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The WIR: DAZN Nears a Deal to Buy BT Sport, Vevo Revamps its CTV Offering, and Channel 5 Projects Highest Ever Profits

Tim Cross 14 January, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: DAZN nears a deal to buy BT Sport, Vevo revamps its CTV offering, and Channel 5 expects to post its highest ever profits.

Top Stories

DAZN’s Purchase of BT Sport Could Complete This Month
The expected sale of BT Sport to DAZN for £600 million could wrap up as soon as this month. DAZN is seeking to increase its UK presence through the deal to buy the BT-owned channel, which was originally designed to increase the telecoms company’s TV presence.

However, Reuters reports that the deal is yet to be finalized and could still collapse. BT have been looking for a buyer since mid-2021, to help fund their fibre rollout.

In September last year, the completion of the deal between DAZN AND BT was rumoured but did not occur at that time. Later, Discovery emerged as a potential backup. Reports say Discovery is still in talks with BT about the purchase, but that DAZN is the favourite at this point.

Vevo Bets on CTV With Revamped App and Original Programming
Vevo has announced the release of its revamped Vevo TV app, which will now allow the user to tune into channels as well as search for specific music video content. The app has already launched on Amazon Fire TV, and is scheduled to roll out across other CTV devices and smart TVs later this month. 

CTV now makes up half of Vevo’s revenue, up from four percent in Q1 2020, according to a company spokesperson.

Vevo began distributing its content through YouTube, and so previously users on the Vevo TV app had to search for the music videos they wanted to watch. Now, users will be able to watch channels such as Vevo 80s, which show curated content. 

Vevo says that the interface on the ad-supported CTV app “now reflects an experience more consistent with the user experience viewers are familiar with on live TV”.

Channel 5 Expects to Post Largest Ever Profits
UK broadcaster Channel 5, owned by US-based ViacomCBS, is on course to post its largest ever annual profit following a strong 2021. This is particularly good news for Channel 5 since profits aren’t a given – with the broadcaster turning a profit in nine of the twenty four years since it was founded.

Channel 5’s success has been driven by a strong overall TV ad market in the UK in 2021, combined with its own content successes in shows All Creatures Great and Small and Our Yorkshire Farm which have seen Channel 5 reach its highest audience share since 2014 according to The Guardian.

The Week in Tech

Facebook Fails In Second Attempt to Dismiss FTC Suit
Facebook has failed to dismiss a US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lawsuit, which, if successful, would see the company’s acquisition of Whatsapp and Instagram undone. The lawsuit alleges anti-competitive behaviour by Meta . The Washington judge dismissed claims by Meta that FTC chair Lina Khan was biased in the case.

Origin Completes Second Proof of Concept Test
Origin, an initiative launched by British advertising trade body ISBA, announced on Wednesday it has completed proof of concept evaluations for its proposed cross-media measurement solution, with results exceeding expectations. The results mean Origin will now move ahead with further testing and building a working product which will go to market. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

T-Mobile Acquires Cab Digital Advertising Company
T-Mobile’s US advertising unit announced that it is acquiring Octopus Interactive. Octopus Interactive is a company that provides interactive digital advertising in cab services like Uber and Lyft. The service shows interactive games, weather and ride information interspersed with ads. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Discovery Becomes Minority Owner in OpenAP
Discovery has taken minority ownership in advanced advertising company OpenAP. The move sees two Discovery executives join OpenAP’s board of directors. Companies like Fox, NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS are already involved with OpenAP. Discovery said that the investment furthers their “strategy of building a technical framework that enables cross-platform audience-based buying and creating collaborative support for alternative currency standards.”

NBCUniversal Partners with iSpot.TV on Ratings Measurement
NBCUniversal has announced that it is partnering with iSpot.TV to measure its audiences in new ways. The partnership will see the TV network able to measure its linear, streaming and time-shifted TV audiences on a second-by-second basis. The agreement with iSpot.TV follows a shift away from Nielsen by the US TV networks, after dissatisfaction with the company’s methods.

Anzu and Ubisoft Extend Partnership
In-game advertising platform Anzu and game-maker Ubisoft have expanded their partnership after their initial collaboration brought success. Last year, Anzu’s in-game ads were integrated into Trackmania and campaigns for the likes of Samsung, American Eagle and Vodafone were run. Vodafone saw a 176 percent lift in campaign awareness and a 20 percent lift in brand consideration from their campaign.

ARICOMA Group Acquire Clearcode
Custom development ad tech company Clearcode has been acquired by the ARICOMA Group. The group is backed by KKCG. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. With the acquisition of Polish company Clearcode, the ARICOMA Group will consist of ten companies, with a consolidated turnover exceeding €340 million and over 3,000 employees.

Hawk Integrates Survey Tool Into Platform
Hawk Platform has integrated a survey tool into its DSP, which the company says will provide insight for advertisers to inform their actions. The new tool is free for current users of Hawk’s DSP, regardless of whether they use the self-serve service or Hawk’s managed service.

The Week in TV

BBC Three to Return to Linear Television in February
BBC Three will make its return to linear TV on the 1st of February. The channel was taken off-air in 2016 and made online-only, since then it has attracted large audiences with hits like Normal People and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. On its debut night, BBC Three will broadcast the premier of RuPaul’s Drag Race: UK vs the World. The channel will broadcast from 7pm every night.

NBCUniversal and RTL AdConnect Announce Partnership
NBCUniversal and RTL AdConnect have announced a partnership that will give the two companies access to each other’s TV and digital inventory for the first time. For NBCUniversal the deal will strengthen their presence in Europe, for RTL AdConnect it will help expand their business beyond the continent, particularly into territories like China and the US. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

HBO Max Says It’s Willing to Spend $18 Billion on Content
HBO Max has said that it is willing to spend $18 billion on content this year in order to catch up to Netflix and Disney+ in “the streaming wars”. WarnerMedia said last week that the number of HBO and HBO Max subscribers has risen to 74 million, up from 60 million in 2020.

Salto Has Around 700,000 Subscribers Says France Télévisions’ President
SVOD service Salto has around 700,000 subscribers, says France Télévisions president Delphine Ernotte. Salto is a joint venture between the public broadcaster and commercial broadcasters TF1 and M6. Ernotte disclosed the figure without specifying how many of those were paying subscribers.

Allen Media’s SPORTS.TV Launched
Allen Media Digital has launched SPORTS.TV, a free streaming service, which as the name suggests, is focused on sports. The offering aggregates content like sports, news and movies, and some local US broadcast television stations. As well as the free-to-air content, SPORTS.TV will offer subscribers a chance to engage with additional content through pay-per-view.

UKTV Play Adds One Million Users in 2021
BBC-studios owned broadcaster UKTV added one million users to its AVOD service in 2021. UKTV, which owns channels such as Dave and Drama, added live TV of UKTV Play in 2021. Monetizable views to content on UKTV Play were up 34 percent year-on-year.

FuboTV Subscribers Exceed 1.1 Million
FuboTV has announced that its paying subscribers now exceed 1.1 million. The sports-first streaming network announced its preliminary Q4 2021 results earlier this week. The company also announced that its revenue grew year-over-year by between 105 to 109 percent. The figures exclude Molotov, which fuboTV acquired in December 2021.

Ampere Analysis Predicts Wave of M&A In Streaming Market in 2022
The streaming market will see a wave of mergers and acquisitions in 2022, predicts Ampere Analysis. The analysts at Ampere predict that the streaming market is entering a new phase, which will see companies structurally positioning themselves along the key verticals.

Piracy Site Popcorn Time Closed Down
A popular platform for users to illegally watch TV and films, dubbed “the Netflix of piracy” has shut down. Popcorn Time had come under legal pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America; however, the site had argued that they were not a piracy site, but rather a site that provided a portal to others. In their closing down message, Popcorn Time cited a lack of interest from users, rather than legal pressure as the reason for the shut down.

Heinz Partners With Channel 4 to Launch Branded Content Programme
Channel 4 and Heinz are teaming up to launch Flex Kitchen, a short form comedy series, which will be shown across the broadcaster’s social media channels. The branded content series is the first of its kind for Heinz, and will feature the brand’s plant-based products.It will feature comedians like Phil Wang and Lou Sanders cooking for demanding diners.

HBO Nordic Gains 635,000 Subscribers Following HBO Max Launch
HBO in the Nordics has gained 635,000 subscribers since the service was relaunched as HBO Max. The service is now in the top three of SVOD providers in the region, and has an average household penetration of 20 percent.

The Week For Publishers

India Launches Antitrust Review into Google
The Competition Commission of India has ordered an investigation into Google, following complaints from publishers over anticompetitive practices. India’s Digital News Publishers Association, the organisation which filed the complaint, says that Google is using unfair practices which deny them ad revenues.

The Guardian US Exceeds End of Year Donation Targets for 2021
The Guardian US saw total traffic drop last year, due in part to a softer news cycle compared to 2020 including the absence of a US election. But the publisher’s end-of-year donations drive exceeded expectations, bringing in $1.6 million in either one-off or recurring donations, beating last year’s end-of-year drive by $100,000.

Google Offers to Remove Showcase from General Search in Germany
Google has offered to remove its Google News Showcase product, which provides curated news content from publishers who are paid by Google, from its general search results, following concerns from Germany’s antitrust authority. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office has been concerned that Google’s new product could squeeze some news businesses out of the market, and would also give Google an unfair advantage over rivals.

Twitter Buys Minority Stake in Aleph
Twitter, fresh from offloading mobile ad platform MoPub, has bought a minority stake in digital advertising business Aleph. “With a diverse set of capabilities, Aleph has supported our business globally, both as a sales and technology partner. This investment is a natural evolution in our relationship with Aleph,” said Sarah Personette, Twitter’s chief customer officer.

Take-Two Buys Zynga for $12.7 Billion
Games publisher Take-Two, whose series include Grand Theft Auto, NBA 2K, and Borderlands, has acquired mobile game publisher Zynga for $12.7 million. Take-Two says the acquisition will help it create more mobile games based on its console and PC-based gaming IP, and get value out of Zynga’s Chartboost advertising platform.

LinkedIn Beta Test Reworked Events Platform
LinkedIn has begun beta testing a reworked version of its on-platform interactive events toolset. LinkedIn has begun with audio events, which work similarly to live audio events on social app Clubhouse, and will begin trialling video events later in the year.

Fact Checkers Say YouTube is Falling Short in Tackling Fake News
A collection of 80 fact checking organisations, including Full Fact in the UK, have signed a letter telling YouTube that it’s not doing enough to stop the spread of fake news. The letter said that Google falls particularly short in the Global South, and in non-English speaking countries generally.

The Week For Agencies

Media.Monks Acquires 4 Mile Analytics
Media.Monks, the umbrella brand which S4 Capital operates as, made another acquisition this week, adding 4 Mile Analytics to its roster. S4’s executive chairman Martin Sorrell said 4 Mile’s capabilities with Looker and Google Cloud made it particularly appealing to Media.Monks.

You & Mr Jones Becomes The Brandtech Group
You & Mr Jones, which has long described itself as a brandtech business, has rebranded itself to The Brandtech Group – a move which founder David Jones says reflects its evolution from a two person operation to a business with over 5,000 employees.

Edelman Will Drop Clients which Don’t Meet ESG Standards
PR consultancy firm Edelman has said it will drop any clients which don’t adhere to its environmental, social and governance guidelines. The firm however will not yet stop working with fossil fuel companies like Shell and ExxonMobil.

Dentsu Creates New Chief Addressability Officer Role
Dentsu has hired its first ever ‘chief addressability officer’, a move which comes as part of Dentsu’s wider data and identity strategy. Dentsu says that Keith Camoosa, the person chosen for the role, will unify and further develop the agency’s addressable media practice and suite of products — powered by M1 and Merkury in lockstep with Merkle.

M&A Saatchi Rejects Investor Takeover Offer
British agency M&C Saatchi this week rejected a proposed takeover from Vin Murria, a software entrepreneur and the agency’s largest shareholder. M&C Saatchi said in a statement that ” the proposal does not reflect the value of the business and its future prospect”.

Starling Bank Pauses Meta Ads Over Fraud Concerns
Starling Bank has said it has stopped running paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, due to its concerns that Meta isn’t doing enough to prevent financial fraudsters from using its platforms. “We can no longer pay to advertise on a platform alongside scammers who are going after the savings of our customers and those of other banks,” said Starling CEO Anne Bowden in a message to Facebook parent company Meta.

Switzerland Likely to Pass New Law Restricting Tobacco Ads
Swiss citizens expect to pass a law in an upcoming referendum which would ban tobacco ads from appearing wherever children or teenagers might see them, according to a poll from national broadcaster SRG.

Hires of the Week

Monty Sarhan Picked to Lead SkyShowtime
Monty Sarhan has been chosen as the CEO of upcoming European streaming service SkyShowtime, a joint venture between Sky and ViacomCBS.

Mary Keane-Dawson Becomes CEO of Time Out Media
Time Out Media has appointed Mary Keane-Dawson as their new CEO. Keane-Dawson was previously Neo@Ogilvy’s European managing director.

MediaMath Appoints Neil Nguyen as CEO
Neil Nguyen has been made CEO of MediaMath. Nguyen is a former CEO of Sizmek, and most recently was global chief digital officer at Havas Edge and EPN.

Nichole Barnes Marshall Named as Pinterest Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion
Nichole Barnes Marshall has joined Pinterest as their global head of diversity and inclusion. Barnes Marshall was previously at Bath and Body Works, where she was VP and chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer.

Carat Appoints Two Senior Strategy Partners
Dentsu’s Carat has appointed two new senior strategy partners: Maro Mouameletzi and Bram Meuleman. Mouameletzi joins from WPP’s Mindshare, while Meuleman joins from the7stars.

This Week on VideoWeek

Do European Broadcasters Still Have Home Advantage for Producing Local Content? read on VideoWeek

What Does Discovery’s Involvement Mean for OpenAP? read on VideoWeek

NBCUniversal and RTL AdConnect Announce Partnership, read on VideoWeek

Origin says its Cross-Media Measurement Solution is Exceeding Expectations Following Crucial Tests, read on VideoWeek

Bigger Reach, More Inventory, and Programmatic Sales Are On The Way for TF1’s Addressable TV Ads, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Corona, Sunshine Anytime, David Miami


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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