an anti-competitive manner. The more popular free YouTube app remains on Roku, and those who have already downloaded YouTube TV on their Roku device will be able to keep using it.

fuboTV Launches Branded Content Studio
fuboTV, a sports focused streaming service, announced that it is launching a branded content studio. The streaming platform is also partnering with LiveRamp to boost its addressable advertising ability. The new studio will allow sponsors to partner with fuboTV’s creative team to make branded content. 

IMDb TV To Expand Original Content
Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming service IMDb TV is to expand its original content offering. It is to offer more scripted content, as well as unscripted shows and TV which resembles traditional daytime TV content. The announcement came before Amazon’s presentation at NewFronts. 

ViacomCBS Achieves Strong Profits
ViacomCBS has achieved strong profits in Q1 2021, thanks to increased ad sales as well as added streaming subscribers. The company attracted six million new streaming subscribers to its services, including Paramount Plus. ViacomCBS reported that revenue increased 14 percent to $7.41 billion, up from nearly $6.5 billion in Q1 2020 quarter. The TV network enjoyed increased ad sales from the Super Bowl LV. 

Tubi’s Revenue is Up, as Fox’s Cable Business Struggles
Fox says that Tubi, its free AVOD service, is projected to hit $350 million in ad revenue this year, amidst declining TV advertising revenue elsewhere. Fox ‘s TV advertising declined in Q1 2021, down 23 percent to $1.2 billion. However, Tubi is a bright spot in the business, Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox Corp., said in February he could see Tubi becoming a $1 billion business in the next few years. 

Vivendi and Mediaset End Hostilities
Vivendi and Mediaset have agreed to end hostilities between each other ending five years of open disputes that included rounds of litigation. French group Vivendi is Italian broadcaster Mediaset’s second-largest investor. A collapsed pay-TV deal in 2016 brought the two companies into conflict with each other. The new deal between the two will see Vivendi drastically cut its stake in Mediaset. 

Crackle Plus to Launch New AVOD Service
Free ad-supported streaming provider Crackle Plus is undergoing a redesign, and adding a new streaming service to its portfolio. The new AVOD service, Chicken Soup for the Soul (named after Crackle Plus’ parent company) will sit alongside Crackle and Popcornflix under the Crackle Plus umbrella, and will feature “inspiring, uplifting and informative [content…] designed to help viewers live a better life”.

Global Pay TV Subscriptions to Surpass One Billion This Year
The total number of global pay TV subscriptions will pass one billion this year according to Digital TV Research, though the rate of growth is slowing down. IPTV subscriptions will be the main source of growth, according to Digital TV Research.

The Week in Publishing

Reach Sees 35 Percent Growth in Digital Revenues
UK news publisher Reach said this week that its annual operating profit is on track to beat market expectations after a strong start to the year. Reach said that in the four months up to April 25th, digital revenues were up 35 percent year-on-year as its registered user count jumped to 6.2 million.

Hearst to Make Up to a Fifth of UK Staff Redundant
Magazine publisher Hearst has announced it will make up to a fifth of its UK staff redundant, which will include the complete closure of Town & Country magazine. “While our path to the future has not changed, the pandemic has accelerated trends in consumer behaviour and media consumption and we need to further transform our organisation to better serve our audience and advertisers and invest in growth areas,” said a Hearst spokesperson.

Twitter Buys Ad Eliminating Business Scroll
Twitter this week reached a deal to buy Scroll, a startup which lets users pay to remove ads from partnered websites. Twitter will use Scroll to help build out its own subscription service, as well as providing access to publisher content through its platform.

New York Times Forecasts Ad Revenue Rebound in Q2
The New York Times posted Q1 revenue growth of 6.6 percent, despite a slowdown in new subscriptions. Overall ad revenue was down 8.5 percent year-on-year, though the news publisher expects a strong rebound in Q2, where it expects revenue growth of 55-60 percent year-on-year.

Vice Pushed Contextual Over Demographic Targeting
Vice espoused the virtues of contextual targeting at its NewFronts presentation this week, criticising age and gender-based targeting as unethical and discriminatory. Vice unveiled a new contextual product, which emphasises sub-topics, sentiment, emotion and predictive models for targeting ads.

Twitter Launches Clubhouse Competitor ‘Spaces’
Twitter this week launched its new live audio feature called Spaces, a competitor to Clubhouse, making it available to users with more than 600 followers.

The Week for Agencies

Massachusetts Sues Publicis Over Purdue Pharma Ads
The state of Massachusetts is suing Publicis Group over ad campaigns it ran for drug maker Purdue Pharma and OxyContin, an opioid medication. The Massachusetts state attorney says Publicis used unfair and deceptive marketing tactics to market OxyContin, convincing doctors to prescribe it to patients who didn’t need it – thus contributing to the opioid crisis.

S4 Capital Acquires Brazilian Agency Raccoon
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital has acquired Brazilian digital search and data analytics agency Raccoon for an undisclosed fee. The news came as S4 posted a strong first quarter for the year, in which like-for-like revenues rose 33 percent. Sorrell told analysts that S4 has around £500 million or “transaction firepower” to help grow the business further.

GroupM’s Wieser Forecasts Fastest Growth in Ad Spend Since Post-War Era
GroupM’s Brian Wieser forecasts that ad spend growth in the US this year will be the fastest it’s been since the post-war era, as advertisers ramp up campaigns as pandemic restrictions lift. Wieser told the Wall Street Journal that GroupM expects ad spend growth of around 15 percent this year. TV spending in particular is expected to rebound by over nine percent after a fall last year.

Stagwell Posts Growth and MDC Partners Posts Decline Prior to Merger
Stagwell and MDC Partners, two agency groups set to merge, both posted their Q1 financial results this week. Stagwell reported net revenue growth of 4.8 percent compared to Q1 last year, while MDC Partners posted revenues down 6 percent year-on-year.

Havas Wins Asda Account
UK supermarket chain has awarded creative duties to Havas London, which beat Publicis Groupe’s Leo Burnett in the final stage of the process. The account was previously held by Omnicom’s AMV BBDO.

Digital Marketing Firm Impression Plants 10,000 Trees
UK digital marketing agency Impression has planted 10,000 trees through its work with tree planting and carbon offsetting company Ecologi. Impression reached carbon negative status last year, meaning it removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than it creates through its business.

Hires of the Week

Margaret Keene Joins The Wonderful Company as CCO
Margaret Keene will join The Wonderful Company as chief commercial officer. Keene is the third creative lead for the agency in two years, she joins as a veteran of MullenLowe and Saatchi&Saatchi. 

TabMo Hires Kayode Ijaola as Head of Platform Operations for Hawk
Kayode Ijola has joined TabMo as head of operations for its cross-channel advertising platform, Hawk. Ijaola joins from MiQ, where he held the role of group trader manager.

This Week on VideoWeek

Gaming Budgets Could Skyrocket if Games Can Close the Loop on Attribution, read on VideoWeek

Cumbersome Workflows are Slowing Down Video Ad Campaigns, read on VideoWeek

The Buy-Side View: Q&A with GSK’s Karin Meraner, read on VideoWeek

Reported IDFA Opt-In Rates on Apple Devices Range from 4% to 38%, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

British Airways, You Make Us Fly, Ogilvy


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