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The WIR: Apple Puts Streaming at Heart of Services, BT and Warner Bros. Discovery Aim for Sport Offering, and Channel 4 Joins Forces with YouTube

Dan Meier 13 May, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Apple shakes up its services business, BT and Warner Bros. Discovery cross over for sports, and YouTube announces partnerships with Channel 4 and an unnamed SVOD service.

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Apple Bites into Streaming and Advertising
Apple is reportedly shaking up its services business in a restructure rumoured to prioritise streaming and advertising. In the coming weeks, Apple could separate its advertising business from services, according to Insider. Apple TV+ has strengthened the offering this year, winning the Best Picture Oscar for Coda and seven Emmys for Ted Lasso.

As well as streaming and advertising, services includes the App Store, Apple Music, iCloud, AppleCare, Apple Pay and Apple News for a total of 825 million subscribers, translating into $19.8 billion Q2 revenue. The report said that taken as an individual entity, the services business would be the 113th largest company on the Fortune 500 list.

BT and Warner Bros. Discovery Team Up on Sport
BT Group and Warner Bros. Discovery are aiming to create a premium sports offering for the UK and Ireland. The 50:50 joint venture will carry an extensive portfolio of sports rights, including the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, the Premier League, Premiership Rugby, UFC, the Olympic Games, tennis Grand Slams, cycling Grand Tours and the winter sports World Cup season.

The agreement confirms that BT Sport and Eurosport UK will initially retain their separate brands before being combined in future. Distribution agreements will determine how the combined sports content is distributed on the companies’ respective platforms and apps. BT added that its customers who access BT Sport directly are set to receive the discovery+ streaming service as part of their existing subscriptions.

YouTube Pairs with Channel 4, Unnamed SVOD
Channel 4 has extended its strategic partnership with YouTube to bring its programming to the platform and sell its own advertising around the content. The deal makes “hundreds of hours of programmes available on YouTube” in the UK and Ireland, the broadcaster said.

YouTube also announced a partnership with an unnamed SVOD service to deliver diverse scripted projects, focused on improving female, non-binary and LGBTQ+ representation. Google’s Elle Roth-Brunet told TBI that the company intends to build a streaming “pathway” or “pipeline” for underrepresented writers and directors.

The Week in Tech

Elon Musk Details Complex Twitter Financing
Elon Musk unveiled new backers for his $44 billion Twitter takeover, prompting concerns that the complex finance plan will saddle the company with debt. The Guardian reported that the investors include Oracle tycoon Larry Ellison, the Qatari sovereign wealth fund and Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

TikTok and Foursquare Partner on Advertising Insights
TikTok and Foursquare will expand their partnership to grant advertisers access to conversion insights. Foursquare Attribution helps brands assess the effectiveness of campaigns in sending people to physical shops, the location platform said. The company was already TikTok’s exclusive location provider.

Instagram to Introduce NFTs
Instagram is rolling out nonfungible tokens (NFTs) for “limited numbers” of users. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri posted a video on the platform calling NFTs a “really interesting opportunity for a subset of creators” to help them make a living. He said the company wants to explore the distribution of power “despite the fact that we are a centralised platform.”



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1 Billion 5G Connections Expected in 2022
This year will see the number of 5G connections surpass 1 billion, Omdia forecast at the 5G Forum in Seville. There were 540 million 5G connections at the end of 2021, projected to exceed 1.3 billion in 2022. “We are expecting that by 2026 40 percent of all mobile subscriptions will be 5G,” said Maria Rua Aguete, senior research director, media and entertainment at Omdia.

NBCUniversal Launches Slate of Ad Products
NBCUniversal released a slate of new tech products on Tuesday, including the “Double Box Creative in Context” tool that uses contextual intelligence to position brand messaging alongside “highly relevant IP.” The line also includes a Retro Ads format for creating content that fits the time period of a show, and an AR Portal allowing brands to access audiences in the metaverse.

Better Social Media Aims to Improve Online Behaviour
A “verified-user only” social media platform has announced plans for Beta testing, with the aim of improving how people interact online. Better Social Media requires all user profiles to be validated before allowing them to interact with others. The company hopes this will drive out fake news, cyberbullying and trolling.

IAS and TikTok Extend Partnership
 Ad Science (IAS) has added services to its partnership with TikTok. IAS can now measure viewability, invalid traffic (IVT) and app-level brand safety on the platform.
“Through this expansion, brands and advertisers around the world will have access to IAS viewability and IVT measurement tools to monitor the quality of their campaigns on our platform,” said Melissa Yang, Head of Ecosystem Partnerships at TikTok.

Germany Risks Falling Behind on Gigabit Broadband
Germany needs to take action to deliver high-speed Gigabit broadband or risks falling behind other advanced economies, a panel of service providers told ANGA COM on Tuesday. Deutsche Telekom’s Srini Gopalan argued that the government should address restrictive regulation, and operators ought to collaborate in order to limit the cost of investment in ultrafast broadband.

Tinder Operator Sues Google
Match Group is suing Google for forcing its apps to use the Google Play Store billing system – then taking a cut of the payments. The group owns dating apps Tinder, OkCupid and Hinge. It accused the tech giant of “illegally monopolising” the market and holding the company “hostage”.

The Week in TV

AMC Has “No Current Plans” For Ad-Supported Tier
The CEO of AMC has stated the company would not add advertising to its SVOD offering AMC+. “We have no current plans for an ad-supported tier,” Matt Blank said in the Q1 earnings call. Netflix and Disney+ recently announced plans to introduce advertising, and Blank noted that AMC “continues to monitor” the situation.

US Sanctions Three Russian Broadcasters
US lawmakers introduced sanctions on three Russian broadcasters this week, as part of the White House’s stand against the invasion of Ukraine. American companies will be banned from doing business with the Kremlin-backed broadcasters Channel One, Rossiya-1 and NTV. Western companies have previously spent “well over $300 million” on advertising across the channels, according to a White House spokesperson.

Indian Pay TV Subscription Declines
India lost ​​370,000 pay TV subscribers in the final quarter of 2021, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has found. DTH subscribers fell to the lowest figure (68.52 million) the country has seen since before the pandemic, which led to global pay TV growth in 2020.

AVOD Spend to Reach $70 billion in 2027
Global AVOD spend will more than double in the next five years, according to Digital TV Research. The report projected AVOD revenues for series and films would reach $70 billion in 2027, up from $33 billion in 2021. The research found that 13 countries, including India, Japan, the UK, the US and China, will generate more than $1 billion in 2027.

Netflix Could Introduce Ads This Year
Netflix could introduce its ad-supported tier as early as this year, the company told employees, accelerating the move to cover its recent subscriber losses. The internal note suggested that the streamer also aims to crack down on password sharing by the end of 2022.

Disney+ Reports Subscriber Growth
Disney+ surpassed expectations for subscriber growth in Q2 2022, adding 7.9 million new users. The global subscriber base now stands at 137.7 million, 2.7 million higher than analysts expected. Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers over the same period, with both companies planning to introduce advertising to their platforms.

Netgem and Gaumont Launch French Classic Film SVOD
Netgem Group has partnered with Gaumont to launch Gaumont Classique, an SVOD dedicated to French black-and-white film. Netgem CEO
Mathias Hautefort said: “Having the privilege of working with the world’s oldest film company to give access to its greatest film productions available to the public is an important recognition for Netgem’s ‘Content-as-a-Service’ solution and a validation of the potential for our platform to enable sophisticated SVOD services for media companies.”

TelevisaUnivision to Acquire Pantaya
TelevisaUnivision announced a deal to acquire Pantaya, the Spanish-language streaming service created by Lionsgate and Hemisphere in 2017. The former sold its stake for $124 million last year, giving Hemisphere sole control. The deal comes six months after Televisa’s $4.8 billion merger with Univision.

Netflix Opens Rome Office
Netflix has opened an office in Rome and revealed plans for a string of unscripted series and films. The move makes Italy the latest European hub in Netflix’s roster, joining France, Poland, Spain and the UK. Italy is currently considering a new law to make streaming services invest 20 percent in local content.

ITV Warns of “Tougher” Ad Market
ITV forecast that advertising markets would get “much tougher” in the coming months amid “macroeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty”, as well as the absence of last year’s European football championship. The broadcaster recorded a “robust” first quarter but said ad revenue would fall 8 percent in May and 15 percent in June. ITV added that its new ad-funded streaming service ITVX was on track for a Q4 launch.

ProSiebenSat.1 Records Ad Revenue Growth
ProSiebenSat.1 filed ad revenue growth for Q1 “despite the challenging economic environment caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and the ongoing pandemic.” The broadcaster’s entertainment segment increased 9 percent to reach €663 million. “The clear increase in advertising revenues drove this development,” the results confirmed.

Switerland to Vote on Streamers Investing in Local Content
Switzerland will vote this weekend on a law requiring streaming services to invest at least 4 percent of Swiss revenues in local content. The ‘Lex Netflix’ law is to be decided by binding public referendum, and would ensure that at least 30 percent of programming is made up of films or series produced in Europe.

The Week for Publishers

Ofcom and CMA Issue Advice on Digital/Publisher Relationships
The UK government has published advice from Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) on levelling the playing field between online platforms and news publishers. “The way people use digital channels to communicate and get information is changing rapidly,” said Ofcom chief executive Dame Melanie Dawes. “We’re taking a closer look at the potential benefits and threats to media plurality, and will be saying more on this later in the year.”

Future Buys Women’s Fashion Brand
Future announced on Tuesday the acquisition of Who What Wear. The digital women’s fashion and lifestyle brand joins Marie Claire, Wallpaper* and Homes&Gardens in the Future stable. “We’ll benefit from Who What Wear’s leading direct advertising sales capabilities and social media expertise, while Who What Wear will benefit from our audience expertise and our experience in accelerating global women’s lifestyle brands,” said Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne.

Queen’s Speech Sparks Worry Over Media Laws
The Queen’s Speech contained a series of legislative changes “that could have a major impact on news companies and journalists,” as identified by Press Gazette. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voiced concern about the Online Safety Bill’s “potentially wide-ranging impacts on media freedom,” as well as the privatisation of Channel 4 as outlined in the Media Bill.

Bloomberg Expands UK Presence
Bloomberg Media is expanding its London operation with a multi-million-pound investment in Bloomberg UK, including a new homepage, podcast, newsletter, audio/video content and editorial hires. Reuters meanwhile has delayed plans for a paywall due to a legal dispute with financial data provider Refinitiv.

Azerion Tops IPA Survey
Azerion was named the best media owner to work with in the IPA Digital Media Owners Spring 2022 Survey. The results showed 90.4 percent of respondents had positive experiences working with the pan-European media platform. Azerion was followed by Blis (89.7 percent), Mail Metro Media (84.5 percent), Hearst Digital (84.4 percent) and GumGum (84.1 percent).

Futur3ology Hits 1 Million Views in First Month
Futur3ology reached 1 million content views in one month, according to Matt Weston, head of the new social media publisher. Weston said the Jungle Creations-owned brand, which provides Web3 explainer content, will make money though advertising on its Snapchat and Facebook channels.

The Week For Agencies

VCCP Delivers First Global Campaign for Sage
VCCP has launched the first global marketing campaign for UK tech company Sage, after winning the account in January. The agency worked with its global content studio Girl&Bear and its product and services company Bernadette to create the campaign.

Twitter Misreporting Prompts Agency Concern
Agencies have expressed “disappointment” over Twitter’s lack of accountability, after it was revealed last week that the social media giant misreported user metrics for almost three years. “It sounds like with this there was some data they sat on for a while,” said Sadie Miller, SVP of social partnerships and strategy at Reprise. “That’s not a great look and it is frankly a bit disappointing from a partner we typically have a strong relationship with.”

MPs Urge Brands to Stop Retouching Models
77 MPs have signed an open letter calling on businesses to stop digitally manipulating pictures of models. The UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week saw the cross-party group urge brands to sign the “Body Image Pledge” campaign to promote body positivity. Skims and Vanity Fair are among the companies accused of misleading audiences through digital retouching.

Biites Launches in the Netherlands
Video platform Biites launched in the Netherlands on Wednesday. Backed by First Party Capital, the Copenhagen-based company delivers a marketing platform to advertisers for global and localised branded video content. The Post founder Carlijn Postma, who represents the business in the Benelux, noted that Biites “is specifically built for long form videos.”

IPA and ISBA to Improve Pitching Culture
The IPA and ISBA debuted their Pitch Positive Pledge, a joint initiative that seeks to improve pitching behaviour. Supported by Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and NABS, the pledge is designed to make the pitching process “more intentional, accountable and responsible for both advertisers and agencies.”

Digitas Picks Up BT and EE Business
BT and EE have appointed Digitas UK to handle its CRM account. The Publicis agency took over the business from WPP’s Wunderman Thompson. In addition Saatchi & Saatchi, also under the Publicis umbrella, picked up the BT Sport enterprise.

Hires of the Week

Redmill Solutions Appoints CEO Jay Stevens
Jay Stevens was named CEO of Redmill Solutions, the London-based media planning and data management provider. Stevens previously served as vp of operations EMEA at MySpace and chief revenue officer for Adform.

Enrique Patrickson Named NENT Group EVP and CFO
NENT Group has appointed Enrique Patrickson as EVP and CFO. “His experience and operational skills will be invaluable as we bring Viaplay to many more viewers over the coming years, both in the Nordic region and internationally,” said NENT Group President and CEO Anders Jensen.

This Week on VideoWeek

MPs Call for Regulation of Child Influencer Culture, read on VideoWeek.

Zooming in on FAST Channel Content, read on VideoWeek.

Focusing on Attention, read on VideoWeek.

Smartclip Acquires Realytics for Linear TV Buying Capabilities, read on VideoWeek.

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