The WIR: Publishers Hit Google with £13 Billion Lawsuit, Industry Unites to Tackle Ad Fraud, and Disney Partners with VideoAmp for Cross-Screen Measurement

Tim Cross 02 December, 2022 

In this week’s Week in Review: UK publishers sur Google, a new anti-ad fraud coalition launches, and Disney partners with VideoAmp for cross-screen measurement.

Top Stories

UK Publishers Launch £13.6 Billion Lawsuit Against Google
A group of publishers in the UK have filed a £13.6 billion lawsuit against Google, saying the tech giant has deprived them of revenues through its dominant position in ad tech. The claim is said to represent 130,000 businesses publishing around 1,750,000 websites and applications in the UK.

Humphries Kerstetter, the law firm leading the opt-out collective action claim on behalf of UK publishers, says that economic analysis produced for the claim suggests that Google’s market abuse may have reduced advertising revenues by up to 40 percent for some companies. “Google’s misconduct in this matter is well known,” said Toby Starr, a partner at the firm. “The French authorities have fined the firm and multiple investigations are underway across the globe. However, none of these regulatory actions will do anything to compensate the UK publishers of thousands of websites and mobile apps who have lost billions in advertising revenue because of Google’s actions.”

Google has dismissed the suit in a statement, describing it as “speculative and opportunistic”.

New UK Anti Ad Fraud Coalition Launches
UK Stop Ad Funded Crime, a new initiative set up by advertising professionals, policy makers, tech companies, and agencies, launched this week. The group seeks to highlight the extent of ad fraud in the UK, as well as the damage it causes. It also seeks to pool knowledge and resources across its backers, in order to make genuine progress in combating rampant ad fraud.

To do this, the group wants to first persuade the UK government to commission research into the scale of ad fraud in the UK. It then hopes to work on a clear plan of action with the UK government to reduce the amount of ad revenues ending up in criminals’ hands, and to ensure law enforcement agencies take the issue seriously and are well equipped to fight it.

OMG, Dentsu, and MAP are among those involved in the initiative.

Disney Signs Up VideoAmp for Cross-Screen Measurement
Disney has signed up VideoAmp to provide cross-screen measurement, via a new clean room integration, the two companies announced on Thursday.

VideoAmp says the integration enables joint advertisers to facilitate a direct, audience-based match using first-party data from Disney’s Audience Graph, matched with VideoAmp’s cross-platform measurement. In essence, customers of both Disney and VideoAmp will have data interoperability across the two businesses, which should help drive a more accurate understanding of campaign reach and frequency. The two say the integration will also deliver prescriptive insights for advertisers across traditional age/gender demos, advanced audiences and business outcomes to drive media optimisations.

The news comes at a time when media owners are increasingly exploring partnerships with alternative measurement companies to either bolster or work in place of standard Nielsen ratings. As VideoWeek reported earlier this year, VideoAmp is one of the major players in this space, actively positioning itself as an alternative currency for use in media trading.

The Week in Tech

Twitter Offers “Largest Advertiser Incentive Ever”
Twitter is launching its “largest advertiser incentive ever”, according to an email sent to agencies, including a pledge to match the spending of those who pay at least $500,000. The move comes as a bid by Elon Musk to lure wary advertisers back to the ailing platform. Musk also accused Apple of threatening to pull Twitter from the app store, before meeting Apple CEO Tim Cook and declaring it a “misunderstanding.”

MiQ Rolls Out Advanced TV Platform
MiQ has unveiled its Advanced TV platform, allowing advertisers to run programmatic campaigns across all linear and digital channels from a single point of access. The company said all inventory, including YouTube, is universally accessible without the need to be split into siloed channels. Meanwhile MiQ’s data modelling tool, Cohorts, combines BARB and ACR data, plus its own agnostic, cross-DSP view of programmatic audience data, to enable cross-platform targeting.

Amazon Launches New Clean Room Solution in Overhauled Ad Offering
Amazon’s cloud computing division Amazon Web Services (AWS) has unveiled an overhauled ad offering, AWS for Advertising and Marketing, which brings together new and existing features geared towards advertising from AWS and a number of major partners. One of the stars of this new initiative is AWS Clean Rooms which, as the name suggests, is a new clean room solution designed to allow multiple different companies in the digital advertiser space match up their datasets in a privacy-safe manner. Read more on VideoWeek.

Yahoo Buys 25 Percent Stake in Taboola
Yahoo this week announced it has purchased a roughly 25 percent stake in content recommendation and native ad business Taboola, showing its continued faith in ad revenues as the core of its business model. The share purchase comes as part of a wider 30 year deal which the two companies estimate will generate $1 billion in annual revenues. Taboola says the two hope to develop a “leading native advertising offering for advertisers, publishers, and merchants on the open web”. Read more on VideoWeek.

Cedara Raises $2.7 Million in Seed Funding Round
Carbon intelligence platform Cedara has raised $2.7 million in a seed funding round led by marketing software investors and executives in private equity, publishing and ad tech. The investment will accelerate the commercial rollout of Cedara’s sustainable media tools in the US, UK and international markets, the company announced. “In order to decarbonise, the media industry needs to start with data,” said Cedara CEO David Shaw. “We’re excited to scale our media solutions across the ecosystem to provide comprehensive emissions measurement and ultimately implement reduction strategies to achieve net zero in 2030.”

Meta Fined €265 Million for Mass Data Breach
Meta has been fined €265 million by the Irish Data Protection Commission (DPC), due to a data breach affecting 533 million Facebook users. The DPC launched an investigation in April 2021, after the users’ phone numbers and email addresses appeared on an online hacking forum. “Because this data set was so large, because there had been previous instances of scraping on the platform, where the issues could have been identified in a more timely way, we ultimately imposed a significant sanction,” said Data Protection Commissioner Helen Dixon.

“Legal but Harmful” Clause Dropped From Online Safety Bill
The UK Government has dropped its “legal but harmful” clause from the Online Safety Bill. The rules would have given regulators the power to force tech giants to remove “harmful” content from their platforms, but faced a backlash from the tech industry and free speech advocates. The provision will be replaced with new rules requiring companies to be transparent over content moderation. Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said the new bill was “freed from any threat that tech firms or future governments could use the laws as a licence to censor legitimate views.”

Playground xyz Brings Attention Metrics to Publicis’ APAC Clients
Playground xyz has partnered with Publicis Groupe to implement attention measurement solutions across APAC. The roll-out follows a pilot programme that suggested attention delivered better results for Publicis’ APAC clients. “The ability to measure attention meaningfully gives us an accurate perspective on effectiveness, and this is a game changer,” said Sapna Nemani, chief product & solution officer, APAC at Publicis Groupe.

ICO and Ofcom to Collaborate on Online Safety Powers
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and Ofcom have outlined plans to ensure coherence between data protection and the new online safety regimes. The announcement precedes Ofcom taking on new duties in 2023 under the Online Safety Bill. The groups intend to strengthen their alignment in order to make providers of online services comply with their obligations.

Kanye West’s Parler Acquisition Gets Cancelled
Kanye West will not buy social media platform Parler, Parlement Technologies has confirmed. The parent company announced the sale of its “free speech Twitter alternative” in October. West has since been dropped by major brands, including Adidas and Gap, over antisemitic comments. No reasons were given for the deal’s termination. “Parler will continue to pursue future opportunities for growth and the evolution of the platform for our vibrant community,” Parlement Technologies said in a statement.

The Week in TV

Amazon Interested in Salto Acquisition
Amazon has expressed interest in acquiring Salto, the French streaming service on the brink of closure, La Lettre A has reported. The move puts Amazon in further competition against Canal+, which also expressed an interest in the platform jointly operated by M6, TF1 and France Télévisions. Although Amazon already distributes the service on Prime Video in France, Canal+ is still considered the most likely candidate to acquire Salto, according to the report.

TF1 Live Adds Dual Screen Ad Formats
TF1 Live has introduced two new versions of its Dual Screen ad format. The placement is available on TV and digital, enabling marketers to deliver two complementary messages simultaneously on a single screen. Dual Screen Talk allows brands to integrate a chatbot directly into the MYTF1 player or via a QR code, while Dual Screen Social relays content from social networks. The formats join TF1’s Dual Screen Shoppable product, Dual Screen Gaming and Dual Screen AR.

AMC to Cut 20 Percent of Staff, CEO Steps Down
AMC Networks is to cut 20 percent of its US workforce following heavy subscriber losses and a 16 percent drop in quarterly sales. CEO Christina Spade also stepped down on Tuesday after three months in the role. AMC stock has fallen 40 percent this year, with pay-TV subscribers migrating to SVOD services. “It was our belief that cord-cutting losses would be offset by gains in streaming,” AMC Chairman James Dolan said in a memo to employees. “This has not been the case.”

Paramount Announces Layoffs, Launches Paramount+ in France
Paramount also announced layoffs this week, with CBS Studios and Paramount TV Studios facing cuts as the Paramount+ scripted originals team is absorbed by the latter. Digital TV Europe said there had been no indication of whether the volume of Paramount+ orders would be affected. Also this week, Paramount+ launched in France as part of carriage deals with Orange and Canal+.

Channel 4 Introduces Reality Channel on YouTube
Channel 4 has launched 4 Reality on YouTube, bringing full-length reality TV episodes, social shorts and exclusive content to the video platform. The new series of Celebs Go Dating will land on YouTube at the same time as BVOD service All 4, the company said. “Fandoms are at the heart of 4Studio’s strategies to reach and engage digital audiences, and 4 Reality is the perfect way to harness the passionate conversation already happening around some of our biggest, and most entertaining reality shows on YouTube,” added 4Studio MD Matt Risley.

WBD Content Comes to ITVX
ITV has struck an agreement with Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) International Television Distribution to bring WBD content to new BVOD service ITVX. The shows include DC’s Arrow, Gotham and Smallville, as well as The Vampire Diaries and Two and a Half Men. The deal was negotiated by ITV Head of Content Acquisitions Sasha Breslau and Controller of Acquisitions, Rights and Regulatory Jonathan Vandermeer.

Bob Iger to Prioritise Profits Over Subs at Disney
Returning Disney CEO Bob Iger will reprioritise profitability for the streaming side of the business. Iger replaced Bob Chapek last week, amid falling revenues and share prices, despite a growing subscriber base. “Instead of chasing subscriptions with aggressive marketing and aggressive spending on content, we have to start chasing profitability,” Iger told Disney employees. “In order to achieve that we have to take a very, very hard look at our cost structure across our businesses.”

Majority of SVOD Content Based on Pre-Existing IP, Finds Ampere
The majority of SVOD content was based on pre-existing intellectual property (IP) in the first half of 2022, Ampere Analysis has found. According to the study, 64 percent of programming was based on established franchises. Apple TV+ has the largest share of content based on existing IP (53 percent), with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video among the lowest miners of pre-existing stories and characters, representing around a third of their titles. The report added that while IP-based commissioning is generally high for studio-backed platforms Paramount+ and Disney+, that reliance is decreasing as they grow their international footprint.

French Watchdog Rejects Broadcasters’ Claim Against LFP Over Amazon Rights
France’s antitrust authority has rejected a claim by Canal+ and beIN Sports, accusing the French football league (LFP) of abusing its position by awarding Amazon the League 1 broadcast rights. Last year the LFP re-allocated the bulk of League 1 rights to Amazon from the Spanish broadcaster Mediapro, sparking complaints by rival bidders. But the Autorite de la Concurrence said there was not “sufficient evidence” to back the claim.

Ofcom Approves iPlayer Expansion, Investigates Provision for Low-Income Viewers
Ofcom has approved the BBC’s request to expand the iPlayer content library, citing “limited” competition ramifications. However, Ofcom argued that the service should better serve lower-income audiences, instigating a review into how the PSB connects with disenfranchised viewers. “People in lower socio-economic groups – who account for almost a quarter of the UK population – are less engaged and less satisfied with the BBC,” said the regulator.

DAZN Unveils FAST Channel in Germany
DAZN has launched a FAST channel in Germany, initially available on streaming platform The move brings the total number of FAST channels on to 75. Linear channels DAZN 1 and DAZN 2 will also be integrated into the channel list, while a combined subscription for and DAZN will be available from January 2023. 

The Week for Publishers

Pinterest Winds Down Creator Payments Programme
Social sharing platform Pinterest has announced it is winding down its creator payment programme Pinterest Creator Rewards, which launched in October last year. The initiative was launched as a way of encouraging more creation of original content on the platform, as it expanded its video capabilities. Pinterest says it is “committed to exploring more ways to help [creators] find success on Pinterest”.

Acquisitions Fuel Profit and Revenue Growth at Future
Publishing group Future Plc saw year-on-year revenue growth of 36 percent for the first nine months of 2022, with adjusted operating profits up 39 percent. The group said this growth has partly come through its acquisitive strategy, as well as its targeted expansion in the US. The company said it expects to deliver “modest profit growth” in fiscal year 2023.

Women of Colour are “Locked Out” of UK News Industry
A new report commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and produced by audience strategy consultancy AKAS has found that women of colour are “effectively invisible” in the UK news industry, and are “almost completely locked out” of editorial roles. The report said a “culture of exclusion” keeps women of colour out of top jobs, and also writes them out of stories covered by news outlets.

Digitalbox Buys The Poke
Media business Digitalbox, which owns The Daily Mash, The Tab, and Entertainment Daily, has bought humour website The Poke for an undisclosed fee. Digitalbox says the acquisition will “strengthen its position within the satire/comedy space” and make it a leading destination for online humour.

Trust in Journalism Reaches Record High, according to Ipsos Veracity
Ipsos’s annual Veracity index has found trust in journalists in the UK is at a record high, having doubled since 2020. Journalists are still among the least trusted professions, but 29 percent of those surveyed said they trust journalists to tell the truth, up from 15 percent back in 2020. Advertising executives meanwhile are the second least trusted profession at 14 percent, just above politicians at 12 percent.

Washington Post Expands its Climate Coverage
The Washington Post is bolstering its climate and environment editorial team, Digiday reported this week, as it invests in an area which it says is proving successful at attracting young readers. The team is now over 30 people strong, up from six back in 2018.

The Week For Agencies

Agencies Feel More Comfortable Being Honest with Clients, Study Finds
Agencies feel increasingly comfortable being honest with clients when it comes to performance evaluation, according to research from advertiser trade body the WFA and Decideware. Sixty-eight percent of agencies report that they’re comfortable telling clients the majority of the time what needs changing on their end, compared to 45 percent two years ago.

Wavemaker UK to Integrate Carbon Calculations into Ever Media Plan from Next Year
GroupM agency Wavemaker UK has announced it will use the GroupM Carbon Calculator in every media plan as standard from next year, with client required to opt out if they don’t want plans to be optimised for sustainability. This means that carbon emissions will be calculated on all plans, with strategies recommended for reducing or offsetting emissions.

IPA Criticises Keurig Dr Pepper’s 360 Day Payment Terms
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising has hit out at consumer products giant Keurig Dr Pepper for including 360 day payment terms in its RFP for a new US PR agency. “When I first heard this story, I thought it was fake news,” said Paul Bainsfair, director general of the IPA. “But sadly it is not which just demonstrates to me, and to others leading UK agencies, that the brazen way in which Keurig Dr Pepper has requested such payment terms shows how out of touch their corporate culture has become. Their supply chain “commitment to high standards of …ethical conduct” seems in need of an update. It is an example of virtual signalling at its very best.”

CMOs’ DEI Beliefs Don’t Match Consumers’ Perceptions, finds Dentsu
A Dentsu survey of CMOs and consumers has charted a gap between CMOs’ beliefs and consumers’ perceptions around progress on diversity and representation within advertising. Seventy percent of North American CEOs believe they’re ahead of the curve on manifesting DEI principles through their brand platforms, while only 23 percent of consumers say most brands reflect these principles.

UM Wins Moneysupermarket Media Review
IPG-owned media agency UM has won media duties for UK price comparison site Moneysupermarket, which were previously held by GroupM’s Mediacom. Publicis’ Starcom, WWP’s Wavemaker, and Goodstuff were all in contention for the account.

War of Words Between Sorrell and Sadoun
S4 Capital’s executive chairman Sir Martin Sorrell and Publicis Groupe’s CEO Arthur Sadoun had a minor war of words this week. Publicis last month announced that employees not on bonus-based pay packets would receive an extra week’s pay after strong Q3 financial results, which Sorrell claimed in an interview with Campaign was merely making up for unpaid bonuses during the pandemic. Sadoun later replied that Sorrell was “using childish make-believe stories about others to distract from the epic fall of S4 value in the last 18 months”.

Omnicom Media Group Integrates TelevisaUnivision’s Identity Graph
Omnicom Media Group has become the first media agency to integrate Spanish language broadcaster TelevisaUnivision’s household data graph for targeting. The identity graph will be integrated into OMG’s own Omni ID solution, with data matched up via a data clean room.

Hires of the Week

Dentsu Hires EA’s Brent Koning as Gaming Lead
Dentsu has appointed former Electronic Arts (EA) exec Brent Koning as its EVP global gaming lead. Koning has two decades of experience in the games industry, most recently as VP of esports at EA. “Not only has he partnered with some of the world’s biggest publishers in EA and Xbox, he also has valuable experience working with global brands and delivering marketing solutions,” said Masaya Nakamura, chief integrated solutions officer at Dentsu.

Gill Whitehead to Oversee Ofcom’s Online Safety Powers
Former Google executive Gill Whitehead has joined Ofcom to oversee its new online safety duties. She will lead Ofcom’s Online Safety Group from April 2023, reporting to Chief Executive Dame Melanie Dawes. Whitehead joins from the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum (DRCF) where she led the collective digital expertise of the four member regulators: Ofcom, ICO, FCA and CMA.

Marisa Thomas Named Good-Loop CMO
Good-Loop has named Marisa Thomas as its new CMO. Thomas previously served as Head of Brand at Bloom & Wild, where she headed up the flower company’s Thoughtful Marketing Movement, having held senior marketing roles at The New York Times and digital agency Organic.

This Week on VideoWeek

Yahoo Buys 25 Percent Stake in Taboola, read on VideoWeek

A Bleak Midwinter: Why Advertisers Are Checking Plans Twice This Christmas, read on VideoWeek

FAST Services Can Match Social Media’s Ability to Tap into Niche Audiences, read on VideoWeek

Amazon Launches New Clean Room Solution in Overhauled Ad Offering, read on VideoWeek

ASA Finds Alcohol, Gambling Ads Served to Children on Social Media, read on VideoWeek

Ad of the Week

Posten, Father Christmas and Mother Earth, Pol

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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