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The WIR: ITV Forecasts Record Ad Revenues, Vimeo Buys WIREWAX and Wibbitz, and IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework Found to Violate GDPR

Tim Cross 12 November, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: ITV sees strong ad revenues, Vimeo caps off a busy week of M&A, and IAB Europe’s tool for GDPR compliance is found to violate GDPR.

Top Stories

ITV Set for Highest Ad Revenue in 66-Year History
UK broadcaster ITV has said that it’s on track to achieve its highest ever annual ad revenue, after strong Q3 financial results. The broadcaster said that advertising revenue was on track to rise by 24 percent compared to 2020 by year end.

In the first nine months of the year, advertising sales were up 30 percent to £1.3 billion. There was a particularly strong performance from online advertising, which rose by 54 percent year-on-year. Elsewhere in the business, ITV Studios saw its revenues grow by 32 percent to £1.2 billion in the first nine months of 2021.

“2021 looks set to have the highest revenue in ITV’s history,” said ITV’S CEO Carolyn McCall, “By any standards ITV has had an outstanding nine months.”

Vimeo Buys WIREWAX and Wibbitz
Digital video platform Vimeo this week acquired two video tech outfits, interactive video business WIREWAX and enterprise video creation suite Wibbitz, both for undisclosed fees.

Both tools will be integrated into Vimeo’s own video creation platform next year. Vimeo acts as an online distribution platform for video, but also offers a comprehensive set of video creation and editing tools. These two new acquisitions will build out that toolset, bolstering Vimeo’s enterprise-facing offering.

“Both WIREWAX and Wibbitz bring industry-leading technology and products to Vimeo, along with impressive teams and deep institutional knowledge in strategic areas of enterprise video,” said Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo. “Together, we’ll be able to innovate faster and go farther in empowering every company to realize the power of professional-quality video.”

Belgian Watchdog say IAB Europe’s TCF Violates GDPR
The Belgian data protection authority APD is set to find IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework, which is designed to help all players in the digital ad ecosystem comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), actually violates the law. Privacy activists have brought complaints over the framework, alleging that it creates “false consent”.

Part of the issue revolves around “TC Strings” – digital signals that capture users’ consent preferences – which are used within the framework. The APD believes these TC Strings count as personal data, and that IAB Europe is a data controller for these Strings. As a data controller, IAB Europe has a number of extra obligations it has to comply with, which it has so far not been doing.

IAB Europe released a statement saying that “the draft ruling will apparently identify infringements of the GDPR by IAB Europe, but it will also find that those infringements should be capable of being remedied within six months”.

The Week in Tech

DoubleVerify to Buy OpenSlate for $150 Million
DoubleVerify, a measurement and verification business, had agreed a deal to buy contextual targeting and brand safety specialist OpenSlate in a cash and stock transaction valued at $150 million. The deal is expected to close this quarter. Acquiring OpenSlate will essentially allow DoubleVerify to provide more of an end-to-end solution. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Google Wins Appeal Against Safari Tracking Suit
Google has won an appeal in the UK Supreme Court against class-action style litigation, which alleged that the company had used a workaround to track users in Safari regardless of their privacy settings in 2011 and 2012. The lawsuit was led by Richard Lloyd who has been seeking compensation for the estimated four million UK iPhone users affected. 

Trade Desk Sees Stock Rise After Posting Earnings Rise
The Trade Desk reported its earnings, which were well above predictions, on Monday, and as a result saw its stock rocket. The Trade Desk reported revenue of $301.1 million in Q3 2021, up from $216.1 million, well above analysts’ expectations of $283.5 million. Following the report, shares went up 25.5 percent.

MG Motor is First Advertiser to Run Fully Carbon Offset Campaign Using Good-Loop’s Tag
MG Motor announced that it has partnered with Good-Loop to carbon offset its ad campaign for its new electric car. The car brand became the first to use Good-Loop’s new Green Ad Tag, which enables advertisers to offset the carbon cost of their online campaigns. Good-Loop’s ad tag deploys a 1×1 tracking pixel, which detects data transmissions in real-time. 

Whizzco Launches In-Stream Video Ad Offering
Content recommendation platform Whizzco has launched its in-stream video ad offering. Whizzco allows advertisers and publishers to work with multiple vendors at the same time, including Taboola, Outbrain, and Revcontent. The Israeli company uses predictive technology to decide what video to serve, and its revenue model is based on impressions rather than clicks. 

Meta May Open Physical Stores to Showcase the Metaverse
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, may open physical stores to showcase its metaverse-enabling products, reports The New York Times. Meta has reportedly discussed opening stores, which would eventually roll out worldwide, and that would showcase products from the company’s Reality Labs division. 

Google Loses $2.8 Billion EU Antitrust Appeal
Google has lost its appeal against a European competition ruling, meaning it will now be fined $2.8 billion. In 2017, competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager fined Google 2.42 billion euros, after finding that the search engine giant favoured its own shopping comparison service, meaning smaller European competitors lost out. Antitrust specialists say that Google could also lose appeals in another two antitrust cases that the EU has against them. 

Facebook Plans to Remove Sensitive Ad-Targeting Options
Facebook, now known as Meta, has said that it plans to remove options that allow advertisers to target people on sensitive categories such as race, political beliefs or sexuality. Meta released a blog post on Tuesday, which listed some of the targeting categories that would no longer be allowed on its platforms, such as “Lung cancer awareness,” “World Diabetes Day”, “LGBT culture”, “Jewish holidays” or political beliefs and social issues. The company said the changes will be rolled out from 19th January 2022. 

Antitrust Suit Alleges Meta Cloned and Killed Short Video Company
A former Instagram rival named Phhhoto is alleging that Meta (formerly known as Facebook) cloned its short video business, and ultimately killed off their business. Phhhoto, launched in 2014, allowed users to create short, GIF-like videos, which they could then share. The app worked similarly to Boomerang, which was an Instagram app that did essentially the same thing and that is now integrated into the core app. The lawsuit alleges Meta cut off Phhoto’s access to its social graph.

The Week in TV

Disney+ Reports Slowest Subscriber Growth
Disney+ has reported the slowest growth in subscribers since its launch, missing Wall Street targets. In Q3 2021 Disney+ gained 2.1 million subscribers, well below some analysts’ projections of 10.1 million, and less than half of what Netflix gained in the same quarter. Disney’s shares fell five percent hours after it reported the news.

FuboTV Acquires French CTV Platform Molotov
FuboTV this week announced it has acquired Molotov, a French live TV streaming service. The US-based streaming company will pay 164.3 million Euros to acquire Molotov, a move which will give FuboTV its first established presence in France. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

TV Licence Set to Be Frozen in UK
UK ministers are reportedly set to freeze the TV licence fee, in what would come as a blow to the publicly-funded BBC. The Daily Telegraph has reported that the licence, which is the BBC’s main source of funding, will be frozen by ministers for up to two years, in the face of a cost-of-living crisis. The licence fee normally rises with inflation. 

DAZN Launches “Innovation Hub” Born Out of Texel Acquisition
DAZN Group has launched a new “innovation hub”, DAZN X, which it says was born out of its acquisition of video streaming innovation company Texel. DAZN X will focus on developing interactive and engaging content layers for fans as part of its sports streaming service, says DAZN.

Netflix to Test TikTok-Like Feature Aimed at Kids
Netflix is trialling short, TikTok-like videos of its content in an attempt to attract more younger viewers to the platforms. The feature, which is called “Kids Clips”, will appear on Netflix’s iOS apps in selected countries including the US. The short clips will be changed daily, and is similar to a feature for comedy programming that Netflix trialled earlier this year called “Fast Laughs”. 

HBO Max and Discovery+ May Merge
WarnerMedia and Discovery are in the process of merging into one company, and there are reports that executives are considering merging two SVOD platforms owned by the companies; HBO Max and Discovery+. President and CEO of Discovery Streaming JB Perette has reportedly discussed first bundling the services, and then combining them in a merger. 

UK Prime Minister Accused of Creating Conflict of Interest Over Ofcom Chair
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of creating a conflict of interest in the process to appoint an Ofcom chair. The allegations come over the appointment of a lobbyist from a public relations agency that advises media companies including Sky. Jo Gray, shadow culture secretary has written to the PM to express concerns over the appointment of Michael Prescott, a partner at Hanover, as a senior external interviewer.

Salto Wins Competition Legal Challenge
French streaming service Salto has won a legal challenge that alleged that the platform was at risk of anti-competitive actions. The platform is owned by three companies, TF1, France Télévisions and M6, and legal challenge brought by telco Free argued that these companies are so ingrained in French culture there is a risk of anti-competitive actions, such as streaming their free-to-air channels to the detriment of IPTV services. Salto has divided its team strictly in order to make sure no sensitive information passes between the two and to appease competitors. 

TalkTalk and Netflix Launch Fibre Bundle Package
TalkTalk and Netflix are launching a bundle package, which the telecoms company says is the first fibre and Netflix package that doesn’t make consumers pay more for an additional TV bundle.The Fibre and Netflix package is available on an 18-month contract basis.

The Week in Publishing

New Statesman Pushes for Major Expansion
UK publication The New Statesman is pushing for its biggest expansion in its 108 year history, according to the Financial Times, with a major focus on expanding its readership outside of the UK. The paper aims to triple its 100,000 strong paid-for readership.

Twitter Launches Subscription Service Twitter Blue in US and New Zealand
Twitter has launched its paid subscription service, Twitter Blue, in the US and New Zealand, following an earlier rollout in Australia and Canada. The service, which costs $2.99 in the US, gives ad-free access to articles from a number of publications, as well as exclusive features like bookmarking and an undo function.

NYT Wirecutter Writers Plan Black Friday Strike
Writers for the New York Times’ Wirecutter product review site are planning a strike around Black Friday, a time of peak readership for the website. The strike relates to a contract dispute with The New York Times over pay and annual wage increases.

US Justice Department and SEC Open Investigations into OZY Media
The US Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission have both opened investigations into OZY Media, the digital publisher which has recently faced allegations of inflated audience metrics and fraud. The precise focus of the investigations is currently unknown, according to the New York Times.

MyLondon Overtakes Evening Standard on Monthly Page Views
Reach-owned local publisher MyLondon has overtaken the Evening Standard on monthly page views according to Ipsos MORI data, as the two battle for supremacy in the capital. The Evening Standard is still ahead on unique monthly UK readers.

Twitter Agrees Content Partnership with ViacomCBS
Twitter has agreed a content partnership with ViacomCBS which will see the US TV giant created dedicated content for Twitter, based around its shows and live events. The deal will also see ViacomCBS content promoted through Twitter’s various marketing tools.

The Week for Agencies

S4 Capital’s Like-for-Like Revenues Surge 54 Percent
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital had another strong quarter of growth, as like-for-like revenues surged 54 percent year-on-year. The company said it now has six “whopper” clients – which individually account for more than $20 million in annual revenues – up from two in Q3 last year. However S4’s share price sank after the results, over warnings from Sorrell that a proportion of S4’s core earnings margin will be invested in future growth.

WPP Comes Out on Top in Coca-Cola Agency Review
WPP beat out Publicis in the final round of Coca-Cola’s agency review, being named as Coca-Cola’s global marketing network partner. A bespoke unit within WPP, confusingly called OpenX, will handle the account, worth around $4 billion. Other agency groups will provide extra support, with Dentsu named as ‘complementary media partner’.

MSQ Revenues Grow by 35 Percent
Agency network MSQ saw group revenues rise by 35 percent year-on-year in Q3, and a 30 percent rise in like-for-like revenues. Chief executive Peter Reid told Campaign that digital and earned media were the strongest growers during the quarter.

OMG Wins Global Media Duties for BA
Omnicom Media Group has won airline British Airways’ global media account, replacing incumbent WPP. BA’s director of brand Tom Stevens credited Omnicom’s “strategic and technological capabilities, digital first approach, and strong focus on effectiveness”.

Conscious Advertising Network Send Open Letter on Climate Disinformation to Tech Platforms
The Conscious Advertising Network has sent an open letter signed by advertisers and sustainability advocacy groups to tech platforms, as well as COP26’s presidency and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, calling for more to be done to tackle climate disinformation. “There isn’t a universally agreed [upon] definition of climate dis and misinformation, and most online platforms don’t have climate dis and misinformation policies,” CAN co-founder Jake Dubbins told Adweek. “Clearly, we need both of these in order to combat misinformation that can seriously halt developments we are making to limit global warming to 1.5 ºC.”

US Advertising Employment Grew by 2,200 Jobs in October
Total employment in advertising, public relations, and related services employment grew by 2,200 jobs in October, according to AdAge’s review of data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Supply Chain Worries Lead Automakers and Retailers to Cut TV Ads
Supply chain difficulties are causing car manufacturers and retailers to cut back TV ad spend, according to Reuters, since brands aren’t sure they’d be able to fulfil the extra demand generated by advertising.

Hires of the Week

4Sales Makes Senior Hire
Channel 4’s commercial sales arm, 4Sales, has made two senior hires. Victoria Appleby joins as head of sales. Applebly joins from Mediacom, where she was managing partner. Also joining the team is Fatima Dowlet, who becomes sales propositions partner. Dowlet is currently at ITV’s PlanetV, where she is controller of Planet V account services.

Unruly Names Grant Bingham as VP of International Media Business Development
Unruly has appointed Grant Bingham as VP of international media business development. The ad tech veteran and former head of publisher services at AOL will now lead all media partnerships in Unruly’s international markets across the APAC and EMEA regions.

Spark Foundry Hires Katharine Baker as Chief Client Officer
Katharine Baker has been appointed to the role of chief client officer at Spark Foundry. Baker was previously managing partner at Blue 449.

Anzu Appoints David Cox as Strategic Advisor
Anzu has announced that David Cox will take up the role of strategic advisor at the company. Cox has been involved in the launch of big-name games such as Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider, RockBand, GTA V, and NBA 2K.

This Week on VideoWeek

Server-to-Server Bidding: Explained, read on VideoWeek

Hyper-Casual Games Help Zynga’s Ad Revenues Survive Apple’s Privacy Changes, read on VideoWeek

DoubleVerify to Buy OpenSlate for $150 Million, read on VideoWeek

ITV Adds Addressable Linear TV Inventory to Planet V Through Virgin Media O2 Partnership, read on VideoWeek

FuboTV Acquires French CTV Platform Molotov, read on VideoWeek

Can LinkedIn Work as an Influencer Platform? read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Sports Direct, Go All Out This Christmas


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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