In this week’s Week in Review: Mediaset relaunches its streaming platform, Disney shutters linear channels, and Google prepares marketers for post-cookie measurement.
Mediaset Launches Infinity Streaming Platform
Italian commercial broadcaster Mediaset has relaunched its VoD platform Mediaset Play as Mediaset Infinity. The platform is a new combined services that features Mediaset’s free-to-air channels, movies and series on-demand and UEFA Champions League football.
According to the Italian media outfit, the offering will be based on an “experimental pyramid offering”, with all Mediaset network content available at the base, with the addition of new “digital first” exclusive content designed for the web. The first of this second kind of content will be debuted in Autumn.
Mediaset Infinity will offer movies and series on-demand, including box-sets of international shows such as Game of Thrones as well as movies including Godzilla v Kong, Judas and the Black Messiah, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.
Disney to Shutter 100 International Channels
Disney will shutter 100 international TV channels by the end of the year, the company said at a JPMorgan Conference this week. CEO Bob Chapek revealed plans to switch off further networks, following recent closures in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, with more to follow in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong in October.
The company is looking to prioritise its streaming service Disney+, with some of the contents from these linear channels being made available on the streaming platform.
In Southeast Asia are Hong Kong, Fox, Fox Crime, Fox Life and FX are among those that will be closed later this year, less than three years since Disney acquired them through its purchase of 21st Century Fox.
Cookie Free Measurement Must Rely on First-Party Data and Modelling, Google Tells Marketers
Any advertisers hoping that Google might be working on a measurement-specific alternative for third-party cookies in Chrome would have been left disappointed at Google’s Marketing Livestream yesterday. Google warned marketers that once third-party cookies are no longer supported, measurement must rely on consented first-party datasets, with predictive modelling left to fill in the blanks.
One spot of good news for advertisers was news that Google is introducing a new way to measure conversions where cookies aren’t available. “These enhanced conversions work by allowing your tags to use consented, hashed, first-party data like email addresses, from wherever your conversions are recorded,” said Vidhya Srinivasan, VP/GM of ads buying, analytics and measurement.
But the broader message to marketers was clear. Start building out your first-party data sets now, or you likely find measurement very difficult in the post-cookie world.
The Week in Tech
Amazon’s Pricing Policy Hurts Consumers, Claims Washington DC Lawsuit
Amazon’s policy prevents sellers on its platform from offering better deals elsewhere leading to higher prices for consumers, according to an antitrust lawsuit filed by the District of Columbia on Tuesday. The lawsuit focuses on the contract between Amazon and its sellers, which it says prevents sellers from offering lower prices on any website including Amazon itself. Amazon denies the claims saying sellers set their own prices.
The UID 2.0 Code Base is Now Open Source
Unified ID 2.0 is now officially open source. On Monday, The Trade Desk committed the full open source code base for Unified ID 2.0 to the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM) Technical Working Group. This means that anyone can now view the code and be able to contribute to the code base.
LiveRamp Expands Into Identity Resolution for First-Party Data
LiveRamp is expanding into identity resolution with a new product called Portrait Engine.The product will help marketers build identity graphs using their own first-party data. Portrait Engine is now in public beta and is expected to be available later this summer.
Verizon Media Announces Partnership with In-Game Advertising Platform Anzu.io
Verizon Media has partnered with Anzu.io to expand its in-game advertising opportunities. Anzu.io serves in-game video and banner ad placements across PC, mobile and console games. Advertisers with Verizon Media will be able to benefit from Anzu.io’s exclusive partnerships with game publishers such as Vivid Games, Toplitz Productions, and Axis Games.
Amazon’s Ad Revenue is Double that of Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest Combined
Amazon’s ad revenue is now 2.4 times that of Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest combined, according to Loop Capital. Amazon’s “Other” unit, which is primarily made up of advertising but also includes sales related to other service offerings, grew revenue 77 percent year over year to more than $6.9 billion in Q1, the company reported last month. Amazon is also set to benefit from Apple’s recent privacy changes in terms of ad revenue.
New EU Guidelines Target Tech Giants Over Profiting From Disinformation Ads
New EU guidelines will push tech giants like Facebook and Google to commit to not making money from ads which contain disinformation. The European Commission said on Wednesday that they had tightened their non-binding guidelines in the area. Signatories to the guidelines, which were introduced in 2018, include Google, Facebook, Twitter, and some advertising and tech lobbying groups.
The Week in TV
Amazon Will Buy MGM Studios for $8.45 Billion
Amazon said on Wednesday that it will buy MGM Studios for $8.45 billion. The acquisition of the film and TV studios, which produces the James Bond’s films, signifies Amazon’s commitment to original content on its streaming platform, Prime Video. The deal is Amazon’s second biggest acquisition in its history, after its $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods in 2017.
Ofcom Launches Consultation on Regulation of Advertising on Video Sharing Platforms
UK regulator, Ofcom, has launched a consultation on the regulation of advertising on video sharing platforms. Last year, Ofcom was given new powers, under laws introduced by Parliament, to regulate video sharing platforms established in the UK. These include a duty to ensure that standards around advertising are met. Ofcom is proposing a framework which makes a distinction between video sharing platform advertising and non-video sharing platform advertising.
GB News Will Launch on 13 June on Sky, Freeview and Virgin Media
GB News, which has been dubbed as the UK’s answer to right-wing Fox News, will launch on 13 June. Founder and chair Andrew Neil will host a weekday prime-time programme. GB News will be available on Freeview channel 236, Sky HD, Virgin Media HD, YouView channel 236 and Freesat channel 216.
Fox News to Make Prime Time Shows Available on Streaming
Fox News said that it would make some of its most popular prime-time shows available on its Fox Nation streaming service shortly after airing live. The streaming service will feature a new section called “Fox News Primetime All the Time,” which will include opinion programmes such as “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” “Hannity” and “The Ingraham Angle”. The programmes will be available the morning after they air.
Disney+ Say Cost Rise Didn’t Cause Increased Churn
Disney saw little subscriber churn when it raised the price of Disney+ by $1 a month earlier this year. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said at a JPMorgan conference the company was pleased with the price value proposition Disney Plus still offers consumers. The news clears the way for Disney to make more price increases.
HBO Max to Be Made Available in Latin America
HBO Max is launching in Latin America and the Caribbean. The WarnerMedia owned streaming service will be available from 29 June in 39 territories.
BritBox Announces First Original Global Content Production
BritBox announced on Tuesday that it had commissioned its first global original programming: mystery series “Murder in Provence,” from Monumental Television. Monumental Television is part of BritBox co-owner ITV Studios. The series marks the first global collaboration between BritBox North America and BritBox UK.
Netflix Looks to Hire Gaming Executive
Netflix is seeking to hire an executive to oversee its expansion into gaming, according to Reuters’ sources. The company has experimented with interactive programming like “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch”, where viewers can dictate the character’s choices. According to one report, Netflix had discussed offering a bundle of games similar to Apple’s online subscription offering, Apple Arcade, as an option.
Sony Chief Says Film Studio is Not Up For Sale
Sony’s chief executive has insisted that the company’s film and TV production studio will remain independent and is not up for sale. This is despite a wave of consolidation in the industry. Analysts say Sony Pictures Entertainment could be worth as much as $30 billion.
UK Culture Secretary Says BBC Must Act to Restore Trust
The UK government’s culture secretary said that the BBC must act quickly to restore public trust. The comments come after a damning report into how the public service broadcaster secured an interview with Princess Diana in 1995. The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden also said that he would look at the structure of the BBC in the wake of the report.
Speedy AVOD Growth is Forecast to Resume in 2021
AVOD expenditure for TV episodes and movies will climb by 144 percent between 2020 and 2026 to reach $66 billion (€54.1bn) across 138 countries, according to a report from Digital TV Research.
Sky Doubles Free Ad Scheme for UK Small Businesses
Sky Media has announced the return of SME100, a £2million support scheme for small businesses, giving them free access to TV advertising. The scheme, which was launched last year during the pandemic, is doubling this year to give small businesses £20,000 worth of TV advertising across Sky Media’s channels. It will also offer them a free 12-month business broadband and phone package from Sky.
The Week in Publishing
New York Times in Talks to Buy The Athletic
The New York Times is in talks with digital sports publication The Athletic over a potential takeover, according to Axios, as the wave of publisher consolidation continues. The Athletic was rumoured to be considering a merger with Axios itself earlier this year via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), but executives see The New York Times as a better fit.
Tribune Shareholders Approve Alden Global Takeover
Tribune Publishing, owner of the Chicago Tribune and New York Daily News, has approved a bid from Alden Global to acquire the company. Alden’s takeover bid has drawn scrutiny, due to Alden’s track record of cutting costs and laying off staff at struggling news businesses.
Axel Springer Considering Axios Acquisition
German publisher Axel Springer is considering an acquisition of digital news business Axios, according to various reports. Valuations for Axios range between $400-450 million. Axel Springer has been building out its overseas holdings over the past few years, most recently with its acquisition of a majority stake in newsletter publisher Morning Brew last October.
Daily Mail Revenues Fall in Difficult Ad Market
The Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) reported revenues were down by 12 percent in the first half of its financial year, which ended in March. The decline came largely thanks to difficult conditions in the ad market, with total ad revenues down by 17 percent.
Google News Showcase Launches on Desktop
Google News Showcase, Google’s new news product which sees Google paying publishers for their content, has launched on Desktop. Google News Showcase contains curated news content feeds, with publishers creating formats specifically for the product. Google says it’s invested $1 billion in the product, largely set aside for paying publishers for this content.
Twitch Adds ‘Pools, Hot Tubs, Beaches’ Category After Brand Safety Concerns
Gaming focussed streaming site Twitch has added a new content category, ‘Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches’, following brand safety concerns on the platform. While Twitch has guidelines around overly sexual attire, exceptions are given for real-life streams where swimwear is appropriate. But advertisers became concerned their ads were ending up on risqué content, as ‘hot tub streams’ became more and more popular. Advertisers can now explicitly opt-out of streams which fall within the ‘Pools, Hot Tubs, and Beaches’ category.
Class Action Lawsuit Targets Instagram Embeds
A class action lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco by photographers who post copyrighted material on their Instagram and Facebook pages. The suit states that Instagram and Facebook have enabled infringement of copyright, by allowing publishers to embed these social posts in their articles without asking for permission or paying a licensing fee.
BBC Global News Partners with Taboola
Taboola, a content recommendation platform, this week announced a new deal with BBC Global News which will see it become the publisher’s exclusive content recommendations provider. Taboola Feed, an integrated feed that provides readers with personalised content, will be integrated into BBC.com – the home of BBC News and BBC Sport – in all markets outside the UK, where the publisher is commercially funded.
TikTok Partners with Trust and Safety Professional Association
TikTok has agreed a partnership with the Trust and Safety Professional Association, which grants all TikTok staff working on trust and safety membership to the organisation. The TSPA gives members access to workshops, training, and career development resources.
The Week for Agencies
MDC Partners Shareholder Opposes Stagwell Merger
One of MDC Partner’s largest shareholder has sent a letter to the board of directors opposing the merger it’s agreed with fellow agency holding group Stagwell, according to the WSJ. The shareholder, Indaba Capital Management, described the merger proposal as “conflict-ridden and poorly-structured”, arguing that it favours Stagwell. Indaba, which holds a 12 percent share in MDC, plans to vote against the merger next month.
Omnicom Plans to Return to “Office-Centric” Culture
Holding group Omnicom sent an internal memo this week detailing its plans for returning to office life as lockdown measures ease around the world, according to Campaign. Chairman and CEO John Wren said he expects the company to return to an “office-centric” culture, though he didn’t detail how many days per week employees will be expected to be in the office.
UM UK Launches ‘The Better World Marketplace’
Media agency UM UK this week launched The Better World Marketplace and Directory, a collection of diverse-owned and progressively minded media designed to help buyers find and spend with these types of media brands. The Guardian, Channel 4, Gay Times, Hearst, The Big Issue, Amaliah, Gal-dem and Attitude are among the media brands included in the marketplace, according to Adweek.
Philips Picks Omnicom as Integrated Agency of Record
Global tech giant Philips has picked Omnicom to handle creative, media, and communications duties, an account worth around $300 million according to AdAge. Omnicom beat out Interpublic Group and Havas, as well as incumbents WPP and Dentsu.
Cannes Lions Promises to Engage with DE&I Consultancy
The organisers of the Cannes Lions festival have agreed to work with a specialist DE&I consultancy, following complaints around a lack of diversity within the organisation last week. The row centred around social media posts from Abraham Abbi Asefaw, former co-dean of Cannes Lions’ learning programme the Roger Hatchuel Academy. Asefaw detailed how he was removed from his position, resulting in an all white list of Deans at the Cannes Lions school.
That HAS to create some change. However, you can’t help but sit with this feeling of why it had to come to this point in the first place. Going public like this is actually quite out of character for me, but I guess everyone can be pushed. https://t.co/a4vUqMr9yK
— Abraham Abbi Asefaw (@AbrahamAsefaw) May 27, 2021
MSQ Sees 16.5 Percent Revenue Growth in 2020
Agency group MSQ released its financial results for 2020 (its financial year ended on February 28th this year), showing that revenues were up 16.5 percent despite the pandemic. But this growth in reported revenues was driven by acquisitions – organic revenues were flat year-on-year.
Essence Launches Media Health Check
GroupM-owned media agency Essence this week launched a new consulting service called Media Health Check, which it says will enable marketers to drive performance improvements and uncover business growth opportunities in their digital media campaigns. Media Health Check will give advertisers access to Essence’s digital media capabilities, technologies and automation tools, to help spot opportunities for increased efficiency.
Hires of the Week
Fiona Gordon Appointed as Ogilvy UK CEO
Fiona Gordon has been appointed as Ogilvy’s UK CEO. She succeeds Michael Frohlich, and has worked for the agency since 1992.
J.Allen Dove Becomes Magnite CTO in Management Shuffle
Magnite has shuffled its management team following its acquisition of SpotX. SpotX’s CTO, J. Allen Dove will become CTO of Magnite and its chief operating officer Sean Buckley will be chief revenue officer for CTV.
Mark Sinnock Promoted to Havas Global CSO
Havas Creative has named Mark Sinnock as its global chief strategy officer (CSO). Sinnock was previously the U.K. and European strategy head within Havas Creative.
Krystal Olivieri Named GroupM’s First Global Chief Innovation Officer
GroupM has promoted Krystal Olivieri to the newly-created position of global chief innovation officer. Olivieri was previously global svp, data strategy and partnerships
This Week on VideoWeek
Publishers are Seeing Bumper Digital Revenues as the Post-Pandemic Boom Begins, read more on VideoWeek
Advertising’s Carbon Commitments Exclude the Industry’s Biggest Source of Emissions: Influence, read more on VideoWeek
Has Adland Lived Up to Its Promises One Year After George Floyd’s Murder? read more on VideoWeek
Can Contextual Targeting Step In for IDFA in Mobile Gaming? read more on VideoWeek
VideoWeek Podcast #26 Founders: Calum Smeaton, listen on VideoWeek
Poland is Following Hungary’s Playbook in Stifling Independent Media, read more on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
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