The WIR: OpenAP Launches its Cross-Platform TV Measurement Framework, US Democrats Push for an Investigation into WarnerMedia/Discovery Merger, and Google and Roku End Their Carriage Dispute

10 December, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: OpenAP launches a new framework for cross-platform TV measurement, Democrats call for an antitrust investigation into the WarnerMedia/Discovery deal, and Roku’s carriage dispute with YouTube gets resolved.

Top Stories

OpenAP Launches Cross-Platform Measurement Framework for TV
OpenAP, a consortium of US broadcasters, this week announced the launch of its cross-platform measurement framework, called XPm. OpenAP says the framework is based on its OpenID identity solution, and allows the sharing of campaign exposure data with third-party measurement companies in privacy safe environments. This in turn should enable targeting and measurement of unified audiences. Advertisers whose campaigns were run using OpenIDs will receive from post-campaign XPm reporting insights that include baseline metrics such as deduplicated unique cross-platform reach, total cross-platform impressions and average frequency per OpenID reached.

XPm has been a long time in the works. When OpenAP was founded in 2016, one of its key aims was to develop a cross-platform measurement solution for TV. And there’s still work to do – the Video Advertising Bureau will now create standards and establish controls for how measurement companies use TV publisher data to produce XPm reporting.

And gaining traction for XPm will be the other big task – though OpenAP’s membership should give it a headstart. OpenAP was founded in 2016 by Viacom, Turner, and Fox, with NBCUniversal in 2018. And it’s already made progress on the buy-side, with GroupM, dentsu and Horizon Media among the agencies participating in the beta programme.

Congress Democrats Push Justice Department on WarnerMedia/Discovery Antitrust Investigation
Democrats in the US Congress are urging the Justice Department to scrutinise the pending WarnerMedia and Discovery merger. The merger, if it goes through, will be worth $43 billion.

House Democrats wrote to US attorney general Merrick Garland and Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter urging them to look into this merger. In the letter, they express concerns that the merger could harm diversity in content and reduce competition in the US labour market.

Discovery is seeking to absorb WarnerMedia from its telecommunications parent AT&T. 

More than 30 Democrats signed the letter, including senator Elizabeth Warren and representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.

Google and Roku End Dispute Over Carriage Deal
A months-long dispute between Google and Roku, which might have seen YouTube and YouTube TV disappearing from Roku, has been brought to an end.

The two companies signed a multi-year extension agreement for the distribution of both YouTube and YouTube TV on Roku. 

The dispute had been going on since October, when Roku warned that YouTube TV may be forced off the platform as the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement, a few days later the app disappeared from the Roku store. Roku had excused Google of uncompetitive behaviour by demanding preferential treatment of YouTube inventory. 

Some Democrat lawmakers, including Amy Klobuchar, have taken Roku’s side in the dispute.

The Week in Tech

Criteo To Acquire IPONWEB For $380 Million
Criteo has entered exclusive negotiations to acquire IPONWEB for $380 million. The French commerce media platform announced today that it plans to purchase IPONWEB in the first quarter of 2022. Criteo says the acquisition is part of its strategic plan to “deliver the best commerce audiences at scale to both marketers and media owners across the open internet”. It says the addition of IPONWEB’s DSP, SSP and media marketplace will give media owners more access to first-party data and media-spend at scale. Read more on VideoWeek.

IAB Tech Lab Bulks Up OpenRTB’s CTV Toolset with Ad Pods
IAB Tech Lab, an industry consortium which develops technologies and standards for the digital advertising industry, has today released the latest version of its OpenRTB specification for public comment. The flagship feature of the latest version, OpenRTB 2.6, is the inclusion of ad pods for connected TV inventory. Read more on VideoWeek.

Three Tech Giants Control Half Of Advertising Outside China
Google, Meta and Amazon control more than half of the global advertising market outside China, says a report from GroupM. The agency estimates that Google, Meta and Amazon have doubled their share of ad revenues in the last five years. The report also showed that digital advertising far outshot any other channel in terms of growth, and is expected to achieve 30.5 percent growth this year.

VideoAmp Reportedly Considering Going Public
VideoAmp is considering a US initial public offering as soon as next year, reports Bloomberg. The cross-media measurement was valued at $1.4 billion in October, when it raised $275 million. The company held talks with potential underwriters about a US stock market debut, as early as 2022.

Amazon Ads Deceive Shopper, Alleges Unions’ Complaint
Amazon’s search results contain ads in a way that deceive customers, alleges a complaint from a coalition of unions. The complaint, filed to the FTC, alleges that Amazon doesn’t distinguish clearly enough between paid ads and regular search results. The complaint from the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labour unions, claims more than a quarter of Amazon search results are paid ads.

Apple Allows Apps to Continue to Gather Some User Data
Apple has allowed apps to continue to gather some data for targeted advertising, despite privacy changes made seven months ago by the mobile manufacturer. The shift in policy, which is unacknowledged but unchallenged by Apple, allows apps to keep sharing user-level signals from iPhones, as long as that data is anonymised and aggregated rather than tied to specific user profiles.

Head of US Congress Committee Urges FTC to Investigate Meta’s Ad Practices
Chair of the US Senate commerce committee Maria Cantwell has asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to look into Meta’s ad practices. In a letter to the FTC, Cantwell expressed concerns that the social media giant was deceiving advertisers about their reach and the brand safety measures in place.

NinaData Completes $2 Million Funding Round
Finnish buying intent platform NinaData has raised $2m in funding to help brands connect with audiences in a meaningful privacy-first environment by leveraging its proprietary AI. The round was a hybrid of equity from previous investors, and public and private loans completing the round. The funding will be used to further accelerate the development and adoption of NinaData’s purpose-built AI for contextual buying intent.

AppsFlyer Announces Collaboration With Intel to Introduce The AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud
AppsFlyer has announced that it is partnering with Intel to introduce “The AppsFlyer Privacy Cloud”. The privacy cloud will allow companies to bring their data together while adhering to privacy regulations. Intel’s 3rd Generation Intel Xeon Scalable platform will enhance the computational capabilities of the cloud and speed up functionality.

Amazon Fined Over 1 Billion Euros By Italy on Antitrust Grounds
Italian antitrust investigators fined Amazon 1.1 billion euros, after they found that it unfairly favoured vendors who use its own logistic services. Amazon said it would be appealing the fine. Italian investigators said Amazon had been more lenient in applying its performance criteria if merchants were also using its logistic service.

Adform Makes Top 100 of Financial Times’ Diversity List
Adform has placed 92nd on the Financial Times’ leaders for diversity list. The FT assessed 15,000 European companies and ranked the top 850. Companies were ranked on attitudes to gender equality, race, age and disability, and the acceptance of all sexual orientations. Adform notes that it places above other IT, software and services companies in the list including Oracle and Accenture.

Amazon Cloud Outage Causes Disney+, Slack and Netflix Problems
Amazon’s cloud services suffered an outage on Tuesday which brought down some services and sites. Among external services that reported issues due to the outage were Netflix, Slack, Coinbase and Disney+. Some of Amazon’s internal services, including routes for delivery drivers were disrupted by the outage, which lasted most of Tuesday. 

The Week in TV

BT Sport Enters Into Talks With Discovery
BT Sport has entered into talks with Discovery, which may derail a potential sale to DAZN. Discovery, which owns the Eurosport channels, has offered to start a joint venture with BT Sport. This deal would derail a potential £600 million sale to sports streaming service DAZN. BT’s talks with the streaming service have reportedly become stuck over commercial details.

Pluto TV Profitable “At Levels Approaching Broadcast”, Say ViacomCBS
AVOD platform Pluto TV is producing profits at margins approaching broadcast TV, said  ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish. In November, during its Q3 earnings call, ViacomCBS said that Pluto TV is on track to generating $1 billion in revenue. Bakish also commented that Paramount Plus, its SVOD property, will take another couple of years to reach profitability. 

MFE Out of the Loop With Management Decisions ProSiebenSat.1
MFE, the biggest shareholder in ProSiebenSat.1, was not informed ahead of time of important management changes made by the German media group, reports Reuters. Italian media group MFE, which is controlled by the Berlusconi family, holds 19.1 percent of the shares in ProSiebenSat.1. ProSieben has reportedly been reluctant to engage with MFE’s calls for it to engage with it on European consolidation.

Sky and Channel 4 to Both Show Formula 1 Finale
Sky has announced a partnership with Channel 4 that will allow both broadcasters to show the Formula 1 season finale. The final race in Abu Dhabi sees season leaders Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton battle it out for victory, as they are both tied on points. If Hamilton were to win this season, he would have won the most seasons ever in Formula One. Normally Sky Sports shows the whole race, with free-to-air Channel 4 only showing retrospective highlights.

Google Partners With Pluto TV
Google TV has announced it is adding Pluto TV to its live TV offering. The ViacomCBS-owned offering will be available as a free ad-supported offering on all Google TV devices “in the coming week”. It will add over 300 live channels to Google TV’s live offering.

Half of UK Viewers Plan to Stream More TV Over Christmas, Says Report
Forty-eight percent of Brits plan to stream a lot more TV over Christmas compared to usual, says research from The Trade Desk. However, almost one in five surveyed (18 percent) report that they cannot afford to sign up to all the streaming services they would like to. Over a quarter of 18-34 year olds (27 percent) say they plan to sign up for a free trial of a SVOD service this Christmas.

Ofcom Appoints Channel 4 Board Members
Tess Alps has been appointed to Channel 4’s board. The former Thinkbox chair and CEO joins the board of the public-service broadcaster (PSB) as a non-executive member. She is appointed along with three others; Dawn Airey, David Kogan and Sarah Sands. They join when a decision on Channel 4’s privatisation is imminent. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Viaplay to Launch in The Netherlands in March
Viaplay will be launched in the Netherlands in March 2022. Viaplay is a NENT-owned SVOD service that will be available to Dutch viewers for 13.99 euros a month. This launch means that Viaplay will be in 11 markets, with NENT aiming to expand it to at least five more by the end of 2023. 

The Week For Publishers

Pinterest Acquires Video Editing App Vochi
Social sharing platform Pinterest, continuing its expansion of video creation and sharing, has acquired video editing app Vochi for an undisclosed fee. “Our vision is to create a place where Pinners can go from inspiration to realization, and having more creator tools can help us further this vision,” said Pinterest’s head of creators engineering Bin Liu. “We’re excited to work with Vochi’s talented team to bring more video creation tools and quality content to our more than 400 million Pinners around the world.”

BuzzFeed Has Tricky Start to Public Life
BuzzFeed’s stock has fallen substantially since it began life as a public company on Monday. The stock rose to over $12.6 on Monday, but has since slid to $6, suggesting a lack of faith in the digital media giant.

TikTok Launches Shoppable Live Streams in UK
TikTok is following in the footsteps of the likes of Twitter and Pinterest in launching a live shopping product in the UK for the first time. “We think it’s a really significant moment. E-commerce is a big opportunity for TikTok and it’s something we’re investing in significantly,” said Rich Waterworth, TikTok General Manager, UK and EU.

US Regulators Investigate Trump’s Social Media SPAC
The US Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the Trump Media and Technology Group’s merger with blank cheque company Digital World Acquisition Corp. The SEC is investigating trading which spiked just before the deal was announced, as well as deals between the two businesses.

Two Hundred Newspapers Sue Google and Facebook
A collective of around 200 publishers in the US are collectively suing Google and Facebook, accusing them of distorting the advertising market and damaging their own businesses. The suits have been filed separately, but recently consolidated in New York State in a process which allows pleadings, judgments and findings to be considered as one.

Instagram to Encourage Users to Take a Break
Instagram has begun allowing users to opt in to notifications which will prompt them to take a break from the app after spending 10, 20, or 30 consecutive minutes on the app. Instagram will also enable notifications which appear when a user has spent a lot of time looking at one particular topic.

The Week Founder Launches New Digital First Publication
Jon Connell, founder of UK news magazine The Week, is launching a new digital-first news digest called The Knowledge. The Knowledge has secured investment from Lord Rothermere through the Daily Mail & General Trust.

The Week For Agencies

GroupM Ups its Global Ad Growth Forecast to 9.7 Percent in 2022
GroupM said in its end of year ‘This Year, Next Year’ report that global growth in ad revenues continues to outpace expectations. The media agency upped its full year forecast to 22.5 percent growth from 19.2 percent, and increased its 2022 forecast to 9.7 percent, from 8.8 percent.

IPG Wins Dyson Media Duties
Interpublic Group has picked up global media buying and planning duties for Dyson, an account worth around £450 million according to Campaign. IPG beat out incumbent agency Mindshare, owned by WPP, which has held the account for eight years.

Publicis Allows Employees to Work Abroad for Six Weeks Per Year
Publicis Groupe has announced a new policy which allows its employees to work abroad in a city where it has an office for up to six weeks each year. Pubilcis’ AI-powered platform Marcel will serve suggestions on offices where employees would be well placed, based on their interests and role.

WPP Buys London Design Agency Made Thought
WPP this week agreed a deal to buy a majority stake in London-based digital agency Made Thought for an undisclosed fee. Made Thought will be folded into WPP’s AKQA unit.

TV Ad Prices Set to Rise Over Ten Percent Next Year
Publicis-owned media agency Zenith predicts that next year, the cost of TV advertising will increase by 11 percent. This is far bigger than predicted inflation in digital display (three percent), radio (two percent) and out-of-home (four percent). In its latest Advertising Expenditure Report, Zenith forecasts that total global linear TV ad spend will grow from $171 billion in 2021 to $178 billion in 2024. Read more on VideoWeek.

Horizon Media Sells Minority Stake
Independent media agency Horizon Media is inviting in outside investment for the first time, selling a minority stake to Singapore based investment firm Temasek, in a deal which also hands a minority stake to LionTree Advisors, another investment company.

Two-Thirds of UK Marketers Will Increase Budgets Next Year
Sixty-nine percent of UK marketers are planning to increase their budgets in 2022, according to research from agency DCMN. And sixty percent of UK advertisers plan to increase their spending with agencies in the next 12 months.

US Won’t Pressure Advertisers to Drop Beijing Olympics Sponsorships
The US has announced a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in Beijing next year, citing human rights abuses of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang. But the Biden administration has said it will not pressure sponsors of the games, including Coca-Cola, P&G, and Visa, to withdraw their sponsorship.

Hires of the Week

John Danby to Join Pixability as Managing Director, Europe
Pixability has hired John Danby as managing director of their European operations. Danby joins from MiQ, where he was one of the first employees.

Katie Grosvenor Joins GroupM As Chief Customer Engagement and Growth Officer
GroupM has appointed Katie Grosvenor as chief customer engagement and growth officer. Grosvenor joins from Integral Ad Science where she is head of sales, Northern Europe.

Tess Alps Appointed to Channel 4 Board
Tess Alps has been appointed to Channel 4’s board. The former Thinkbox chair and CEO joins the board of the public-service broadcaster (PSB) as a non-executive member.  

Audrey Melofchik Promoted to Wunderman Thompson CEO North America
Wunderman Thompson has promoted Audrey Melofchik to their North American CEO. Melofchik is promoted from her role of CEO at the New York office.

Ray Ghanbari Appointed Chief Technology Officer at Index Exchange
Index Exchange has hired Ray Ghanbari as their new chief technology officer. Previously, Ghanbari was CTO at Omnitracs.

iProspect Appoints Global Managing Director and Client Chief
iProspect has appointed Shenda Loughnane as global managing director and Dan Friel as global client president and head of iProspect Global. Loughnane was group managing director of Dentsu Ireland, while Friel was global client president.

Digital Envoy Hires Michael Kercher as Chief Privacy Officer
Digital Envoy has taken on Michael Kercher as its chief privacy officer and general counsel. Kercher, a 20-year veteran in legal and global data privacy leadership, previously served as Assistant Attorney General for the state of Florida before moving to the private sector.

This Week on VideoWeek

Is Viral Marketing Finally Dead?, read on VideoWeek

New Research from Samsung Ads & IPSOS: The 2021 CTV Viewer, read on VideoWeek

Tess Alps Appointed to Channel 4 Board, read on VideoWeek

Can the Key to Ad Transparency be Found in Other Online Marketplaces? read on VideoWeek

Can Zoom Make A Success of its New Ad Offering? read on VideoWeek

Criteo To Acquire IPONWEB For $380 Million, read on VideoWeek

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