The WIR: Apple’s Privacy Changes Dent Snap’s Ad Revenues, Omnicom Calls for Better CTV Standards, and Comcast Launches a Smart TV

22 October, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: Snap’s ad revenues are hit by Apple’s privacy changes, Omnicom calls for better CTV standards, and Comcast launches a smart TV.

Top Stories

Snapchat Ad Revenues Hit by iOS Changes
Snap’s quarterly revenues surpassed $1 billion for the first time in its Q3 financial results this week. But sales came in below market expectations, as Snap’s executives acknowledged that Apple’s privacy changes to its iOS operating system had hit ad revenues.

This was the first full quarter after Apple introduced new restrictions earlier this year, which required every app to ask for explicit permission to use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). And Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, speaking on an earnings call with analysts, said that Apple’s tools which were designed to plug the gap left by absent identifiers were not sufficient.

“Our advertising business was disrupted by changes to iOS and tracking that were broadly rolled out by Apple in June and July,” said Spiegel. “While we anticipated some degree of business disruption, the new Apple provided measurement solution did not scale as we had expected, making it more difficult for our advertising partners to measure and manage their ad campaigns for iOS.”

Omnicom Media Group Calls for Better Standards in the CTV Landscape
Omnicom Media Group (OMG) is calling for better assurances from suppliers in the CTV market. The agency forecasts that US CTV market spend will top $13.4 billion this year, a figure which represents a 50 percent year on year increase. 

Amid this booming growth for the sector, OMG calls upon the industry to up its transparency. To this end, the agency has published a “call-to-action” on CTV standards, which is a series of protocols that the company is calling upon the industry to adopt. 

The Connected TV Signal Standardization Initiative (CTV-SSI) launched by OMG is focused on three types of buying signals: inventory, identity and fraud. “The improvement and standardization of these signals will help facilitate an increase and spend in this environment and provide advertisers with a viable path to reallocate budgets, such as from TV,” the agency says.

Comcast Brings Its First TV to the US Market
Comcast has announced that it is launching its first smart TV in the US market, the XClass TV. Comcast will be hoping to boost their streaming offering Peacock with the new TV taking the service direct-to-consumers.

The XClass TVs come with a 12-month subscription to Peacock Premium included. The subscription is normally $4.99 a month and comes with ads included. This is the first time that consumers across the US will be able to access Peacock without an Xfinity subscription.

The smart TVs will be built in partnership with Hisense, and will be available for US consumers to buy from Walmart. The XClass TVs will be built on the same platforms as Comcast’s other tech products, including the Sky Glass TV. Sky Glass, a smart TV which will launch in the UK and is made by Sky, was announced earlier this month.

The Week in Tech

RTL Group and Amobee Form New European ‘TechAlliance’
RTL Group and Amobee have announced that they are forming a new European partnership called TechAlliance, to strengthen their ad tech offerings on the continent. The partnership will entail a sales and services company that will unite Amobee’s ad tech offering with RTL’s Smartclip in Europe. The two say the joint offering will be tailored to the needs of European broadcasters and streaming services, and will offer programmatic access to addressable TV advertising. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Snowflake Launches a Media Cloud
Snowflake, the cloud data services company, has launched a media cloud, aimed at enabling data collaboration in the advertising and media ecosystems. The Media Data Cloud includes partner-enabled solutions from companies such as VideoAmp, The Trade Desk and Experian. 

Azerion Acquires Inskin Media
Azerion, a holding group which owns both game developers and gaming monetisation platforms, has acquired Inskin Media. Inskin is an ad tech company that specialises in multi-screen digital brand advertising. Inskin will be integrated into the Azerion platform, which will give clients access to a wider range of scalable ads. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read more on VideoWeek.

Tremor International Buys Spearad for $14.7 Million
Tremor International has acquired addressable TV advertising platform Spearad for $14.7 million. Spearad’s ad server technology will be integrated into the Unruly SSP, which will enable CTV header bidding, channel inventory, and ad pod management. Read more on VideoWeek.

Kargo Acquires StitcherAds for $64 Million
Kargo Global has acquired StitcherAds, an ecommerce ad tech company for $64 million. The company said that the purchase of StitcherAds was part of a wider growth plan that could include a future IPO. The acquisition will allow Kargo Global to expand their offering onto larger social media sites, which StitcherAds are already on.

Facebook Creating 10,000 Jobs in Europe to Build the Metaverse
Facebook announced its plan to hire 10,000 people in the EU to work on building the metaverse. In a blog post entitled “Investing in European Talent to Help Build the Metaverse”, Facebook said that the announcement was “putting the region at the heart of our plans to help build the metaverse”. Although it said that the hires would be “highly skilled”, the blog post gave no specific breakdown on what the new employees would be working on. 

Falling Consumer Tolerance Could Hit Ad Industry Warns IAB
The IAB outlook released last week calls for an increased spend in digital advertising but warns of issues that could affect the industry. The report, compiled by PwC calls for a relatively small increase of 8 percent in 2022 to $165.5 billion. However, the report also reports that the top concern among advertising leaders interviewed was that consumer tolerance of advertising is falling. 

Nielsen Unveils Rebranding
After a turbulent year, Nielsen has unveiled a new look to coincide with the beginning of Advertising Week. Nielsen said the rebrand signals “transformation of its culture and a redefined strategy” that prioritises “innovation”. Nielsen’s woes were compounded when it lost its Media Ratings Council accreditation last summer after issues with its measurement over the pandemic.

TikTok For Business has adapted the best to SKAdNetwork Says AppsFlyer Report
AppsFlyer has launched the 13th edition of its Performance Index, which ranks the top media sources in mobile marketing. In this edition, AppsFlyer introduced the “SKAN index”, which is a SKAdNetwork ranking of how apps are adjusting to Apple’s privacy changes. Prior to SKAdNetwork, Facebook dominated the iOS ratings, but in this ranking, TikTok took the top spot.

Investment in Programmatic Video Improves Brand Risk
Integral Ad Science’s most recent Media Quality Report found that brand risk in the UK has been improving thanks to growing investment in programmatic video, which is proving increasingly safe. Brand risk associated with desktop video decreased 4.1 percentage points from 5.7 percent in H1 2020 to 1.6 percent in H1 2021 – compared to the global average of 3.6 percent. Video inventory achieved even lower rates of brand risk when purchased programmatically, with mobile web video programmatic risk falling 3.6 percentage points to 2 percent in H1 2021, and desktop video programmatic risk decreasing by 3.9 percentage points to 1.4 percent.

Bidtellect Reports 35 Percent Cost Savings Via BidSwitch
IPONWEB’s BidSwitch reported this week that it has enabled demand-side platform (DSP) and advertising technology company Bidtellect to reduce the hardware costs associated with processing and analysing (listening to) bidstream data. BidSwitch says its intelligent traffic routing system SmartSwitch saved Bidtellect 35 percent on these costs for one connected supply partner.

PubMatic Expands Partnership with Semasio
This week PubMatic and Semasio announced an expanded partnership that enables media buyers to increase audience addressability at a user- and page-level. Semasio’s audience and contextual segments can now be activated directly in PubMatic’s sell-side platform (SSP) for rapid, precision targeting.

Amazon Accused of Lying to Congress By Committee Members
Senior executives at Amazon, including former CEO Jeff Bezoz, have been accused of lying to Congress over their business practices. The letter from five members of the House Judiciary Committee, refers to a report by Reuters on how Amazon controls its search results and allegations of copying other products, which the lawmakers say “directly contradicts the sworn testimony” of the execs.

The Week in TV

US TV Networks See Ratings Fall in the Post-Trump Era
In Q3 of 2021, cable news networks CNN and MSNBC saw their primetime ratings fall more than 50 percent compared to the same period last year. According to Nielsen, CNN’s primetime ratings dropped 52 percent in the third quarter for viewers aged 25 to 54. These drops in viewership can be attributed to less interest in news following the end of a tumultuous period in American politics.

Sinclair Investigates Ransomware Attack That Targeted Local TV
Sinclair Broadcast Group has said that it is probing a ransomware attack after it found that its servers and workstations were encrypted with the malicious software. Sinclair said that the incident had also affected some advertisers on their local TV stations. The company said it cannot determine at this point whether the ransomware attack will have a “material impact” on business or not.

BBC “Modernising” iPlayer
The BBC has said it is “modernising audience experience” across its services, including making BBC iPlayer, its VOD service, easier for people to navigate. The changes include a redesign of logos for some of its key services including flagship station BBC One and iPlayer. The public service broadcaster said it would be making the changes to iPlayer “over the next six months and beyond”. 

ITV Launches YouTube First Content
ITV’s breakfast show, Good Morning Britain, is to launch a YouTube original series. The show will be called “Off the Table” and will be aimed at 18-34-year-olds. The episodes will be 15 minutes long and will feature “hot topic” debates on issues like climate change, “cancel culture” and life after COVID. It will be produced by ITV Daytime Studios four times a month. 

Disney Is Reportedly Exploring Spinning Off ESPN
Disney CEO Bob Chapek reportedly asked his aides to look into spinning off ESPN, reports media outlet Puck. The reasoning behind the move would be that ESPN, as a live sports network that maintains a strong linear presence, is increasingly against the grain of Disney’s overarching business. Disney has been increasingly focusing on streaming when it comes to its media properties. 

Squid Game is Estimated to Be Worth $900 Million to Netflix
South Korean thriller Squid Game is worth $900 million to Netflix, reports Bloomberg. The series, which cost $21.4 million to produce, quickly became Netflix’s biggest original show ever, overtaking Bridgerton. The report noted that 32 million accounts had watched at least two minutes of the show in its first 23 days. 

ViacomCBS Renews Its Carriage Deal With Altice USA
ViacomCBS has renewed its carriage deal with Altice USA, meaning the cable network will continue to carry the broadcaster’s channels. These channels include MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. The deal will also give Altice’s customers access to ViacomCBS’s streaming services, which include Paramount+, Pluto TV and Showtime.

The Week in Publishing

PayPal Weighs Up $39 Billion Pinterest Acquisition
Payments company PayPal is reportedly considering a $39 billion acquisition of social media company Pinterest, according to Bloomberg. The deal would be part of a move by PayPal to expand its services, amid tech giants like Apple and Facebook expanding into payments.

UK Competition Authority Probes Music Streaming Market
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a probe into the music streaming market, one of a number of probes into digital markets currently being conducted by the watchdog. “Over the past decade, the music industry has evolved almost beyond recognition, with streaming now accounting for more than 80 percent of all music listened to in this country,” said Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive. “A market study will help us to understand these radical changes and build a view as to whether competition in this sector is working well or whether further action needs to be taken.”

Trump Plans New Social Platform to Rival Big Tech
Donald Trump announced this week that he plans to launch a new social media company, Truth Social, to rival the likes of Twitter and Facebook (two platforms from which he is banned). The platform has gotten off to a difficult start, with hackers managing to get into the beta version of the platform and create fake accounts for Donald Trump and former vice president Mike Pence.

Spotify Expands Ad Sales Staff
Spotify is hiring hundreds of new workers across Europe as part of a drive to push further ad sales, according to Reuters. “We are increasing our ads business marketing workforce by over 70 percent in Europe, Australia and Canada … and that’s off a pretty sizable base,” Lee Brown, Spotify’s head of advertising business, told Reuters.

Facebook Set to Rebrand As Part of Metaverse Pivot
Facebook is set for a rebrand, as part of its repositioning as a metaverse company rather than a social media company. The Facebook brand will still be used for the Facebook platform, but the holding company which also contains Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus among other things will have a new name.

Activision Blizzard Fires Twenty Staff Following Harassment Lawsuit
Game publisher Activision Blizzard has fired 20 employees following allegations of sexual harassment and a toxic workplace culture, the company announced on Tuesday. The company also said it is expanding its ethics and compliance team in response to the allegations.

Pinterest Doubles Down on Video with Watch Tab and Original Series
This week, social media platform Pinterest has announced a number of new video-related products, signalling a much heavier focus on video as the company looks to capitalise on its pandemic-driven growth. These include a new ‘Watch’ tab, and a new initiatives to pay creators for video content. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Instagram Adds ‘Collabs’ Feature
Instagram released a series of new product features this week – including a new ‘Collabs’ feature which will allow multiple creators to work on, and simultaneously release, the same content.

The Week for Agencies

Omnicom Reports 11.5 Percent Organic Growth in Q3
Omnicom reported its Q3 financial results this week, announcing organic growth of 11.5 percent and total revenue growth of 7.1 percent. Advertising revenues for the company were actually down year-on-year, from $1.83 billion to $1.82 billion – though organic growth for ad revenues was still positive.

IPG Posts 15 Organic Growth for Q3
Interpublic Group, following shortly behind Omnicom, posted 15 percent organic growth, with international growth coming in slightly stronger than US growth. This came in above expectations, with IPG also raising its full-year expected organic growth to eleven percent.

Essence Launches New Office in France
GroupM-owned agency Essence this week announced it has launched in France, where it will work hand-in-hand with GroupM’s other media agencies in the country. Essence France will be managed by Guillaume de La Fléchère (who will remain CEO of Neo MediaWorld) and will support the network’s existing clients, including Google.

WFA Survey Highlights Poor Conditions for Women and Ethnic Minorities in Advertising
A new survey from the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) this week identified major challenges across the ad industry relating to diversity and inclusion. The survey found that women and ethnic minorities have a poorer lived experience in the industry, with 17 percent of respondents saying they plan to leave the industry because of a lack of inclusion.

Video Comes Out On Top in Latest IPA Bellwether Report
A net balance of twelve percent of UK marketers will bump up their spend in video, according to the latest Bellwether Report from the IPA, a British advertising trade group. The quarterly survey asks marketers to state whether their ad budgets are increasing, decreasing, or staying the same for each various media channels, giving a net increase or decrease overall. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

P&G Bumps Up Marketing Spend by $130 Million
FMCG giant P&G said on an earnings call this week that it has increased its marketing spend by $130 million, bringing it back up to near pre-pandemic levels. Before the pandemic, about 33 percent of P&G’s total spend went on marketing – currently that figure is at 30 percent according to Campaign.

Major Brands Predict Bump in CTV Spend
AB InBev, VW, and Colgate-Palmolive all predict that they’ll bump up CTV spend significantly in the coming years. All three believe that the majority of TV spend will go through programmatic pipes to CTV inventory, according to marketers from each brand, who were speaking on a panel at Advertising Week.

Hires of the Week

Bart Michels Joins MSQ as Executive Director
Bart Michels is joining the MSQ board as executive director. Michels is the former CEO of Kantar Consulting. 

Amit Shetty Joins Pixalate as VP of Product Management
Amit Shetty has joined Pixalate as VP of product management- ad tech platform. Shetty was previously VP of programmatic products and partnerships, at the IAB Tech Lab.

This Week on VideoWeek

Are We Making Progress on SSAI’s Fraud Vulnerabilities? read more on VideoWeek

Tremor International Buys Spearad for $14.7 Million, read more on VideoWeek

Can Standard Video Ad Formats Work in VR? read more on VideoWeek

Pinterest Doubles Down on Video with Watch Tab and Original Series, read more on VideoWeek

Azerion Acquires Inskin Media, read more on VideoWeek

Video Comes Out On Top in Latest IPA Bellwether Report, read more on VideoWeek

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