In this week’s Week in Review: Peacock prepares to take flight in Europe, Teads postpones its IPO, and YouTube’s ad revenues continue to soar.
Peacock Set to Launch in Europe
Comcast announced this week that Peacock, the streaming service it released in the US last year, will roll out in the UK later this year. The service will initially release to Sky customers in Europe at no extra cost, with plans to make it more widely available throughout Europe via integrations with third-party providers.
Comments made by Comcast chairman, CEO and president Brian Roberts suggest that only that ad-supported version will be available in Europe. In the US, customers can pay extra for an ad-free service, but it appears this won’t be the case in Europe.
“We will unlock incremental advertising revenue, introduce the Peacock brand and content catalog via Sky’s established platforms in key European markets and directly monetise our programming investments,” said Roberts. “A decision to make Peacock the anchor tenant on Xfinity’s X1 and Flex platforms for its domestic launch has been a key driver of brand awareness, scale, consumption and promotion, and we see a similar opportunity with Sky.”
Teads Postpones IPO
Teads, a French ad tech outfit specialising in outstream advertising, has postponed its IPO which was originally planned for this week according to a report from Adweek,
Teads’ parent company Altice filed for Teads to go public a few weeks back, and last week said it was seeking a valuation of around $5 billion. But the plan has been postponed due to a lack of investor buy-in according to Adweek’s report. An internal email circulated by Teads’ executive chairman Pierre Chappaz said the IPO is now planned for the end of this year.
YouTube Posts 84 Percent Ad Revenue Growth
YouTube, already the dominant force in online video advertising, posted another set of impressive results for the most recent quarter, with ad revenues up 84 percent year-on-year to $7 billion. The results, which exceeded Wall Street expectations, helped Google’s parent company Alphabet reach quarterly revenues of $61.88 billion.
Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai specifically highlighted Shorts, YouTube’s TikTok lookalike, as a strong performer. The short-form feature is now generating 15 billion views per day globally, up from 6.5 billion in March.
The Week in Tech
Facebook Shrugs Off ATT Impact in Q2, But Warns of Tougher Times Ahead
Facebook posted yet another strong set of financial results in Q2, with total revenues and advertising revenues both up 56 percent year-on-year. The results were particularly impressive given the introduction in April of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) update, a move which massively hampered Facebook’s ability to use its vast stores of data to target ads on mobile, and to measure their impact. But while Facebook appears to have weathered the storm in the short term, the company warned it expects growth to slow down “significantly” in the second half of the year. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Google Releases New Sandbox Timeline
Last weekend, Google quietly released a new timeline for releases from Privacy Sandbox, its open-source effort to design privacy conscious replacements for third-party cookies. The timetable not only gives a clearer picture of when Google hopes each piece of the sandbox will be released, but also highlights which proposals Google currently expects will make it through to full release. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Taboola Acquires Connexity for $800 Million
Taboola, the advertising and content recommendation network, is acquiring ecommerce platform Connexity for $800 million. In June Taboola went public via a SPAC. According to Google Finance Taboola currently has a market cap of around $1.9 billion.
IAB Launches Open Standards Initiative
The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Tech Lab is launching an initiative to promote open standards in the ad tech industry. In an effort to promote openness and collaboration as the industry braces for deprecation of the third party cookie, the IAB is making the code and standards of several ad tech projects available for anyone to view and modify. The projects involved include part of The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0.
Google Launches New First-Party Data Tools
Google has launched Audience Explorer, new tools to help advertisers understand their first-party data. Google says that Audience Explorer is aimed at helping publishers better understand and activate their first-party audience data, without needing advanced tools or technical capabilities. American department store chain Macy’s was one of around a dozen global partners that tested the tools.
Activision Blizzard Employees Strike
Activision Blizzard employees have gone on strike to demonstrate their support of a sexual harassment lawsuit and to protest the video game maker’s insufficient response. Some fans have pledged to boycott Activision Blizzard’s games in solidarity with the employees. Last week, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision, outlining accusations of sexual harassment and assault.
AdTheorent Approaches $1 Billion SPAC Deal to Go Public
AdTheorent is approaching a $1 billion deal with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to go public, the companies confirmed. AdTheorent uses machine learning technology to target customers in what they say is a privacy-first way. AdTheorent is merging with the SPAC MCAP Acquisition Corp.
Magnite Joins TV Data Initiative
Magnite has joined the TV Data Initiative, which was formed by ad tech companies in an effort to unlock the potential of data-driven TV. The initiative was founded earlier this year by ad tech companies like Blockgraph, Dish Media and MadHive. The group was set up with the purpose of collaborating with the industry to explore the uses of data-driven advanced TV.
Outbrain Valued at $1.25 Billion
Outbrain, a platform that provides link recommendations at the bottom of articles,raised $160 million at a $1.25 billion valuation in its initial public offering (IPO) today. On its first day of trading Outbrain sold 8 million shares of common stock on Nasdaq at $20 a share, the price rose above that to $20.99 and sank back down to close at $20.15 a share by the end of the day.
Samba TV Launches a Real-Time Viewership Dashboard
Samba TV has announced the launch of Real-time TV Viewership Dashboard, an interactive TV analytics dashboard. The dashboard features geographic and demographic analysis of viewership in real-time, but will launch starting in the US, UK, Germany and Australia. The dashboard uses the company’s proprietary automatic content recognition (ACR) technology.
Salesforce are Scrapping their Data Management Platform
Cloud-based software company Salesforce is scrapping their Audience Studio data management platform (DMP). Salesforce confirmed that their DMP, which was built from the $700 million acquisition of Krux in 2016, is “no longer available for sale”.
Nielsen Launches Post-Cookie Measurement Tool
Nielsen has launched a tool to ensure that publishers and advertisers can continue to measure after the demise of the third-party cookie. Nielsen’s solution uses machine learning across context clues to track and categorise people.
The Week in TV
ITV Sees 250 Percent Increase in VOD-Only Advertisers
ITV saw their ad revenue increase by £195 million in Q2 2021, according to financial results released on Wednesday. The British broadcaster’s ad income rose from £671 million in Q2 2020 to £866 million last quarter, representing 29 percent growth year-on-year. Particular bright spots were ITV’s programmatic and video-on-demand (VOD) ad offerings. Despite stable VOD growth in 2020, H1 2021 has seen a 250 percent increase in VOD-only advertisers.
Opening Weekend of the Olympics Brings in $135 Million in National Ad Spend
Three days of the Olympics has brought in over $135 million in national ad spend across all NBCUniversal TV networks. These figures come from iSpot.TV who report that the figure is down slightly from the 2016 Rio Olympics, which generated over $150 million in the first three days of the competition. Compared to the 2016 Olympics, there are many more ads with 3,982 airings of commercials versus 2,169 in 2016. Impressions are also higher, 5.5 billion this year, compared to 4.7 billion for the Rio games.
Apple CEO Touts Success of Apple TV+ Hit Shows, But Provides No Specific Figures
Apple CEO Tim Cook has touted the success of hit shows like “Mythic Quest” on Apple TV+, but has provided no specifics on programming performance or subscriber numbers on the streaming platform. Cook’s comments came as Apple reported a 36 percent year-over-year increase in quarterly revenue to $81.4 billion. Earlier in the week Apple revealed that the season 2 debut of “Ted Lasso” produced Apple TV Plus’ biggest premiere numbers ever, however they provided no specific numbers on this either.
ITV Reveals Investment in the Metaverse, Mobile Games
Last Autumn ITV announced its backing for Studio 55, a new collaborative venture that would seek to increase ITV’s reach among 16-34 year olds. This week it revealed the three businesses in which Studio 55 would be invested. These include Live Tech Games, a mobile gaming company, and Metavision, which is an agency and studio bringing entertainment IP and brands to the Metaverse.
Rakuten Launches Free Original Content Channel
AVOD platform Rakuten TV has launched a free channel of original content known as “Rakuten Stories”. The platform will operate as a linear channel available through the Rakuten TV app on Samsung and LG smart TVs. It will focus on original sports documentaries.
BBC iPlayer Sees Record-Breaking Start to the Year
The BBC’s streaming and catch-up service BBC iPlayer saw a record-breaking first half of the year. BBC shows were streamed over 3.3 billion times between January and June 2021 on iPlayer. This represents an eight percent increase on the same period last year. Compared to the same period in 2019, this is a 59 percent increase, after 2020 saw huge streaming growth. The most popular iPlayer programme was the premiere of the final season of police drama “Line of Duty”, which was streamed 8.7 million times.
Gannett Re-launches Streaming Channels
Publisher Gannett has launched its streaming channels, USA Today News and USA Today SportsWire. The re-launched channels will have a focus on longer form content and will be available on more platforms such as Tubi and Plex. Gannett has seen a rise in views of its free content.
Toshiba TV Adds Twitch and Amazon Music
Toshiba has announced the addition of two new entertainment apps to its smart TV platform, Twitch and Amazon Music. The live streaming app Twitch will be available on all Toshiba smart TVs produced from June 2018 onwards, for users who have enabled automatic updates they will find the app ready installed on their device.
The Week in Publishing
Reach Reports 43 Percent Jump in Digital Revenues
British publisher Reach reported positive financial results this week, despite ongoing declines in print news, which makes up the bulk of its business. Digital revenues were up 42.7 percent in the first half of the year, while print revenues fell 5.2 percent. Reach said it’s seen benefits from registering more users, hitting 6.7 million signed-up readers, as well as from cutting out surveys which it has previously displayed in front of content as a way of collecting data.
Twitter Tests New Shoppable Feature
Twitter this week announced it is testing a new shoppable feature called ‘The Shop Module’. The Shop Module will let brands showcase a range of products at the top of their profile, which users can explore and purchase within the Twitter App. The move represents a return to in-app shopping, which Twitter first explored in 2015, but then backed down from to focus on other areas.
Snapchat Adds Restaurant Recommendations to Maps Feature
Snapchat has added a new feature to its embedded maps called ‘My Places’, which will highlight restaurants and other destinations, based in part on recommendations from friends and the global Snapchat community.
Ringier Buys Out Axel Springer in Multiple European Markets
Swiss publisher Ringier has agreed a deal to buy out its partner Axel Springer in a number of European markets, including Hungary, Serbia, and Slovakia.
Pinterest Creates News Tools for Brand Partnerships
Pinterest released a new set of tools this week to make it easier for creators to run brand partnerships. Creators will now be able to tag brands’ products within their Idea Pins, and these tags can lead users through to an off-app checkout. Pinterest has also introduced a new feature which makes it easier for creators to clearly tag sponsored posts.
Instagram Adds News Privacy Settings for Teens
Facebook announced this week a number of changes it is making to better protect teenage users. Instagram will start setting teenage users’ accounts as private by default, and advertisers will no longer be able to target teenage users based on their interest categories.
Spotify Ad Revenues More Than Doubles in Q2
Spotify reported in its most recent financial results that ad revenues reached €275 million in Q2, representing 11o percent growth year-on-year. Spotify says this was fuelled by growth in Spotify’s podcasting business, which it has invested heavily in over the past few years. But overall user growth was slower than expected, up 22 percent year-on-year to 365 million.
Twitter Signs Team from News Aggregation App Brief
Twitter this week announced a deal to take on staff from news aggregation app Brief, who will work on Twitter’s areas for public conversation, including Explore and Spaces. Brief’s own app will be shuttered after July 31st.
Gannett Pairs Up with Sports Betting Company Tipico
US publisher Gannett, which owns titles including USA Today, has signed a deal with German sports betting outfit Tipico which will see Tipico provide betting odds on Gannett’s sports content. Gannett will receive a referral fee for first-time betters who reach Tipico from Gannett’s content, and Tipico has also committed to spend $90 million on Gannett advertising and sponsored content.
The Week for Agencies
Stagwell and MDC Partners Finally Settle on Merger Terms
Agency groups Stagwell and MDC Partners have finally settled on terms for their proposed merger, after complaints from MDC investors threw the deal into doubt. Under the new terms, investors in MDC Partners will now own 31 percent of the combined company, a significant increase from the original proposal of 18.5 percent.
IPG Signs Up to UID 2.0 As Closed Operator
Interpublic Group has signed up the UID 2.0, an industry initiative designed to replace third-party cookies, as a closed operator. This means that IPG’s media agencies and data units will use UID 2.0 as an identifier, but in a way that ensures data doesn’t leave IPG’s pipes and get connected to the wider ecosystem.
Zenith Says Digital Video Will Help Drive 11 Percent Recovery in Global Ad Spend
Media agency Zenith has updated its ad spend forecast for 2021, predicting that global ad spend will grow by 11.2 percent this year. This represents six percent growth on the global pre-pandemic peak. Zenith says ecommerce and digital video advertising will be the biggest drivers of this strong growth.
Essence Expands its Consultancy Division
Global data and measurement-driven media agency Essence this week announced it is expanding its consulting division, which it says will help deliver strategic vision and bespoke digital solutions to elevate brands through the next iteration of the digital economy. Globally, Essence Consulting operates in parallel to the agency’s full-service media offering. In EMEA, the expanded consulting division will deliver data, technology, eCommerce, and media in-housing expertise.
AA/WARC Predicts 18.2 Percent Growth in UK Ad Market
The AA/WARC bumped up their growth forecast from the UK ad market this year, from 15.2 percent to 18.2 percent, in their latest Expenditure Report. Online display, inclusive of social media and online video, is set to see growth accelerate this year, up 17.2 percent.
S4 Capital Acquires Destined
S4 Capital continued its spending spree this week with the acquisition of Destined, a prominent Australian Salesforce partner which provides cloud and marketing services to enterprise clients. Destined counts Spotify, Panasonic and Opal HealthCare among its clients.
OMD Tops Comvergence Media Agency Rankings
OMD has been ranked as the number one media agency both globally and in the EMEA region by research group Comvergence, based on annual billings. OMD’s 2020 billings reached $21.3bn according to Comvergence.
GroupM Pulls Out of Facebook Media Agency Review
GroupM-owned agency Mindshare, which currently handles a portion of Facebook’s global media duties, has pulled out of an ongoing media review by the tech giant, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Hires of the Week
Nick Brien Picked as Amobee CEO
Amobee this week announced it has picked Nick Brien, previously CEO of the Americas for Dentsu International, as its new CEO. Brien replaces Samba Natarajan, CEO of Amobee’s parent company Singtel, who stepped in on a temporary basis after the departure of previous CEO Ki Perell.
WPP Picks Brendan Moorcroft to Lead Choreograph
WPP has announced it has picked Brendan Moorcroft to lead Choreograph, its new data unit which sits within WPP, as CEO. Moorcroft will replace GroupM North America CEO Kirk McDonald, who was temporarily appointed to head up Choreograph at launch.
Andrea Duilio Joins Sky Italia as CEO
Sky Italia has appointed Andrea Duilio, executive director at Vodafone, as its new CEO.
This Week on VideoWeek
Chrome’s Privacy Sandbox Timeline Highlights the 13 Proposals Google Thinks Will Replace Cookies, read on VideoWeek
Who is Winning the CTV Platform Wars in Europe? read on VideoWeek
VideoWeek Podcast #28: Aki Tsuchiya & Jamie West, Streamhub, listen on VideoWeek
Will HbbTV’s Latest Release Fulfil its Addressable Advertising Promise? read on VideoWeek
ITV Sees 250 Percent Increase in VOD-Only Advertisers, read on VideoWeek
Facebook Shrugs Off ATT Impact in Q2, But Warns of Tougher Times Ahead, read on VideoWeek
Weighing Up the Ethics of Weight-Loss Ads, read on VideoWeek, read on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
Nike, New Fairies, Wieden+Kennedy São Paulo