The WIR: Comcast and ViacomCBS to Launch Joint European SVOD, FTC Files a New Antitrust Case Against Facebook, and RTL Deutschland Set to Partner with Vodafone for Addressable Advertising

20 August, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: Comcast and ViacomCBS announce SkyShowtime, Facebook gets hit with another antitrust case, and Vodafone set to work with RTL Deutschland on addressable ads.

Top Stories

Comcast and ViacomCBS Will Launch SkyShowtime SVOD in Europe
Comcast and ViacomCBS are set to launch an SVOD called SkyShowtime in 20 European territories.

The service will feature content from the NBCUniversal, Sky and ViacomCBS portfolio of brands, including titles from Showtime, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures, Paramount+ Originals, Sky Studios, Universal Pictures, and Peacock.

The SVOD service will be launched in 2022. The 20 territories it is being launched in exclude Sky’s main markets of the UK & Ireland, Germany & Austria and Italy. ViacomCBS and Comcast will have equal control and investment in this joint streaming venture.

FTC Files Second Renewed Antitrust Case Against Facebook
The Federal Trade Commission has filed a second renewed antitrust case against Facebook, after it was given a second chance to amend its original dismissed filing. 

The judge who dismissed the first filing gave the FTC a second chance to file their case, which alleges that Facebook illegally maintained a monopoly. The updated filing, although longer than the first, broadly maintains the same allegations, that Facebook used tactics like the acquisition of Instagram and Facebook to further its monopoly power, and that it blocked rivals from using its application programming interface. 

Facebook had petitioned for FTC chair Lina Khan to recuse herself from the vote over past critical comments about the big tech players. Khan did vote, despite the calls.

RTL Deutschland and Vodafone to Collaborate on Advanced Advertising
RTL Deutschland and Vodafone have agreed a new wide-ranging deal which will see the two work together on addressable TV advertising, while also making a wider range of RTL’s content available to Vodafone customers.

Vodafone GigaTV customers will get more access to RTL’s linear channels, and its premium streaming service RTL+ will be available as an app. And with this new deal, they have agreed to collaborate on the advertising side of things too, working together to develop technical solutions for group-based targeted advertising.

The Week in Tech

ISBA’s Origin Claims Breakthrough in Cross-Media Measurement
Origin, a cross industry initiative led by advertiser trade group ISBA which wants to establish a cross media measurement service for campaign planning, reporting and evaluation, says a crucial series of proof of concept tests have yielded very positive results. The tests show that Virtual ID, a core component of a proposed global cross-media measurement solution, is effective at integrating TV panel-based data with digital, impression-level data. Origin says the results take the industry a step closer to advertisers’ desired ‘North Star’ for cross-media measurement. Read more on VideoWeek.

InfoSum Raises $65 Million
InfoSum has raised $65 million in Series B funding. Before this latest investment, InfoSum was valued at $300 million. That represents a significant increase from the $100 million valuation it received before its last funding round in 2020. The funding, which came entirely from UK-based investment company Chrystalsis Investments, will contribute towards increasing the ad tech company’s team and global presence.

DoubleVerify and MoPub Expand Partnership on Fraud
DoubleVerify, a measurement and analytics platform, has announced an expanded partnership on fraud protection with MoPub, a Twitter company that provides monetisation solutions. The partnership will bring DoubleVerify’s fraud protection, detection and reporting for mobile app campaigns across MoPub’s programmatic exchange, MoPub Marketplace. MoPub Marketplace connects advertisers with more than two trillion ad requests from over 1.5 billion addressable users globally.

Viant Reports Results Jump As It Tests Non-Cookie ID
Viant said it saw results jump after a private beta test of its World Without Cookies programme. World Without Cookies is Viant’s non-cookie system for targeting users with video advertising. Viant says participants in the private beta release saw 200 percent more conversions, reached 40 percent more households and decreased frequency and ad repetition by 28 percent.

China Rebukes WeChat and 43 Other Apps for Breaking Data Transfer Rules
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) said on Wednesday that it had found that TenCent’s WeChat and 43 other apps were breaking data transfer laws. The authorities said that the apps were illegally transferring users’ data and ordered their parent companies to make rectifications. The move comes among a wider crackdown on privacy and data regulation.

Facebook Launches VR Work App
Facebook has launched a test of a VR work app that it is calling a step into the metaverse. Facebook’s Horizon Workrooms app will be available to users of the company’s Oculus Quest 2 headsets. The social media company said it would not use people’s work conversations and materials in the app to target ads on Facebook.

Conversational Ad Tech Company Cavai Raises £6.5 Million
Cavai, a conversational ad tech company, has raised £6.5 million. The funding came from a range of investors including Norway’s two largest venture players, Investinor and Idekapital, and ad tech industry specialist FirstPartyCapital. Cavai says it will use the money to develop its product portfolio and to expand in the US as it gets IPO ready.

TVSquared Partners with AdImpact
TV measurement and attribution company, TVSquared, has partnered with ad intelligence platform, AdImpact. The partnership will allow real-time reach, frequency and incremental reach metrics to be offered for political connected TV (CTV) ad campaigns, say the two companies. 

MadHive & Talon partner to Unite OTT and OOH Advertising
Talon, an OOH media specialist, this week announced its new connected video offering, which unifies over-the-top (OTT) and digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising. Talon is joining forces with MadHive to connect digital audiences across the two channels, to deliver outcomes-based campaigns.

Transmit Introduces Programmatic Picture-in-Picture Ads for Live Events
Transmit, a streaming media ad platform, announced this week a new capability to programmatically insert fully addressable picture-in-picture (PIP) ads during live sports and events. Transmit says the technology creates a new form of monetization in the streaming video category. By using Transmit’s Server Side Ad Insertion (SSAI) capability, advertisers can customise event-triggered in-stream ad insertion, leveraging signals created during the live event to determine when is the right time to insert a PIP ad.

The Week in TV

Channel 4 to Become the First Broadcaster in UK to Share Streaming Data With Producers
UK public-service broadcaster Channel 4 has launched the Producers Performance Report, which will provide individual producers with data on how their new programmes have performed on BVOD service All 4 and the linear channels. The tailored report will give indie production companies benchmarking information that is intended to provide key insight to enhance programmes streamed on All 4.

Discovery’s TVN24 Obtains Dutch Licence That Will Allow it to Keep Operating in Poland
Discovery’s Polish news channel TVN24 has obtained a Dutch licence that will allow it to continue operating in Poland if its licence in the country isn’t renewed. TVN24’s licence expires next month, but there is doubt over whether it will be granted an extension after the Polish parliament passed a bill  that would strengthen a ban on companies from outside the European Economic Area controlling Polish broadcasters. Under European Union rules, the Dutch licence will allow TVN24 to keep operate in Poland.

Charter’s Spectrum TV Reintroduced on Roku
Charter’s OTT app Spectrum TV will be available again on Roku. The deal ends a nine month impasse that meant the app was no longer available on Roku’s platform. Since mid-December of last year, Charter video subscribers could still use the Spectrum TV app on Roku, but only if they had an existing download.

Samsung Says 40 Percent of Advertisers’ TV Budgets Should Go to Streaming
40 percent of advertisers’ TV budgets should go to streaming, says global head of analytics and insights at Samsung Ads, Justin Evans. He made the comments at the StreamTV Ad Summit earlier this week. “It’s time to rebalance TV budgets,” he said, “Based on our analysis, currently 14% of TV budgets are allocated to streaming. We’re recommending a much larger allocation.”

Former Netflix Staff are Charged with Insider Trading
Three former Netflix staff have been charged with insider trading by the US. The allegations against the engineers are that they and their associates traded based on confidential information about subscriber growth. The insider trading ring allegedly made $3 million.

Global Streaming Rose 13 Percent in Q2 2021, According to Report
Streaming globally rose 13 percent in Q2 2021, according to a report from Conviva, an intelligence cloud for streaming media. The figures also showed a 46 percent rise for Smart TVs specifically. Conviva reports that Roku is the leading streaming platform, with a 31 percent share of global big screen streaming time.

The Week in Publishing

Future Acquires Dennis Titles for £300 Million
Future has announced the acquisition of Dennis Publishing, a deal which includes titles like The Week, The Week US, and IT Pro. Future is acquiring the titles for £300 million. Dennis was bought by private equity group Exponent in 2018 for an undisclosed sum. While Future is buying the majority of Dennis’s titles, it will not acquire satirical magazine Viz, or Fortean Times, a magazine dedicated to anomalous phenomena. Neither will it acquire Expert Reviews or Cyclist. Read more on VideoWeek.

Axel Springer in Talks to Buy Politico
European publishing giant Axel Springer is in talks to buy a controlling stake in current affairs publisher Politico, according to the Wall Street Journal. The two already work together closely via Politico’s European edition, a 50/50 venture between the two. The reports follow rumours earlier this year that Axel Springer was eyeing up digital news publisher Axios.

Ziff Davis Builds War Chest for Spending Spree
Digital publisher Ziff Davis will get a $1 billion infusion of capital to help it buy up more media properties when it returns to the stock market later this year as an independent company, according to the WSJ. Ziff Davis’ parent company J2 Global is already publicly traded, but is being split into two smaller companies, the bigger of which will be Ziff Davis.

OnlyFans Launches a CTV App, While Banning Sexually Explicit Content
OnlyFans, a content subscription service which has become known as a hub for adult content, this week launched a safe-for-work CTV app. OFTV, which OnlyFans doesn’t plan to monetise, was seen as an effort to distance OnlyFans from its adult image, which has so far kept its app off the Android and Apple app stores. OnlyFans followed this a day later by formally banning “sexually explicit conduct”. The move has sparked backlash, with some commentators complaining that OnlyFans is banning the very thing which has made it successful as a platform.

BuzzFeed Reportedly Came to Blows with NBCU Over SPAC Deal
BuzzFeed reportedly clashed with stakeholder NBCUniversal over its recently agreed deal to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC). NBCU executives were reportedly frustrated by the valuation of the deal, since it valued BuzzFeed at $1.5 billion, lower than when NBCUniversal invested.

YouTube Reportedly Undercutting Publishers’ Direct Sales
Premium publishers are struggling to sell their YouTube ad inventory, as YouTube’s own sales are massively undercutting publishers” prices, according to The Information. The Information cited one publisher who said three years ago they directly sold 40 percent of their YouTube inventory, but that has now dropped to 10-15 percent.

Snapchat Launches New Trends Tool
Snapchat this week launched a new tool to help marketers understand the conversations and content being shared on the platform. Snapchat Trends surfaces trending keywords and topics on Snapchat, and can be accessed via Snapchat’s own website.

Facebook Selects Crop of Journalists for Bulletin
Facebook has chosen 25 independent journalists to be paid out of its $5 million fund for Bulletin, its newsletter subscription service. Facebook told Reuters there will be 100 journalists signed up to its platform “by the fall”.

The Week for Agencies

Ogilvy and Publicis Media Top R3 New Business Rankings
WPP’s Ogilvy topped consultancy R3’s News Business League for creative agencies in June, which ranks success of agencies based on new business brought in during the period. Publicis Media meanwhile topped the media agency league.

Marketers Spend Bulk of Time Reporting Rather Than Creating, finds PHD
Eighty-eight percent of marketers globally say they spend the majority of their time on reporting tasks, according to research from PHD and WARC, with the average amount of time spend on reporting having increased by 57 percent over the past ten years. Meanwhile marketers say they spend on average 18 percent of their time thinking creatively and coming up with new ideas.

UK Government Extends COVID-19 Contract with MullenLowe
The UK Government has renewed its contract with IPG-owned agency MullenLowe for creating public information campaigns around COVID-19. The contract, worth around £26.8 million, covers strategy development, campaign creative, partnerships and public relations services.

Omnicom Partners with Amplified Intelligence to Measure Attention
Omnicom has agreed a deal with Amplified Intelligence, a company which aims to measure ads based on attention, rather than traditional views or clicks. Amplified Intelligence’s panel-based data uses specialised tech to measure if viewers are paying attention to ads, while also sending panellists to virtual stores from time-to-time to measure things like brand recall. “It’s a reinjection of the rigour into what we do. The battleground being fought by brands is around consumer attention, and I know we have the playbook to win that battle,” said Chrissie Hanson, global chief strategy officer at Omnicom’s OMD.

UK Agencies Home and IMA to Merge
Leeds-based agencies Home and IMA have agreed a merger, combining to create IMA Home. The two companies combined have 11 offices in six countries, and plan to grow their staff count to 600 within three years, according to Campaign.

Marketers Struggle To Demonstrate Marketing’s Value to CEOs
Marketing executives fear they will struggle to convince their CEOs of marketing’s value over the coming year, according to new research from Forrester, with 71 percent saying they think they’ll face challenges. But only 28 percent are sure they can accurately measure and attribute the impact of their marketing campaigns.

Hires of the Week

David Droga Named New CEO of Accenture Interactive
David Droga becomes the new CEO and creative chairman of Accenture Interactive. Droga founded Droga5, which was acquired by Accenture in 2019.

Adam Crozier Becomes BT Chairman
BT has named Adam Crozier as its next chairman. Crozier was formerly CEO of ITV.

Reddit Grow UK and EMEA Sales Team with David Trencher and Maria Purcell
David Trencher has been promoted to head of large customer sales UK and EMEA at Reddit. Meanwhile Maria Purcell has been hired as head of commercial partnerships for EMEA, Purcell was previously at Facebook.

This Week on VideoWeek

ISBA’s Origin Claims Breakthrough in Cross-Media Measurement, read on VideoWeek

Future Acquires Dennis Titles for £300 Million, read on VideoWeek

How Snapchat Defied the Doubters As It Approaches Its Tenth Birthday, read on VideoWeek

Going All-In on Streaming is a Major Risk for Sports Leagues, read on VideoWeek

Here’s Where Europe’s Biggest Broadcasters Say They’re Investing for Growth, read on VideoWeek

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