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The WIR: Peacock Begins Europe Rollout, LG Announces a Cloud Gaming Move, and Discovery Launches Shoppable Ads

Tim Cross 19 November, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: Peacock begins European rollout, LG announces a cloud gaming partnership, and Discovery launches new ad formats.

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Peacock Begins Its European Roll-Out on Sky
Peacock, Comcast’s hybrid streaming service, has begun its European roll-out with a soft launch for Sky customers in the UK and Ireland. Sky TV and Now Entertainment customers now have early access to Peacock, for no extra charge. Peacock will launch for Sky customers in other territories like Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland in the coming months.

Sky’s parent company Comcast will hope that the extra premium content will boost Now, Sky’s own paid streaming service which also began running ads earlier this year. Any extra subscribers will help pay back Comcast’s massive content investment for Peacock. But it will be interesting to see how the distribution of this content evolves when SkyShowtime, Comcasts upcoming streaming joint venture with ViacomCBS, rolls out next year.

LG Partners with NVIDIA for Cloud Gaming
TV manufacturer LG is moving into the cloud gaming space, via a partnership with gaming hardware and software maker NVIDIA.

NVIDIA’s GeForce Now service, which lets users stream their library of PC games in high definition, without the need for dedicated high spec hardware, will be available as an app on LG TVs. Previously it has only been available on NVIDIA’s own hardware.

The move comes shortly after rival manufacturer Samsung announced its own move into cloud gaming earlier this year. By partnering with an established cloud gaming platform, LG will avoid the challenge of having to negotiate its own partnership with games publishers.

Discovery Launches Shoppable Ad Format
Discovery Advertising Sales this week introduced a host of new ad formats, including shoppable ads, which will run across its various streaming properties including discovery+ and Discovery GO.

Many of these formats are variants of what we’ve seen elsewhere. For example the shoppable format, called ‘Showcase’ ads, will use QR codes to direct users to a shopping page on their phones – a technique used by Comcast. And Discovery is also launching pause ads which run when a viewer pauses their stream – a format also available on Hulu.

“With these enhanced solutions, our advertisers will be able to further interact with viewers in unique and impactful ways through world-class content and premium experiences,” said Jim Keller, EVP of digital ad sales and advanced advertising at Discovery.

The Week in Tech

Index Exchanges Rebuilds its Exchange Architecture
Index Exchange this week announced the rebuild of its entire exchange architecture, debuting a new scalable exchange which it says provides increased efficiency for the company’s customers, as well as an ability to scale and innovate in new channels and formats. Index says the rebuild is one of the largest coordinated engineering efforts Index has embarked on and took place in its entirety throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

US States File Amended Antitrust Suit Against Google’s Ad Business Practices
A group of US states, led by Texas, have filed an amended antitrust suit, which accuses Google of using anti competitive tactics to boost its advertising business. The suit accuses Google of using monopolistic and coercive tactics with advertisers to drive out competition. It also highlights 2013 “Project Bernanke”, which used bidding data to give Google’s own products an advantage.

Facebook Accused of Continuing to Track Teens for Ad Purposes
Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has been accused of continuing to track teens for ad purposes, contrary to the social media giant’s pledge this summer. This is according to research from Fairplay, Global Action Plan and Reset Australia, which found that Facebook has retained its ability to track and target under-18s on the platform. With its recent rebrand to Meta, Facebook had likely been hoping to distance itself from scandals like these.

Ten Years in Prison for Digital Ad Fraudster
A US judge has sentenced a man who stole more than $7 million from advertisers, publishers and platforms through an ad fraud scheme to ten years in prison. Aleksandr Zhukov and his co-conspirators operated a fraud scheme known as “Media Methane”. He programmed bots to simulate human views on ads. Zhukov is a Russian national, who operated out of Bulgaria and was deported to the US.

Ocean Outdoor Exploring a Potential Sale
Outdoor media company, Ocean Outdoor has announced that it is exploring the possibility of a sale. Ocean Outdoor said that its board and managers believe that the company is “undervalued” and that there is “meaningful upside potential from the current share price”. The company said it is in a “position of strength” coming out of the pandemic and expects its 2021 full-year revenue to be between £115 million and £120 million, which, at the top end, would represent 39 percent year-on-year growth.

Google Wins Appeal Against UK Class Action Style Suit
Google has won an appeal against a class action-like lawsuit at the UK Supreme Court. The suit, which alleged Google tracked users in Safari without their consent, could have cost Google £3 billion if successful. Veteran consumer rights campaigner Richard Lloyd had been seeking damages for the estimated four million UK iPhone users affected.

JW Player and Applicaster Partner to Create Integrated OTT Management Solution
JW Player, the video software and data insights platform, has announced that it is partnering with Applicaster, a SaaS app management platform. The two companies will launch an integrated OTT app solution for broadcasters and content owners alike. The app will allow content owners to launch their own CTV app without any development, reducing time-to-market and operational costs.

Rlaxx TV Selects Publica for CTV Ad Serving
CTV ad platform Publica has been selected by rlaxx TV, a European free AVOD, to power CTV ad serving. The partnership will allow advertisers on rlaxx TV to serve TV-like ads, which can be controlled easily.  Rlaxx is available on 85 percent of smart TVs in Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, with plans to launch in the US in Q1 2022.

The Week in TV

US Premier League Rights Expected to Fetch a Record $2 Billion
The rights to broadcast the English Premier League in the US are set to be sold for a record $2 billion, reports The Financial Times. ViacomCBS and Disney-owned ESPN are among those competing with current rights-holder, NBC. NBC obtained the rights in 2015 for $1 billion. The deal would be the Premier League’s most lucrative foreign deal in its history.

Bouygues Profits Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels
French telecoms company Bouygues has announced that its nine-month core profit beat expectations and has returned to pre-pandemic levels. The results were helped by success in the company’s broadcast branch. The group posted a current operating profit of 1.14 billion euros, slightly above predictions of 1.13 billion. In the same period of 2020, that figure was just 681 million euros.

Netflix to Release Top Ten List
Netflix will release a more detailed Top Ten of its most watched programmes and movies. Netflix has periodically released Top Ten lists before, but it has been criticised for counting views as people who have watched more than two minutes. Netflix said it is moving away from that metric and instead ranking the most watched list on by viewing time.

Opposition to Try to Take TF1-M6 Merger to the European Commission
Telecoms company Illiad, which is the parent company of Free, wants to take the TF1-M6 merger to the European Commission’s competition department. The story was first reported in French newspaper Les Echos, which also reported that pay-TV operator Canal+ was considering joining.

Most Viewers Willing to Watch Ads for Free Content on CTV, Finds Report
Over half of viewers (56 percent in the EU, and 59 percent in the UK) are willing to watch ads on CTV in exchange for free content, found research carried out by Ipsos. The research, which was commissioned by Samsung Ads Europe, also found that two thirds (66 percent) of viewers said that content recommendations from their smart TV based on what they had been watching would be appealing. In the study, TV ads were also found to be much more appealing than those on other devices. 39 percent of those surveyed thought ads on Smart TV were high quality compared to 11 percent on mobile or eight percent on laptop/desktop.

Vevo Launches First Ever Christmas Channel in the UK
Vevo is expanding its Christmas-TV offerings this year, and is launching its first dedicated Christmas channel in the UK. “Vevo Christmas” will be available for UK viewers on Samsung TV Plus. Meanwhile, in the US the “Vevo Holiday” channel is available on Local Now, Pluto TV, Samsung TV Plus and Xumo. Advertisers can avail of various ad opportunities on the channels, including one-hour “brought to you by” editorial program sponsorships, linear TV block ownership, and daytime ownership.

The Week in Publishing

Daily Mail Owner Sees Ad Growth Despite Print Decline
The Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) saw a one percent drop over the first three quarters of the year, as its events business continued to suffer thanks to the pandemic. One of the strong performers was digital advertising – with 16 percent growth in MailOnline ad revenues offsetting a 15 percent drop in print ad revenues.

Meredith Granted Approval for Proposed Takeovers
Meredith Corp has been granted regulatory approval for the sale of its business to Gray Television and Dotdash media. Meredith’s digital, magazine, MNI, People TV, and corporate operations will be span out into a separate corporation to be acquired by Dotdash, with Gray buying the remainder of the company.

AFP Agrees Five Year Payments Deal with Google
Google has agreed a deal with France’s Agence France-Presse (AFP) to pay in order to post snippets of its content on Google News. The two will also collaborate on new features, like fact checking. Interestingly, the deal does not involve Google News Showcase – Google’s new product which it’s used as a means for paying publishers, according to Reuters. Previously, Google has relented from directly paying for news content on its regular services, instead paying for bespoke content on Showcase.

Investor Sues Snap Over iOS Damages
A Snap investor is suing the social company, accusing it of misrepresenting the ad revenue threat of Apple’s ATT privacy changes. Reuters reports that the investor, Kellie Black, complains that Snap oversold its ability to adapt to the changes.

Google Launches GNI News Equity Fund
Google this week announced the launch of the GNI Global News Equity Fund, a multi-million dollar commitment which will award up to $250,000 to news organisations which are owned by or serve underrepresented communities around the world. Details on how to participate in the fund will be announced next year.

Snapchat Launches Multi-Format Delivery
Snapchat will begin offering multi-format delivery within its advertising offering, meaning advertisers can purchase multiple advertising formats in one cohesive ad set, with Snap optimising delivery based on the client’s objectives. The product launch will include all of Snap’s video ad formats, and will be expanded to include AR formats next year.

BuzzFeed Adopts Yahoo’s Cookie Replacement
BuzzFeed has agreed to adopt Yahoo’s ConnectID and Next-Gen Solutions – identity products which will match BuzzFeed’s first-party data with Yahoo’s audience. The move comes as part of a broader deal which will also see buyers on Yahoo’s supply-side platform given preferred access to BuzzFeed inventory.

Instagram Will Pay Out Up to $10,000 to Creators for One Reel
Instagram is trying to incentivise creators to use its TikTok clone Reels, by offering a bonus of up to $10,000 for the videos if they are successful. It is unclear what exactly would qualify for the cash rewards and how Instagram decides how much money each creator will receive for their reels. Instagram themselves said that payments were “expect[ed] to fluctuate”.

The Week for Agencies

Dentsu Posts 27.8 Percent Organic Growth in Q3
Agency group Dentsu posted 27.9 percent organic growth in its Q3 financial results, driven by very strong performance in its home Japanese market. Japanese organic growth was 49.7 percent year-on-year, while Dentsu International reported 13.4 percent organic growth. The group said it is seeing strong demand for technology implementation, data services, and activation through creative and media.

Cannes Lions Confirms Return to In-Person Event in 2022
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity confirmed that it is returning as an in-person event in 2022, having run as a fully digital experience this year. Initial judging stages will still be held remotely, according to spokespeople for the festival.

Essence Handed Google’s Consolidated Media Account
Google announced this week it is handing its consolidated global media account to WPP’s Essence. Essence already ran digital and programmatic media buying for Google, but will now take on offline media too. The decision was made without a formal review, according to reports.

Michael Roth Retires as Interpublic Chairman
Interpublic Group’s executive chairman Michael Roth has announced he is stepping down from the role. The news comes around a year since Roth handed over the CEO position to Philippe Krakowsky. “My time as chairman and CEO of IPG has been a tremendous privilege. I am most proud of the work we have done to help shine a light on equity and inclusion, as well as being a values and purpose-driven enterprise,” said Roth.

Dentsu Names New CEO and President
Dentsu announced a major change in its executive branch this week, announcing that chief executive Toshihiro Yamamoto is retiring from the start of next year. Hiroshi Igarashi, currently president and CEO of Dentsu’s Japanese operations, is stepping up to take the top job.

Big UK Advertisers Increased TV Spend in 2020, says Nielsen
A number of major advertisers actually significantly increased their TV ad spend during the pandemic, according to Nielsen data, and are continuing to keep investing in 2021. Advanced Television reports that Unilever increased its UK TV spend by 131 percent last year, eBay increased spend by 117 percent, and EE upped its TV budget by 67 percent.

AA Will Recognise “Tangible” Diversity Progress from Businesses
The Advertising Agency will begin awarding “All In Champion” status to organisations which have made tangible improvement based on its ‘All In’ diversity and inclusion survey. Advertising businesses will have to show evidence they’ve completed actions from the action plan which the AA created after the All In survey highlighted the urgent need for improvement around the representation and experience of Black, disabled, and working class talent.

Hires of the Week

Magnus Djaba Promoted to Chief Client Officer at Publicis Groupe
Magnus Djaba has been promoted by Publicis Groupe to the role of global chief client officer. Djaba had been Saatchi & Saatchi global president at the group. 

Ted Verity Takes Over as Daily Mail Editor
Ted Verity will take over as editor of the Daily Mail, following the departure of Geordie Greig. Verity is currently editor of the Mail on Sunday, and will assume responsibility for both titles.

Essence Appoints Anna Berry as UK Managing Director
Global data and measurement-driven media agency, Essence, this week announced the appointment of Anna Berry as its UK Managing Director. Berry has been promoted from SVP Head of Client Services EMEA.

This Week on VideoWeek

A Guide to EU Legislators’ Push to Ban Microtargeted Advertising, read on VideoWeek

Planet V Has Revolutionised ITV’s Relationships with Agencies, read on VideoWeek

Industry Insiders Speak About Their Post-Acquisition Experiences, read on VideoWeek

The Knock-On Effects of Facebook’s Huge Metaverse Spending, read on VideoWeek

What Kind of Empire is Martin Sorrell Building? read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

McDonald’s, Imaginary Iggy


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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