In this week’s Week in Review: TF1 and M6 agree to take full control of Salton once their merger is complete, US and EU reach a provisional deal to allow continued transatlantic data flows, and Apple’s CTV war with Google intensifies.
Merged TF1/M6 Will Take Full Control of Salto
TF1 today announced that it will take full control of Salto, a French subscription service it created alongside M6 and France Télévisions, once it completes its merger with the former. TF1 and M6 have agreed to buy the remaining stake in the company for €45 million.
Salto is currently equally owned by all three of its founders, but TF1 said France Télévisions asked to divest its holding upon learning of the proposed TF1/M6 merger. France Télévisions’ decision is contingent on the merger actually going through – meaning if it’s struck down by competition authorities, Salto will remain jointly owned by all three companies.
The news means that the combined TF1/M6 will have a wholly owned subscription service at its disposal, which could prove a very useful tool as it sets out its new streaming strategy.
US and EU Reach a Deal for Transatlantic Data Flows
The US and EU announced this morning that they have reached a new provisional deal to allow EU citizens’ data to be sent to, and stored in, America. The new deal replaces the Privacy Shield, a previous agreement which allowed certified companies to send data freely between the US and EU, but which was struck down by Europe’s top court in 2020.
The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation says that in order for a company to send personal data overseas, that data must have the same protections as it does in Europe. The Privacy Shield was designed to guarantee this equal protection. But US law grants the government access to private data for national security reasons, and the Privacy Shield couldn’t protect against this, hence why it was struck down.
While we don’t have details of the new deal, it will have to overcome this same hurdle, or else it too will likely be invalidated in the courts. If it holds up though, it will provide relief for Meta and Google Analytics, both of which have faced the prospect of shutting down in Europe due to a lack of a data flow agreement.
Apple TV Cuts Features on Google Devices
The CTV platform wars intensified this week as Apple cut a number of features from the Google TV and Android TV versions of its Apple TV service. Google device users can no longer buy or rent films or shows, instead being instructed to make purchases via Apple devices.
Apple, like Google, runs its own CTV device, so the move may be designed in part to try to steer more users to Apple’s own devices. But it also likely is aimed at preventing Google from taking a cut of transactions made on Google devices – which is somewhat ironic, given the lengths Apple goes to in order to prevent developers circumventing its own fees within App Store.
The Week in Tech
Nielsen Rejects Takeover Offer
Nielsen has rejected a proposed takeover bid from a group of investors which included activist fund Elliott Management, which would have valued the company at around $9.1 billion. The total acquisition would have cost around $15 billion including debt.
Australian Competition Regulator Sues Meta Over Scam Ads
Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, last Friday announced it is suing Meta saying that the company has not done enough to combat spam ads on Facebook. The ACCC says that in particular, ads containing fake endorsements from celebrities for cryptocurrencies or other money-making schemes have not been caught by Facebook, resulting in harm to Facebook users.
EFF Calls for Ban on Behavioural Advertising
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, an influential digital rights group, this week called for US Congress to make progress on banning behavioural advertising. The EFF laid out guidelines on how it thinks such legislation should look, focusing specifically on behavioural tracking, rather than broader use of personal data.
TripleLift Acquires 1plusX in Preparation for Post-Cookie World
Supply-side platform TripleLift has announced on Monday that it is acquiring European ad tech company 1plusX, a platform for activating first-party data. TripleLift says the acquisition will help its publisher partners to better monetise their inventory once third-party cookies are phased out on Chrome, making it easier for them to layer in first-party data insights into their ad sales. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
ING Bank Appointed to Monitor Google’s Compliance with Sandbox Commitments
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Wednesday that ING Bank has been appointed to monitor Google’s adherence to commitments it made in February concerning its Privacy Sandbox. The commitments were agreed between Google and the CMA with a view to ensuring that the Sandbox won’t have anticompetitive effects.
Russia Bans Facebook and Instagram Under ‘Extremism’ Law
A Russian court this week labelled Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta as ‘extremist’, banning the services across the country. Meta had previously relaxed policies on hate speech specifically for users within Ukraine, and content relating to the invasion or Vladimir Putin.
Meta Takes Top Spot in AppsFlyer’s SKAdNetwork Rankings
After placing second in AppsFlyer’s previous SKAdNetwork (SKAN) Index, which essentially measures media sources effectiveness in driving conversions based on SKAN data, Meta ads has landed first place in the new SKAN ranking. AppsFlyer says that placing first in the SKAN Index indicates that Meta’s internal modeling for SKAN is improving, driving better results for advertisers on the platform.
Life Gets Harder for Ad Blockers on Chrome
Google Chrome’s developer team introduced subtle new restrictions which will likely make life harder for ad blocker extensions. Arlo Gilbert, CEO of data privacy software company Osana, pointed out that extensions will be required to package all blocking rules as submission time, with a maximum of 30,000 rules – far fewer than some popular ad blockers use.
Google’s chrome dev team just dealt a blow to adblockers. Very nuanced change to extensions which will require them to package all blocking rules at submission time. Maximum of 30k rules. For reference, just one common blocking list is 60k rules.https://t.co/r9PMa1CQiT
— 🅰🆁🅻🅾 (@arlogilbert) March 21, 2022
The Week in TV
MFE Rules Out Full Acquisition of ProSieben… For Now
MediaForEurope (formerly Mediaset) has no current plans to pursue a full takeover of German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, the company’s chief finance officer Marco Giordani told German newspaper Handelsblatt this week. MFE announced recently that it now owns more than 25 percent of voting shares – if that number passes 30 percent, it will be required by law to make an offer to remaining ProSieben shareholders.
Viaplay Ramps Up UK Ambitions with Slate of Live Sports Rights
Nordic Entertainment Group (NENT) announced on Thursday that it has picked up a slate of live sport rights deals specifically for the UK market, in preparation for the UK launch of its subscription streaming service Viaplay later this year. The company says the move marks an “increase in its ambition” for the UK, where Viaplay is set to launch in the latter half of this year. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
BBC Gets Emergency Funding to Help Tackle Disinformation
The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport this week announced it is providing £4.1 million in emergency funding to the BBC’s World Service, in order to support Ukrainian and Russian language services and help fight disinformation.
YouTube Takes on FAST Services with Addition of Ad-Supported TV Shows
Google on Wednesday announced that it is making full seasons of ad-supported TV shows available for free on YouTube for the first time, as the company takes another significant step into TV territory. YouTube says US users will now have access to nearly 4,000 episodes of popular TV shows including Hell’s Kitchen, Andromeda, and Heartland. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
Fox Creates Contextual Intelligence Tool for Ad Sales
Fox will promote a new video intelligence tool called ATLAS at this year’s upfronts, which Fox says will enable more sophisticated contextual targeting and brand suitability filtering for advertisers. ATLAS will be available across all short and long-form non-linear Fox inventory.
Berenberg Sees Growing Risks for ProSieben
Analysts at Berenberg said in a note to investors this week that they see growing risks for broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1, despite the company’s solid recent full-year earnings. Berenberg says that while Germany’s recovering ad market has benefited the broadcaster, this recovery “is likely to falter given declining consumer confidence in the face of rising inflation and, of course, the conflict in Ukraine”.
Western Europe OTT Revenues Forecast to Reach $45 Billion by 2027
Western European OTT TV episode and movie revenues will reach $45 billion in 2027, according to Digital TV Research, up from $26 billion in 2021. From the additional revenues, the UK will contribute $4 billion, Germany $3 billion, France $3 billion and Italy $2 billion. SVOD services will contribute $30 billion of this revenue, while AVOD services will contribute $12 billion.
The Week for Publishers
Newsquest Buys Local News Rival Archant
Newsquest, the UK’s second largest regional publisher, this week announced a deal to buy rival group Archant, the fourth largest. The acquisition will add over 100 magazine and newspaper brands to Newsquest’s stable. Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker commented that Archant’s strategy, focussed on building out digital marketing solutions and driving subscriptions, is aligned with Newsquest’s own strategy.
Future Buys WhatCulture and Waive
Future this week announced two acquisitions focusing on social-oriented media: WhatCulture, a social-first brand focused on the gaming and entertainment market, and data insight start-up Waive, which uses machine learning to identify social trends. Future says these acquisitions will bolster Future’s diversification of revenue streams, supporting its social media offering and editorial strategy.
BuzzFeed Makes Cuts to News Operation After Disappointing Results
BuzzFeed posted its first quarterly earnings after going public this week, showing 24 percent year-on-year revenue growth in 2021. While the results were promising, they fell short of investor expectations, resulting in pressure on BuzzFeed’s unprofitable news operation. While some investors called for BuzzFeed to shut down its news business entirely, the company instead offered voluntary buyouts, with three top editors stepping down from their roles.
Legal Costs Cause £50 Million Losses for The Sun
The Sun cut its pre-tax losses to £51.8 billion for the year to June 27th 2021, with the bulk of this loss attributed to legal costs resulting from the paper’s phone hacking scandals. Meanwhile fellow News UK papers The Times and Sunday Time tripled their pre-tax profits to £34 million, according to Press Gazette.
LinkedIn Blocked 11.6 Million Fake Account Registrations in H1 2021
LinkedIn gave fresh insight into its efforts to prevent fraudulent use of its platform this week, revealing that it blocked the creation of 11.6 million fake accounts in the first half of last year. LinkedIn said in its latest transparency report that 97 percent of these accounts were detected by its automated tools, and 98 percent were removed before being manually reported by users.
UK Publishers Struggled to Grow Audiences in February
The BBC and the Mail Metro Media were the only two of the UK’s top 20 digital media owners to grow their audiences month-on-month in February, according to Ipsos Iris data. Both saw one percent growth in their total monthly audiences. Of the news publishers included on the list, The Guardian saw the biggest drop, with its audience falling seven percent month-on-month.
Australia Indie Publishers Stage ‘News Freeze’ in Protest Against Big Tech
A number of Australian indie publishers staged a ‘news freeze’ protest against big tech companies on Tuesday, complaining that they’ve been excluded from negotiations over payments from the likes of Meta and Google. The publishers didn’t publish any news for a 24 hour period, instead displaying messages calling for Meta to come to the negotiating table.
The Week For Agencies
Dentsu Signs Up as First Partner for NBCUnified
NBCUniversal announced this week that Dentsu International has signed up as the first agency partner for NBCUnified, the broadcaster’s first-party data and identity platform. The partnership will enable utilisation of both person-level and household-level IDs from dentsu’s M1 platform and consumer data products, as well as those of its advertisers, to directly integrate into NBCUnified’s identity platform.
ASA Continues Crackdown on Crypto Ads
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority says it is ramping up its crackdown on misleading crypto ads, issuing enforcement notices to more than 50 cryptocurrency companies which instruct them to review their ads. Failure to comply could result in these companies being referred to the Financial Conduct Authority, which has legal powers to sanction those who don’t change their practices.
M&C Saatchi Creates Brand Desire Engine
M&C Saatchi this week unveiled its ‘Brand Desire Engine’, a tool which aims to help marketers understand the drivers of brand desire using AI analysis of a massive range of data points relating to interactions between customers and brands.
Square Appoints Wavemaker as Media Agency
Fintech firm Square, which is owned by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s tech holding company Block, has chosen WPP’s Wavemaker to handle international media duties, Campaign reported this week.
Over 50s Brand Saga Buys Specialist Research Business
Saga, a UK brand specialising in products and services for people over 50, this week announced the acquisition of the Big Window, a research and insight business focusing on ageing. Saga says the move is a key part of its wider data, digital and brand strategy, and will help guide Saga’s marketing and product design.
WARC Launches Sustainability Hub
Marketing data company WARC has launched a new ‘Sustainability Hub, in partnership with the Advertising Association and Cannes Lion, which outlines best practices for environmentally friendly marketing. “The global marketing industry is well-placed to help in addressing the climate emergency, given its position at the intersection of several business disciplines with a major environmental impact,” said Lena Roland, managing editor of WARC. “But reducing carbon emissions requires systemic change, including rethinking how adverts are made and taking a lean approach to media planning.”
Eight New Agencies Join IPA
Eight new agencies have been accepted into industry trade group the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA): Assembly, Brood, Electric Glue, Join the Dots, psLondon, The Lane Agency, Topham Guerin and We are Futures.
Hires of the Week
PubMatic Expands Leadership Team in EMEA
PubMatic this week announced the expansion of its EMEA leadership team: Hitesh Bhatt has been promoted to the role of Senior Director; Jacqueline Boakye takes the role of Vice President, Customer Success, EMEA; and Kofi Amoako has taken the position of Regional Vice President, Addressability, EMEA.
Magnite Adds Two New Board Members
Magnite has announced the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors: Diane Yu, CTO of digital homeownership company Better and co-founder/former CTO of Freewheel; and Dave Pearson, former CFO of Vonage and seasoned investment banker.
Prebid Names Mike Racic as First President
This week Prebid.org announced that Mike Racic has joined as the president of the organization. Mike is joining from Fandom, where he managed the direct global programmatic and data business.
Wendy Rubin Joins Basis Technologies Board of Directors
Basis Technologies, a provider of cloud-based workflow automation and business intelligence software for marketing and advertising, this week announced the appointment of Wendy Rubin to its board of directors. Rubin currently serves as an SVP at Warner Bros Entertainment, a division of Warner Media and AT&T.
This Week on VideoWeek
TripleLift Acquires 1plusX in Preparation for Post-Cookie World, read on VideoWeek
Why Investor App Quartr Ran a TV Campaign less than One Year After Launch, read on VideoWeek
Introducing the European Video Awards by VideoWeek, read on VideoWeek
YouTube Takes on FAST Services with Addition of Ad-Supported TV Shows, read on VideoWeek
“Brands Find it Difficult to Separate Fact from Fiction with Cookieless Solutions” says Bliink CEO, read on VideoWeek
Viaplay Ramps Up UK Ambitions with Slate of Live Sports Rights, read on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
Taco Bell, Fry Again, Live Más Productions