The WIR: The EU Targets CTV Platforms, Reddit Shutters Dubsmash, and ITV Launches AdLabs

26 November, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: The EU targets CTV platforms in an update to its Digital Markets Act, Reddit shutters Dubsmash having completed its integration, and ITV launches AdLabs to reimagine agency relationships.

Top Stories

EU Expands its Digital Markets Act to Cover CTV Platforms
A key European parliamentary committee this week voted through a series of new amendments to the Digital Markets Act, the EU’s upcoming legislation designed to bring the biggest digital platforms to heel. And one of those amendments expanded the scope of the DMA to cover connected TV platforms.

The Digital Markets Act hopes to prevent anticompetitive practices from the very biggest platforms, which the EU labels ‘gatekeepers’. At its core, the DMA is designed to stop platforms from abusing other companies whose businesses rely on those platforms. The proposed rules would require platforms to share more data with other companies, to not give their own products and services preferential placement or treatment, and to provide companies advertising on their platform with the tools and information necessary for advertisers and publishers to carry out their own independent verification of ads hosted by the gatekeeper.

In the first draft of the law, only online intermediation services, social networks, search engines, operating systems, online advertising services, cloud computing and video-sharing services came under the scope of the law. Under the new version, connected TV platforms, web browsers, and virtual assistants with at least €8 billion in annual turnover will have to comply with the regulation too.

Reddit Is Shutting Down Dubsmash
Reddit is shutting down Dubsmash and integrating the video tools from the app into its own platform, the social platform announced this week. Reddit bought short-form video content site Dubsmash in December 2020, saying that it intended to integrate the video creation tools into Reddit. 

The company will shut down Dubsmash on 22nd February 2022, from which date the app can no longer be downloaded and pre-existing apps will stop working. Reddit says that parts of Reddit will now feel familiar to Dubsmash users, as the acquired team worked to integrate the video creation tools into the platform. 

In August, Reddit introduced a TikTok-like video feed for iOS users. It has also announced an expanded video creation toolbox, including additional effects.

ITV Launches ITV AdLabs
British broadcaster ITV has launched ITV AdLabs, which will bring together the broadcaster’s commercial innovation under one banner. As ITV told VideoWeek last week, the launch of programmatic buying platform Planet V has significantly changed the way ITV works with buyers already. And through AdLabs, ITV says it will evolve these relationships even further – involving buyers more closely in product development and innovation.

“We’ve delivered a number of significant innovations this year, but the launch of AdLabs is partly about changing our body language – being better organised, experimenting alongside our customers and embedding them more upstream in the process,” said Kelly Williams, MD of ITV Commercial. “AdLabs will further drive our digital transformation and our digital future – the laboratory is open for business!”

ITV is looking to develop initiatives like contextual targeting on ITV Hub through Planet V, as well as developing its linear addressable offerings on the Sky, Virgin and Youview platforms.

The Week in Tech

Outbrain Acquires Video Intelligence for $55 Million
Content recommendation platform Outbrain has announced that it is acquiring contextual video technology company video intelligence AG (vi) for $55 million. vi’s contextual technology places relevant video beside articles to allow publishers to effectively monetise content and drive user engagement. Outbrain’s acquisition of vi is the company’s first since it had its initial public offering back in July. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Nielsen Will Track Viewers For Specific Ads in Overhaul
Nielsen is set to switch up the viewing metrics that it has used since 2007. Buyers and sellers using Nielsen currently interact on “C3”, which provides the average of commercial minutes in a programme, with the change it will track the number of viewers for specific ads. The company will start making the changes in 2022, but the complete overhaul isn’t expected to happen until 2024. 

Comscore and Xandr Extend Their Partnership to EMEA
Comscore and Xandr have extended their partnership to the UK and EMEA. Comscore customers in the region will now be able to access cookie-free identity-solution Comscore Predictive Audiences through Xandr Curate. 

EU To Legislate For More Transparency in How Political Ads Are Targeted
Tech giants will have to account for how their political ads are targeted, or risk a fine of four percent of their global turnover, under draft legislation proposed by the EU, reports Reuters. Under the proposed rules each ad would have to state that it was a political ad, the sponsor’s name, the aggregated amounts spent or other benefits received for the ad, and other details showing the wider context of the ad and its aims.

Irish DPC Hit With Corruption Allegations from Privacy Activists
Facebook’s lead privacy regulation in the EU, the Irish Data Protection Commission has been accused of corruption by privacy activist group, noyb. Noyb is reporting the DPC to the Austrian Office for the Prosecution of Corruption after it sought to use what the privacy activists call “procedural blackmail” to try to prevent it from publishing documents related to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) complaints against Facebook.

Advertisers to Be Able to Directly Access Peacock Inventory Through Yahoo Deal
NBCUniversal has partnered with Yahoo’s DSP to give direct access to inventory on the network’s streaming platform, Peacock. The inventory for the streaming platform will be available on a programmatic guaranteed basis. The deal with Yahoo’s DSP aims to make the CTV buying process easier.

CMA Warns Government of Privacy Being Used to Justify Anti-Competitive Practices
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said in its response to a government consultation on data strategy that the government must tread a line between reinforcing privacy while not allowing anti-competitive behaviour. “It is important that the government’s data protection approach seeks to avoid privacy being used as a mask for anti-competitive behaviour or favouring incumbents,” said the CMA in its response.

The Week in TV

Roku Plans to Produce More Than 50 Original Shows in Next Two Years
Roku has said that it plans to produce more than 50 original shows in the next two years for its content home, The Roku Channel. The company also said that it plans to better monetise the 155 million people who live in homes with Roku devices. The Roku Channel is a free AVOD service that licences other people’s content, Roku has begun producing its own original content, including short-form programmes it acquired from defunct mobile-streaming service Quibi. 

TikTok TV Expands Presence on Connected TV
TikTok TV launched in November in the US and Canada with Amazon Fire TV as its first partner, now the app is available on more devices. The app is now available on Google TV and other Android TV OS devices, LG Smart TVs, and Samsung Smart TVs. The company says it is “taking TikTok to the big screen in the living room”.

Netflix Acquires Visual Effects Company, Scanline VFX
Netflix has acquired Scanline VFX, a visual effects company. Scanline VFX has worked on TV programmes and films such as Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, and Black Widow. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in Q1 2022, were not announced. 

Unions Ask FTC To Block Amazon’s Acquisition of MGM Studios
Amazon announced that it was acquiring MGM Studios for $8.45 billion earlier this year. But it has faced opposition, with some, like US senator Elizabeth Warren, branding the deal “anticompetitive”. Now a group of US unions have issued a joint report arguing that the deal would increase Amazon’s streaming library to more than 55,000 titles and give it greater incentive to discriminate against rivals.

YouTube TV is Talks to Add More Free Channels
Several midsize digital media firms, including Vox Media and Pocket.Watch, are in talks with YouTube TV about adding their media channels to YouTube’s offering. YouTube TV is reportedly looking to add free channels to its existing offering, giving more variety to consumers without upping the cost of subscription. 

Amazon May Acquire Minority NFL Media Stake
Amazon is reportedly a frontrunner in talks to acquire a (up to) 49 percent stake in NFL media properties. These media properties include NFL Network, RedZone and the official NFL website. Amazon has also emerged as a frontrunner to win the NFL’s Sunday Ticket rights, DirecTV’s current deal expires in 2023.

John Malone Tried to Buy Netflix in Its Early Days
Media giant John Malone has revealed that he tried to buy Netflix while he was chairman of satellite television service DirecTV from 2008-2010. “I tried to buy Netflix from [co-founder] Reed Hastings when the stock was eight bucks, but he wouldn’t sell it to me… I tried very hard to buy Netflix for DirecTV,” Malone said in an interview with CNBC. Netflix stock is now worth $658.29 on the NASDAQ. 

ITV is Pushing to Renew Horse Racing Rights
UK broadcaster ITV is looking to renew its rights to broadcast horse racing, events that draw in lucrative advertising revenue from bookmakers. ITV has indicated to racing chiefs that it is keen on renewing a contract that was signed only last year during the coronavirus pandemic. Sources report that headline sponsor Paddy Power would roll over its deal if the contract was renewed.

The Week in Publishing

Reach Customer Registrations Pass 8 Million
UK news publishing giant Reach posted its quarterly trading update this week, with digital revenues up 17.2 percent year-on-year. This offset a 3.5 percent decline in print revenues, with overall revenues up 1.2 percent. Reach also said its having success with its efforts to register its readers, with total registrations passing eight million.

Twitter Moves into Live Shopping with Walmart
Twitter has become the latest platform to jump into the live shopping space, running a shoppable live stream in collaboration with Walmart on ‘Cyber Monday’ (November 28th). Walmart will host a live stream with singer Jason Derulo, with viewers able to buy the products showcased in the stream.

Investors Oppose Move to Take Daily Mail Private
Lord Rothermere, part of the family which launched the Daily Mail, is close to taking the title’s parent company the Daily Mail & General Trust (DMGT) private. But two of the company’s ten biggest investors are publicly opposing the move, arguing that the amount offered significantly undervalues the company. Rothermere is seeking support from 90 percent of shareholders to take DMGT private, and the two opposed investors control more than ten percent of the company.

BuzzFeed Plans to Go Public in Early December
BuzzFeed says its merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) 890 Fifth Avenue Partners in early December, a move which will see BuzzFeed become a publicly traded company.

Mail Metro Group Named Best Media Owner Partner
Mail Metro Group has been named the best media owner in the IPA’s bi-annual survey, which asks planners, buyers and strategists which media owners they have the best working relationship with.

Australian Tycoon Helps Small Publishers Negotiate with Google and Facebook
Iron ore tycoon Andrew Forrest, Australia’s richest man, has agreed to help 18 small Australian publishers in their efforts to negotiate payments from Google and Facebook. Forrest will file a request with Australia’s competition commission to allow the 18 publishers to negotiate as a combined force, without being subject to antitrust laws.

Reddit Rolls Out Updated Search
Reddit rolled out an updated version of its search feature for desktop this week, with a visual update and changes to the search algorithm which Reddit says should improve search results. The social site is also planning on a comment search feature, which it hopes to release next year.

The Week for Agencies

McCann Worldgroup Launches Business Consultancy
McCann Worldgroup, and its sub-agency MRM, have launched a new business consultancy designed to help clients tackle upstream business challenges, which the group says will fit its top clients’ way of operating. “Clients are trying to understand how to look at communications and business from an end-to-end perspective,” MRM CEO  Kate MacNevin told Campaign. “But so many of our clients have silos. This team we’ve hired, because of their experience across disciplines, can look across a client’s business and stitch things together to solve problems.”

MediaCom Launches Creative Analytics Tool
MediaCom has launched a new tool called Creative Analytics, which uses data on audience interaction with ads to guide creativity. MediaCom says the tool has been shown to improve performance of creative by up to 50 percent.

Zenith Forecasts 36 Percent Travel Ad Spend Growth Next Year
Media agency Zenith this week released its travel ad spend forecast, predicting that travel ad spend will grow 36 percent next year, following 24 percent growth this year. Zenith also predicts that in 2023 digital advertising will account for 70 percent of travel ad budgets, up from 63 percent in 2020.

In-House Agencies Up Seven Percent Since 2019
Seventy-seven percent of companies surveyed by the In-House Agency Forum (IHAF) said they now have in-house agencies, up seven percent from 2019. Fifty percent of those who’ve increased in-housing during that time attributed the change to the pandemic, according to AdAge.

BBH Launches ‘Unsigned Union’ to Foster Talet
BBH has teamed up with five other agencies to launch Unsigned Union, a collective designed to foster and collaborate with emerging creative talent. The union will run exhibitions, talks, and mentorships, according to Campaign.

Hearts & Science Retains GoCompare Account
Omnicom’s Hearts & Science UK has retained its account with GoCompare, which has been extended for a further three years according to Campaign. The extension was agreed without a formal pitch process.

Lush Shuts Down Social Channels Due to Online Harms
Beauty and cosmetics brand Lush is shutting down all of its social channels except YouTube and Twitter, due to concerns over the impact of social media on mental health. Lush previously shut down its Facebook and Instagram accounts in 2019 for similar reasons, but returned as the company felt the impact on revenues.

Hires of the Week

Paul Dacre Made Editor-in-Chief of DMG Media
Paul Dacre has been made editor in chief of Daily Mail’s publisher DMG Media. Earlier this month he announced he was taking himself out of the running to find a new Ofcom chair. Dacre was previously editor of the Daily Mail. 

Chris Stephenson Promoted to PHD Global Marketing Chief
Chris Stephenson has been promoted to PHD’s global CMO. Stephenson was previously PHD’s APAC head of strategy and planning. 

Rasmus Smith Bech Joins BBC Creative as Executive Creative Director
BBC Creative has hired Rasmus Smith Bech as its executive creative director. Smith Bech joins from Uncommon, where he was creative director.

This Week on VideoWeek

Outbrain Acquires Video Intelligence for $55 Million, read on VideoWeek

What’s Driving Pinterest’s Big Push into Video? read on VideoWeek

Why Aren’t UK Audiences Replacing Pay-TV With CTV Alternatives? read on VideoWeek

CTV in EMEA: The Disruption Begins, read on VideoWeek

SVOD and AVOD Services Account for Just 14 Percent of UK Viewing, says BARB Data, read on VideoWeek

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