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The WIR: UK Government Plans to Protect PSBs’ Prominence on CTV, Facebook Tests Ads in Oculus, and Magna Predicts 24 Percent Growth in Video Ad Revenues

Tim Cross  18 June, 2021

In this week’s Week in Review: The UK Government takes action on PSB prominence, Facebook tests ads in its VR headset, and Magna forecasts massive growth for CTV.

Top Stories

UK Government Commits to Legislating on Public Service Broadcaster Prominence on CTV
The UK Government has said it will legislate in 2022 to ensure the prominence of Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs) on Connected TVs. 

In a 2019 report, the regulatory board Ofcom recommended that the government take steps to ensure that PSBs are given prominence on CTV devices. In a March report the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee criticised the government for acting slowly on this. 

In response to this report, the government said, “The Government has committed to acting on Ofcom’s prominence recommendations including through legislation and will do so as soon as the legislative timetable allows. We expect to set out next steps later this year.” There is already legislation in place to ensure that PSBs receive prominence on electronic programme guides. With viewing habits changing it is felt this needs to be extended to CTV devices. 

Facebook is Testing Ads in its VR Headset
Facebook has announced that it is testing ads in its VR headset, Oculus. Last month, Facebook said that it was testing ads inside its Oculus VR mobile app, but now it has said that it is expanding this to trial ads inside the headset.

A GIF on the Facebook blog announcement gives a taste of how the ads might work. It appears to show a user hovering over an in-world ad, which then displays a drop-down option menu. The Facebook blog states that the new ads will be compliant with the social media company’s existing privacy rules. 

A Facebook spokesperson told The Verge that the system will use data from your Facebook profile, as well as whether you’ve “viewed content, installed, activated, or subscribed to a Oculus app, added an app to your cart or wishlist, if you’ve initiated checkout or purchased an app on the Oculus platform, and lastly, whether you’ve viewed, hovered, saved, or clicked on an ad within a third-party app”.

Magna Forecasts 24 Percent Global Growth in Video Ad Revenues This Year
Global video ad revenues will grow 24 percent this year, reaching $57 billion, according to IPG-owned media agency Magna’s latest global advertising forecast. Ad-supported streaming is expected to be the main driver of this growth, with outstream and banner ads’ growth forecasted to be in the single digits.

Growth in video ad revenues are expected to come as part of a bumper year for digital advertising in general, with social media spend expected to grow 26 percent.

Linear TV ad revenues meanwhile are forecasted to grow by three percent as consumer brands, including automotive and drinks, compete for returning consumers in a brand-safe environment. And Magna believes that advertiser demand will drive CPM inflation, by an average of eight percent, offsetting declines in audience sizes.

The Week in Tech

UK’s Competition Watchdog Launches Sprawling Investigation into Apple and Google’s Mobile Ecosystems
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced this week it is launching a market study of mobile ecosystems, in which it will scrutinise whether Apple and Google’s practices in the mobile world harm consumers and other businesses. The CMA conducts market studies where it thinks there’s a risk that an entire market isn’t functioning properly, perhaps due to structural or regulatory failings. In this case, the CMA says it is concerned that Google and Apple’s effective duopoly over the supply of mobile operating systems, app stores, and web browsers could lead to a number of negative consequences. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Amazon Reportedly Blocks FLoC Data Collection
Amazon has begun blocking Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), according to a report from Digiday. The company has changed the source code on some of their websites to prevent Google’s post-cookie solution from gathering information. The sites involved include Amazon.com itself, WholeFoods.com and Woot.com. 

Irish Civil Liberties Group Files Court Case Against IAB Tech Lab
The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has filed a lawsuit in German court against IAB Tech Lab, alleging that real-time bidding (RTB) systems are breaking EU privacy law. The advocacy group alleges that RTB is an ongoing privacy infringement. The group is led by Johnny Ryan, who in previous roles has tried to bring legal action against RTB systems.

TabMo Partners with DAX
TabMo, which created cross-channel demand-side platform Hawk, has announced a partnership with DAX, Global’s digital advertising exchange. The partnership enables advertisers to access programmatic audio and digital out-of-home inventory on DAX through TabMo’s Hawk DSP.

Microsoft is Launching TV Xbox App That Requires No Console
Microsoft is launching an Xbox TV app that will allow users to game without a console on their television. Xbox say they are working with smart TV manufacturers to “embed” gaming into the devices without the need for any extra hardware apart from a controller. The company also indicated that it was in the process of building its own streaming devices to enable cloud gaming on any TV.

Google Continues to Dominate as Over Half of Publishers’ Preferred SSP
Google is the preferred supply-side platform (SSP) of over half of publishers who were surveyed by Advertiser Perceptions. The report found that 51 percent of publishers prefer Google as an SSP, with Magnite, Xandr, SpotX, Amazon and Verizon only pulling between five and seven percent of publishers’ preference. The report did find that publishers are using more SSPs. Last year, the programmatic publishers surveyed used an average of five SSPs, this year that figure has gone up to six.

Vungle Acquiring Programmatic Influencer Platform JetFuel
Vungle is making its fourth acquisition in less than a year by acquiring programmatic influencer platform JetFuel. Vungle did not say how much the acquisition had cost them, but did say it’s the biggest they have made so far. JetFuel was founded in 2018 by two former Facebook engineers, it is a platform that automates influencer campaign management and execution.

Anzu and Razor Edge Sign Deal to Bring Ads to Upcoming PC and Console Game
In-game advertising specialist Anzu.io and indie games developer Razor Edge have signed a partnership which will allow advertisers to place ads within Razor Edge’s upcoming PC and console game, Eden Falling.

The Week in TV

Canal+ to Boycott Ligue 1
The decision to award a share of rights to French football league Ligue 1 to Amazon has sparked a boycott from the other winning bidder Canal+. Canal+ has said that due to the decision, it will not be broadcasting Ligue 1.Canal+ says that the decision to award Amazon rights is to “the detriment” of traditional partners like themselves and beIN Sports.

CNN Streaming Service Confirmed to Go Ahead
AT&T’s CEO John Stankey has confirmed that CNN has plans to launch a standalone streaming service.  The move had been rumoured and Stankey confirmed that the news broadcaster would be launching “a direct-to-consumer, CNN Plus news product”.

Ten Percent Decline in US AVOD Users, According to Research
There has been a ten percent decline in AVOD usage, according to a report from OMDIA. The consumer survey found that AVOD market penetration had declined from 93 percent in November 2020 to 83 percent in April 2021. The research found that, in the same time period, the number of VOD services (both AVOD and SVOD) taken per US user has fallen for the first time, from 7.23 to 7.06.

Advertisers Boycott GB News
A number of brands have said they are pausing or completely suspending their ads on GB News. GB News, which has been dubbed as the UK’s answer to Fox News, launched earlier this week. The brands, including IKEA and cider manufacturer Kopparberg, have said that they bought their ads through Sky Media and were unaware they would be appearing on GB News.

Sinclair Trying to Raise $250 Million for Sports Streaming Service
Sinclair Broadcast Group is reportedly trying to raise $250 million to launch a streaming service for its Bally Sports offering in 2022. Sinclair has said that it would launch a direct-to-consumer version of its 19 regional sports networks next year. The broadcasters have not said how much they will be charging for the service, but reports have said it will be priced at around $23 per month.

40 Percent of Disney Upfront Dollars Committed to Streaming and Interactive Ventures
More than 40 percent of ad dollars committed to Disney during its upfront were committed to streaming and interactive ventures. Advance commitments from advertisers grew the most in streaming and sports, according to reports. Traditionally upfronts have hinged on the success of broadcasters’ primetime offerings, but this is clearly changing. 

STV Player Launches VIP Scheme
STV Player is to serve viewers with less ads in return for them accepting emails from the broadcaster. STV Player is the BVOD service of STV, a Scottish channel that is part of the ITV network. Although both ITV and Channel 4 offer ad-free versions of their streaming services for a subscription fee, the STV Player VIP is the first such scheme to be run by a UK broadcaster.

The Week in Publishing

Instagram Reels Rolls Out Ads Globally
Instagram’s TikTok-like feed of short form videos, called Reels, has begun running ads globally. Reels ads are vertical and full screen, and pop up between user-submitted Reels. They can be up to thirty seconds long, and will loop if a user stays with the ad. Users may also skip Reels ads by flicking past them, like they would with regular Reels.

BuzzFeed’s Tasty Made Over $250 Million from Brand Licensing Last Year
BuzzFeed’s food brand Tasty generated over $250 million from branded products last year according to Adweek, demonstrating the success of the company’s push into branded products. Tasty now has a line of over 250 branded products, according to Adweek, as it continues to invest more in the area.

YouTube Will Ban Masthead Ads from Certain Verticals
YouTube will stop accepting masthead ad purchases from certain verticals, including gambling, prescription drugs and political ads. The YouTube masthead is a rectangle ad across the top of the homepage, it is often the most expensive and sought-after ad on the site.

Adform Finds High Publisher Adoption of First-Party IDs
According to the latest Adform data, adoption of first-party IDs is nearing third-party cookie volumes for publishers across key European markets, with the majority of publishers now passing first-party IDs in the bidstream. Publishers have proved they are ready for the deprecation of third-party cookies, with 93 percent of UK publishers passing first-party ID’s. Now Adform is urging CMOs to play their part in creating a future-proof supply chain.

Specialist Publisher VerticalScope See Massive Rise in Value Following IPO
VerticalScope, a former unit of Toronto Star owner Torstar Corp that runs websites for hobbyist communities such as wood-workers and motorcyclists, has seen a massive rise in valuation following its IPO this week. Private equity group NordStar bought Torstar last year for around $60 million – now its stake in VerticalScope alone is worth $180 million.

Spotify Launches Clubhouse Competitor Greenhouse
Spotify this week launched its Clubhouse-like product Greenhouse, which lets creators run live audio sessions with social features. Spotify says it will release new content programming and features later this year, and will pay a number of creators through Spotify Creator Fund.

Vevo Says 50 Percent of Viewing Now Comes from CTV
Music video distributor Vevo has seen a dramatic shift toward the TV screen over the past year, according to AdExchanger. At the start of the pandemic, just four percent of Vevo’s business came from connected TV, whereas now 50 percent comes from CTV.

The Week for Agencies

Stagwell Sends Revised Offer for MDC Partners
Agency group Stagwell this week submitted a revised offer for fellow holding group MDC Partners, following complaints from MDC shareholders that the terms of the proposed deal were skewed in Stagwell’s favour. Stagwell said in a press release that it consulted with major shareholders on the new proposed terms and believes they are now in alignment, though Indaba Capital Management, the main shareholder pushing for revised terms, said it will still vote against the merger.

Unilever Strengthens Diversity Efforts
FMCG giant Unilever is doubling down on pushing for diversity within its marketing efforts, announcing that it will now require all of its individual brands to have an ‘Unstereotype Charter’ outlining their equality, diversity and inclusion commitments.

Dentsu Launches Sports Marketing Division in India
Dentsu has launched a new Indian sports marketing division, Sports Marketing Unit, that will sit within Dentsu Sports Asia. The unit will be led by Anand Yalvigi, a former professional cricket player.

IPG Mediabrands’ London Office Set for Q4 Opening
IPG Mediabrands’ new London office, in the City of London, is on course to open its doors in Q4 this year. The new office will host teams from Initiative, UM, Reprise Network, Orion, Magna, Rapport and Kinesso.

GroupM Partners with TripleLift to Channel More Ad Spend to Minority-Owned Media
GroupM announced this week it has signed on to programmatic platform TripleLift’s ‘Underrepresented Voices’ initiative, which is designed to ensure more ad dollars spent in programmatic pipes end up with minority-owned media.

FOX’S Sweets Appoint Spark Foundry to Accelerate Media
Spark Foundry this week announced it has been hired by UK confectionary brand FOX’s to handle media planning and buying in the UK. Spark Foundry will work alongside JOINT who was appointed as the brand’s creative agency in 2020.

Hires of the Week

Channel Factory Adds Jessica Littlemore, Emily Deere and Chelsea Jacobsen to Executive Team
The Channel Factory has made three new hires. Jessica Littlemore will join the team as marketing director of Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA). Emily Deere will be vice president of product operations, and Chelsea Jacobsen has been appointed VP of Sales (Midwest).

Richard Brant Joins Vevo as Advanced TV Director
Richard Brant has joined Vevo as advanced TV director, UK and international. Brant was previously director of AV product at Dentsu Aegis Network.

InMobi Names Darren Walsh as Head of Programmatic Demand, Europe
Darren Walsh joins InMobi as head of programmatic demand for Europe. Walsh was previously director of programmatic, EMEA at Nativo, as well as brand strategy director at PowerLinks.

m/SIX Hires Nadalie Dias as Chief Strategy Officer, North America
m/SIX has hired Nadalie Dias as chief strategy officer, North America. Dias joins m/SIX from Hearts & Science where she led the agency’s Digital Center of Excellence.

This Week on VideoWeek

How Oligarchs Have Carved Up Slovakia’s Media Landscape, read on VideoWeek

As Disney Shutters the FOX Channel, What Does the Future Hold for Linear? read on VideoWeek

UK’s Competition Watchdog Launches Sprawling Investigation into Apple and Google’s Mobile Ecosystems, read on VideoWeek

Advertisers Are Wary of Embracing This Year’s Olympics, read on VideoWeek

Paddy Power Moves into TV Content with New Series ‘The VAR Room’, read on VideoWeek

With Canal+ and the LFP Stuck in a Deadlock, What’s Next for French Football? read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

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