The WIR: Bertelsmann Discusses Buyers for M6, Teads Moves into CTV, and UK Publishers Report Strong Revenue Growth

Tim Cross 23 September, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Bertelsmann invites bids for M6 after the proposed merger with TF1 collapses, Teads launches a CTV offering in the US, and UK publishers post strong Q2 revenue growth.

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M6 Seeks New Buyer After TF1 Deal Scrapped
European media giant Bertelsmann is looking for a new buyer for its stake in French broadcaster M6, after its proposed merger with TF1 was scrapped last Friday.

TF1 and M6 announced their intention to merge in May last year, a move which would have brought together two of France’s largest TV broadcasters. The merger was painted by the two parties as a necessary reaction to competition from the international streaming giants. Other French broadcasters agreed. France Télévisions’ president Delphine Ernotte publicly supported the union of two rivals, saying that more needed to be done to protect French TV businesses.

But advertisers disagreed, fearing the impact on TV ad prices, and France’s competition authority expressed significant concerns about the deal. Following discussions, RTL and TF1 decided the concessions they’d have to make to soothe the antitrust authority were too high. “Following the debates with the Authority and despite the additional remedies proposed, it appears that only structural remedies involving at the very least the divestment of the TF1 TV channel or of the M6 TV channel would be sufficient to approve the proposed merger,” the two broadcasters said in a joint statement.

Bertelsmann is still interested in selling off its near 50 percent stake M6, as CEO Thomas Rabe told the Financial Times he has been “inundated” with offers after the TF1 deal collapsed. “This is why we are ‘testing the market’,” said Rabe. “We will decide on the basis of the test whether to sell or not.”

Teads Expands into Connected TV in the US
French video ad tech business Teads announced this week it is expanding into connected TV in the US, following successful beta trials. Teads says the expansion will increase its overall reach to nearly two billion monthly users across all platforms, while also adding the specific strengths of CTV inventory to its portfolio. To start with at least, Teads says it is tapping into existing partnerships with publishers which own CTV products, such as E.W. Scripps. But the company says it will look to bring new partners on board too, to source new inventory.

Teads already runs ads across desktop and mobile, and is perhaps best known for its outstream video ad format. On connected TV channels, Teads says it will enable creative optimisation and interactive features, as well as frequency capping and retargeting which will work across all channels. While the product is initially only available in the US, Teads says it will look to roll out connected TV in other markets later this year.

UK Publishers Report Strong Digital Revenues in Q2
UK publishers’ total digital revenues grew by 12.3 percent year-on-year in Q2, according to the latest Digital Publishers’ Revenue Index (DPRI) from the Association of Online Publishers (AOP) and Deloitte.

Advertising revenues as a whole were strong in Q2, as display advertising revenues grew 28.6 percent year-on-year and online video revenues grew by 7.1 percent. Subscription revenues, which have been a key growth driver in recent quarters, were up by 3.5 percent year-on-year in Q2. Revenues from recruitment classified ads was also very strong, thanks to the surge in the labour market.

“It’s encouraging to see continued growth in this challenging economic climate, and the rise in recruitment ad revenue shows how quickly the industry adapts to the needs of the market,” said Richard Reeves, managing director of the AOP. “Looking deeper, the ongoing decline of desktop has implications for publishers, as mobiles are better suited for shorter, ‘snackier’ editorial. While there is still demand for long-form content, I’d suggest this is being successfully catered to via channels such as newsletters.”

The Week in Tech

Walmart Connect Announces Social and Streaming Partnerships
Walmart Connect has announced a group of Innovation Partnerships going into the holiday season, designed to reach customers on TikTok, Snapchat, Firework, TalkShopLive and Roku. The partnerships provide ‘Test and Learn’ opportunities across social, entertainment, t-commerce and live streaming platforms, according to the company. “The predicted growth of social commerce from 10 percent of all e-commerce to 17 percent by 2025 will be driven by Gen Z and millennial consumers,” said Walmart.

TikTok Moves to Verify Political Accounts and Ban Fundraising
TikTok on Wednesday revealed plans to verify political accounts and ban campaign fundraising videos. As part of efforts to clamp down on political misinformation ahead of the US midterm elections, government departments, politicians and political parties will have to submit their accounts for verification. These accounts will automatically be prevented from accessing advertising features, thereby prohibiting them from soliciting donations, gifts and digital payments.

Samsung Ads Introduces Masthead Placement to Home Screen
Samsung Ads has added a masthead ad placement to the home screen of 2022 Samsung TV models. The masthead is visible by default at the top of the screen when the TV is turned on. It is complemented by a Launcher ad title, which the viewer can choose to play an accompanying video advert. The company cited Ipsos data that found 79 percent of Smart TV owners use the home screen for content discovery. Samsung Ads Europe VP Alex Hole said: “This attractive, premium placement is a high-impact opportunity for endemic advertisers to reach content seekers in a native environment, right in their first moment of discovery – turning on the TV.”

Bicycle Partners with ViewersLogic for Access to Single-Source Data
Media agency Bicycle struck a strategic partnership with ViewersLogic to access single-source panel data from the consumer behaviour company. The pairing allows Bicycle clients to analyse shopper and media intelligence across TV, online and real-world purchases/consumption. The panel recently added Nielsen IQ’s shopper data to provide single-source measurement of media exposure on grocery purchases.

Meta Sued for Violating Apple’s Privacy Rules
Meta was hit by a class-action lawsuit this week, accusing the Facebook owner of secretly bypassing Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) rules. ATT requires apps to ask for iPhone users’ permission to track their activity. The suit, filed in San Francisco federal court, alleges that the Facebook and Instagram iOS apps inject JavaScript code onto websites that tracks password inputs and credit card details. Meta acknowledged that Facebook monitors browser activity, but denied illegally collecting user data.

Dentsu Adopts Comscore Currency for Local TV
Dentsu will adopt a Comscore-based currency for local TV buying across 210 local markets, as per an agreement announced on Thursday. The pair will conduct test transactions on behalf of two clients in 10 local markets, based on impressions delivered to advanced audiences built in Dentsu’s M1 platform. Buys are planned to go live in early 2023, with expansion into additional markets throughout the year. “The move signals a significant shift for the local media industry as it seeks to utilise the same data-driven techniques that have been long employed by national buyers,” said the agency.

The Week in TV

Advertising Blackouts Cost UK Media After Queen’s Death
UK advertising blackouts following the death of the Queen incurred “millions and millions” in advertising losses, according to a senior media agency executive. Quoted in the Guardian, the unnamed source called the widely watched coverage “the mass media event that commercially never was.” Though newspaper sales rose sharply, the loss of advertising revenue and the cost of running extra pages eliminated “a golden commercial opportunity,” according to the Guardian. “You might not think it given the magnitude of such an event, but overall at the end of the day I would say there has been a marginal negative financial impact,” added Newsquest CEO Henry Faure Walker.

Michelle Donelan to Review Channel 4 Sale, BBC Funding and Online Safety Bill
UK culture secretary Michelle Donelan is “re-examining” the sale of Channel 4, weeks after replacing its instigator Nadine Dorries. She intends to review proposed changes to the BBC licence fee, reiterating her scepticism for the current funding model but pledging to base policy decisions on evidence. Donelan also announced plans to “edit” the Online Safety Bill, after Liz Truss told MPs: “What I want to make sure is that we protect the under-18s from harm and that we also make sure free speech is allowed, so there may be some tweaks required.”

Streaming Services Among Top NFL Advertisers
Streaming services and financial providers are expected to be the top advertisers for the 2022 NFL season, according to MediaRadar. The research showed media and entertainment leading the advertising spend in preseason games, despite a decrease in investment YoY. Subscription streaming services, fantasy football leagues and mobile apps remain top spenders, while car manufacturers increased their investment to promote new models this preseason.

DAZN Wins Women’s Football Rights
DAZN this week acquired FA Women’s Super League rights. The deal permits the sports streaming service to broadcast the league and Women’s FA Cup matches for two seasons, across multiple territories, including Spain, Japan and Italy. DAZN will also place games on its UEFA Women’s Champions League YouTube channel.

Banijay Rights and Endemol France Make FAST Moves
French distribution giant Banijay Rights will launch its first Banijay-branded FAST channel in the UK. Horizons: Powered By Banijay brings over 200 hours of UK content to Samsung TV Plus UK and LG Channels. Also this week, Endemol France announced collaboration with VOD building platform Okast to launch its first FAST channels on Samsung TV Plus.

Pluto TV to Launch in Canada
Viacom-owned FAST platform Pluto TV is set to launch in Canada on 1st December 2022. Canadian partner Corus Entertainment will sell local advertising on the FAST channels. “Pluto TV is expected to be among the first of the major US-based [FAST] channels to head north as a recessionary threat makes Canadians weigh up which SVOD channels to keep paying for,” said The Hollywood Reporter.

Two More Execs Leave Warner Bros. Discovery
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) reported a pair of key resignations this week, amid budget cuts, redundancies and restructuring at the newly merged media conglomerate. Marc Graboff steps down as president of global business and legal affairs after almost eight years at Discovery. In Norway, Discovery chief Espen Skoland also leaves the company. The departures come as WBD undergoes a series of changes to recoup $3 billion from losses incurred in the merger.

The Week for Publishers

Google News Showcase Launches in Spain
Google News Showcase, Google’s news product which was launched as a way of paying publishers for their content, has launched in Spain. Google News was completely unavailable in Spain until earlier this year, due to laws which required Google and similar aggregators to pay publishers for the snippets of content shared in their news services. This law was adjusted earlier this year, allowing media groups to negotiate with tech companies like Google directly. ABC, Atresmedia, Catalunyapress, El Español, Europa Press, El País, La Tribuna de Toledo and Servimedia are among the publishers who are signed up to Showcase.

YouTube Opts for 45 Percent Revenue Share on Shorts Ads
YouTube today announced new details around its gradual introduction of advertising on Shorts, announcing a revenue share model whereby creators will be given 45 percent of revenues generated by ads on Shorts. YouTube will hope that ramping up creators’ ability to monetise their content on Shorts will help draw talent onto its own short-form video platform, and prevent migration away to TikTok and other rival products. Read more on VideoWeek.

Lord Rothermere Takes the Reins at DMGT
Lord Rothermere, the great grandson of the Daily Mail’s founder, has taken over as CEO of the Daily Mail & General Trust, the group which owns The Daily Mail, The New Scientist, i, and Metro. Lord Rothermere, who is also chairman of the company, has taken the reins after taking the company private earlier this year.

Future CEO Zillah Byng-Thorne Plans Departure
Zillah Byng-Thorne, the CEO of publishing group Future, has announced her intention to step down from her role before 2024. Byng-Thorne successfully turned the company’s fortunes around, guiding it back to profit thanks to its acquisition-heavy strategy. The company’s share price has fallen by over fifteen percent since the announcement.

Google is the Most Trusted Tech Platform for News
Google is the most trusted tech platform for news among consumers, according to a report from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. News on Google is on average more trusted than news in general in Brazil and the US. TikTok is meanwhile the least trusted of the major tech platforms, with just 20 percent of those surveyed in the UK and US saying they trust news they see on TikTok.

The Week For Agencies

S4 Capital’s Revenues Grow but Losses Mount in First Half of 2022
S4 Capital posted strong organic net revenue growth of 28 percent in the first half of the year in its financial results this week, though losses reached £75.4 million due to high hiring costs. “In the first half of 2022, we continued to invest in increased human capital ahead of further top line advances and in management infrastructure, which impacted our operational EBITDA,” said Sir Martin Sorrell, executive chairman at S4 Capital. “In the second half, we are focused on a better balance between top and bottom-line growth to ensure we reach our revised targets for the year.”

Havas Group Acquires Ecommerce Consultancy Expert Edge
Havas group announced this week it has acquired UK-based ecommerce consultancy Expert Edge, a specialist in Amazon’s product suite. “We are delighted to welcome the Expert Edge team to the Havas family,” said Yannick Bolloré, chairman and CEO of Havas Group. “This acquisition turbocharges our Havas Market offering, which has been purpose built from the outset to help our clients manage and optimise their business performance in ecommerce.”

WPP Buys Communications Agency JeffreyGroup
Agency holding company WPP has acquired JeffreyGroup, an independent corporate communications, PR, and marketing consulting firm based in Latin America. JeffreyGroup will join WPP’s Hill+Knowlton Strategies network, doubling its footprint in the region.

IAB Europe Creates Standards Committee for Tackling Digital Ad Emissions
IAB Europe has created a new Sustainability Standards Committee, established to help industry players reduce their energy consumption and carbon emissions produced through digital media. Citing the internet’s 2-4 percent contribution to global carbon emissions, IAB Europe said the committee will create standards designed to scale back the environmental impact of the digital advertising industry. These include a ‘Green Media standard’, comprising “practical and measurable steps” for participants to implement in order to decarbonise their digital media. Read more on VideoWeek.

Auto Industry Ad Spend Falls Due to Inventory Shortages
The US auto industry’s total ad spend is down four percent year-on-year for the first seven months of the year, according to data from Standard Media Index as reported by Reuters. The fall in spend, driven by inventory shortages, means auto ad spend was 12.7 percent lower than in the same period in 2019.

Betway Fined for Advertising on Children’s Section of Football Site
The UK’s Gambling Commission this week fined gambling brand Betway £408,915 for marketing on the children’s section of football club West Ham United’s website. Betway’s logo, which linked to Betway’s website when clicked on, was found on two specific webpages which were explicitly aimed at children. Betway attributed the error to a technical glitch, and the Gambling Commission agreed that there were no indications that Betway’s logo was intentionally placed on those pages.

IPA Charts Growing Effectiveness Culture at Brands
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) this week launched its second annual Marketing Effectiveness Roadmap, which reports on levels of marketing effectiveness competency in the industry and maps out marketing effectiveness strategies and tactics. The report found that ‘effectiveness culture’ at brands has grown by ten percent over the past year, while it has remained stable at agencies.

Hires of the Week

Warner Music Group Enlists YouTube’s Robert Kyncl
Len Blavatnik-owned Warner Music Group has brought in YouTube exec Robert Kyncl as its new CEO. Kyncl joined Netflix as Content VP in 2003, before becoming Chief Business Officer at YouTube in 2010. “Advertising and subscription revenue helped Warner Music see its revenue increased nearly 15 percent in the past year, as consumers flocked to digital platforms,” noted The Hollywood Reporter.

Stéphane Dupayage Named Ogury CPO
Ad tech firm Ogury has appointed Stéphane Dupayage as Chief Product Officer. Dupayage started out at Publicis, before landing roles at 24/7 Media (now Xaxis), Storetail and Criteo. He will be based in Paris, reporting to Ogury COO Geoffroy Martin.

IAB Europe Elects Nicolas Rieul as Chair of the Board
IAB Europe elected Nicolas Rieul as Chair of the Board at its quarterly meeting on Tuesday. Rieul is already a director and member of the IAB Europe executive committee, as a representative of Alliance Digitale (IAB France-LMMA). He succeeds IAB Poland MD Wlodzimierz Schmidt.

Total Media Announces Kieren Mills as Head of Broadcast
Total Media this week announced the appointment of Kieren Mills as head of broadcast. Mills joins with over twenty years’ experience in the media industry, following successful terms at MEC, Carat and Mostly Media.

MFE Appoints DACH General Manager Katharina Behrends
MediaForEurope (MFE) announced on Thursday the appointment of Katharina Behrends as DACH General Manager. MFE said Behrends will lead efforts to expand in the region and open a German office in Munich. “We significantly invest in local content guaranteeing the editorial independence and cultural diversity of national content and a practice of editorial independence of each country,” said MFE CFO Marco Giordani.

This Week on VideoWeek

Unpacking DAZN’s Shaky Start to the Italian Football Season, read on VideoWeek

YouTube Opts for 45 Percent Revenue Share on Shorts Ads, read on VideoWeek

IAB Europe Creates Standards Committee for Tackling Digital Ad Emissions, read on VideoWeek

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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