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The WIR: Channel 4 Launches New Digital-First Brand, Snapchat Signals Further Advertiser Pullback, and Uber Announces Video Ad Plans

Tim Cross 21 October, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: Snapchat has another difficult quarter, Channel 4 launches a digital first brand, and Uber expands its ad offering.

Top Stories

Channel 4 Launches Digital-First Brand Channel 4.0
UK broadcaster Channel 4 on Thursday announced the launch of Channel 4.0, a new digital-first brand which will distribute original content across YouTube and other social platforms. The content is aimed specifically at 16-24 years olds, and will feature a range of creators already popular on social platforms including Chunkz, Nella Rose, Alhan Gençay, Spuddz, Mist and Dreya Mac.

“Channel 4.0 marks a new era for Channel 4 and is another significant piece of the Future4 strategy,” said Channel 4’s head of digital commissioning Sacha Khari. “Not only will Channel 4.0 be a place where established stars come to spread joy, genius and a bit of chaos, we’ll be scouting for the next generation of talent – creating opportunity both in front and behind the camera.”

Snap Q3 Results Signal Further Advertising Pullback
Snap saw further slowdown in its Q3 earnings, signalling continued advertising pullback from Snapchat. The firm reported approximately 9 percent growth for Q3, sending its shares down more than 27 percent. The results follow a disappointing Q2 for the business, which led to 20 percent staff reductions, the cancellation of its “Pixy” selfie drone product, and the end of Snap Originals. Along with macroeconomic conditions, Snap pointed to Apple’s privacy changes as a limiting factor on its campaigns.

“Our revenue growth continued to decelerate in Q3 and continues to be impacted by a number of factors we have noted throughout the past year, including platform policy changes, macroeconomic headwinds, and increased competition,” Snap told investors. “We are finding that our advertising partners across many industries are decreasing their marketing budgets.” The camera and social media company declined to provide guidance for Q4, marking its second consecutive quarter without offering a forecast.

Uber Opens Ad Division with Focus on Video Ads
Ride hailing app Uber has made a long awaited expansion of its ad offering, opening up a dedicated ad division and unveiling a new video ad offering.

Uber’s ‘Journey Ads’ will be displayed in-app while a user is booking a journey and waiting for their driver to arrive. In some cases, these ads may be tied in with another new video ad offering which is being trialled on in-car tablets. These in-car ads are currently being trialled in Los Angeles and San Francisco, with plans to roll them out further.

Uber already runs ads within its app and through email, but Uber hopes the new offering will attract a wider range of businesses. The essential idea is that shops, bars, and other businesses will be able to target ads at people who are due to arrive nearby. “While these consumers are making purchase decisions and waiting for their destination or delivery we can engage them with messages from brands that are relevant to their purchase journeys,” said Mark Grether, general manager of Uber’s ads division.

The Week in Tech

UK Regulator Orders Meta to Sell Giphy
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has ordered Meta to sell Giphy, following a tribunal into the takeover’s impact on the display advertising market. The Facebook owner appealed last year’s decision which reached the same conclusion; that the deal would deny or limit access to GIFs on non-Meta platforms. The watchdog noted that Meta terminated Giphy’s advertising services upon acquisition. “The CMA considers this particularly concerning given Meta controls almost half of the £7 billion display advertising market in the UK,” the regulator said.

IAB UK Introduces Gold Standard 2.1 for Supply Chain Transparency
IAB UK on Wednesday announced the launch of Gold Standard 2.1, a digital advertising framework designed to improve supply chain transparency. First launched in 2017, the Gold Standard aims to address ad fraud, brand safety and ad bombardment, the trade group explained. The new criteria incorporates IAB Tech Labs’ Buyers.json, DemandChain Object, Open Measurement SDK (OMSDK) and ads.txt 1.1. ISBA, AA and IPA have backed the certification.

YouTube Adds New CTV Offering, Expands Product Feeds
YouTube has unveiled a CTV offering called Moment Blast, giving advertisers access to YouTube Select content on connected TVs. The video sharing platform also rolled-out its product feeds to Discovery ads, enabling marketers to scale their social media creative. “Advertisers can already use product feeds on YouTube, which turns ads into a virtual storefront,” the company said in a blog post. “We’ve recently expanded product feeds to Shorts and found that, on average, Video action campaigns with product feeds saw an over 70 percent increase in conversions on Shorts over those without product feeds.” 

Ofcom Urges Stronger Age Restrictions on Adult Sites
Most UK adult sites fail to stop children from accessing pornography, Ofcom has found. While OnlyFans has introduced age verification protocols, smaller UK-based adult video-sharing platforms (VSPs) lack adequate protections, the watchdog argued. “Over the next year, adult sites that we already regulate must have in place a clear roadmap to implementing robust age verification measures,” Ofcom said. “If they don’t, they could face enforcement action.” The regulator added that the forthcoming Online Safety Bill will widen its powers in this field.

Kanye West to Purchase Parler
Kanye West has agreed to buy “free speech” social media platform Parler, parent company Parlement Technologies announced on Tuesday. The move follows the rapper’s suspension from Twitter and Instagram after a series of antisemitic posts. The deal is expected to close in Q4 2022, but financial terms were not disclosed. Parlement Technologies has raised about $56 million to date, according to Reuters.

Snowflake Invests in OpenAP
Data cloud company Snowflake has invested in advanced advertising platform OpenAP, in order to accelerate the development of the OpenAP Data Hub clean room. Snowflake becomes the first non-TV publisher to join the group. “The publishers have put significant resources into allowing their data to unlock new cross-platform use cases for advertisers and the partnership with Snowflake is a critical step forward in giving us the scale needed to build the foundation in which all cross-platform targeting and measurement will be done in the future,” said OpenAP CEO David Levy.

The Week in TV

Viaplay Announces UK Launch, Winter Sports Rights
Nordic streaming service Viaplay will launch in the UK on 1st November. The SVOD platform is available as a Total offering and a cheaper package without sport. Also this week, the company acquired the exclusive Swedish live rights to all FIS World Cup winter sports competitions held in Austria for the next five years. Viaplay already held the rights to international FIS World Cup events in other Nordic countries.

Netflix Adds 2.4 Million Subscribers in Q3
Even as streaming churn rates rose in the UK, Netflix added 2.4 million members globally during Q3, more than double its expectations of one million new subscribers. The uptick was credited to high-profile releases including Stranger Things and Dahmer — Monster, and saw Netflix shares rise more than 15 percent. The results came as a relief to the streaming giant following a loss-heavy Q2 that sent shares plummeting. “Thank god we’re done with shrinking quarters,” said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Murdoch Proposes Fox/News Corp Merger
Rupert Murdoch this week proposed merging Fox with News Corp, in an all-stock deal that would reunite the Fox News group with the The Wall Street Journal publisher. The media mogul split his empire into separate entities in 2013, arguing they would be “better managed” independently. But intensifying competition from tech giants and increasing consolidation in the industry has made Murdoch seek greater scale, according to people familiar with the matter. 

ITV Considers ITV Studios Sale
ITV could sell a stake in its production arm ITV Studios, having fielded expressions of interest in the company behind Love Island and Bodyguard. The move could help the commercial broadcaster shore up its assets amid an uncertain advertising environment. Analysts at Citi estimated that ITV Studios could be worth £3 billion – more than ITV’s market capitalisation. The broadcaster said its board “continuously reviews opportunities to increase shareholder value, however we don’t comment on speculation.”

One Million British Households Cancel Streaming Services
Almost one million British households have cancelled their streaming subscriptions this year in order to save money, Kantar revealed on Monday. The number of UK homes paying for at least one SVOD service has fallen by 937,000 in 2022 so far, despite the release of mega-budget shows Rings of Power and House of the Dragon. “The most recent quarter saw two of the most anticipated releases of the year, they ranked as the top two most enjoyed pieces of SVOD during the period, and yet we still saw a continuation of the negative trend of the market getting smaller,” said Dominic Sunnebo, global insight director at Kantar Worldpanel.

MediaForEurope Denies Dismissing Mediaset España CEO
MediaForEurope (MFE) has denied rumours that it dismissed Mediaset España CEO Paolo Vasile. Spanish outlets speculated that MFE management had stripped Vasile of power weeks ahead of his departure, after 23 years in the role. “No ousting of Paolo Vasile as CEO is underway,” an MFE spokesperson told Reuters. The Italian media group completed its takeover of Mediaset España in July.

BT Sport Reassures Markets Over Warner Bros. Discovery JV
BT Sport on Tuesday offered financial guidance on the impact of its joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery’s Eurosport UK. BT said transferring revenues to the JV will reduce its 2023 revenue by £300-350 million, but expects sustainable revenue growth for the next year. BT added that its sports rights would be transferred to the JV. “By bringing together the sports content offering of both BT Sport and Eurosport UK, the JV will have one of the most extensive portfolios of premium sports,” BT claimed.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Youlook, Vivaldi in Europe
Samsung TV Plus has added FAST service Youlook to its platform in Sweden, rolling out seven channels in the coming months. Meanwhile classical music channel Vivaldi launched on the platform in Spain and Italy. “As part of our commitment to delivering high-quality entertaining and informative content to our consumers, we are very pleased to partner with Thema, a Canal+ Group Company, to bring the best classical music to our viewers in Spain and Italy,” said Ana Izquierdo Lowry, country manager business development Iberia at Samsung TV Plus.

The Week for Publishers

The Week For Agencies

Marketing Budgets are Under Heavy Scrutiny says WFA
Brands’ marketing budgets are coming under heavy scrutiny from finance directors as businesses seek to keep a handle on costs, according to research from the World Federation of Advertisers and Ebiquity. Three quarters of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that their marketing budgets are “under heavy scrutiny”. However, while around a third expect to cut marketing budgets next year, another third expect an increase.

P&G Cuts Ad Spend
FMCG business P&G said in its quarterly financial results this week that it cut its absolute ad spend in the most recent quarter. The brand said it is moving more of its ad spend to digital channels, as it seeks more efficient reach at a managed frequency – over fifty percent of P&G’s ad spend is now allocated to digital media.

Magna Calls on Platforms to Improve Sustainability and Data Ethics
IPG-owned media agency Magna this week released its latest Media Responsibility Index, which charts digital platforms’ progress in reducing harms on social platforms. Magna executives said that while platforms by and large are making progress on the four areas the MRI measures – safety, inclusivity, sustainability, and data ethics – the most work still needs to be done around the latter two categories, according to AdExchanger.

EssenceMediacom Retains Tesco Account
WPP-owned media agency EssenceMediacom has retained Tesco’s media planning and buying business, after a competitive review which also included Publicis’ Zenith.

Next 15 Gets Regulatory Approval for M&C Saatchi Takeover
Next 15 this week received regulatory approval for its proposed merger with M&C Saatchi, signalling that the end may be in sight for the protracted takeover saga. Rival suitor AdvancedAdvT has failed to win enough shareholder support for its own takeover attempt, further clearing the way for Next15’s deal.

Havas Boost Invests in Ambessa Play
Havas Boost, an initiative from Havas Media which invests in UK-based media and tech startups which are BAME-owned, this week announced its first investment in Ambessa Play. Ambessa Play creates educational STEM kits and workshops which are both sold and donated to displaced children.

Hires of the Week

Accenture Song Appoints Europe CCO
Accenture’s advertising division Accenture Song has appointed Adam Kerj as its first chief creative officer for Europe. Kerj has previously held CCO roles at McCann Worldgroup, JWT, and 360i.

LG Ads Appoints Ryan Afshar as Head of Publisher Development in Europe
LG Ads Solutions has hired Ryan Afshar as its new head of publisher development for Europe, following the opening of LG Ads’ office in London. Afshar joins from LiveRamp, where he was head of addressability for the UK.

This Week on VideoWeek

The Pieces are in Place for HbbTV-Powered Addressable Advertising in the UK, read on VideoWeek

The Problem with Disney+’s and Netflix’s Advertising Plans, read on VideoWeek

Omnicom Raises Growth Forecast After Strong Q3, read on VideoWeek

Video Weathers Stormy Ad Environment in IPA Bellwether Report, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Winaman, The Ball of Yarn, TBWA\Paris

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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