The WIR: Ireland’s Data Regulator Launches Two Probes into TikTok, Mediaset Posts Bumper Ad Revenues in Italy and Spain, and Judge Rules in Apple’s Favour in Epic Court Battle

17 September, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: Ireland’s data protection authority launches two probes into TikTok, Mediaset says ad revenues are driving its recovery, and Apple comes out on top in its court battle with Epic.

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Irish Data Authority Launches Two Probes Into TikTok
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission, the main data authority responsible for regulating TikTok in the EU, has launched two data privacy investigations into the short-form video app. The investigations relate to the processing of children’s personal data, and transfers of personal data to China, asking whether TikTok’s practices are in line with Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation.

“The first inquiry will examine TikTok’s compliance with the GDPR’s data protection by design and default requirements as they relate to the processing of personal data in the context of platform settings for users under age 18 and age verification measures for persons under 13,” said the DPC in a statement. “This inquiry will also examine whether TikTok has complied with the GDPR’s transparency obligations in the context of the processing of personal data of users under age 18.”

“The second inquiry will focus on transfers by Tiktok of personal data to China and TikTok’s compliance with the GDPR’s requirements for transfers of personal data to third countries,” said the DPC.

Mediaset Posts Advertising-Led Recovery
Mediaset’s revenues for the first half of this year exceeded those of 2019, suggesting the European broadcaster has pulled off a full recovery from the effects of the pandemic.

Mediaset’s revenues in H1 reached €1.387 billion, up from €1.166 billion last year. The broadcaster said strong growth in ad revenues in both Spain and Italy drove the results, claiming its ad growth outpaced the overall advertising market.

And Mediaset said its performance over the summer was particularly promising given that the two major sporting events, the Euros and the Olympic Games, were both aired by competitors.

Judge Rules Mostly in Apple’s Favour in Epic Court Battle
The judge presiding over Epic Games’ current legal battle with Apple over Apple’s app store policies has ruled mostly in Apple’s favour, siding with Apple on nine out of ten counts.

Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled that Apple must allow app owners to direct users to alternative places they can pay for in-app items and services. This means that going forward, apps in the App Store will be able to embed links and buttons to external sites where they can pay for products.

But on broader issues, over whether Apple’s control over App Store represents a monopoly, the judge sided with Apple. Thus, for now, Apple won’t have to enable third-party payment methods in-app, as some had hoped. And the judge legitimised Apple’s practice of taking a 30 percent cut of all in-app purchases, which Epic has refused to pay in protest against Apple.

The Week in Tech

Visa is Closing Their Personal Data Business
Visa is closing Visa Ad Solutions, their solution that they use to sell personal data to advertisers. The solution gave advertisers access to Visa’s database of user spending activity, which could then be matched with identity information. Visa told The Morning Brew in a statement, “We made a strategic decision to sunset Visa Ad Solutions and focus our resources on providing our clients with other data-driven services”.

App Annie Settles Data Fraud Case for $10 Million
App Annie, a mobile-app data provider, has agreed to pay a fine of $10 million to settle a data fraud investigation by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to the SEC, App Annie used data from app companies that it said would not be shared with third parties to generate its statistical models of app performance. The SEC said this is the first time it has charged an alternative data provider with securities fraud.

PubMatic Integrates Nielsen Data
Nielsen and PubMatic announced today that Nielsen’s audience data is now available through PubMatic’s Audience Encore, which the two say will permit advertisers to buy premium omnichannel inventory layered with quality data for precision targeting and better performance.

TikTok Partners with Mediaocean for Ad Sales
Mediaocean this week announced that it will be partnering with TikTok on technology that will integrate TikTok advertising into Mediaocean’s closed ecosystems optimisation solution (formerly Scope by 4C). Mediaocean says the partnership will enable brands and agencies to plan, buy, measure, and optimize TikTok ads alongside other media channels in the Mediaocean platform.

IAB Europe Warns of “Devastating Consequences” of EU Personalised Ad Ban
IAB Europe on Thursday published a new reported arguing that a wholesale ban on targeted advertising, a move which has been proposed by a group of MEPs, would have “devastating” consequences for Europe’s press, cultural assets, and SMEs. The report, titled ‘‘The wider socio-economic and cultural value of targeted advertising in Europe’ and authored by IAB Europe’s chief economist Daniel Knapp, argues that such a move would have unintended consequences. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

TransUnion Acquires Neustar for $3.1 Billion
Credit reporting agency TransUnion is acquiring identity resolution company Neustar for $3.1 billion. Neustar is currently owned by private equity company Golden Gate Capital. Golden Gate took Neustar private in 2016, having bought it for $2.9 billion. The acquisition of Neustar excludes its security business. TransUnion acquired OTT measurement platform TruOptik in October 2020, cross-channel marketing company Signal in August 2020, and martech platform TruSignal in May 2019. 

VideoElephant Launches CTV Channels Marketplace
VideoElephant, an aggregator of premium video content, this week launched a new channels marketplace, a collection of more than 150 licensable, linear video feeds. With the addition of the channels marketplace to its portfolio, VideoElephant aims to expand its service to new customer types, including streaming platforms, technology providers and manufacturers, brands and digital signage/place-based media companies.

ID5 Partners With Globalive to Expand Japanese Presence
Identity solution ID5 has announced its partnership with Japanese ad tech consultancy globalive. ID5 are seeking to expand their footprint in Japan, and believe that the partnership with globalive will allow them to build relationships with more publishers and technology providers in the country.

Contextual Advertising Company Seedtag Raises $40 Million in Funding
Contextual advertising platform Seedtag has raised $40 million in Series B funding. The Spanish company had previously raised £5.2 million in Series A funding in 2017. This latest funding round was led by Oakley Capital, and also saw Adara Ventures and All Iron Ventures take part. 

HUMAN Security and Anzu Partner on In-Game Advertising
Anzu, the in-game advertising platform, and ad fraud protection company HUMAN Security (formally White Ops) have announced a partnership. The partnership is designed to ensure that Anzu’s programmatic inventory is protected against invalid traffic using HUMAN’s tools.

The Week in TV

UK Government Sets Out Vision for Privatisation of Channel 4
John Whittingdale, UK minister of state for media and data, on Wednesday delivered a speech to the Royal Television Society Conference in Cambridge which laid out what the government sees as the benefits of privatising Channel 4. The government has not formally committed to privatising the broadcaster, instead launching a consultation on the matter earlier this year. But the speech, which was due to be delivered by former culture secretary Oliver Dowden until he was demoted out of the role in a cabinet reshuffle, clearly shows that the government’s preference would be to sell off Channel 4. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Nadine Dorries Replaces Oliver Dowden as Culture Secretary
Nadine Dorries has replaced Oliver Dowden as UK minister for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). The appointment was part of a wider reshuffle of the Cabinet by the prime minister, Boris Johnson. Dorries has previously been critical of the BBC, and has been vocal about a perceived leftwing bias against her party in how it reports news. Dorries’ appointment comes amid discussion of scrapping the licence fee which funds the BBC. 

Comscore Launches Tool to Count How Many People are Co-Viewing
TV measurement provider Comscore is looking to count every person that is watching TV, rather than just measuring by household. Comscore has announced that they have upgraded their tools to bring person-level measurement. The new tool, which will replace household-level audience data, estimates how many people are watching TV through a combination of set-top-box data with survey inputs from households.

Channel 4 Draws Nearly 10 Million Views for US Open Final
Channel 4 this week secured an unusual last minute deal with Amazon, which holds the rights to broadcast the US Open in the UK, which allowed it to broadcast the final between British teenager Emma Raducanu and Leylah Fernandez. The broadcast peaked at 9.2 million viewers, seen as an overall success for both Channel 4 and Amazon, which got a seven figure sum in return.

BBC Three Gets Green Light to Return as a Linear Channel
BBC Three, a youth-focused channel currently run as a CTV-only offering, is set to return to linear television as a channel after UK regulator Ofcom gave it the provisional go-ahead. BBC Three was taken off-air in 2016 on the basis that its younger viewers did not watch linear TV. But now the public service broadcaster says that many young people do retain a linear TV habit. Sky had complained to Ofcom that because BBC Three is a public service channel and therefore, has a right to appear in the first 24 channels, it would unfairly bump down another channel. Ofcom has opened a public consultation on their provisional decision. 

Comcast CFO Denies Suggestion The Company is Buying Roku
Comcast’s chief financial officer (CFO) Mike Cavanagh has thrown cold water onto rumours that the company is looking to do a major deal to up its streaming presence. It was rumoured that the company was looking to acquire Roku, or even do a merger with ViacomCBS. However, speaking at a conference, Cavanagh said when it comes to streaming Comcast are “going to play [their] own hand with the collection of assets [they] have”.

Murdoch’s News UK to Launch TV Channel
Rupert Murdoch’s News UK, which publishes newspapers The Sun and The Times is to launch a new linear television channel talkTV in the UK. The channel has already signed controversial TV presenter Piers Morgan to front a major show on the channel, which will feature news bulletins, as well as sports and entertainment content. News of the launch comes after veteran TV presenter Andrew Neil stepped down as chairman of GB News, a right-leaning news channel he helped launch. 

Virgin Media to Launch IPTV Offering
The UK’s Virgin Media-O2 will launch its first IPTV, or internet television offering by the end of the year, its chief executive said on Thursday. Lutz Schueler, making the comments at the Royal Television Society (RTS) convention, said that the offering would be aimed at younger viewers. Sky is launching a version of the Sky Q box that runs over IP next month.

BBC to Gain Increased Prominence on Sky After Enhancing Partnership
The BBC is to gain greater prominence on Sky’s Q platform after the two broadcasters renewed and expanded their partnership. The deal will make the BBC’s programming more visible on the Sky Q platform, which will directly link to BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds. The agreement also covers further cooperation on sport, Sky and the BBC have shared rights to the Women’s Super League and matches from new cricket competition, The Hundred.

The Week in Publishing

Reddit Ad Revenue Expected to Double This Year
Reddit’s advertising revenue is expected to double this year to at least $350 million. Reddit is 16 years old and has 430 million monthly users globally, this puts it very close to fellow social networking site Pinterest. Despite similarities in size, Pinterest is way ahead of Reddit on ad revenue, earning over $1.1 billion in H1 2021 alone. However, Reddit has been aiming to step up its ad offering over the past two years.

Mailchimp Acquired by Intuit for $12 Billion
Email marketing company Mailchimp has been bought by financial software company Intuit for $12 billion. The press release stated the acquisition furthers “Intuit’s mission of powering prosperity around the world, and its strategy to become an AI-driven expert platform”. In February 2020, the company acquired fintech start-up Credit Karma for $7.1 billion.

TMZ is Acquired By Fox
Online tabloid TMZ has been acquired by Fox Entertainment from WarnerMedia. As well as an online celebrity news site, TMZ has other media including syndicated TV shows and a sports news website, all of which will now be operated by Fox. The website’s editorial staff will also remain in place.

Jess Brammar Appointed to Top BBC News Role Following Impartiality Row
Jess Brammar has been appointed to a senior role in BBC News, despite a row that called into question her impartiality. Brammar has previously been editor of HuffPost UK and will now oversee the BBC’s domestic and international news channels. Old tweets that were critical of Brexit and Boris Johnson had been used to question her impartiality. BBC board member and former advisor to Theresa May, Sir Robbie Gibb was also said to have objected to her appointment.

NBA 2K22 to Feature First Branded Character
NBA 2K22, the latest in a series of popular basketball games, will feature its first branded character, Jake from State Farm. “Jake from State Farm” is a character featured in the insurance provider’s TV adverts, where he is played by actor Kevin Miles. In the game, “Jake” greets players’ characters as they come to the city.

The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital Raises Profit Outlook Again
S4 Capital has raised its profit outlook for the whole year for the third time this year, predicting gross profit growth of 40 percent, after posting another strong set of financial results. Revenues for S4 were up 98 percent year-on-year, and up 56 percent on a like-for-like basis.

Agencies Agree to Standards for Alcohol Influencer Marketing
Agencies including McCann, Publicis, Dentsu and Havas have agreed to standards for using influencer marketing to advertise alcohol, set by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD). The standards cover due diligence of any influencers used, use of age verification technology, and transparency over sponsorship.

Nike’s ‘You Can’t Stop Us’ Wins Best Commercial Emmy
‘You Can’t Stop Us’, a Nike ad created by Wieden+Kennedy Portland, has been awarded the Emmy for ‘Best Commercial’. It’s been just two years since the agency last won an Emmy for its work with Nike, picking up the award in 2019 for its ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign.

CALM Launches Campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day
The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), has worked with Borderland Studios and Simon & Ben to produce a campaign for World Suicide Prevention Day.

ISBA Launches Code of Conduct for Influencer Marketing
British advertising trade group ISBA has released a new code of conduct for influencer marketing, which aims to address some of the negative issues surrounding brands using influencers to promote their products, including a lack of transparency, and fractured relationships between talent and agencies. The code of conduct isn’t itself legally binding, though ISBA suggested it could be woven into legal contracts for influencer campaigns.

Influencer Partners with Mark Wahlberg’s Production Company
Influencer marketing agency Influential has agreed a partnership with Mark Wahlberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas, in a move which will allow campaigns requiring studio equipment to use Unrealistic Ideas’ resources. The move will significantly boost Influential’s production capabilities, according to Ad Age.

Hires of the Week

Deep Bagchee Becomes ITV’s Chief Product Officer
Deep Bagchee has been appointed as ITV’s first-ever chief product officer. Bagchee was previously chief product officer at The Economist Group.

Nina Gregory Appointed as Head of News and Media Publishers at Clubhouse
Nina Gregory has been appointed to the role of head of news and media publishers at Clubhouse. Gregory had been senior editor for NPR’s Arts Desk previously.

Allen Broome Promoted to CEO at MediaKind
Allen Broome has been promoted to CEO at MediaKind. Broome is promoted from his previous role of chief technology officer. 

This Week on VideoWeek

Twitch Streamers Call for Substantial Changes After #ADayOffTwitch Boycott, read on VideoWeek

A Guide to Google’s Sandbox Solution for Attribution, read on VideoWeek

UK Government Sets Out Vision for Privatisation of Channel 4, read on VideoWeek

Introducing VideoWeek’s Guide to Gaming & Advertising, read on VideoWeek

IAB Europe Warns of “Devastating Consequences” of EU Personalised Ad Ban, read on VideoWeek

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