The WIR: European Parliament Opts Against a Blanket Ban on Personalised Ads, France’s Competition Watchdog Takes Action Against M6, and ITV Reports 20 Percent Growth in Hub Users

17 December, 2021 

In this week’s Week in Review: European Parliament decides against a blanket ban on personalised ads, France’s competition watchdog takes action against M6, and ITV reports a bumper year for Hub.

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European Parliament Decides Against Total Ban on Targeted Advertising
During negotiations within the European Parliament on the upcoming Digital Services Act, a proposed piece of EU legislation designed to rein in the tech giants, the possibility arose of a total ban on personalised advertising being put into law.

But this week a key parliamentary committee, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee (IMCO), opted against a total ban while setting out its position. But IMCO has voted for tougher rules on targeted advertising than those included in the original DSA, including a ban on ‘dark patterns’ which essentially try to trick users into consenting to use of their data. IMCO also voted for a total ban on personalised advertising directed towards minors. IMCO’s position is particularly important since it is the lead committee for the DSA, meaning it has the most sway in final changes to the DSA text.

Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, said that the trade group is pleased a blanket ban on personalised ads hasn’t been adopted, but added that “concerns remain about the risk of overlap and contradictions with EU data protection law if some of the language approved today ends up in the DSA”.

French Competition Watchdog Will Sanction M6 Over Salto Commitments
French competition watchdog, Autorité de la Concurrence, has launched a procedure to sanction M6, after it says the broadcaster did not hold up its commitments on joint SVOD service, Salto. 

Salto is a joint venture between M6, TF1 and France Télévisions. The watchdog says that M6 has failed to respect a commitment to provide a transparent, objective and non-discriminatory offer for the distribution of their channels. M6 undertook certain comments when Salto was founded.

Of the three broadcasters involved with Salto, M6 is the only one to insist its channels remain behind a paywall. One of M6’s distributors, Molotov, wants to offer its channels free of charge.

ITV Says Hub Userbase Grew by 20 Percent This Year
The number of ITV Hub users has grown by 20 percent in 2021, with this year set to be the BVOD service’s most successful yet. The ITV Hub has seen 1.5 billion streams so far this year, up 26 percent year-on-year. 

ITV says this record was achieved by the broadcaster more than doubling its content on its VOD service, as well as bumper programming like Euro 2020 and the return of Love Island.L ove Island was the most watched programme on ITV Hub this year, with the reality series averaging 2.1 million viewers for each episode on the VOD service.

ITV Hub is looking to end the year with strength, as the broadcaster makes Christmas evening TV available on ITV Hub the morning before it’s broadcast.

The Week in Tech

OpenX Fined $2 Million For Collecting Children’s Data
OpenX, a programmatic ad exchange, has been fined $2 million after accusations that it violated children’s privacy law by collecting their data without obtaining parental consent. The ad exchange will pay the sum to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to settle the case. OpenX is also accused of knowingly collecting data from child-targeted apps and passing it on to third-party companies that used the data for targeting.

Polish Anti Monopoly Regulator to Investigate Apple Privacy Rules
Polish anti-monopoly watchdog UOKiK has said that it will investigate whether recent privacy changes to iOS violate competition rules. The regulator said that the new rules have significantly reduced the ability of apps to target ads using third-party data. “We want to examine whether Apple’s actions may be aimed at eliminating competitors in the market for personalised advertising services,” said UOKiK president Tomasz Chrostny in a statement. 

Samsung Launches First-Party Data Tool For Smart TV
Samsung has launched the Samsung Onboarding Partner Program, which will allow brands to use more of their first-party data to plan their TV advertising campaigns. Samsung has partnered with data management providers, like Acxiom, Adobe, Experian, LiveRamp, Merkle and Oracle, to give their advertisers access to curated audiences via their DSP.

Passendo Raise 2.3 Million Euros
Passendo, an email ad tech company, has raised 2.3 million euros in a pre-Series A round of funding. The ad tech platform helps marketers to serve email ads. Its funding round was led by Dutch VC Newion and UK-based early stage investors First Party Capital.

Azerion Partners with Bidstack
Azerion and Bidstack, two of the biggest companies in the in-play advertising space, this week announced a new partnership which will see Azerion become the exclusive commercial partner across Bidstack’s inventory over the next two years. Through the deal Azerion will gain access to around 40 million users and 60 titles across a rapidly growing portfolio of AAA, independent and mobile publishers.

European Addressable Media Initiative Launched
Today, the European Addressable Media Initiative has been launched by Amobee, Carbon, Comscore, Finecast, LiveRamp, Lotame, Neustar and PubMatic, in association with The Project X Institute. The initiative will focus on supporting addressable media in Europe, and help advertisers, media owners and agencies understand the rapidly changing media landscape in Europe.

The ViewPoint Integrates With BidSwitch
TheViewPoint, a SaaS video ad monetisation platform for CTV publishers, has integrated with BidSwitch, a connectivity platform that connects more than 300 demand- and supply-side platforms. BidSwitch is operated by IPONWEB, and facilitates nearly 1 trillion bid requests daily. The ViewPoint says that the integration with BidSwitch is essential to upscale its CTV monetisation efforts.

iSpot and LG Ads Solutions Strike TV Data Deal
iSpot, a cross-platform TV ad measurement platform has struck a deal with LG Ads Solutions, which will see the company get access to all smart TV data from LG’s advertising and data programme. The deal will give iSpot access to more than 20 million opted-in smart TVs, including those from other TV makers in addition to LG. This more than doubles iSpot’s existing footprint of 19 million smart TVs.

Smart AdServer Launches Curation Platform
Smart AdServer has announced the launch of their curation offering, which allows curators to pre-filter the most effective inventory for buyers from Smart’s SSP. The platform will offer premium inventory sources which can then be layered with additional value like audience data, contextual insights and vertical expertise.

The Week in TV

FuboTV Closes Acquisition of Molotov Early
FuboTV has closed its acquisition of French streaming company Molotov earlier than expected. The acquisition was announced last month and was expected to close in Q1 2022. FuboTV has the bulk of its users in North America, with services in the US, Canada and Spain. However, the company has global aspirations and has said the acquisition of Molotov aids that expansion, the platform is designed to be expanded into other territories.

LaLiga Domestic Broadcast Rights Split Between Movistar and DAZN
Spanish premier football league LaLiga has split its domestic broadcast rights between TV operator, Movistar, and streaming service, DAZN. The deal was worth 4.95 million euros and will span five years. The last contract LaLiga signed was with Telefonica in 2018, this was a three-year agreement for 2.94 billion euros.

BritBox Expands Into the Nordics
BritBox will soon be available in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, through a distribution deal with C More. From early 2022, C More subscribers will be able to access all the content from Britbox, which is a joint venture between BBC Studios and ITV. Non-C More subscribers will still be able to subscribe to BritBox individually.

Pluto TV and Channel 5 Expand Content Partnership
Channel 5 and Pluto TV have expanded their content partnership, a move that will see three new channels added to the AVOD service in the UK. Channel 5’s existing content on Pluto TV has also been redeveloped into branded channels, meaning the broadcaster has five branded channels on the service.

Viaplay Launches in the US
Nordic streaming service Viaplay has launched in the US this week. The NENT-owned service offers US viewers Nordic drama Viaplay Originals and acquired Nordic films and series. The offering is priced at $4.99 a month.

Alchimie and Grupo Godó Launch History SVOD Offering
Alchimie has entered into a partnership with Spain’s Grupo Godó’s Historia y Vida. The offering currently has over one million unique users online. The new SVOD channel will launch with a special offer of €2.99 a month for the first year, with the promotional offer available until the end of January, after which it will cost €4.99 a month.

BFI and DCMS Invest £2.1 Million in UK Screen Content Companies
The British Film Institute (BFI) and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport have made an investment of over £2.1 million into UK film, TV, animation and interactive narrative video games to enhance their international activities. The funding is aimed at creating, acquiring, and/or exploiting Intellectual Property (IP) for increased international revenue, activities and profile.

Netflix Reaches 13 Million Internet Users in Poland
Netflix was viewed by over 13 million internet users in Poland in November, a record total. The SVOD service had more than three times the viewership numbers of its nearest VOD service rivals, and Netflix’s viewership was up 6.1 percent from the previous month. 

The Week For Publishers

Vox Media Agrees Deal to Buy Group Nine Media
Vox Media has agreed a deal to buy fellow digital native publisher Group Nine Media, owner of brands including The Dodo and NowThis. The deal, which brings together two of the biggest names in digital publishing, continues a wave of consolidation in the sector. Vox Media will own 75 percent of the combined company, as Group Nine will own the remaining 25 percent.

Reddit Quietly Files for IPO
Following speculation, social sharing platform Reddit has quietly filed for an IPO. Reuters reports that Reddit would be looking for a valuation of around $15 billion.

Triller in Merger Talks with SeaChange
Social video app Triller, a competitor to TikTok, is in merger talks with Seachange International, a publicly traded provider of video delivery solutions. The deal would value Triller’s parent company TrillerNet at $5.1 billion, with investors committing to invest $250 million in the company, according to Reuters.

AOP and Deloitte Report 31 Percent Growth in Q3 Digital Publishing Revenues
The latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte has revealed sustained growth in digital publishing revenues in the third quarter of 2021, up 31 percent from Q3 2020, with 84 percent of AOP board members reporting positive revenue growth. Display advertising remains the largest category by revenue for publishers, achieving growth of 29.8 percent to £59.8 million in Q3 2021, in comparison to the same period in 2020.

Google Sets Out Plan to Appease French Antitrust Body
Google this week laid out measures to address complaints from France’s antitrust authority that it has dealt unfairly with publishers in negotiations over payments. Google has pledged to negotiate in good faith, and to make payment offers within three months of the start of negotiations. If a resolution can’t be reached, a court of arbitration will settle the matter.

Rothermere Successfully Takes Daily Mail Private
Lord Rothermere has successfully completed his bid to take the Daily Mail & General Trust private. The move takes DMGT off the London stock market for the first time in 90 years.

LadBible Goes Public
UK social publisher LadBible this week made its stock market debut, with the company reaching a valuation of over £400 million after its share price climbed on debut.

MPs Call for Self-Harm Content to be Added to Online Harms Bill
MPs in the UK have called for updates to the proposed Online Harms Bill, asking that content promoting self-harm, cyberflashing, and scam advertising be covered by the legislation. The proposed updates would force social platforms to do more to reign in harmful behaviour, according to the i.

Grindr Data Fine Cut to $7 Million
A fine placed on dating app Grindr by Norway’s Data Protection Authority over illegal disclosure of data to advertisers has been cut by 35 percent to $7 million, after Grindr implemented measures to clean up its data handling.

Axel Springer Partners with InfoSum
Axel Springer and InfoSum this week announced that the global media and tech company will use InfoSum’s data collaboration platform as the infrastructure for its post-cookie era data solution. With InfoSum’s data collaboration platform, Axel Springer is creating another security layer and providing a “non-movement of data” solution for data sensitive customers.

The Week For Agencies

Nike Puts Global Media Account Under Review
Sportswear giant Nike is putting its global media account under review, according to AdAge, reported to be worth around $1 billion. Nike currently works with a selection of different agencies; Wieden+Kennedy handles the majority of US media spend, while WPP’s Mindshare has the biggest slice of non-US spend.

Havas Wins Dolce & Gabbana Media Business
Luxury brand Dolce & Gabbana has picked Havas Media Group as its global media partner, following a competitive review process, beating out incumbent Dentsu.

UK Advertising Watchdog Cracks Down on Crypto Ads
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a range of crypto ads run by companies including eToro and Coinbase. The ASA said it decided to ban the ads for “irresponsibly taking advantage of consumers’ inexperience and for failing to illustrate the risk of the investment”.

UM Retains H&M US Media Duties
Interpublic Group’s UM has retained US media duties for clothing retailer H&M, following a competitive review according to AdAge. IPG has held the account since 2016.

Publicis Sapient Launches Fintech JV with Siam Commercial Bank
Publicis Groupe this week announced the launch of SCB Tech X, a joint venture between Publicis Sapient and Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), creating one of the largest fintech entities in Southeast Asia. Publicis says SCB Tech X provides banking services (such as loan products and checking and savings accounts), as well as non-banking services (such as food delivery, health and wellness content and online travel booking) to commercial institutions and consumers throughout the region.

Digitas Wins The Auto Club’s Media Account
The Auto Club, America’s second biggest AAA club, has selected Digitas as its integrated lead agency. The Auto Club hasn’t employed an agency since 2016, when it worked with The Richards Group, according to AdAge.

MG OMD to Continue as UK Government Media Buyer
OmniGov, a bespoke unit within MG OMD, has been rubber stamped to continue as the UK government’s media buyer, sealing another four year contract. MG OMD is the first agency to retain the lucrative contract according to Campaign.

Hires of the Week

Angelika Gifford Becomes Meta’s VP EMEA
Angelika Gifford will become vice-president of Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Meta. Gifford is promoted from VP central Europe. 

Sheila Puertollano and Matthew Roberts Hired as Operations Directors at GroupM
Sheila Puertollano has been named as search operations director at GroupM, while Matthew Roberts has been appointed as programmatic operations director. Puertollano joins GroupM from Entain, while Roberts is promoted from within GroupM, where he has been director of operations at Xaxis. 

Susan Kingston-Brown Promoted to UM International Global Clients Chief
Susan Kingston-Brown has been named as UM International’s CEO of their international client services division. Kingston-Brown is promoted from her previous role at UM as chief product officer for EMEA. 

This Week on VideoWeek

More M&A is On the Horizon as Azerion Plans to Go Public, read on VideoWeek

UK Competition Watchdog Recommends Action Against Apple and Google’s “Vice-Like Grip” on Mobile, read more on VideoWeek

CTV Ad Fraud is Set to Spike Over Christmas Period, read on VideoWeek

Channel 4’s Sports Strategy Could Help Fend Off Privatisation, read on VideoWeek

What Ad Tech CEOs Predict for 2022, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Guinness, Good Things Are In Our Grasp, AMV BBDO


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