The WIR: Disney+ Rumoured to Consider Ads, US States Launch Probe into TikTok’s Effect on Mental Health, and ProSiebenSat.1 Post Record Revenues

Tim Cross 04 March, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Disney is reportedly considering introducing an ad-supported tier to Disney+, US Attorneys General launch a probe into TikTok, and ProSiebenSat.1 posts record revenues.

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Disney Considers Adding Ad-Supported Subscription Tier to Disney+
Disney executives are mulling over adding an ad-supported subscription tier in the US to its subscription streaming service Disney+, according to a report from The Information. The source cited by The Information said Disney believes introducing ads would help Disney+ reach profitability by 2024, in the face of slowing subscriber growth.

Disney of course already has an extensive ad business, through its TV channels and hybrid streaming service Hulu. But the move would add a lot of premium ad inventory alongside some of Disney’s most popular IP. And such a move wouldn’t be unprecedented – Disney already runs ads on Disney+ Hotstar, the Indian version of the service.

US States Launch Probe Into TikTok’s Effect on Mental Health of Young People
Eight US state Attorneys General, including the AGs of California and Massachusetts, this week launched a new probe into TikTok’s impact on the mental health of its young users. The nationwide and bipartisan probe will explore firstly whether TikTok does have a negative impact on young people, either mentally or physically, and secondly whether the company knowingly perpetuates those harms.

The investigation will focus on the methods and techniques utilised by TikTok to boost young user engagement, including increasing the duration of time spent on the platform and frequency of engagement with the platform.

“As children and teens already grapple with issues of anxiety, social pressure, and depression, we cannot allow social media to further harm their physical health and mental wellbeing,” said Massachusetts AG Maura Healey. “State attorneys general have an imperative to protect young people and seek more information about how companies like TikTok are influencing their daily lives.”

ProSiebenSat.1 Posts Record Revenues in 2021
German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 posted record revenues of 4.49 billion euros in 2021. This represents an 11 percent growth from the previous year. The profit for the full-year was 449 million euros.

The media company attributes the growth to an improved TV advertising market in Germany. The broadcaster’s revenues from programme production and sales also performed strongly in 2021, growing 25 percent year-on-year.

ProSiebenSat.1 is targeting revenues of around 4.6 billion euros in 2022, something that it says will depend on advertising revenues in DACH.

The Week in Tech

AppLovin Pushes into CTV with $430 Million Wurl Acquisition
AppLovin has entered into an agreement to acquire CTV software platform Wurl for $430 million. AppLovin has traditionally been a mobile-focused company, and the acquisition of Wurl marks a transition into the connected TV market. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Magnite Acquires Audience Data Platform Carbon
Magnite has acquired publisher audience data platform Carbon.The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. Magnite says the acquisition is aimed at strengthening their publisher audience activation capabilities post-third party cookies by combining

Russia Tells Google to Halt “Inaccurate” Ads
Russia has ordered Google to immediately halt Google Ads that it says contain “inaccurate” information about the number of casualties in the Ukraine war. Russian state communications regulator Roskomnadzor said it had sent a letter to Google demanding the ads be stopped. It threatened to block internet resources that contain what Russia says is disinformation.

Facebook Blocks Russian State Media From Monetising Content on Platform
Facebook is blocking Russian state media from running ads or monetising on their platform globally. The company has said that it will also continue to apply labels to content from Russian state media, an initiative that began in 2020 and applies to all state-controlled media. “We are closely monitoring the situation in Ukraine and will keep sharing steps we’re taking to protect people on our platform,” said Meta’s head of security policy, Nathaniel Gleicher on Twitter.

iSpot.TV Buys Tunity
Measurement platform iSpot.TV has bought Tunity to introduce out-of-home TV viewing to its measurement capabilities. Tunity is a company that measures consumer viewing habits in public locations like bars, restaurants and gyms, waiting rooms and airports. The Tunity app allows users to hear audio from muted TV devices. iSpot.TV’s CEO said the acquisition fills “a major, major gap” in enabling out-of-home viewing to be measured. 

IAB Tech Lab Release Seller Defined Audiences Specification
The IAB Tech Lab has released its Seller Defined Audiences (SDA) specification, which is aimed at allowing publishers, DMPs and data providers to scale first-party data without reliance on third-parties. The SDA will focus on empowering individual publishers to develop and scale anonymised first party data sets – across browser, app, and CTV environments.

Disney Signs Deal With Samba TV on Measurement
Disney has signed a new deal with measurement provider Samba TV to provide alternative data to advertisers on their streaming services. Disney has been testing almost 100 measurement provider solutions including iSpot.TV and VideoAmp. The company has said that more partnerships will be announced in the coming months.

Russia Sanctions May Impact Criteo’s Acquisition of Iponweb
Criteo’s $380 million acquisition of Iponweb may be disrupted by Russia sanctions. Iponweb is headquartered in London, but most of its staff are based in Russia. Its founder is Russian-born Boris Mouzykantskii. Criteo said that it was keeping a close eye on international sanctions being imposed on Russia, to monitor the potential impact on the acquisition, which was due to close this quarter.

NBCUniversal Partners With Anzu on In-Game Advertising
NBCUniversal have announced an international deal with in-game ad solutions platform Anzu. NBCU will serve as Anzu’s third-party sales partner for the US and UK. The company has also made a small investment in the ad tech platform. The partnership will allow NBCU’s clients to run ads across Anzu’s brand-safe inventory.

DoubleVerify Gains MRC Accreditation for Its Programmatic Targeting Offering
The Media Ratings Council (MRC) has granted DoubleVerify accreditation for its suite of programmatic targeting services.DoubleVerify is the only provider currently accredited by the MRC for predictive viewability targeting, as well as property-level ad verification, inclusive of brand suitability and contextual targeting within programmatic media campaigns.

LiveRamp Embedded Identity Made Available in Snowflake Platform
LiveRamp has announced that its online identity and translation capabilities are available in Snowflake’s Media Data Cloud. The integration will allow buyers, sellers and measurement providers to create new media currencies and measurement applications.

The Week in TV

TF1 Enter Into Talks With Altice to Sell TFX
TF1 has entered into exclusive talks to sell its channel TFX to Altice Media. The sale carries the condition that it will only go ahead if the merger between TF1 and M6 is approved.  M6 is also in talks with Altice to sell its entertainment channel 6ter, if the merger goes ahead. The sales would help a combined company to comply with French laws that allow no one company to operate more than seven DTT channels.

Sinclair Wants to Create Streaming Service for Sports
The CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group has announced the group’s intention to launch a sports streaming service. Chris Ripley made the comments during the company’s earnings call, and said Sinclair intends to launch the service by June. The biggest obstacle for Sinclair will be securing rights from teams to broadcast on streaming.

Netflix Will Acquire Next Games
Netflix has entered into an agreement to acquire Finnish mobile games developer Next Games for 65 million euros. Next Games has previously produced a mobile game adaptation of Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things, along with a game version of The Walking Dead.  Netflix has already released several games, available without additional charge to subscribers on its mobile app.

MFE Produces Expectation-Beating Results
MFE- Media for Europe (formerly known as Mediaset) has reported 2021 results that were “better than company expectations at the beginning of the year”. Net consolidated revenue in 2021 was at 2.91 billion euros, up 11 percent from the previous year. Net profit almost doubled from pre-Covid 2019 levels, and were at 374 million euros.

Ofcom Has Opened 27 Investigations into RT Since Ukraine Invasion
Ofcom has opened 27 due impartiality investigations into RT since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Ofcom is currently investigating whether RT should retain a UK-broadcasting licence. The network is currently unavailable on Freeview, Sky or Freesat.

EU Bans RT
The European Union has banned Russian-backed broadcaster RT and news agency Sputnik, with immediate effect. The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the media outlets are tools of “systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin”. The decision does not apply to the UK, where regulator Ofcom is still deciding whether to follow suit. 

TV Ad Prices Overtake Pre-Pandemic Levels in January 2022
TV ad prices “bucked” trends in January 2022 to overtake pre-pandemic levels. January is historically a more affordable month for advertisers, but due to factors like higher demand and less supply drove prices up for that month. The data comes from BARB, produced by Mediatel Connected, and agency estimates. The outlook for 2022 remains unpredictable, particularly with the broadcast of the World Cup in the run-up to Christmas.

DAZN Partners With Buzzer for Short-Form Content
Sports-streamer DAZN has partnered with Buzzer to deliver short-form boxing content on its mobile platform. The U.S. deal will see Buzzer market and distribute live moments from boxing championship fights. The short-form content will be available through micro-payments or by authenticating existing subscriptions.

Viaplay Launches in the Netherlands
The Nordic Entertainment (NENT) Group’s streaming service Viaplay has gone live in the Netherlands. The subscription streaming service is available at an introductory price of 9.99 euros a month, but from August this will increase to 13.99. The launch means that Viaplay is now available in 11 countries.

US Ad Spend on CTV Reaches $1.3 Billion in 2021, Says MediaRadar Data
Research from MediaRadar has found that ad spend on CTV/OTT channels in the US reached $1.3 billion in 2021. The report found that the bulk of this spend was concentrated among a handful of players, 65 percent of spend went to Discovery+, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, and Peacock in Q4 2021.

Rakuten TV Launches Beano FAST Channel
Rakun TV has added the Beano Channel as a new children’s FAST channel. Beano is a long-running comic series that has also been made into children’s TV programming. Rakuten’s FAST channels will be available to viewers in the UK and Ireland, and adds to existing children’s channels for the VOD service, including a Lego and Teletubbies channel. 

The Week for Publishers

TikTok Ups Maximum Video Length to Ten Minutes
Social app TikTok, which helped popularise ultra-short form video, this week upped its maximum video length to ten minutes. Commentators speculated that the move signifies TikTok trying to compete with YouTube in mid-length video content.

The Independent Posts £5.5 Million Operating Profit
UK newspaper The Independent posted an operating profit of £5.5 million in 2021, more than doubling its profit from the previous year. The company is now seeking strategic acquisition opportunities, which are likely to focus on “sales automation, data and fulfilment solutions” according to Press Gazette.

The Financial Times Reaches One Million Paid Subscribers
The Financial Times now has over one million paid subscribers, the company reported this week, with revenues from digital journalism now matching all its other revenues streams combined. “The FT is proof that quality journalism can be a quality growth business, and digital journalism can be a quality global business,” said chief executive John Ridding.

German Court Rules Against Online Hate Speech Law
A German court this week ruled against a new law which forces online platforms to report evidence of criminal activity to the police. The law could force social platforms to pass personal data to the police before it’s absolutely clear that a crime has been committed, contravening EU law, according to the court in Cologne.

Archant Asks Subscribers to Switch to Digital
Magazine publisher Archant is asking subscribers to print editions of its magazines to switch to more environmentally friendly digital subscriptions, according to Press Gazette. Archant says that its readers list working to protect the environment as something they’re passionate about.

Reach says Inflation Will Put Dent in Profits
UK regional news publisher Reach this week said it expects general inflation, as well as inflation in newsprint specifically, to result in a modest reduction in its profits.

Canela Media Closes $32 Million Funding Round
Digital media company Canela Media closed a successful Series A funding round in which it raised $32 million. The round was led by Acrew Capital and Angeles Investors. Canela Media says the investment will be used to accelerate product development, produce original programming for its flagship products Canela.TV and Canela Music, and to enable expansion further into Latin America

The Week For Agencies

Marc Pritchard Calls for an End to Audience Guarantees in TV Buys
P&G’s chief brand officer Marc Pritchard used his keynote speech at the Association of National Advertisers Media Conference to call for the industry to develop alternatives to audience guarantees in TV buying. Pritchard said that alternatives which match ad supply to viewing demand would be much more efficient, and said P&G will experiment with various solutions, according to AdAge.

Next 15 Acquires Engine for £77.5 Million
Next 15 Communications Group has agreed a deal to buy Engine Creative’s parent company Engine Group from current owner Lake Capital for £77.5 million. Engine Creative will merge with Next 15’s agency ODD as part of the deal.

Dentsu Partners with Sustainable Social Platform WeAre8
Dentsu UK & Ireland has launched a partnership with sustainable social platform WeAre8, with Dentsu moving a portion of its media trading to WeAre8’s buying platform. Dentsu said the deal is part of its wider commitment to move more spend to sustainable media partners.

Publicis UK Launches Internship to Attract Diverse Talent
Publicis Groupe UK is launching a new internship scheme which will offer young people from marginalised communities paid opportunities in data and commerce roles, Campaign reported this week. Publicis has committed to running the scheme, which will take on ten interns each year, until at least 2030.

M&C Saatchi Extends Bid Deadline
M&C Saatchi has extended the window for takeover talks with its largest shareholder Vin Murria until 31st of March, a second deadline extension. The company has already rejected multiple bids from Murria, but signalled it was open to improved offers.

Kin + Carta Makes Three Acquisitions
Digital transformation consultancy Kin + Carta announced three new acquisitions this week: Eastern European consultancy Melon AD, AI platform Octain, and e-commerce platform Loop Integration.

Publicis Groupe Reaches Out to Ukrainian Employees
Publicis Groupe, which has around 350 staff in Ukraine according to AdAge, this week sent out an internal memo detailing how the holding group is working to help those affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. CEO Arthur Sadoun said the company is offering “emergency training, security alert systems, information hotlines and dedicated support teams, as well as financial assistance,” for staff in Ukraine.

Hires of the Week

Lasso Appoints Eric Shih as Chief Growth Officer
Eric Shih has become chief growth officer at Lasso. Shih joins from Teads, where he held the role of chief supply officer.

Jerry Daykin Joins Beam Suntory as Global Media Vice President
Jerry Daykin has joined Beam Suntory as VP, head of media. Daykin previously held the role of EMEA senior media director at GSK Healthcare.

Cartwright Appoints Frances Great as Co-President
Frances Great is joining Cartwright as the company’s new co-president. Great spent 20 years at BBH, where she was most recently CEO.

Richard McLeod Becomes Head of Media, Insights UK at Kantar
Richard McLeod has joined Kantar as head of media, insights, UK. McLeod was previously at MetrixLab, where he was senior client and strategy director.

Eric Shih Appointed to ShowHeroes’ Board of Directors
ShowHeroes Group has announced the appointment of Eric Shih as a global advisor and member of the board of directors. A former Teads’ executive, Shih has recently joined Lasso.

This Week on VideoWeek

Satisfaction Guaranteed? The Growing Appeal of Outcome-Based Advertising, read on VideoWeek

Why Meta and Google Analytics Could Shut Down in Europe: Explained, read on VideoWeek

AppLovin Pushes into CTV with $430 Million Wurl Acquisition, read on VideoWeek

The Big Four in Q4: Where Did the Holding Groups Find Growth? read on VideoWeek

ITV Goes All-In on Digital First Strategy with New Hybrid Streaming Service ITVX, read on VideoWeek

Will Peloton Become a Content Company? read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Burger King France, VAR, Buzzman


About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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