The WIR: TF1 Trials an SVOD Service, Finecast Suspends Three Staffers After Whistleblower Tip-Off, and Google Countersues Epic Games

15 October, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: TF1 trials a new SVOD offering, WPP suspends three Finecast staffers, and Google countersues Epic Games.

Top Stories

TF1 Trials New SVOD Service ‘MyTF1 MAX’
French broadcaster TF1 has begun trialling a paid, ad-free version of its MyTF1 streaming service. The add-on to MyTF1, called ‘MyTF1 Max’ is priced at €2.99 a month for the first year, and then €3.99 euros thereafter. It will provide ad free on-demand viewing of MyTF1’s library, as well as access to TF1’s selection of live channels.

The service is seen as a complement to the ad-supported version of MyTF1, rather than a replacement. But it will be interesting to see how it fares alongside Salto, a streaming service TF1 launched a few years back alongside M6 and France Télévisions.

WPP Suspends Three Finecast Staff Following Whistleblower Tip
WPP has suspended three staff from Finecast, its London-based addressable TV advertising unit, following a tip from a whistleblower, according to Business Insider.

Finecast, launched in 2017, sits within WPP’s media arm GroupM. Finecast is designed to provide buyers with a single access point for buying inventory across a host of different addressable TV advertising environments, with standardised measurement. The unit has been growing in importance for GroupM as connected TV continues to attract more and more interest from advertisers.

The exact nature of the allegations made by the whistleblower are unknown. But CEO Jakob Nielsen is among those who have been suspended, as WPP runs an internal investigation.

Google Countersues Epic Games
Google is counter suing Fortnite-maker Epic Games, using the same arguments that Apple deployed against the games company in a similar suit. The lawsuit relates to an incident in 2020 where Epic Games introduced alternative payment methods in Apple and Google’s app stores, and then launched a PR campaign and lawsuit against both companies. Epic’s arguments against the two giants were that they were maintaining monopolies by insisting that app developers use the companies’ own payment systems.

But following the ruling of Epic’s case against Apple, which ruled in Apple’s favour on most counts, Google is now countersuing, accusing Epic of bad faith in their legal agreement.

The Week in Tech

IAB Tech Lab Launches ‘id-sources.json’ Proposal for Post-Cookie World
IAB Tech Lab, an industry standards-setting body, this week released ‘id-sources.json’, a technical specification designed to create transparency around ID solution usage. The new standard has been born out of the Rearc Accountability Working Group, Tech Lab’s hub for developing post-cookie solutions. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Comscore Brings Deduplicated Ad Campaigns to YouTube
Comscore says it can now provide deduplicated audience measurement on YouTube. The company says it can now offer deduplicated measurement across YouTube’s PC, mobile and connected TV platforms. The ability would make Comscore the first company to be able to offer deduplicated measurement on YouTube.

iSpot Acquires DRMetrix
iSpot, a cross-platform TV measurement platform has acquired DRMetrix for an undisclosed fee.. The deal will expand iSpot’s ability to measure emerging formats for addressable advertising. In January, iSpot acquired Ace Metrix, making this latest acquisition the second purchase of a real-time ad measurement company this year.  DRMetrix specialises in products for direct-to-consumer and direct-response TV advertisers. Acquiring the company brings iSpot to 450 annual brand subscriptions, representing 95 percent of TV networks in North America.

Facebook is Changing How it Measures Accounts for Advertising
Facebook will stop linking Facebook and Instagram accounts together for advertising purposes, unless the user explicitly consents. Currently, as well as users being able to link their Instagram and Facebook accounts through the apps, Facebook will internally link Instagram and Facebook accounts if they are using the same email address or accessed through the same devices and will count them as one person for advertising purposes.

Google Bans Climate Change Denying Ads
Google has explicitly banned ads that contradict the “well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. The company will also move to demonetise YouTube videos that contradict the facts on climate change, such as claiming it is a hoax or that it’s not man-made.

Adverty Launches Interactive In-Game Ad Format
Ad tech company Adverty has launched an interactive in-game format. Adverty already produces in-game ads, but these new ads, launched at the IAB UK Gaming Upfronts, will allow players to interact with the ads as part of the game. The first example of these ads will appear in Magic Finder 3D, and will allow brands to place their logo on crates that can be picked up and thrown by the user as part of the game.

British Consumers Plan to Ramp Up Shopping to Make Up for 2020, Says RTL Report
A report from RTL AdConnect, a European video sales house for broadcasters, has found that 62 percent of Britons expect to celebrate Christmas 2021 “a lot more than in previous years”. A quarter of British consumers surveyed also said they plan to spend more on this Christmas than in previous years. British consumers were much more enthusiastic about Christmas this year than their European counterparts, with 76 percent of Britons agreeing that Christmas 2021 “will be wonderful” compared to 67 percent of Italians and only 51 percent of Germans.

Irish Regulator Proposes 36 Million Euro Privacy Fine Against Facebook
The Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC) has proposed a 36 million euro fine against Facebook. The proposed fine comes after a complaint lodged by Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, which concerned the lawfulness of Facebook’s processing of personal data. Under EU law, the Irish regulator’s preliminary decision must be reviewed by all concerned EU supervisory bodies before it can be approved.

Anzu Partners With Roblox
In-game ad solution platform Anzu teamed up with Roblox. The partnership will bring in-game ads to the Roblox gaming platform. Roblox report that 67 percent of its 42.1 million daily active users are under 16, which will allow brands using the ads to reach a young Gen-Z audience.

The Week in TV

Roku Will Remain Top CTV Device in the US in 2021, Predicts Forecast
In 2021, Roky monthly users will increase by 11.5 percent, reaching 111.7 million users, says a forecast from eMarketer. This means it will remain the most popular CTV device in the US, followed by Amazon Fire TV. Amazon will see a user growth of 15.4 percent in 2021, reaching 97 million monthly active users

Disruption to Channel 4 Continues After Red Bee Fire Incident
Channel 4 viewers are still unable to access subtitles, audio description or sign language support after an incident at Red Bee Media facilities last month. Channel 4 recently released a statement apologising for the lack of access services blaming “the severity of the incident”, which was reportedly a fire at the studio. Viewers have also complained about disruption to programming such as Married at First Sight and Taskmaster.

89 Percent of Buyers Believe TV Should Be Sold on Impressions, According to Research
Research from TVSquared says that 89 percent of buyers surveyed believe that TV should be sold on impressions. 90 percent of those surveyed also now believe that the definition of TV should include streaming, and not just linear. The top barrier to entry to the CTV market was found to be the “accuracy of cross-platform TV measurement and attribution”, which 47 percent of those surveyed said was their top problem.

ViacomCBS To Start Selling NFTs
ViacomCBS will launch its own non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in Spring 2022. The company will launch an NFT business via a multi-year partnership with tech firm Recur. The NFTs will be associated with ViacomCBS’s brands, which include BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and Showtime.

Google TV to Launch Personalisation Features
Google TV will launch a number of personalisation features in an upcoming update. The most significant of these features is the ability for Google TV users to add personal profiles for each household member. These profiles will generate custom recommendations tailored to each user.  

Netflix Says Programming Back on Schedule After Pandemic
Netflix says that its programme production is getting back on track after pandemic disruption. Bela Bajaria, Netflix’s global head of programming said that the streaming giant would be able to produce programming at a “steady pace for the next couple of years”. Netflix has relied on original content to grow subscriber numbers in recent years.

Netflix is Gaining Older Viewers, Losing Younger Ones, Says Research
Netflix is beginning to lose its youth-skewing audience, says research from Ampere Analysis. The research finds that in some mature markets, 24-44 year olds are more likely to be Netflix subscribers than 18-24 year olds. Ampere Analysis’s research also found that global monthly usage of Netflix increased by over 22 percent among the 45+ group in the past two years, while the same time period saw a growth of just five percent among younger consumers.

TV and Film Workers Set to Go on Strike on 18th October
A union representing 60,000 behind-the-scenes Hollywood workers, says its members will go on strike on 18th October unless streaming networks and studios can reach an agreement with them. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) represents employees from companies like Netflix, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, and Universal Pictures. IATSE is seeking an agreement on “core issues, such as reasonable rest periods, meal breaks and a living wage for those on the bottom of the wage scale,” their president said.

60 Percent of Advertisers Intend to Spend More in Advanced TV in Next 12 Months, Says Research
Research from FreeWheel, found that 60 percent of advertisers intend to increase their spend on advanced TV over the next 12 months. The picture across the advertising ecosystem is much more optimistic than it was last year,with a predicted net increase of four percent in UK marketing budgets for 2021 vs -51 percent in 2020. 

The Week in Publishing

The Independent Includes TV Channel in New Commercial Offering
UK newspaper The Independent unveiled plans for an expanded commercial offering this week, which will involve its ‘Independent TV’ television channel, as well as ecommerce and a new content partnership division called Ignite. The paper also launched a new audience targeting offering which handles data matching, according to Campaign.

Twitter Launches New App Download Ads
Twitter has launched a new set of performance-driven advertising tools, which allow users to start downloading an app from an ad directly within the Twitter apps. Twitter said it is also working on tools to help app advertisers find users who are most likely to spend on in-app purchases.

Facebook Announces New Policies on Bullying and Harassment
Facebook has updated its policies on bullying and harassment, saying that among other things it will now remove more harmful content that attacks public figures, as well as provide more protections for public figures who have become famous involuntarily — like human rights defenders and journalists. The update comes as Facebook faces criticism over allegations it has purposefully ignored research on harmful content, instead prioritising engagement and profits.

LinkedIn Pulls Out of China
LinkedIn is closing down its operations in China, reportedly after the Chinese government began pressuring the social network to do more to control and oversee content posted by users. LinkedIn will instead run a job application site which won’t have any social networking functions.

TikTok Removed 81 Million Videos in Q2 This Year
Social video app TikTok revealed this week it took down over 81 million videos in Q2 this year, less than one percent of all videos uploaded, as part of its content moderation policy. The most common reason for content removal was ‘minor safety’, which accounted for 41.3 percent of all instances.

Axios Makes Millions from Teaching “Smart Brevity” Style to Businesses
Axios has made over $1 million from its software-as-a-service business which teaches companies how to write in the ‘Smart Brevity’ style used in Axios reporting, according to Digiday. The software is less than eight months old. Axios has also made over $2 million from its white glove management training in Smart Brevity.

The Week for Agencies

Publicis Reports 11.2 Percent Organic Growth in Q3
French holding group Publicis reported organic growth of 11.2 percent in its Q3 financial results, with data unit Epsilon and digital consultancy Publicis Sapient two of its start performers. These results represent organic growth compared with the same period in 2019 – the first time Publicis has posted organic growth over its pre-pandemic quarters.

WPP’s Finsbury Glover Hering Merges with Sard Verbinnen & Co
WPP-owned PR agency Finsbury Glover Hering this week announced a merger with rival firm Sard Vebinnen & Co, creating a combined business valued at $917 million. The deal is expected to close in Q4 this year.

Ad Agencies Targeted in Climate Protests
Ad agencies which have worked with fossil fuel businesses were targeted this week by climate activists, who put up over 100 billboards and bus stop posters (without permission) in various UK cities, which accused agencies including MediaCom, Ogilvy and VCCP of fuelling the climate crisis through their work.

Omnicom Wins Chanel Global Media Account
Omnicom scored a significant win this week, picking up global media duties for Chanel, which spends around $380 million on measured media each year according to Mediapost. The account was previously held by WPP, who first won the account almost 20 years ago.

Industry Veterans Found Consultancy for Indie Agencies
Former executives from Omnicom, Disney, and Way To Blue have launched a new consultancy called Now Next Why, which will aim to help independent ad agencies grow their businesses. The consultancy will offer advice covering IP, finance, board advisory, personal mentoring and acquisition strategies according to The Drum.

IPA Study Demonstrates Value of Well Executed Purposeful Ads
Effectiveness expert Peter Field says that IPA data demonstrates that purposeful ads, when well executed, can be “incredibly effective” compared with non-purposeful alternatives. Field found that the ‘very large business effects’ of well-executed purposeful ads produce a benchmark score of 2.1, compared to 1.6 for non-purposeful ads.

N Brown Picks the7stars for UK Media Duties
Retailer N Brown, whose brands include JD Williams, Home Essentials, and Simply Be, has appointed independent agency the7stars to handle media planning and buying in the UK.

Hires of the Week

Nicola Mendelsohn Promoted to Global Advertising Chief at Facebook
Nicola Mendelsohn has been promoted to be Facebook’s vice president of its global business group. She had been serving as the interim appointment for the role since June.

Michael Komasinki Becomes Merkle’s Global CEO
Michael Komasinki has been named as Global CEO of Merkle. Komasinki has been president, Americas at the company.

Pali Bhat Named as Reddit’s Chief Product Officer
Reddit has appointed its first ever chief product officer. Pali Bhat takes on the role, he joins from Google Cloud, where he was vice president of product and design.

Pixalate Hires Allison Lefrak
Pixalate has hired Allison Lefrak as senior vice president of public policy, ads privacy and Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliance. Lefrak was previously counsel for international consumer protection for the FTC’s Office of International Affairs. 

Flashtalking by Mediaocean Makes Two New Hires for JAPAC Team
Flashtalking by Mediaocean has hired Tiffany Foxwell as head of client services, JAPAC. The company has also hired Eva Ericksen as creative development lead, JAPAC.

Tom Fussell Appointed as Head of BBC Studios
Tom Fussell has been named as the new CEO of BBC Studios. Fussell has held the role of interim CEO since September 2020, before which he was CFO at BBC Studios.

This Week on VideoWeek

How Trend Data Can Help Travel Advertisers Navigate the New Normal, read on VideoWeek

The Sell-Side View: Q&A with Glewed TV’s Andrew Budkofsky, read on VideoWeek

IAB Tech Lab Launches ‘id-sources.json’ Proposal for Post-Cookie World, read on VideoWeek

The CTV Advertising Guide 2022 is Now Available to Download, read on VideoWeek

Streaming Services Are Evolving Free Trial Periods to Avoid “Binge and Bolt”, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Ladder, Life Insurance So Good You Might Wish You Didn’t Have It, Fred & Farid Los Angeles


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