In this week’s Week in Review: Google gives fresh commitments to the CMA over its privacy sandbox, TF1 reports strong results for 2021, and IAB moves forward with Project Rearc.
Google Won’t Kill Cookies Until the CMA Gives the Go Ahead
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) this morning announced it has accepted a revised offer from Google of commitments relating to its Privacy Sandbox proposals, following an investigation into the sandbox from the competition watchdog.
The CMA says it intends to keep “a close eye” on the sandbox following the fresh legally binding commitments, stating that the CMA will now move on to supervising Google in the development and testing of sandbox tools.
Many of these commitments (listed in full here) are similar to those secured last year, giving the CMA more oversight over developments within the sandbox. But one major new commitment is that Google won’t kill off third-party cookies until the CMA is convinced that its concerns around competition have been addressed – which could result in Google’s cookie deadline being pushed back a second time.
TF1 Beats 2020 and 2019 Revenue Results
Broadcaster TF1 has reported its full-year results for 2021, and is showing signs of a strong post-pandemic recovery. The group saw its consolidated revenue increase from both 2020 and 2019,. Its revenue was significantly up from 2020, at 2,427.1 million euros at the end of2021, an increase of 16.6 percent from the year prior. It also exceeded the 2019 revenue by 3.8 percent.
TF1 also saw its advertising revenue increase by 14.2 percent year-on-year. It generated an advertising revenue of 1,694.6 million euros, a year-on-year rise of 211.3 million euros. It saw that digital advertising revenue amounted to 142.5 million euros, up 11.1 percent from the year prior. TF1 says this growth was “driven mainly by MyTF1”, the group’s streaming service.
IAB Launches Phase Two of Project Rearc
This week IAB Tech Lab unveiled phase two of Project Rearc, its initiative to foster development of tools for targeting and measurement in the post-cookie world. At the heart of phase two is the launch of a new working group within Rearc which will develop standards and best practices for use of Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs).
PETs is a broad term for a number of tools and technologies which help protect privacy wherever personal data is concerned. On-device computing, cryptography, and the adding of random data or ‘noise’, are a few examples.
PETs are core to most cookie alternatives we’ve seen developed, both by browsers themselves and by third-parties. But as things stand these PETs will differ in exactly how they work, since they’re being developed by different teams and organisations, meaning not all PETs are equal.
So the goal of the new working group is to set standards for how specific PETs should operate, increasing interoperability between different solutions.
The Week in Tech
Google’s Ad Tech Business Comes Under Fire on Two Fronts in Europe
Google’s advertising business came under fire on two separate fronts in Europe this week, as scrutiny over Google’s data practices and alleged anticompetitive behaviour intensifies.
The first threat surfaced in France where the CNIL , France’s data regulator ruled that Google Analytics currently falls foul of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), due to illegal data flows.
The second blow to Google came this morning, as the tech giant was hit with a fresh antitrust complaint related to its ad tech business. A collection of publishers including News UK, Conde Nast, and Axel Springer, filed a complaint with the European Commission stating that Google developed a stranglehold over publishers through its domination of the ad tech supply chain.
Innovid Buys TVSquared for $160 Million
CTV ad tech business Innovid this week announced a deal to buy TV measurement and attribution specialist TVSquared for $160 million. Innovid says the deal will create an end-to-end measurement business which will be well positioned to challenge embattled measurement leader Nielsen in the US. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
IAB Europe Says There’s No Need to Delete Data Collected Through the TCF
IAB Europe posted an FAQ on its website addressing questions following last week’s ruling that the Transparency and Consent Framework falls foul of GDPR. Among other things, IAB Europe claimed that companies which collected data using the TCF don’t need to now delete that data (contrary to claims made by privacy groups). Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Meta Strongly Denies It Is Threatening to Leave Europe
Meta has come out to strongly deny that it is threatening to pull Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp out of Europe. The denial came after some media outlets reported that the company was “threatening” to pull out of the continent over uncertainty over EU-US data transfers mechanism. The company posted a blog entry on Tuesday stating that it had “absolutely no desire to withdraw from Europe” but that it relied on data transfers.
Numbers of Top Ad Networks Dropped By Around A Third in Past Year
The number of top ad networks dropped by 29 percent in the past year. The consolidation allowed players like TikTok and Apple to grow quickly. TikTok doubled the share of ad spend it captured, while Apple grew by about a third. The figures come from the 2022 Singular ROI Index, a report that analysed data on over 300 of the world’s largest ad networks.
Online Safety Law in UK Introduced To Make Porn Sites Verify Users’ Ages
The UK government has updated its Online Safety Bill to include a measure that would see online porn sites have to verify the ages of their users. The draft law might require British users to provide a form of identification such as their credit card or passport to access online porn sites through a third-party verification site.
IAB Warns of “Measurement Blackout”
The IAB has warned of a potential “measurement blackout” as marketers are still failing to adjust to the imminent demise of third-party cookies. The IAB’s State of Data report found that there was no consensus about what to do after third-party cookies go away. The report found that two-thirds of advertisers had not adjusted their measurement strategies, and that nearly 60 percent are not increasing their investment in first-party data.
Meta Launches Metaverse Pitch to Advertisers
Meta made its pitch on the metaverse to advertisers at the IAB’s annual leadership meeting on Monday. Head of metaverse, Vishal Shah, cited opportunities for brands around digital goods and immersive shopping in his pitch to convince advertisers to invest in the area. Shah announced that the Foo Fighters would be playing a virtual concert in Meta’s Horizon platform after Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Aleph Reports 85 Percent Revenue Jump in 2021
Aleph Group has reported an 85 percent jump in revenues in 2021, as it gears up for initial public offering. Amid a rocky stock market, many companies such as WeTransfer and Justworks have postponed IPOS; however Aleph’s is still due to go ahead as planned. Aleph is an ad tech company that specialises in developing markets. Its investors include Twitter and Snap.
EU Regulators Says Better Understanding of the Metaverse Needed by Authorities
European Commission vice president Margrethe Vestager has said that authorities need to better understand the metaverse before they can regulate it. Meta’s name change and advocating of the concept has led to fears that the tech giant may dominate the emerging space. “The metaverse is here already. So of course we start analysing what will be the role for a regulator, what is the role for our legislature,” said Vestager.
Smartclip Launches New Audience Targeting Solution
Smartclip, RTL Group’s ad tech platform, has introduced a new audience-based advertising solution for targeting. Smart Audiences is designed to meet the need for privacy-safe, ID-free solutions. It combines sociodemographic data with contextual targeting capabilities. The capabilities are built in partnership with Global Data Resources (GDR) and DoubleVerify.
Mediahub and Adelaide Announce Strategic Partnership
Mediahub and Adelaide Worldwide have announced a strategic partnership. The partnership will work on developing media buying technology using Adelaide’s attention-based media quality metrics. Mediahub clients will be able to access proprietary tools and data co-developed with Adelaide.
68 Percent of UK Ad Auctions Sent With Alternative User IDs, Says Smart AdServer Data
Over two-thirds of UK ad auctions were sent with alternative user IDs, which is an increase of 24 percent compared to September, found data from Smart AdServer latest Identity Indicator report. The report looked at how cookie and mobile ID deprecation was affecting eight markets. It found that the share of in-app inventory with positive ATT framework consent increased in all markets, except Spain, from Summer 2021.
Peach and Innovid Integrate Platforms
Peach has announced that it has integrated with Innovid. The new API integration of Peach utilises Innovid Creative Bridge, which will allow customers to deliver creative assets from Peach straight into their campaign folders. Customers will then be able to use features from Innovid, including the ad server or their dynamic creative optimization (DCO) tools.
The Week in TV
Altice Boss In Favour of TF1-M6 Merger
The owner of Altice Patrick Drahi has told French senators that he is broadly in favour of the planned merger between TF1 and M6. Drahi also hinted that he may be interested in acquiring channels that the two commercial broadcasters might sell in order to clear regulatory approvals. Drahi said that he found the pairing of the two broadcasters to be “logical” given threats from global players.
NENT Group Announce Four Million Subscribers to Viaplay
The Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) has announced that Viaplay grew by a third in 2021, with the number of subscribers rising to four million. 397,000 subscribers were added in Q4 2021. The group also reported a 12 percent organic sales growth in Q4 2021. The group spent 219 million expanding Viaplay.
Amazon Prime to Up Subscription Prices in the US
Amazon is upping the subscription price for its Prime bundle for the first time since 2018 in the US. The monthly subscription price will increase from $12.99 to $14.99 and the annual price will go from $119 to $139, similar price increases are expected to take place globally. Amazon also said that it has now sold over 150 million Fire TV devices, since its launch in 2014.
Molotov Ends Disagreement With TF1 And Is Now Able to Broadcast Challenges
Molotov and TF1 have reached an agreement to allow the streaming service to broadcast TF1’s channels. Last month, Molotov was ordered to pay 8.5 million euros to TF1 and to stop broadcasting the group’s channels. Now TF1’s free-to-air offerings will be available on the Molotov service.
Tubi Has Record Quarter
Fox’s free ad-supported streaming service Tubi had its best ever quarter and month in Q4 2021. Tubi was a bright spot in Fox’s earnings as well as the NFL. The broadcaster reported ad revenue of $2.4 billion .Fox reported that Tubi achieved 54 of its top 100 revenue days, 55 of its top 100 viewer days and 50 of its top 100 view time (TVT) days.
EU Will Decide On Amazon-MGM Merger on 15 March
The European Union has set a deadline of 15 March to decide on whether to approve a merger between Amazon and MGM Studios. The $8.45 million deal between the two companies was announced last year, representing Amazon’s second biggest acquisition after Whole Foods in 2017. The proposed merger must also get approval from the US’s Federal Trade Commission.
Advertising Revenues for BVOD Services Increases By 68 Percent in 2021, Says Report
The advertising revenues generated by BVOD services increased by 68 percent in the 12 months to December 2021 compared to the same period prior, found a report from ThinkTV. The report also found that total TV advertising revenues increased by 19.9 percent in the 12 months to December 2021.
Disney+ Experiments With Live-Streaming
Disney+ has experimented with live-streaming for the first time. It ran a livestream of this week’s 94th Oscar nominations on Disney+ in the US. Disney does not intend to make Disney+ into a live-streaming platform, with live content being available on their sports streamer ESPN+ or Hulu + Live TV. However, this first toe-dip into live-streaming is a test of whether it works for the platform.
Kantar Launched Video Streaming Report
Kantar has launched a video streaming report, which will report viewing figures for all broadcast TV and VOD platforms through a single dashboard. The tool is launching first in Brazil, which Kantar says is a vibrant market for video consumption with 86 percent of consumers now watching online video monthly.
Discovery/WarnerMedia Merger Gets US Regulatory Approval
A merger between Discovery and AT&T’s WarnerMedia, which is expected to close in Q2 2022, has cleared the US antitrust hurdle. The last major obstacle is getting the go-ahead from Discovery’s shareholders- but it is widely expected that they will approve it. The European Commission already approved the deal late last year.
TikTok Comes to Vestel Smart TVs
Vestel, the biggest manufacturer of smart TVs in Europe, has announced that TikTok is coming to many of its devices. TikTok has an app specifically designed for smart TV, and is already available on Google TV and other Android TV operating system devices, LG Smart TVs, and Samsung Smart TVs in North America.
BBC Bosses Warn of “Jeopardy” Due to Licence Fee Freeze
BBC chairman Richard Sharp and director-general Tim Davie have written to UK culture secretary Nadine Dorries to warn of the “jeopardy” faced by the UK creative industry if the proposed freeze of the licence fee went ahead. Dorries announced that the recent renewal of the licence fee would be the last she would make. The BBC bosses said that the broadcaster had already faced a 30 percent pay cut in real terms over the past ten years.
The Week For Publishers
Reddit Seeks Tie-Ups with Agency Holding Groups
Social sharing site Reddit is looking for new advertising deals with the big agency holding groups, including WPP, the Financial Times reported this week. The FT says Reddit is looking for deals to help grow its ad offering, prior to an expected stock-market debut later this year.
IAC’s Dotdash to End Print Editions of Six Magazines
Media mogul Barry Diller’s Dotdash media group is ending print publication of six of the magazines it gained through its acquisition of Meredith Corp last year. Entertainment Weekly, InStyle, Eating Well, Health, Parents, and People en Español are the six titles becoming digital-only brands.
Snap Shares Soar as Revenues Beat Expectations
Shortly after disappointing earnings from Meta saw the social company’s shares plummet, rival business Snapchat reported better-than-expected Q4 results. Snap’s quarterly revenues reached $1.3 billion, representing 42 percent growth year-on-year, and the company also posted its first ever quarterly profit since going public.
Wall Street Journal Digital Subscriptions Near Three Million
The Wall Street Journal saw its total subscription count climb 12 percent to 3.6 million in the last quarter, the company announced last week as part of News Corp’s quarterly financial results. Digital subscriptions in particular grew 19 percent to 2.9 million, pushing it within touch distance of the three million mark.
US Publishers Ask for Australia-Style Bargaining Powers Against Big Tech
Several regional publishers in the US have written letters in support of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a proposed piece of legislation which would allow publishers to collectively negotiate with tech platforms over compensation for use of their content. But the News Media Alliance, a group which represents publishers and journalists, is asking for the proposed legislation to be strengthened, so that tech platforms would be forced into arbitration if they fail to strike a deal, according to Press Gazette.
News Corp Hit by Cyber Attack
News Corp has revealed it was hit last week by a cyber attack whereby journalists working for News UK, the Wall Street Journal, and New York Post had data stolen. Investigators believe that the attack was linked to China, and News Corp says that no customer or financial data was stolen during the attack.
UK Government Requires Age Verification for Porn Sites
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport this week announced changes to the upcoming Online Safety Bill, which will require porn websites to use age verification technology to prevent children viewing adult content. This marks an update on previous versions of the Bill, which only required age verification on porn sites which allow users to upload content.
The Week For Agencies
Omnicom Posts 9.5 Percent Organic Growth in Q4
Omnicom reported its Q4 financial results this week, with total revenues reaching $3.9 billion, representing 9.5 percent organic growth. Chairman and CEO John Wren attributed the results to strong performance in digital, precision marketing, and consulting.
IPG Forecasts Five Percent Organic Growth Next Year
Interpublic Group also posted strong quarterly results, with organic growth of 11.6 percent in Q4 specifically, and organic growth of 11.9 percent across the whole year. The group is now targeting five percent organic growth in 2022, while the board also authorised a share buyback programme, signalling confidence in the year ahead.
MediaCom Retains Mars Account
WPP’s MediaCom has retained Mars’s media account for another four years in a deal worth around $1 billion, according to Adweek. The deal will see Mars also work with WPP’s Choreograph data business and fellow GroupM agency Essence, which will handle biddable media.
WPP Picked Up Most New Business in 2021
WPP picked up the most new business in 2021 when judged by number of wins, according to research from R3. R3’s new business table saw WPP pick up 2,140 wins, significantly ahead of second placed Publicis with 899. Havas however saw the biggest impact from its new business, with its new business accounting for 11.4 percent growth in total revenue.
UK Ad Professionals Set Up New Trade Union
A group of advertising professionals in the UK is forming a new, dedicated trade union for creatives working across advertising, digital, PR, design, media, and production according to Adweek. The union will sit inside United Voices of the World, an existing grassroots union that covers a range of different sectors.
US Advertising Employment Dropped in January
Last month US employment in advertising, PR, and related services fell for the first time since 2020, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics as reported by AdAge. Total employment in the sector fell by 5,900 jobs in January according to the monthly employment stats.
Amazon Becomes Biggest Spender on Advertising in History
Amazon was the biggest spending brand when it came to advertising last year, with total spend reaching $16.9 billion, YouGov reported this week. This likely makes Amazon the biggest advertiser in history. The news comes as Amazon’s own ad sales business also soars, with Amazon ad revenues topping $31 billion in 2021.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro Secured as Inaugural Sponsor of Sky Atlantic VOD Content
Peroni Nastro Azzurro has become the first sponsor of Sky Atlantic VOD content on NOW, enabled by a collaboration between Sky Media and Wavemaker. The campaign began earlier this week, and will run for 12 months, it will show across popular programming such as House of the Dragon and Gangs of London.
Hires of the Week
Ogury Appoints Geoffroy Martin As Chief Operating Officer
Geffroy Martin has joined Ogury as its chief operating officer. Martin has 20 years of experience in the tech industry. He was most recently general manager and executive vice president of growth portfolio at Criteo.
Paul Knegten Appointed as Chief Marketing Officer at Outbrain
Paul Knegten has been appointed by Outbrain as their chief marketing officer. Most recently Knegten was CMO of Beeswax.
Incubeta Appoints Chief Revenue Officer and Chief Growth Officer
Incubeta has made a series of new appointments. Andrew Turner has been promoted to chief revenue officer, James Sleaford to chief growth officer and Claire Burgess to director of delivery. Charlie Davison joins the company as growth consultancy director.
Starcom’s Sophie Barr and Danny Weitzkorn Promoted to Managing Partner
Starcom has promoted Sophie Barr and Danny Weitzkorn to managing partners. Barr has been promoted from her previous position as business director on the Samsung account. Weitzkorn has also worked on the Samsung account with current clients including P&O Ferries, DP World, Karcher and NS&I.
This Week on VideoWeek
“Most Claims About Cross-Platform Deduplication are False,” says Simulmedia’s Dave Morgan, read on VideoWeek
IAB Europe Says There’s No Need to Delete Data Collected Through the TCF, read on VideoWeek
Mean Screens, read on VideoWeek
Innovid Buys TVSquared for $160 Million, read on VideoWeek
The State of Play in US Data Laws, read on VideoWeek
Who Are the Challengers to Nielsen’s Throne? read on VideoWeek
The State of Play in US Data Laws, read on VideoWeek
VideoWeek Podcast #31 Radhia Gleis, Author & Former Cult Member, listen on VideoWeek
Gaming the System: What the Recent Acquisitions in Games Tells Us About the Space, read on VideoWeek
Microsoft, Advertising’s Sleeping Giant, is Waking Up, read on VideoWeek
Mozilla Partners with Meta for Privacy-Preserving Attribution, read on VideoWeek
Shopify’s Journey to Becoming a One-Stop Shop for SMBs, read on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
Amazon, Mind Reader, Lucky Generals