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The WIR: Pinterest Launches Pinterest TV, BBC Asks Competition Watchdog to Look at CTV Platforms, and RTL Doubles Down on Streaming

05 November, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: Pinterest launches a shoppable live streaming product, BBC raises worries about CTV platforms, and RTL doubles down on streaming.

Top Stories

Pinterest Moves into Live Streaming with Pinterest TV
Social sharing site Pinterest continued its push into video this week, announcing the launch of a new live video offering called Pinterest TV. Pinterest has commissioned live shows from some of its biggest creators, centring around Pinterest’s specialities of cooking, arts and crafts, and beauty. These live streams will also be shoppable, meaning creators can tag products they use and add links to for viewers to buy those products.

Pinterest looks to have invested significantly in the new product. Several mainstream celebrities are signed up to produce content, including Olympic diver Tom Daley and fashion designer Christian Siriano. Pinterest has also launched a virtual studio to help with production of live content.

BBC Asks UK Competition Watchdog to Look at CTV Platforms
The BBC has asked the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority to look into potentially problematic practices by CTV platforms, specifically Google’s Android TV platform, as part of its investigation into mobile ecosystems.

The CMA this week released responses to the initial statement of scope for its investigation, which was announced earlier this year, asking whether the scope of the investigation is wide enough. And the BBC has asked the CMA to look at CTV platforms, too, with a particular focus on Android TV “given the speed at which Android TV is being deployed and the opportunities it is providing Google for defensive leveraging and leveraging into new sectors”.

“A critical issue which cuts across different device types is the issue of self-preferencing, which also takes place on TVs using the Android operating system and in Apple TV,” says the BBC’s submission. “It seems clear that Android TV will increasingly be in a position to control a significant proportion of user journeys and to promote the wider suite of Google’s services. Search results will evolve from presenting only the exact title match to presenting an audience searcher with results outside of their expectation. This offers an array of opportunities to Android TV to control users’ onward journeys – opening opportunities to preference services owned and monetised by Google (such as YouTube).”

RTL Doubles Down on Streaming
RTL Group is doubling down on its streaming strategy, the company said this week, following a successful year for its streaming services so far. Streaming revenues overall were up 30.6 percent for the first nine months of this year. Total subscriber count meanwhile was up by over 90 percent year-on-year.

RTL has now significantly increased its targets for its streaming business. Previously the company had targeted streaming revenues of €500 million by the end of 2025. Now it’s hoping to reach €1 billion by the end of 2026.

To help drive this growth, the media giant is bolstering its subscription product in Germany, adding music, audiobooks, podcasts, and digital magazines published by RTL-owned publisher G+J. This new content will be available on the rebranded RTL+ (previously TV Now).

The Week in Tech

Permutive Raises $75 Million in Series C Funding
Publisher technology company Permutive has raised $75 million in Series C funding from SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2. This latest round of funding means that the British company has raised a total of $105 million since it was founded in 2014. Permutive plans to quadruple its team using the money.

The Association of National Advertisers Picks VideoAmp for Measurement Test
The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has selected VideoAmp for its cross-media measurement test. VideoAmp has already been selected by ViacomCBS to provide data for some national media sales. The company now joins Comscore as part of ANA’s trial, which comes as the industry moves away from relying on Nielsen figures.

Sega and Microsoft are Exploring Cloud Gaming Partnership
Sega said this week that it was exploring a strategic alliance with Microsoft to produce big titles for cloud gaming. The indication of the collaboration between the two companies fuels speculation that there may be a further future tie-up. The partnership will see Sega make games for the global market, that utilise Microsoft’s Azerion cloud technology.

Ad Tech Transparency Activists Form Non-Profit
Nandini Jammi and Claire Atkin, two ad tech privacy activists, have formed a non-profit. Atkin and Jammi are co-founders of Check My Ads. The new non-profit, which will be called The Check My Ads Institute, will be able to accept donations from supporters and apply for grants. The non-profit will target ads that fund disinformation.

Italian Watchdog Drops Investigation Into Google Due to Similar EU Case
The Italian competition authority said that it is dropping an investigation into Google’s alleged dominance of the display advertising market. Italy’s watchdog is dropping the case after The European Commission opened a similar investigation. Under EU laws the case is now out of the Italian competition authority’s responsibility.

IAS Becomes Accredited by MRC for Facebook Third Party Measurement
Integral Ad Science (IAS) has achieved accreditation by the Media Ratings Council (MRC) for impression and viewability measurement and reporting of display and video ads across Facebook. The MRC’s viewability standard was established in 2014 and ensures buyers only pay for inventory that will be seen.

Finecast’s Addressable TV Solution Verified by PwC For Second Time
Addressable TV provider Finecast has announced that PwC has carried out its verification testing of Finecast’s process for delivery of UK addressable TV campaigns. This is the second time that Finecast has been verified by PwC. The verification testing process covers campaign planning and set up, audience activation, recording of impressions and campaign reporting.

Xandr Expands Partnerships with LiveRamp, netID, and Unified ID 2.0
Xandr announced this week that it has now completed integrations with LiveRamp and netID, and is collaborating with stakeholders for a broader launch of its UID 2.0 integration, enabling data management, targeting and measurement fit for the post-cookie world. Xandr also announced new proprietary modelled and contextual solutions, to enable targeting and frequency management.

The Week in TV

Roku Sees Slowdown In Active Account Growth
Roku reported that its total net revenue grew 51 per cent year-on-year in Q3. However, the company saw its shares fall eight percent, after it reported a slowdown in account growth. This quarter it added 1.3 million accounts, compared to 5.2 million in Q4 2020 and 1.5 million last quarter. 

ViacomCBS Acquires Majority Stake in Fox TeleColombia and Estudios TeleMexico
ViacomCBS Inc has said that it is acquiring a majority stake in Spanish language broadcasters Fox TeleColombia and Estudios TeleMexico. It has acquired the stake from Walt Disney, to boost its streaming audience in Latin America. The terms of the deal between the two companies were not revealed.

Netflix Launches Its First Games Worldwide
Netflix has begun rolling out its first mobile games worldwide. An updated version of the Netflix app will show links to download the five games. Two of these games are linked to the Netflix series Stranger Things, while other games like “Shooter Hoop” and “Card Blast” are available. The games are available for no additional cost and without ads for Netflix subscribers.

Spanish TV Ad Market Continues to Falter
In Spain, TV ad revenues amounted to 415.8 million euros in Q1 2021, this represented a 10.7 percent decrease from the same period in 2020, said the regulator. The two main TV groups Mediaset and Atresmedia accounted for 80 percent of TV ad revenues in Q1 2021.

ViacomCBS Streaming Subscribers Near 50 Million
ViacomCBS has said that its streaming subscriber numbers are at 47 million, up 4.3 million from the previous quarter. The company announced better-than-expected revenue in this quarter, driven by the growth in its streaming service subscribers and strong ad sales. Revenue rose 13 percent to $6.61 billion in Q3 2021, versus the average analyst expectation of $6.57 billion.

IMDb TV Adds 15 New Channels to UK Version
Amazon’s AVOD service IMDb TV has added 15 new channels to its UK service. The service launched in the UK in September. The new channels include programme-based channels on shows such as Hell’s Kitchen, Mythbusters and Bridezillas. IMDb TV’s standalone app is now available to download in the UK on Fire TV.

Peacock Is Losing $8 A Month Per Each Active User, Analyst Says
Peacock is losing over $8 a month on each of its 21.5 million monthly active users, says analyst Richard Greenfield from LightShed Partners. Greenfield urged parent company Comcast to either make bigger investments in Peacock or get out of video altogether. While the company is on target to meet its goal of 30 million to 35 million users by 2024, 84 percent of paid “premium” subscribers still get their subscription free with their Comcast or Cox cable subscription.

Discovery Beats Q3 Estimates Due to Ad Revenue
Discovery beat Wall Street expectations for its Q3 revenue, a result that was driven by higher ad and distribution revenue. Advertising revenue was up 28 percent from the same period last year. Total revenue rose about 23 percent to $3.15 billion in the quarter ended Sept. 30, slightly above an estimate of $3.14 billion.

CTV Tops Ad Impression Metrics, Says Report
CTV was found to have the largest share of ad impressions in a report released by creative logistics specialist Extreme Reach (ER). Connected TV accounted for 35 percent of total ad impressions for the second quarter running. Mobile app had the second largest share of impressions, at 25 percent.

The Week in Publishing

NYT’s Digital Ad Revenues Grow 40 Percent in Q3
The New York Times beat investors’ estimates in its Q3 financial results this week, helped by 40.2 percent year-on-year growth in digital ad revenues. The NYT also added 455,000 digital-only subscribers in Q3, its highest growth so far this year.

Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube Lose $9.8 Billion from iOS Changes
Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and YouTube have collectively taken a $9.85 revenue hit from Apple’s privacy changes made earlier this year, which require mobile apps to get explicit consent to use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers. The data came from ad tech company Lotame, which says that Snap was hit hardest as a percentage of its business.

Rothermere Family Makes £3.1 Billion Offer to Take Daily Mail Private
The Rothermere family, which founded the Daily Mail newspaper, has made a £3.1 billion offer to take the paper’s parent company, the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT), private. The offer values the newspaper business at £850 million including debt, according to The Guardian.

Zoom Pilots Ads
Zoom, one of the undoubted stars of the pandemic, has trialled running ads after meetings for members of its free subscription tier. Ads will appear on the browser page which appears after a Zoom meeting has finished, and will only appear for Basic tier users when attending a meeting held by other Basic tier users.

Google News Returns to Spain
Google News has resumed operations in Spain, following the local implementation of Europe’s new Copyright Directive. Google News was shuttered in Spain in 2014, after Spanish law required Google to start paying to post snippets of publishers’ stories in News Feed. Under the new EU law, Google will be able to negotiate deals with publishers, meaning it will likely start negotiating deals for publisher content to appear in Google News Showcase.

Time Out Chief Departs After Pandemic Losses
Time Out’s chief executive Julio Bruno has left the company after the publisher posted a £71 million loss over an 18 month period ending in June. The city guide publisher was hit hard by the pandemic – both an inability to distribute physical copies, and a lack of demand for its out-and-about recommendations.

Yahoo Exits China Over Turbulent Business Conditions
Yahoo announced this week it is pulling out of China, citing difficult political and business conditions. “In recognition of the increasingly challenging business and legal environment in China, Yahoo’s suite of services will no longer be accessible from mainland China as of November 1,” Yahoo said in a statement. Yahoo had already been gradually closing down services in China since 2013 anyway, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The Week for Agencies

Stagwell Posts 23 Percent Organic Growth in Q3
Stagwell posted 22.8 percent year-on-year organic growth in its Q3 financial results, the first results posted since it completed its merger with fellow agency group MDC Partners. Total Q3 revenues reached $466.6 million.

Meta Chooses Spark Foundry for Global Media
Following last week’s rumours, Facebook (now officially called Meta) chose Publicis’ Spark Foundry to handle media across its various brands, AdAge reported.

Publicis Loses Bid to Dismiss Opioid Lawsuit
Publicis Health has lost a bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it by Massachusetts’ attorney general, which accuses the agency of helping fuel the US opioid epidemic through its work for OxyContin. The AG claims Publicis’ campaigns were designed to get doctors to prescribe higher doses of OxyContin, and to prescribe it more frequently.

Dentsu International Get its Net Zero Targets Validated
Amid discussion of how the ad industry can help avert climate disaster, Dentsu International has become one of the first seven companies in the world to have its net-zero target validated by Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which audits company’s net-zero commitments.

Zenith Wins Lloyds Banking Media Account
Publicis Groupe’s Zenith has won Lloyds Banking Group’s media account, following a competitive pitch process which included incumbent MediaCom. Lloyds invests around £80 million per year in media, according to Campaign.

KFC Splits with W+K
KFC is reportedly splitting with creative agency Wieden+Kennedy, after W+K pulled out of a “chaotic” pitch process, Insider reported this week. KFC is said to be concerned it is falling behind in the ‘chicken sandwich wars’ playing out in the US.

Mondelez Plans to Up Ad Spend Alongside Price Hike
Snack brand Mondelez International is planning to raise its US shelf prices by 6-7 percent, while also raising its ad spend by an even greater percentage, according to AdAge. Mondelez plans to invest around 50 percent of operating profits in brand-building initiatives.

Publicis Launches Multi-Sensory OOH Campaign for E.ON
Starcom this week announced the launch of a new multi-sensory campaign for E.ON Next, the renewable electricity sub brand of energy supplier E.ON. For the next two weeks, E.ON Next will be taking over the lift areas of some of the UK’s biggest shopping centres across London, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Newcastle, Manchester, Glasgow and Liverpool with ‘Positivity Boxes’ which include scent showers and sound boxes.

Hires of the Week

Nick Chavez Becomes Chief Marketing Officer at KFC
KFC has appointed Nick Chavez to the role of chief marketing officer. Chavez joins from Nintendo, where he was senior vice president of sales, marketing and communications.

Omnicom Promotes Two of Its Executives
Omnicom Group has appointed Daryl Simm to president and chief operating officer. Simm was previously CEO, a role that will now be taken on by Florian Adamski who has been promoted to the job.

Barbara Daliri Freyduni Appointed to Adform’s Board of Directors
Adform has appointed Barbara Daliri Freyduni to its board of directors. Daliri Freyduni is currently chief growth officer at cryptocurrency exchange, Bitstamp.

Discovery Appoints Leaders to Steer Merger
Discovery has appointed Kevin Mayer as a consultant to oversee its merger with WarnerMedia. Mayer is a former head of streaming at Disney. Discovery has also said that current CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels will serve the same role at the newly combined company.

This Week on VideoWeek

How Advertisers Can Navigate Evolving Brand Safety Challenges, read on VideoWeek

Ex-Googler Gill Whitehead Appointed to Lead UK’s Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum, read on VideoWeek

Biites Want to Be The Netflix of Branded Content, read on VideoWeek

Are ‘IP Universes’ the Key to Surviving the Streaming Wars? read on VideoWeek

The Big Four Agencies’ Data Units are Proving Decisive in Client Wins, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

John Lewis, The Unexpected Guest, Adam&EveDDB


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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