The WIR: NBCUniversal Unveils a New Identity Platform, Nielsen and Comscore Strengthen Their CTV Offerings, and France’s Data Watchdog Fines Google and Facebook

07 January, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: NBCUniversal launches a new identity platform, Nielsen and Comscore strengthen their CTV offerings, and the CNIL fines Google and Facebook.

Top Stories

NBCUniversal Launches First-Party Identity Solution
NBCUniversal this week unveiled NBCUnified, a new part of the broadcaster’s One Platform offering which it says will allow marketers to match their own data with NCBU’s audiences, across its various media channels.

NBCUnified is comprised of three parts: its own identifier called NBCU ID, a data marketplace which includes NBCU’s own first-party data as well as third-party data from licensed providers, and partner integrations with agencies, third-party tech platforms, industry-wide initiatives, and NBCU’s own data clean room.

“We understand what engages over 230M adults each month, and with NBCUnified, we can translate these relationships into better consumer experiences, deeper insights for our partners, and a more connected TV world for our industry,” said Krishan Bhatia, president and chief business officer at NBCUniversal Advertising & Partnerships.

Nielsen and Comscore Roll Out New CTV Measurement Solutions
Nielsen and Comscore, two of the biggest players in TV measurement, this week both rolled out new solutions which expand their CTV measurement capabilities.

Nielsen launched ‘Streaming Signals’, a tool to help CTV operators and advertisers better understand who is watching specific shows within a household. Nielsen says Streaming Signals enables both media buyers and media sellers to optimise and measure CTV reach for more efficient advertising. Nielsen says the tool can signal who is watching a show within 50 milliseconds, allowing buyers to target relevant individuals within a household.

Meanwhile Comscore released its own single-source cross-platform measurement solution called ‘Comscore Everywhere’. Comscore says the new product allows it to give a comprehensive, consistent, and deduplicated view of media consumption and audience intelligence across media and screens. The company says that it will be working closely with its buy-side and sell-side partners to refine the methodology of how it combines television, connected TV, digital and social media assets into one offering – enabling reach and frequency planning across screens.

France’s Data Watchdog Fines Google and Facebook Over Consent Collection
France’s data watchdog, the CNIL, this week fined Google €150 million and Facebook €60 million due to non-compliance with France’s privacy legislation. At the heart of the decision is the requirement – which applies under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation – that it must be equally easy for users to reject unnecessary data collection as it is for them to accept it. The CNIL has also given each company three months to update their consent collection mechanisms, after which they will be fined €100,000 for each day they continue to not comply.

The Week in Tech

Sharp TV Makes Roku their Operating System
From this year, Sharp will begin selling smart TVs powered by Roku’s operating system. Roku is the number one supplier of operating systems for smart TVs in the US. In the US market Sharp has around three percent market share. 

Integral Ad Science Acquires Context
Integral Ad Science (IAS) has acquired artificial intelligence company Context. Context is a French company that provides artificial intelligence for contextual classification and targeting. The company is the third that IAS has acquired in the last 12 months, adding Context to its acquisitions of Publica and Amino Payments. 

HUMAN Raises $100 Million in Funding Round
HUMAN Security (formerly known as White Ops) has raised $100 million in a growth funding round. This funding round was led by WestCap and NightDragon. HUMAN keeps businesses and internet platforms safe from sophisticated bot attacks and fraud.

Magnite Acquires Nth Party
Magnite this week announced it is bringing on the team from Nth Party, a startup developing cryptographic software for secure audience data sharing and analysis. Magnite says the move is part of its commitment to build leading identity and audience solutions for sellers and buyers.

Dutch Court Dismisses Privacy Suit Against Oracle and Salesforce
A Dutch court dismissed a lawsuit that alleged Oracle and Salesforce’s DMP was breaking privacy rules. The decision came in the last days of 2021 in the Court of Amsterdam. The case had been brought by The Privacy Collection, which alleged the DMP broke GDPR by attaching cookie-data to audience IDs. 

Smartly.io To Buy Ad-Lib.io For Over $100 Million
Smartly.io will purchase Ad-Lib.io for more than $100 million. Smartly.io has thus far been a company largely focused on paid social media offerings, but the acquisition of Ad-Lib.io will allow the company to move onto the Google platforms. Smartly has customers including Uber, Under Armour and eBay.

AppLovin’ Closes Its Acquisition of MoPub
AppLovin’ has completed its purchase of MoPub from Twitter. The acquisition, which was announced in October 2021, cost AppLovin’ $1.05 billion in cash. The MoPub business is now part of a uniform platform, known as MAX. MoPub itself will sunset at the end of March 2022. 

UK’s New Information Commissioner Begins Term
The UK’s new information commissioner began his term this week. John Edwards joins on a five-year term. Edwards has spent eight years as New Zealand’s privacy commissioner. 2022 will see Edwards’ new office oversee the UK government’s proposed changes to the Data Protection Act and introduction of the Online Safety Bill. 

Samsung Introduces Cloud Gaming To Its Smart TVs
Samsung has announced that it will be producing smart TVs with cloud gaming services Nvidia GeForce Now and Google Stadia integrated into the device. 

The Week in TV

Discovery/WarnerMedia Merger Gets Green Light in Europe
Discovery and WarnerMedia’s merger was this week given the green light by regulators in Europe, with the European Commission granting unconditional antitrust clearance. AT&T CEO John Stankey also said this week the US Department of Justice’s investigation into the merger has so far followed expectations, leaving the two companies confident of gaining US approval.

TF1 Reports Highest Ever Viewing Figures on Linear Channels
French broadcaster TF1 this week reported that in 2021 the company saw its highest ever viewing figures across its channels, attracting an average of 51 million viewers each week. TF1 says its news and current affairs coverage performed particularly well. “These remarkable performances illustrate our drive to be at the heart of French daily life with popular, must-see content made to the highest standards,” said Gilles Pélisson, TF1 group chairman and CEO. “They are the fruit of our editorial and digital transformation, in response to changing viewing habits.”

Poland’s Duda Vetoes Controversial Media Law
Poland’s president Andrzej Duda has vetoed a controversial media law which would have forced US media giant Discovery to sell its stake in TVN, Poland’s largest independent broadcaster. The media ownership law, seen as an attack on press freedom, drew criticism from the US, which warned that the law could threaten the investment climate in Poland if passed.

RTL Sells its Stake in VideoAmp
RTL this week unloaded another of its ad tech interests, selling its stake in US-based measurement business VideoAmp for $104 million in a share buyback by VideoAmp. The sale represents a healthy return on investment for RTL, which says its total net cash investment in the company amounted to $14.5 million. RTL said the sale is consistent with its current strategy, which includes “continuously reviewing RTL Group’s portfolio and growing its European digital businesses in the areas of streaming and advertising technology”.

HBO Max Beats its Subscriber Targets
WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max has beaten its subscriber target for the end of 2021, chief executive John Stankey confirmed this week. Stankey announced that HBO Max had reached 73.8 million subscribers by the end of the year, ahead of its target range of 70-73 million.

Salto Reports Fewer than 300,000 Subscription
Salto, France’s subscription video on-demand service jointly owned by TF1, M6, and France Télévisions, is reported to have had less than 300,000 subscribers by last summer, far short of its international competitors and its own target of one million. Advanced Television reports that the low subscriber count meant that Salto had registered €72 million in net losses by mid-2021.

Users are Frustrated with CTV Navigation, Study Finds
Research from Accenture released this week outlines a number of consumer frustrations with the CTV world as it is. One is that consumers say navigating different CTV services is frustrating, and feels like popping in and out of rabbit holes as they search for content. Sixty percent of those surveyed said they find navigation either “a little” or “very” frustrating. And 44 percent said they spend more than six minutes on average trying to find something to watch. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

The Week For Publishers

NYT Buys The Athletic for $550 Million
The New York Times has agreed a deal to buy digital sports publication The Athletic for $550 million. NYT chief executive Meredith Kopit Levien said the acquisition puts the NYT in a position to be a global leader in sports journalism. The deal will also bolster NYT’s subscription count – The Athletic has 1.2 million subscribers as of December.

Hong Kong’s Biggest Independent News Site Close Amid Arrests Safety Fears
Hong Kong’s two largest independent news sites both shut down within the space of a week, with some heralding the death of Hong Kong’s free press. Stand News was raided by police, with several staff including journalists arrested for allegedly publishing “seditious” material. Citizen News then announced it would close down, citing safety concerns for its own journalists.

LinkedIn Sees Ad Overcharging Claims Dismissed
A US judge has dismissed a complaint against LinkedIn claiming that the professional networking site overcharged advertisers for inventory, having misled them about viewing figures for video content on LinkedIn. U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan van Keulen said that LinkedIn’s statements may have been misleading, but the social site had already made legal remedies, and the plaintiffs hadn’t proved that these remedies were inadequate.

DC Thomson Posts Biggest Ever Profit
DC Thomson, publisher of Stylist, Beano, and Press and Journal, has posted its highest ever pre-tax profits, despite also posting its lowest revenues since 2003. The company attributed the strong profits to good performances for its “entrepreneurial investments”.

Bloomberg CEO Launches News Startup
Bloomberg’s CEO Justin Smith stepped down from his role this week, in order to launch a news startup which has taken on NYT media columnist Ben Smith to lead its newsroom. “My plan is to launch a premium news business that serves unbiased journalism to a global audience and provides a high-quality platform for the best journalists in the world,” said Justin Smith.

Meta Appeals UK Competition Ruling on Giphy Acquisition
Meta has filed an appeal against a ruling from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that it must sell GIF platform Giphy, which it bought for $400 million in May 2020. Meta says the CMA didn’t properly consider its offer to ensure Giphy keeps providing services to rival social platforms like TikTok and Snapchat.

NYT Accused of Interfering with Union Activism
The New York Times has been accused by the National Labor Relations Board of interfering with union activism by barring workers from showing union support while acting as “intern managers”.

The Week For Agencies

Stagwell Buys Goodstuff
Growing agency group Stagwell this week agreed a deal to buy UK independent media agency Goodstuff Communications for an undisclosed fee. Goodstuff will be added to Stagwell’s media arm, Stagwell Media Network. “What attracted us to the agency were their world-class leadership and unwavering focus on people, culture, and the work,” said James Townsend, global CEO of both Stagwell Media Network and the network’s flagship media agency, Assembly.

French Car Ads Made to Show Green Warnings
A new French law passed in December will require car ads in France to include phrases which encourage users not to travel by car when necessary. These phrases include “For short journeys, walk or cycle”, “Think about carpooling”, and “On a daily basis, take public transport”.

Tech Entrepreneur Vin Murria Considers M&C Saatchi Takeover
Tech entrepreneur Vin Murria has expressed an interest in buying out M&C Saatchi, where she is currently director and largest shareholder. Murria currently holds over 22 percent of shares either privately or through her acquisition vehicle.

Publicis Acquires Tremend
Publicis Groupe this week announced the acquisition of Tremend, an independent software engineering company operating in Central and Eastern Europe. Tremend currently reaches 60 million of its clients’ end users with its tech, and will serve as the newest global delivery center for Publicis Sapient, according to Publicis.

Advertisers Set to Continue Funnelling Money into TV This Year
A new forecast from media analyst business Enders Analysis predicts that growth in UK TV ad spend (including VOD) will continue this year, projecting two percent growth year-on-year. Enders’ report says the strength in TV is down largely to an renewal in advertiser confidence around the effectiveness of TV for driving return on investment in both the short-term and long-term.

Tinder Picks VaynerMedia as Global Media Agency of Record
Dating app Tinder has picked VanyerMedia as its global media agency of record following a competitive pitch process, according to AdAge.

Hires of the Week

Dawn Dickie Becomes Partner in You & Mr Jones Media
Dawn Dickie has become a partner at You & Mr Jones Media, leaving her role as chief financial officer at GroupM’s Mindshare.

Now Picks Louise Hayward as CEO
Indie agency Now has picked Louise Hayward as its new CEO. Hayward previously worked as Engine’s managing director.

This Week on VideoWeek

CTV Gateways are Benefitting from Streaming Apps’ Ineffective Content Recommendations, read on VideoWeek

The 2022 Content Wars, read on VideoWeek

Single Source Data: Explained, read on VideoWeek

2022: The Year of CTV – or Not? read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Axa, Birders, Publicis Conseil

2022-01-07T14:19:04+01:00

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