The WIR: Roku and Walmart Collaborate on Shoppable Ads, Apple TV Seals $2.5 Billion Deal for MLS Rights, and Germany’s Antitrust Watchdog Investigates Apple’s App Tracking Transparency

Tim Cross 17 June, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Roku and Walmart debut QR code-free shoppable ads, Apple buys MLS rights, and Germany’s Bundeskartellamt investigates ATT.

Top Stories

Roku and Walmart Debut QR Code-Free Shoppable TV Ads
Roku and Walmart announced a deal on Friday to bring ecommerce functionality to TV adverts, enabling viewers to buy Walmart-sold products directly through the streaming platform.

And while shoppable TV ads are nothing new, the new offering is fairly unusual in that QR codes aren’t involved.  By pressing “OK” on their Roku remote, Roku customers will be able to purchase products via shoppable ads without having to re-enter their credit card details. Roku’s targeting and optimisation tools will be used for ad delivery, while Walmart’s

“Through extensive testing at Roku, we already know that QR codes show very poor results,” said Peter Hamilton, head of TV commerce at Roku. “Roku users are far more likely to lean in and learn more by tapping their remote.”

OneView, Roku’s ad-buying platform for TV streaming, will have the exclusive capability to activate and measure these shoppable ads.


German Antitrust Body Investigates Apple’s App Tracking Transparency
Germany’s Bundeskartellamt, its competition watchdog, this week announced it is investigating concerns that Apple’s App Tracking Transparency may violate competition law.

App Tracking Transparency, launched by Apple last year, requires apps to ask for specific opt-in permission to use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). The move is painted as a pro-privacy policy by Apple. But some in the ad industry have alleged it’s a cynical move by Apple designed to benefit its own ad business, and that Apple doesn’t apply the same strict privacy standards to its own ads business.

“A corporation like Apple which is in a position to unilaterally set rules for its ecosystem, in particular for its app store, should make pro-competitive rules,” said Andreas Mundt, president of the Bundeskartellamt. “We have reason to doubt that this is the case when we see that Apple’s rules apply to third parties, but not to Apple itself. This would allow Apple to give preference to its own offers or impede other companies.”

Apple TV Wins 10-Year MLS Rights in $2.5 Billion Deal
Apple TV will stream every Major League Soccer (MLS) match for the next decade, as per a $2.5 billion deal announced on Tuesday. This marks a major play in live sports from Apple’s TV service.

The agreement grants free access to the service for MLS season ticket holders. “This is a 10-year partnership,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “Not a media rights deal – it’s a partnership.”

The Week in Tech

Peach Acquires Campaign Automation Platform Cape
Video advertising delivery company Peach has acquired Cape, a SaaS campaign automation platform. The software includes creative versioning for display, social, video, user collaboration and data feed management. It enables teams to publish to digital, social and advertising platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok, Pinterest, Meta for Business, Google Ads, CM360 and DV360.

AppsFlyer Debuts Data Clean Room
AppsFlyer has introduced a Data Clean Room solution, allowing app developers to securely produce insights based on combining their first-party data with marketing conversion data. “Customers who utilise our Data Clean Room have been able to measure and optimise campaigns by using one, holistic multi-channel view of their marketing efforts while enabling them to comply with privacy and data regulations as well as platform guidelines,” said Edik Mitelman, General Manager, Privacy Cloud at AppsFlyer.

Ten Percent of CTV Ads Play When TV is Off, Claims GroupM & iSpot
An average 8-10 percent of CTV adverts play when the TV is turned off, new research by GroupM and iSpot has revealed. Most of those lost impressions come from ancillary devices, with 17 percent of ads played via dongles, sticks and gaming consoles being delivered when the TV is off. The report noted that gaming consoles “generally had lower rates of continuous play than dongles and sticks.” Read the full story on VideoWeek.

PubMatic Says its Data Centres are Powered by 100 Percent Renewable Energy
PubMatic this week announced that all of the energy which powers its data centres now comes from renewable sources, a significant landmark as the business pursues a broader sustainability plan. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

CMA Probes Apple and Google’s Mobile Practices
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is investigating the market power of Apple and Google in mobile browsers and cloud gaming. The regulator will look into Apple’s restrictions on cloud gaming through its App Store, and take enforcement action against Google in relation to its app store payment practices. The CMA found that “Apple and Google have an effective duopoly on mobile ecosystems that allows them to exercise a stranglehold over these markets.”

Azerion and Oracle Protect Against Invalid Traffic
Azerion has added Oracle Advertising Bot Filtration to its offering, helping marketers to stop losing impressions to invalid traffic by supplying the most up-to-date bot-related data. Over the past year, Azerion has also integrated Oracle Moat Analytics for viewability and Oracle Contextual Intelligence for brand safety, combining to help media agencies accurately measure  attention, protect ad spend and minimise the risk of fraud.

Criteo’s Complaint Forces Meta to Reopen Access for Ad Tech
France’s antitrust watchdog, the Autorité de la concurrence, announced on Thursday it has secured commitments from Meta to reform its practices in digital advertising, in order to address complaints raised by French ad tech giant Criteo. The Autorité claims to be the first antitrust regulator in the world to accept commitments from Meta in the context of antitrust proceedings. Read the full story on VideoWeek.

CNIL Investigates Geolocation Data Collected by Mobile Apps
The Commission nationale de l’informatique (CNIL) has launched an investigation into mobile apps collecting geolocation data. The French privacy regulator aims to analyse data obtained from mobile applications via data brokers, to check whether it can be used to re-identify the users. The CNIL said it “wishes to make the data flows of mobile applications visible.”

CAT Endorses CMA Intervention in Meta/Giphy Acquisition
The Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) has approved the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) decision on Meta’s purchase of Giphy. In December, Meta appealed against the CMA’s decision, which said the acquisition would reduce competition between social media platforms, and required Meta to sell Giphy to a CMA-approved purchaser. The CAT ruled the finding lawful, upholding the CMA’s decision on five out of six challenged grounds.

Meta, Google and Twitter Agree to EU Crackdown on Disinformation
Tech companies have pledged to take a tougher line against disinformation in accordance with an updated EU code of practice that could hit them with fines, Reuters reported on Thursday. The 30+ signatories include Meta, Alphabet, Twitter, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitch. They have committed to tackling deep fakes, fake accounts and political advertising, or face noncompliance fines reaching 6 percent of a company’s global turnover.

The Week in TV

Warner Bros. Discovery to Cut Ad Sales Team
Warner Bros. Discovery is looking to cut 30 percent of its ad sales team, resulting in nearly 1,000 job losses globally, according to Reuters. In April, finance chief Gunnar Wiedenfels said Warner Bros. Discovery is seeking to recoup $3 billion following its $43 billion merger. Also this week, the company signed a seven-year deal with the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) to organise, promote and broadcast the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup for eight seasons.

Disney Scores Indian Cricket TV Rights, Viacom18 Takes Streaming
Disney has won the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket rights for TV, but lost the streaming rights to Viacom18. The multi-day auction generated $6.2 billion for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), nearly three times the price in 2017. Disney will pay $3 billion to retain the TV rights for its Star India network, with Viacom18 paying a similar amount for streaming.

Brands Should be Spending on OTT, Finds NBCU and iSpot
NBCUniversal and iSpot shared the results of their pilot cross-platform measurement currency test. The companies found that a brand’s optimal media mix should include 30 to 40 percent OTT impressions, and brands ought to be buying at least 20 percent of their impressions against OTT, particularly if they want to reach younger audiences. “The potential of streaming has yet to be realised,” said Kelly Abcarian, EVP of measurement and impact at NBCUniversal. “What we found is there’s a lot of excess frequency in linear that can be truly smoothed out when more media weight is moved to OTT.” 

FuboTV Launches Four More FAST Channels
FuboTV is launching four FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channels from Trusted Media Brands, the Reader’s Digest publisher. Fail Army, People Are Awesome and Pet Collective are now available, with WeatherSpy to follow. FuboTV has added almost 20 FAST channels so far this year, taking its total over 30. The company aims to launch 100 more by the end of 2022.

Disney+ Lands in 42 New Countries
Disney+ launched in 42 new countries and 11 new territories this week – including Greece, Turkey, and Central and Eastern Europe – bringing the streaming service to a total of 60 countries across EMEA. Polsat Plus Group became the only Polish operator to integrate Disney+ at launch, making the platform available via Polsat Box, Plus, Netia and Polsat Box Go.

AVOD Adoption Outpaces SVOD in US
AVOD adoption is faster than that of SVOD services, research by Comscore suggests. The survey found that in the US, AVOD streaming increased by 29 percent between 2020 and 2022, compared with 21 percent for SVOD streaming. “While both ad-supported and subscription-based streaming services are growing in the US, we’re seeing that consumers are being more mindful of their budgets and leaning towards ad-supported services,” said James Muldrow, Vice President, Product Management at Comscore.

Tubi and Lionsgate Sign Streaming Deal
Tubi and Lionsgate have agreed a multi-year deal to bring 30 feature films to the AVOD platform on an exclusive basis. This marks Lionsgate’s third streaming deal in two months, following agreements with Roku and Peacock. Ryan Lowerre, president of domestic television distribution at Lionsgate, said the Tubi contract “reflects our ability to have multiple bespoke content licensing deals with an expanding array of buyers in every part of the content ecosystem.”

The Week for Publishers

Twitch Increases Ads Payments for Creators
Live streaming platform Twitch this week announced it is increasing its payments to creators by shifting from a fixed rate to a percentage-based revenue share model, a change which Twitch says will let creators earn between 50-150 percent more from ads. Twitch is also opening up its Ads Incentive Programme, which lets creators earn a fixed payout if they stream a set number of hours with a predetermined ad rate, to more creators.

Pinterest Seals its Largest Ever Content Deal with Tastemade
Pinterest has continued its push into content through a new content deal with Tastemade which Pinterest says will ” scale creators, content series, and live streaming on Pinterest”. Under the terms of the deal, Tastemade will produce 50 new shows that will debut exclusively on Pinterest via new content franchises and Idea Pins, and Tastemade will also produce hundreds of hours of new live streaming programming for Pinterest TV.

Triller Calls Off SeaChange Merger and Targets IPO
Short-form video app Triller has called off its previously announced $5 billion merger with public video ad tech company SeaChange, Reuters reported this week. Triller will now look to go public via its own IPO, according to Reuters.

Reddit Begins Allowing  Measurement through DoubleVerify
Reddit this week announced a new deal with measurement and verification provider DoubleVerify, which will allow advertisers to use DV’s full suite of tools to measure campaigns on Reddit. Reddit says the two companies will also work together closely to develop S2S solutions that bring increased transparency, through verification measurement, to Reddit’s dynamic surfaces.

Subscription Growth Begins to Level Off for News Brands
Appetite for news subscriptions is beginning to plateau, according to the latest Digital News Report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. In 20 countries examined by the Institute, 17 percent of the population currently pay for online news, the same proportion as last year. This follows from rates of 12 percent in 2016 and 15 percent in 2020.

DMGT Launches New Fashion and Beauty Brand Eliza
The Daily Mail’s parent company the Daily Mail & General Trust is launching a new fashion and beauty brand targeting millennials called Eliza. The new media brand launched on Instagram and TikTok earlier this year, and will now launch as a standalone website.

UK Sees Fall in Trust and Interest in News
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s latest Digital News Report found that just 34 percent of those polled said they trust UK news, compared with 51 percent in 2015. The Sun was the UK’s least trusted news brand of those surveyed, with just 12 percent saying they trust its news output. The BBC meanwhile was the most trusted, with 55 percent saying they trust its news output.

The Week For Agencies

GroupM Maintains Confident Outlook for Ad Industry Despite Economic Woes
WPP’s media unit GroupM says it remains confident that the global advertising industry will have a strong year in 2022, despite fears of an impending recession and ongoing geopolitical crises around the world. GroupM’s forecast, unveiled in this week’s ‘This Year Next Year’ forecast, projects that the advertising industry as a whole will grow by 8.4 percent this year (excluding the effects of US political ad spending). Read the full story on VideoWeek.

Publicis Groupe Launches Retail Media Platform CitrusAd, powered by Epsilon
Publicis Groupe this week announced the launch of CitrusAd, powered by Epsilon, which it claims to be the industry’s first self-serve retail media platform that unites CitrusAd’s on-site and Epsilon’s off-site capabilities in a single user interface. Publicis says that CitrusAd, powered by Epsilon will enable retailers to maximise monetisation as they extend reach for brand partners beyond the retailer’s owned channels.

M&C Saatchi Withdraws Support for Next Fifteen Bid
UK agency M&C Saatchi has withdrawn its support for a $381 million takeover offer from consultancy Next Fifteen, another twist in an ongoing takeover saga. Earlier this week rival suitor AdvancedAdvT complained that M&C Saatchi hadn’t weighed up the two offers properly. Next Fifteen had submitted a cash and shares offer – but its share price has fallen by 32 percent since the offer was made, effectively lowering the value of the deal.

Brands4News Launches to Help Advertisers Support Quality Journalism
A global collective of advertising executives this week launched, a new resource to help brands support quality journalism by providing them with free-to-use creative templates designed to run against crisis-related news content. The collective says that these display advertising banners have a clear message that describes the cause and intention, whilst prominently displaying the brand assets (e.g. logos) in a ‘sponsored by’ manner. Brands4News has also published an open-source list of trusted news sites which it says brands can safely run campaigns on during times of crisis.

The Brandtech Group Acquires Ecommerce Tech Platform Acorn-i
Marketing business The Brandtech Group this week announced it has acquired a majority stake in e-commerce SaaS platform, Acorn-i. Acorn-i is an e-commerce platform that helps brands and sellers grow and scale their business across direct-to-consumer channels and digital marketplaces, according to The Brandtech Group.

Publicis Media Names First Recipients of Inclusion Investment Fund
Publicis Media this week named the first ten diverse-owned media groups which will receive a portion of the $25 million it has set aside to help fund diverse creators and infrastructure, AdAge reported this week. Among the first recipients are Canela Media, Complex Networks, and AspireTV.

Advertising Association Reveals First Wave of ‘All In Champions’
All In, UK advertising’s initiative by the Advertising Association, ISBA and IPA to build a workplace where everyone feels they belong, has today announced the first wave of All In Champions. The first companies to become All In Champions have provided evidence that they are supporting All In’s work and have adopted the first six actions from its Action Plan – improving the experience and representation of Black talent, disabled talent, working-class talent, women, Asian talent and older talent.

MSQ Added to Shell Agency Roster
MSQ has been added to Shell’s agency roster following a competitive pitch process, Campaign reported this week. Shell joins Wunderman Thompson, VCCP, and Edelman as Shell’s global agency partners.

Hires of the Week

GroupM Nexus Appoints Leadership Team
GroupM this week announced it has appointed the leadership team for GroupM Nexus, the new unit formed out of the combination Finecast, Xaxis, and GroupM Services. Joining the leadership team are:

● Colin Barlow, Chief Operating Officer (prior, President, GroupM Services)

● Silvia Sparry, Chief Transformation Officer (prior, Global COO, Xaxis)

● Rich Astley, Chief Product Officer (prior, Global Chief Product Officer, Finecast)

● Jodi Weintraub, Global Chief People Officer (prior, Global Chief People Officer, GroupM Services)

● Henry Stokes, Global President, Agencies Enablement (prior, Global MD, Clients, Xaxis)

● John Wittesaele, Global CEO of Xaxis (prior, EMEA CEO at Xaxis)

Cavai Appoints Mats Persson as CEO
Cavai this week announced it has appointed Mats Persson as CEO. Persson was a former partner at PWC Consulting in Stockholm and COO at programmatic specialist, Adform, where he spent more than five years.

Adnami Names Svenja Damzog as Publisher Director DACH
Adnami has appointed Svenja Damzog as Publisher Director, DACH. Svenja will lead and continue the company’s continued expansion in the DACH region; managing and growing existing publisher relationships and onboarding new strategic partners, whilst overseeing the delivery of service activation and publisher sales training.

This Week on VideoWeek

GroupM Maintains Confident Outlook for Ad Industry Despite Economic Woes, read on VideoWeek

Ten Percent of CTV Ads Play When TV is Off, Claims GroupM & iSpot, read on VideoWeek

Rising SVOD Fees Drive UK Subscriber Churn, Opinium Finds, read on VideoWeek

If Google Opens Up YouTube Inventory to Third-Party Ad Tech, Who Comes Out On Top? read on VideoWeek

Criteo’s Complaint Forces Meta to Reopen Access for Ad Tech, read on VideoWeek

PubMatic Says its Data Centres are Powered by 100 Percent Renewable Energy, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Apple, Silhouettes, TBWA\Chiat\Day

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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