The WIR: YouTube Shorts Gets 30 Billion Daily Views, HBO Max Halts European Originals, and Equativ Continues Push into CTV

Tim Cross 08 July, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: YouTube says its TikTok competitor is getting 30 billion daily views, HBO Max halts production of European originals, and Equativ makes a strategic investment in Nowtilus.

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YouTube’s Shorts Reaches 30 Billion Views Per Day
One year after its global launch, YouTube says short-form video feed ‘Shorts’ has reached 30 billion views per day, with 1.5 billion logged in users watching Shorts each month.

The data marks strong progress for Shorts, YouTube’s effort to compete with TikTok. YouTube has invested heavily in attracting creators onto the service, and left Short ad free at first to help kickstart the feature – though recently YouTube has begun rolling out ads within the Shorts feed.

YouTube still seems focussed on winning over creators for Shorts – its blog post this week marking the one year anniversary touted Short’s ability to grow musicians’ audiences. TikTok has proven popular with musicians thanks to its ability to make songs go viral through memes and challenges – YouTube looks to be trying to reel them onto its own site.

HBO Max Halts Production on European Originals
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) will no longer produce original programming for HBO Max in the Nordics, Central Europe, the Netherlands and Turkey. Citing WBD’s post-merger cost-savings target of $3 billion, Variety reported that the company would also remove content from HBO Max “in order to free up licensing deals elsewhere.” The report additionally noted that redundancies are likely across the European business, though details were not disclosed.

As part of this restructure, WBD also said the global roll-out of HBO Max has been terminated. The service was due to launch in France in 2023 but has been replaced with a new combined streaming service in the French market. The streamer has neither name nor launch date but is said to combine thousands of hours of HBO Max and Discovery+ content.

“As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and Discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros. Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services,” a WBD spokesperson said. “As part of this process, we have decided to remove a limited amount of original programming from HBO Max, as well as ceasing our original programming efforts for HBO Max in the Nordics and Central Europe. We have also ceased our nascent development activities in the newer territories of Netherlands and Turkey, which had commenced over the past year.”

Equativ Expands CTV Offering with Nowtilus Investment
Equativ, the French ad tech business previously known as Smart Adserver, this week announced a strategic investment in video ad personalisation business Nowtilus. Equativ says the move will expand its connected TV offering, as it continues to invest in the space.

Nowtilus’ core server-side ad insertion functionality will be integrated into Equativ’s programmatic video ad tech stack. However Nowtilus will continue to operate independently, with its brand remaining unchanged to provide a standalone SSAI solution for video and audio.

“The strategic investment in Nowtilus is the natural next step in Equativ’s advanced TV journey, allowing us to accelerate our vertical integration by internalizing relevant TV tech expertise and resources,” said Arnaud Créput, CEO at Equativ. “Nowtilus is the perfect match as it allows us to provide our clients with a completely interoperable and agnostic advanced TV and video solution that innovates with new format capabilities such as audio.”

The Week in Tech

Azerion Buys Madvertise for €11.3 Million
Azerion acquired the French and German subsidiaries of mobile ad tech firm Madvertise this week. The €11.3 million deal is said to expand the company’s in-app digital offering for European publishers and advertisers. “This acquisition is evidence of our commitment to France and Germany,” said Azerion co-CEO Atilla Aytekin, “two of the most important markets when it comes to digital advertising.”

NielsenIQ Merges with GfK
NielsenIQ and GfK announced a merger designed to scale retail measurement products across new markets and consumer segments. GfK said the deal combines “NielsenIQ’s cloud-based Connect platform and omnichannel measurement technologies and GfK’s recently launched gfknewron platform,” to provide a comprehensive view of consumer spending through a total store read. The transaction is expected to close this year or early next year.

Vevo and WebAds Sign CTV Ad Sales Agreement
Vevo and WebAds have signed a deal enabling the independent sales house to conduct direct ad sales on behalf of Vevo in the Dutch, Spanish, French and German markets. The agreement allows advertisers to buy Vevo ad inventory on CTV with their campaigns guaranteed to run alongside premium music video content. “We have commitments from a wide range of advertisers who have reserved available inventory in Q3,” said WebAds CEO Xavier Schijffelen.

Samsung Completes Cookieless Pilot Campaign
Samsung announced the completion of its first personalised digital advertising pilot campaign in a cookieless environment. The campaign was managed by Publicis, transacted through the Index Exchange SSP and carried in the Spanish digital newspaper El Confidencial. The test used Zeotap’s ID+ identifier and achieved more than 72,000 impressions, demonstrating “the technical feasibility of an environment without third-party cookies,” according to Samsung.

Glance to Bring Lockscreen Content to Android in the US
InMobi Group subsidiary Glance is planning to launch in the US in the next two months, TechCrunch reported on Tuesday. The platform serves media, current affairs content and games on the lockscreens of Android smartphones. Available on 400 million handsets in Asian markets, the service is building a “premium offering” for the US, according to TechCrunch’s source.

Verve Group Acquires Dataseat
Verve Group acquired mobile DSP Dataseat this week. Dataseat uses AI and contextual signals to give advertisers control over campaigns without reliance on device IDs. The deal is the latest in a line of ad tech acquisitions for Verve Group, having recently purchased programmatic solution Match2One, contextual targeting company Beemray and video ad platform LKQD.

IAS Unveils Pre-Bid Sync Settings for Xandr DSP
Integral Ad Science (IAS) has unveiled its Quality Sync Pre-bid Segment. Accessible in Xandr’s Invest DSP before being rolled out in other DSPs, the solution allows advertisers to mirror post-bid advertising campaign settings with their pre-bid settings, for both mobile and desktop across video and display inventory. They can automatically enable unified brand safety, keyword blocklists, URL exclusion lists, brand suitability and invalid traffic avoidance settings

IAB UK Launches Industry Consultation on Gold Standard 2.1
IAB UK published the latest version of its Gold Standard guidance for reducing ad fraud, upholding brand safety and improving user experience. Open for public comment until 30th July 2022, the proposals include opening up Gold Standard 2.1 to companies that specialise in emerging digital media offerings such as audio, CTV and in-game advertising. 

Meta Slashes Hiring Targets
Meta has cut at least 30 percent of its hiring targets this year, as the company’s plans to enlist 10,000 new engineers in 2022 fell to around 6,000-7,000. Warning employees about “one of the worst downturns that we’ve seen in recent history,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg suggested “turning up the heat” to weed out low-performing members of staff. “Realistically, there are probably a bunch of people at the company who shouldn’t be here,” the Facebook founder said.

Google to Delete Location Data from Abortion Clinic Visits
Google will delete location data tracking user visits to abortion clinics, the tech giant said on Friday. The move pushes back against demands for data by the US government that could incriminate Google users. The company confirmed that location history entries including fertility centres, abortion clinics and addiction treatment facilities will be deleted soon after a visit.

TikTok Admits User Data is Accessed in China
TikTok has conceded that US user data is accessed by teams in China. “Those teams might need access to data for engineering functions that are specifically tied to their roles,” said Michael Beckerman, Head of Public Policy, Americas at TikTok. The admission confirms last week’s accusations by FCC commissioner Brendan Carr, who called on Apple and Google to ban the service from their app stores. Beckerman stressed that data access is highly controlled, encrypted and classified, “to ensure that the data is only accessed by those that need it.”

The Week in TV

MFE Takes 83 Percent Control of Mediaset Espana
MediaForEurope (MFE) has secured control of around 83 percent of Mediaset Espana. In May the Berlusconi-owned media company launched its offer for the stake in the Spanish broadcaster it did not already own. MFE increased its bid last month and the takeover has now been accepted for 85.3 million shares, representing 61.45 percent of the shares to which the bid was addressed, and 27.23 percent of Mediaset Espana’s share capital, according to Reuters.

Canal+ Eyes Up Stake in Lionsgate
Canal+ is reportedly eyeing up a minority stake in Lionsgate. The US studio is planning to spin off its Starz network, attracting interest from Canal+ and its owner Vivendi, as well as streaming device manufacturer Roku. Reports now suggest the broadcaster could take a significant minority stake in Lionsgate itself, helping the French company break into the US market. 

FIFA+ Debuts First CTV App
Free football streaming service FIFA+ launched its first CTV app on Wednesday, available on Hisense VIDAA-powered devices. The platform houses every recorded FIFA World Cup and FIFA Women’s World Cup, with plans to stream over 29,000 men’s matches and over 11,000 women’s matches from 100 member associations by the end of 2022.

ProSiebenSat.1 Sells Red Arrow Studios’ US Production Business
ProSiebenSat.1 has sold the US arm of Red Arrow Studios to The North Road Company. The deal includes the companies Kinetic Content, Left/Right, 44 Blue, Half Yard Productions and Dorsey Pictures. The German media company confirmed the transaction has been approved by the relevant antitrust authorities. “The sale reflects the clear focus of ProSiebenSat.1 Group’s entertainment business on producing local, relevant content that is distributed live and on-demand across all platforms in the German-speaking region,” the broadcaster said.

TF1 PUB Reveals Weather-Based Activations for Segmented TV
TF1 PUB has revealed a weather-targeting solution called Météo Flex, allowing brands to activate geolocation-specific segmented TV campaigns based on weather data. “For example, an ice cream brand may choose in the middle of the summer period to trigger the broadcast of its spot only in cities where temperatures will be above 25 degrees,” the company explained.

TelevisaUnivision to Launch ViX+ on 21st July
ViX+, TelevisaUnivision’s Spanish-language SVOD service, will launch in the US and Mexico on 21st July. The platform will debut with 10,000 hours of ad-free programming, alongside the ad-supported service ViX. ViX+ is also expected to carry 7,000 hours of live sports, including 3,000 live football matches per year from the US and Mexico.

Amazon Launches Freevee Android App
Amazon has launched a Freevee Android app, making the AVOD service accessible on Google TV on Android TV OS devices in the UK. Further availability on Android mobile devices is expected in the coming weeks. The app is already available on Fire TV and Fire Tablets.

Russian OTT Operators Enter Merger Agreement
Russian OTT operators Rostelecom and National Media Group (NMG) have entered into a merger agreement, the pair announced on Tuesday. The joint venture will be 70 percent owned by Rostelecom and 30 percent by NMG, operating under the Wink brand. The companies will combine OTT services, content libraries and client bases, as well as creating a shared competence centre for producing original content. Completion is expected by the end of 2022.

The Week for Publishers

The Guardian Signs Up for Google News Showcase
The Guardian has signed a deal to join Google News Showcase, a news service Google created as a method of paying publishers for their content. ” “We are pleased to have expanded our partnership with Google to make our journalism available in digital, video and other formats in ways that will engage even wider audiences,” said The Guardian’s CEO Keith Underwood. “This new deal supports further investment in journalism and will bring a new audience back to our sites where we can build deeper relationships of enduring value.”

TikTok Reportedly Backs Down from Ecommerce Push in Europe and US
TikTok was reported by the Financial Times this week to be abandoning its push into ecommerce in the US and Europe, after early efforts in the UK struggled to gain traction. However TikTok has since disputed this report, claiming it never had any committed plans to launch ecommerce tools beyond the UK.

Alpac Capital Completes Euronews Acquisition
Portugal-based investment fund Alpac Capital has completed its acquisition of news business Euronews. Alpac says it intends to strengthen Euronews’ European identity, and continue the company’s digitalisation.

Daily Mail’s Mail+ App Relaunches
The Daily Mail’s paid subscription service Mail+ this week relaunches with a new design and strategy. The new Mail+ gives readers access to some print content not available on Mail Online, as well as early access to content from the next day’s print newspaper.

BuzzFeed says Diversified Business Model is Working
BuzzFeed’s COO Christian Baesler believes that the publisher’s diversified model means it’s well placed to weather the current economic storms, Digiday reported this week. “The BuzzFeed team has proven to be very nimble and agile and always innovating around new products, new monetization, new audience channels and ways to engage with the audience in terms of different formats,” Baesler told Digiday.

Reddit Acquires Natural Language Processing Business MeaningCloud
Reddit has acquired natural language processing company MeaningCloud Europe, a move which Reddit says will help it evolve its algorithms and recommendation engines in a way which adds value for Reddit users. The acquisition also serves to open Reddit’s first office in Spain, as it seeks to build a presence in local markets.

UK Culture Secretary Won’t Investigate Newsquest’s Archant Acquisition
The UK’s culture secretary Nadine Dorries this week announced that she will not intervene in UK local publisher Newsquest’s takeover of rival business Archant, having previously indicated she may do so. Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker was reportedly able to convince Dorries that a merger is necessary to save struggling local titles.

The Week For Agencies

Havas Media Group Launches B2B Unit Havas Business
Havas Media Group has launched a new unit, Havas Business, which will specialise in B2B services, Adweek reported this week. Havas Business will cover strategy, planning and buying, and execution according to Adweek.

Goodway Group Buys Canton Marketing Solutions
Goodway Group announced this week it has acquired Canton Marketing Solutions, a martech consultancy business, which will be merged with Goodway’s Control v Exposed. Canton’s co-founders Rob Webster and Nick King both join Control v Exposed’s leadership team.

Dentsu Makes Additional Investment in ambr
Dentsu this week announced an additional investment in ambr, a company which runs a ‘Metaverse Creative Studio’ and is developing a metaverse construction technology infrastructure product called ‘xambr’. “This second investment was made because of the progress made in digital utilization with an eye on the post COVID-19 society, along with the continuing increasing need to utilize the metaverse and extended reality,” said Dentsu in a statement.

Horizon Media Launches B2B Media Practice
Horizon Media has launched a new B2B practice designed to serve B2B clients (something of a trend this week, see Havas above), Digiday reported on Wednesday. The new unit, called ‘The Green Thread’, will be headed up by three-time Horizon client Chris Hummel, Digiday reports.

IPA Launches New Mentoring Programme for Agency Members
The IPA has launched a new mentoring offering to help retain and develop the careers of its agency employees and to help grow their businesses, the trade group announced this week. The mentoring programme will have two options: IPA Business Growth Mentoring, where industry leaders will donate one hour free to C-suite mentees, and IPA 60-Minute Career Mentoring, where any agency employee can receive career guidance.

KLM Sued for Greenwashing Ads
Dutch airline KLM is the latest business to be accused of greenwashing in its advertising, being sued this week by a group of environmental charities. The claimants say KLM’s ‘Fly Responsibly’ campaign, which encourages fliers to embrace a “sustainable future” by offsetting their flights, breaches consumer law by misleading the public about the sustainability of flying.

IPA Says S.O.U.L is Key to Agency Client Relationships
A new white paper, Partnering for Growth, commissioned by the IPA outlines the key characteristics and contexts that can create long-term, mutually sustainable client/agency relationships. The white paper says shared foundations, organisation, understanding, and learning (or S.O.U.L) are the four key elements for mutually sustainable client/agency relationships.

Hires of the Week

Comscore Promotes Jon Carpenter to CEO
Comscore’s Jon Carpenter has been promoted to CEO after eight months as CFO. Prior to Comscore, Carpenter served in operational and financial leadership positions at NBC Universal, Nielsen and Publisher’s Clearing House, following stints at General Electric and Sears Holdings. He succeeds Bill Livek, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Tom George Named First Origin CEO
Former GroupM CEO Tom George has been named the first CEO of Origin, the UK cross-media measurement programme led by ISBA. He will oversee the advertiser-led, WFA-backed initiative in its aims to deliver a viable product by early 2025. “Origin is now in its third phase, build and implementation,” confirmed ISBA Director General Phil Smith. “Tom is a highly skilled advertising and media professional, and his wealth of experience will be invaluable to Origin.”

ISBA Announces Margaret Joblin as President
NatWest CMO Margaret Joblin was announced as ISBA President on Tuesday. She has served on the ISBA Council for seven years, in addition to senior positions at Centrica, Bird’s Eye, Cadbury and Unilever. Joblin takes over the role from Moneysupermarket CEO Peter Duffy.

EBU Re-Elects President Delphine Ernotte-Cunci
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has re-elected its president Delphine Ernotte-Cunci and VP Petr Dvořák. Mykola Chernotytskyi, the CEO of Ukrainian public broadcaster UA:PBC, will also join the board, alongside Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) director Dr Katja Wildermuth. EBU director general Noel Curran was also reappointed for a further six-year term.

Channel Factory Appoints COO David Hinton
Channel Factory this week appointed David Hinton as Chief Operating Officer. Hinton has spent over 20 years in the digital advertising industry, including Beringer Capital, Microsoft and Akamai. “Brand safety is critical right now,” he said. “Channel Factory is providing the technology and processes needed for brands to navigate these uncharted waters while still protecting their brand and reaching their target audience.”

Carolyn Watt Joins DoubleVerify
Carolyn Watt was named Vice President of Global Client Partnerships at DoubleVerify on Wednesday. The role will see Watt cultivate relationships with the company’s largest customers, lead the global, regional and local teams in identifying the commercial needs of DoubleVerify’s advertiser partners, and ensure delivery of the measurement platform’s solutions.

Looper Insights Recruits Former Apple Exec Ben King
Former DAZN and Apple executive Ben King has joined CTV intelligence firm Looper Insights as an investor and advisor to the board. Looper Insights said King would help extend the company’s relationships with studios, distributors and streaming services. King previously worked as Chief Subscription Officer at DAZN, following 12 years in leadership roles at Apple.

This Week on VideoWeek

Would Higher Ad Loads Backfire for UK Broadcasters? read on VideoWeek

Paramount+ Has “No Plans” for Advertising After UK Launch, read on VideoWeek

AVOD Services are Getting Serious about Originals, read on VideoWeek

Xperi Acquires Vewd for $109 Million, read on VideoWeek

Now They’ve Passed, How Will the DSA and DMA Change Advertising? read on VideoWeek

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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