The WIR: Netflix Announces Price and Measurement Partners for Ads, EU Prepares Major Antitrust Fine for Google, and Roku Unveils Smart Home Product Line

Tim Cross 14 October, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Netflix with ads gets a launch date, Google faces another big fine next year, and Roku gets into the smart home game.

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Netflix Announces Price and Measurement Partners for Ad-Supported Tier
Netflix has announced subscription fees, launch dates and verification/measurement partners for its ad-supported tier. “Basic with Ads” will cost £4.99 per month and will roll-out across 12 countries from 1st November, launching in the UK on 3rd November. The AVOD service will house 90-95 percent of the content available on the current basic £6.99 ad-free offering. “A limited number of movies and TV shows won’t be available due to licensing restrictions, which we’re working on,” said Netflix COO Greg Peters.

Ads will average 4 to 5 minutes per hour, either 15 or 30 seconds in length, and will play before and during shows and films. Netflix has partnered with DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science to verify viewability and traffic validity starting in Q1 2023. The streaming company has also paired with Nielsen to use its Digital Ad Ratings (DAR) in the US, starting in 2023 and eventually reported through Nielsen ONE Ads. The streamer is signed up to BARB’s measurement service in the UK, as VideoWeek reported.

“To help advertisers reach the right audience – and ensure our ads are more relevant for consumers – we’ll offer broad targeting capabilities by country and genre (e.g. action, drama, romance, sci-fi),” said Peters. “Advertisers will also be able to prevent their ads from appearing on content that might be inconsistent with their brand (e.g. sex, nudity or graphic violence).”

The long-awaited announcements should help assuage the concerns of advertising agencies reportedly frustrated with Netflix’s lack of clarity, transparency and high CPMs. According to the Guardian, Netflix advertising partner Microsoft “is understood to have approached UK media agencies, offering a premium price of £50 for reaching 1,000 viewers.”

Google Could Face €1 Billion EU Ad Tech Antitrust Fine Next Year
The EU’s competition enforcer is lining up an antitrust fine for Google over anticompetitive practices in its ad tech business, which could be its fourth EU fine in excess of €1 billion, Reuters reported this week.

Citing people familiar with the case, Reuters said that the European Commission is preparing to send a Statement of Objections to Google, the formal process by which the Commission tells the accused business that it’s found evidence of anticompetitive behaviour. Google has previously tried to head off the ongoing investigation by offering concessions, but these concessions were minor according to Reuters’ sources.

A fine may still be avoided with further concessions, though these would have to be substantial given the size and influence of Google’s ad tech business.

Roku Debuts Smart Home Products
Connected TV hardware and software maker Roku this week unveiled a new series of smart home devices, a new branch for the company’s business. Among Roku’s initial line up of smart home products are indoor and outdoor cameras, video doorbells and chimes, smart bulbs, and smart plugs. Roku will begin selling the products through its own site and via Walmart later this month.

The product launch marks a refocusing on Roku’s hardware business. For many years the company was best known for its plug-in connected TV dongles and boxes, but in recent years the software side of Roku’s business has come to the fore. Roku has leveraged the popularity of its smart TV platform to get into the advertising business, while also licensing its smart TV operating system to third-party TV manufacturers in order to grow its overall reach.

There will be some synergy between these new items and Roku’s existing product line. Footage from smart cameras will be viewable on Roku TVs, and the devices will use voice recognition tech which is embedded in Roku’s TV devices. But the launch may also be intended to diversify Roku’s revenues away from its CTV platform, which is particularly relevant as economic conditions threaten ad spend growth.

The Week in Tech

Apple Prepares TV Ad Product
Apple is preparing a TV ad product, several media agencies told Digiday this week. Reports suggest the tech giant is pushing an API-based platform closer to Google or Microsoft search than a traditional audience-based TV pitch. A holding company executive confirmed that Apple intends to use a DSP for their TV inventory. “They actually have so much native inventory, through maps, email, and all their apps at this point, that the DSP would actually be only to decision on their owned and operated [TV content],” said the anonymous exec.

Google Launches DV360 Clean Room
Google launched a clean room-style product for its DV360 DSP, designed to allow publishers and advertisers to securely reconcile their first-party data for audiences who have visited both parties’ websites. Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR) is aimed at brands and publishers seeking privacy-first solutions as third-party cookies are deprecated on Chrome. “Advertisers and publishers will be able to activate encrypted first-party information that is unique to their sites via aggregation,” the company said in a blog post.

DoubleVerify Information Security Management System Achieves ISO Accreditation
DoubleVerify announced it has achieved ISO 27001:2013 certification for its Information Security Management System. ISO 27001 is the most widely recognised international standard of its kind, the company said. The framework specifies requirements for establishing, implementing and maintaining an information security management system to help organisations protect their information.

TikTok Offers to Buy Back Employee Shares
ByteDance is offering to buy back shares from its employees, the TikTok-owner informed staff on Wednesday. The company will repurchase shares at a price of $155 per restricted stock unit to help those who need to monetise their stocks sooner, according to an internal memo. The offer comes as part of efforts to boost team morale after plans for an initial public offering stalled, Bloomberg reported.

One-Third of UK Children Have Adult Social Media Accounts, Ofcom Finds
A third of UK children have adult social media accounts, Ofcom has found. The report noted that most platforms have a minimum age of 13, but 32 percent of kids aged 8-17 have a user age of 18+ after signing up with a false date of birth. “This means they could be placed at greater risk of encountering age-inappropriate or harmful content online,” said Ofcom. “Once a user reaches age 16 or 18, some platforms, for example, introduce certain features and functionalities not available to younger users – such as direct messaging and the ability to see adult content.”

MGID Adds Getty Images Integration
Advertising platform MGID has added an integration with Getty Images, providing creatives with over 495 million visual assets. The partnership offers advertisers image and video enhancements for native ad campaigns on the MGID platform. “Delivering the best experience for publishers, advertisers and consumers is hugely important to us – and this includes adapting to the rise in the use of video in native advertising,” said MGID CEO Sergii Denysenko.

LG Ad Solutions Opens London Office
LG Ad Solutions has opened a London office, marking its expansion into the EMEA market. The company brings its automatic content recognition (ACR) technology for LG TVs to the region, enabling targeting for CTV advertisers. “We believe the time to make a big investment in ad-supported CTV technology for Europe is now,” said Ed Wale, VP Europe at LG Ad Solutions.

Clinch and Sojern Announce DCO Partnership
Ad tech company Clinch has teamed up with travel-centric advertising firm Sojern, bringing omnichannel dynamic creative optimisation (DCO) capabilities to travel marketers. Those using Clinch’s Flight Control platform can leverage Sojern’s travel insights for creative and optimisation strategies. “Trends and traveller circumstances are constantly changing on a hyper-local level around the world, therefore the ability to personalise and auto-optimise campaigns to match both environmental and user-based situations is paramount for this sector,” said Charel MacIntosh, head of business development and partnerships at Clinch.

Apple’s Record Antitrust Fine Reduced in Appeal
Apple’s record-breaking antitrust fine from l’Autorité de la concurrence has been reduced by two-thirds following an appeal process. The French competition authority fined the tech giant €1.1 billion in 2020, for imposing prices on third-party retailers so they could not undercut Apple’s list price. The appeals court agreed that Apple abused the retailers’ economic dependency on the company, but threw out the fixed-pricing charge. The fine has been reduced to €372 million, although Apple still intends to appeal the decision.

Meta Warns 400 Apps Steal Facebook Logins
Meta has revealed 400 apps that steal Facebook users’ login information. It has informed Apple, Google and users whose accounts may have been compromised. The malicious apps were disguised as photo editors, games and business apps, according to Meta. Apple said it deleted 45 culprits from its store, while Google claimed to have removed all of them. Meta shares fell 3 percent in the wake of the announcement.

The Week in TV

M6 Unveils Ad-Free Streaming Service
French broadcaster M6 has launched an ad-free version of its streaming platform 6play. 6play Max is available on computer, tablet, mobile and CTV, with the capacity for downloadable offline viewing. The commercial broadcaster noted that a limited amount of advertising will remain in place due to contractual obligations. The monthly fee of €2.99 will rise to €3.99 in October 2023.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Six More FAST Channels
Samsung has added six more FAST channels to its Samsung TV Plus service. They join the 220 channels available on Samsung Smart TVs in the US. The new channels include the Samsung-owned and operated Halloween Movies, alongside those dedicate to Midsomer Murders, American Drag Racing and Westerns. Samsung TV Plus is available in 24 countries and 465 million devices globally across TV and mobile.

Channel 4 Runs Cost-of-Living Ad Break
Channel 4 ran an ad break featuring seven brands promoting offers to help viewers during the cost of living crisis. The break ran during Steph’s Packed Lunch and Gogglebox on 7th October, and saw Boots, Co-Op, giffgaff, Go.Compare, Lidl, Nationwide Building Society and Vodafone advertising money-saving services to support consumers and communities. The concept was developed by the 4Sales Creative Hub, with the participation of 4Sales, Carat, Havas, Hearts & Science, Wavemaker, OMD and Mediacom. “We are really proud of this campaign which brings together some of our advertisers who have initiatives to help during these tough times,” said Channel 4 Creative Leader Martin McAllister.

Nancy Pelosi Voices Concerns Over Tegna Takeover
US Politicians have raised concerns over Standard General’s proposed takeover of Tegna. The  $5.4 billion deal would see the investment firm take the broadcaster private. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone said the acquisition would violate the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s mandate “by restricting access to local news coverage, cutting jobs at local television stations, and raising prices on consumers.”

Liverpool to Host Eurovision 2023
Liverpool will host the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, the BBC and EBU have announced. Last year’s contest saw the UK come second to Ukraine, which was deemed too dangerous to host the competition in 2023. Liverpool beat Glasgow’s bid on criteria including venue facilities, accommodation capacity and the cultural reflection of Ukraine’s victory in 2022. “It is symbolic that the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool, a twin city of Odesa,” said Mykola Chernotytskyi, Head of the Managing Board at Ukrainian public broadcaster UA:PBC. “I am confident the city recognised as the capital of pop music will deliver a celebration that will amaze delegations and fans.”

Warner Bros. Discovery Hit by More Redundancies
Further layoffs have been reported at Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), this time seeing Warner Bros. Television Group (WBTVG) cut around a quarter of its staff. The news follows WBD streaming division HBO Max axing 14 percent of its staff during the summer. According to Digital TV Europe, the move is likely “linked to the decision to shift editorial priorities on the streaming side [of] the business,” as Discovery content is migrated into a broader HBO Max offering. “The cuts affect scripted, unscripted and animation departments,” added the report.

100 IMAX Titles Coming to Rakuten
IMAX, Rakuten and Xperi’s DTS announced that Rakuten TV will carry 100 titles in the IMAX Enhanced format. The IMAX releases will arrive on the service over the next six months across France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and the UK. “Rakuten TV users will soon have the opportunity to experience more of their favourite blockbuster movies in IMAX Enhanced, taking movie nights to new heights with IMAX’s exclusive expanded aspect ratio and IMAX signature sound by DTS,” said Rakuten CPO Sidharth Jayant.

The Week for Publishers

The Week For Agencies

Omnicom Media Groups Tops Rankings in Incremental Growth
Omnicom Media Group produced the highest incremental growth of all global media agencies in the first half of 2022, according to COMvergance’s latest ‘Media Agency New Business Barometer’. OMG won $1.42 billion in new business between January and June this year, while losing less than a third of that value in existing business.

Direct Line Group Reviews Media Account
British directory enquiries business Direct Line Group is putting its media account, currently held by Mediacom, under review. The account was last put under review in 2019, when Mediacom successfully retained the business.

Stagwell Buys Maru Group
Agencies holding group Stagwell has added marketing cloud business Maru Group, which will join the Stagwell Marketing Cloud (SMC), a suite of proprietary software-as-a-service (SaaS) and data-as-a-service (DaaS) tools for in-house marketing teams. Stagwell directs Maru’s SaaS solution, HUB, is a fully scalable survey platform that allows in-house marketers to analyse behavioural, transactional and attitudinal data all in one place.

DDB Europe Creates Sustainability Agency DDB Fresh
DDB Europe this week announced the launch of DDB Fresh, which it describes as a fashion innovation agency for non-fashion brands. DDB Fresh will aim to turn non-fashion brands into cultural icons, in a way which puts sustainability at the core and encourages positive changes in consumer behaviour.

IAB Europe Launches Retail Media Working Group
IAB Europe this week announced the creation of a new Retail Media Working Group. IAB Europe says the group will bring together stakeholders from across this emerging new channel in order to enable collaborative conversations, provide education and insights and create recommendations to shape and define retail media.

AAR Adds Sustainability to Agencies’ Pitch Credentials
AAR, a consultancy which works with brands and agencies, this week announced it is inviting all agencies to report metrics on sustainability as part of its work with clients that are reviewing their agency arrangements. AAR says it has introduced this change in response to a greater focus from brand owners on agencies’ ESG credentials and as part of its commitment to sustainability and as a supporter of Ad Net Zero.

VCCP Wins Top IPA Effectiveness Award
VCCP won the 2022 IPA Effectiveness Awards Grand Prix for its Cadbury campaign ‘There’s a glass & a half in everyone’. The campaign was found to have driven a 22 percent increase in annual value sales, and contributed to overall sustained growth.

Hires of the Week

John Osborn Named Ad Net Zero US Director
Former OMD US CEO John Osborn has been appointed to lead Ad Net Zero USA. The selection follows the announcement at Cannes this summer to roll-out the zero-carbon initiative internationally. Osborn’s remit will be to build on the commitments made by the Global Group to adopt the Ad Net Zero 5-point action plan into its US businesses, the organisation said.

Mainardo de Nardis to Chair LoopMe Board
LoopMe has appointed former OMD Worldwide CEO Mainardo de Nardis to its Board of Directors as Chairman. He brings more than 30 years of media and advertising experience, having held executive positions at Omnicom Media Group, Aegis Media (Dentsu) and MEC (WPP). “At a time when brands are demanding more transparent measurement, enhanced contextual targeting, and increased advertising value, LoopMe’s outcomes-based solutions deliver,” said de Nardis.

Verve Group Appoints Evgeny Popov for International Sales
Evgeny Popov has been named EVP & GM, International Sales at Verve Group. He will oversee the ad tech firm’s demand-side business units, Verve DSP (formerly Platform161), Match2One and Moments.AI. “Evgeny has demonstrated how to develop data and technology capabilities through a customer-centric lens, something that is critical for scaling advertising demand with the best publishers possible,” said Verve Group co-CEO Sameer Sondhi.

This Week on VideoWeek

UK Seeks Open Data Relationship with US After Pledge to Scrap GDPR, read on VideoWeek

UK CTV Ad Expenditure Reached Nearly £1 Billion Last Year, Dominated by BVOD and YouTube, read on VideoWeek

TikTok Amps Up E-Commerce with US Warehouse Plans, read on VideoWeek

Netflix Signs Up to be Measured by BARB, read on VideoWeek

IGN Acquires Agency 1TwentyFour in Brand Partnership Push, read on VideoWeek

Fox Taps Innovid for Cross-Platform Measurement Across Linear and Tubi, read on VideoWeek

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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