In this week’s Week in Review: Netflix joins the Upfronts, The Trade Desk announces Galileo, and Reuters Institutes reports publishers’ financial concerns.
Netflix Joins Upfronts, Claims a “Broad Swath” of Advertisers
Netflix is “pleased with the growth” of its new ad tier, worldwide advertising president Jeremi Gorman told Variety’s Entertainment Summit at CES. She declined to provide numbers but claimed a “broad swath” of advertisers are involved, including consumer packaged goods, automotive, retail and luxury brands. While currently only serving 15- and 30-second ads, Netflix plans to broaden its offering, introduce single-show sponsorships and add the ability to target ads based on demographic data. “We did launch with MVP [minimum viable product],” added Gorman.
The company also intends to host its first ever upfronts event this year, the streamer told AdWeek on Thursday, taking the spot vacated by Paramount last month. The switch-up reflects the shift of ad dollars from traditional TV to streaming and digital, following in YouTube’s footsteps, which joined the upfronts fray last year. Meanwhile, Netflix revealed it will show the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards from 2024 as part of its foray into live streaming. Coupled with its upcoming Chris Rock special, the announcement has rekindled speculation that Netflix will pursue live sports, having claimed last month not to be interested in “dramatically expensive” sports rights.
The Trade Desk Launches First-Party Data Hub ‘Galileo’
Demand-side platform The Trade Desk has launched a first-party data hub called Galileo, designed to help marketers activate against their data sets without third-party cookies. Unveiled at CES, Galileo enables advertisers to upload their first-party data into the hub and target audiences using Unified ID 2.0, which “the majority” of the firm’s partners have apparently embraced.
Rather than introducing new tech, Galileo is said to centralise the DSP’s existing capabilities into a single hub, instead of carrying out each process separately. These include onboarding data, frequency capping and layering on additional data sets for measurement. The system will therefore simplify the buying process in a post-cookie open internet, according to the company.
“With most walled gardens’ onboarding proposals, advertisers do not get a transparent view of how their data is performing, and therefore how their campaigns are performing,” said The Trade Desk CSO Samantha Jacobson. “Galileo and Unified ID 2.0 remove this obstacle and allow advertisers to optimise their data across all digital advertising channels with granular reporting on data performance.”
Reach Plans Jobs Cuts as Digital Ad Revenues Dip
UK news publisher Reach posted a trading update this week showing a dip in digital ad revenues during Q4, which fell by 5.9 percent during the quarter. The company said this was due to “a significantly lower than anticipated benefit from traditionally stronger programmatic yields and campaign spend around Black Friday and Christmas, which has affected the whole sector”. Reach has planned around 200 job cuts as a cost savings measure in response to the tough economic conditions.
CEO Jim Mullen however pointed to page view growth and the company’s progress on US expansion as positive signs for the future. “Page view growth for the year of four percent is outperforming the publishing sector, our registered customer base of 12.5m is now 25 percent of our UK audience and with the expansion of our footprint in the US, we’re confident that this will drive more sustainable growth for the long term,” said Mullen.
The Week in Tech
The Week in TV
Roku Hits 70 Million Active Users
Roku has reached 70 million active accounts globally, according to the company, a 4.6 million increase on Q3 2022. Meanwhile its streaming hours rose 19 percent YoY to hit 87.4 billion in 2022. The announcement comes days after the streaming provider unveiled its own line of smart TVs at CES. “As consumers continue the shift to TV streaming, we’re excited that a growing number of people are taking the journey with Roku, and we’re proud to reach this meaningful milestone today,” said Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood.
GB News Struggles for Viewers, Staff and Advertisers
GB News continues to struggle for viewers, staff and advertisers, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. According to BARB, the channel reached 2.5 million viewers in November, slightly ahead of Murdoch’s Talk TV but far behind Sky News (8.6 million) and BBC News (11.2 million). The business seeks to overcome its advertiser boycott with a banner on its website urging brands to “reconsider GB News”, after IKEA and Kopparberg pulled out in 2021. Sky still has a commercial relationship with the channel, the report noted. Meanwhile, at least five executive producers are among the staff due to leave or already out the door. The broadcaster is also facing two Ofcom investigations into its coverage of vaccine safety, with a third under consideration.
We have opened an investigation into GB News’ Mark Steyn programme aired on 4 October 2022 at 20:00.
— Ofcom (@Ofcom) October 12, 2022
DAZN Scores Over $2 Billion in 2022 Revenues
Sports streaming company DAZN Group became the highest-grossing sports app in 2022, according to its Annual Review published this week. DAZN revenues totalled $2.3 billion last year, representing 70 percent growth YoY. The service claims to reach 15 million paying subscribers, on more than 130 million connected devices. As well as its own dedicated app, 100 million users watch DAZN on YouTube, the report noted. A total 1.2 billion hours were streamed in 2022, alongside 8 billion social media impressions. Read more on VideoWeek.
Canal Plus Finalises Takeover of Orange’s TV Channels and Production Studio
French TV business Canal+ announced this week that it has finalised a deal to buy OCS, a TV business owned by French telco Orange, as well as Orange’s production unit Orange Studio. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. OCS, previously known as Orange Cinéma Séries, launched in 2008 as Orange’s big play in French pay TV. The service, which was initially exclusive to Orange TV but has since been made available through other major French TV providers, runs three film-focussed pay TV channels, as well as a streaming business. Read more on VideoWeek.
OpenAP, VAB and Broadcasters Form Video Currency JIC
US broadcasting consortium OpenAP has joined Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, Warner Bros. Discovery and the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) to form a new Joint Industry Committee (JIC) ahead of the 2024 upfronts. The JIC will enable multiple currencies to create a measurement certification process, which will be used to establish the suitability of emerging cross-platform measurement solutions. “The sustainability of the premium video advertising model depends on an ecosystem for measurement that is transparent, independent, inclusive, and accurately reflects the way all people consume premium video content today – across multiple screens, connections, and devices,” the members said in a joint statement.
HBO Max Announces First Price Increase
HBO Max is upping the price of its ad-free tier, as its owner Warner Bros. Discovery seeks to recoup profits lost to advertising pullback, subscriber slowdown and merger costs. The monthly fee in the US will rise almost 7 percent to reach $15.99, marking the first price hike since the launch of HBO Max in 2020. The SVOD service is due to merge with Discovery+ this Spring.
TF1 Sub-Licenses Rugby World Cup to France Télévisions, M6
TF1 will sub-license 28 Rugby World Cup matches to France Télévisions and M6 for the 2023 tournament held in France. The broadcaster said the deal allows all French viewers to watch the entire World Cup free of charge. The games will be split between TF1 (20 matches), M6 (18) and France Télévisions (10), starting on 8th September when France take on New Zealand at the Stade de France. TF1 will air the Final on 28th October.
SkyShowtime Acquires Local Content from WBD
Following its launch in the Nordics, SkyShowtime has struck a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery to obtain exclusive European rights for 21 local series. As well as HBO Max shows already popular in the region, the agreement includes three new series that will be branded SkyShowtime Originals. “This is a landmark deal for SkyShowtime, giving us an immediate foothold in the original programming space well ahead of plan,” said SkyShowtime CEO Monty Sarhan.
DAZN Pledges Improvements and Reimbursements in Italy
DAZN has agreed to take urgent steps to improve its service in Italy, after complaints about technical disruptions during Serie A broadcasts led to intervention by politicians. Following a meeting with government ministers, DAZN executives confirmed the company would offer refunds to affected customers. “It was confirmed that the company is willing to invest in improving the service, to place a technical operational structure in Italy and to directly reimburse all users who have experienced service disruption,” Industry Minister Adolfo Urso said on Twitter.
FACT and UK Police Target Illegal Streaming Consumers
The Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) and UK police this week launched an anti-piracy drive, serving notices to consumers of illegal streaming services. Over 1,000 individuals have been identified so far following raids by West Mercia Police, targeting a UK-based illegal outfit supplying entertainment and sports content via modified boxes, firesticks and subscriptions. “Accessing films, TV series and live sports events from unauthorised sources is illegal, can expose consumers to risks such as data theft and malware, and can help fund organised criminal groups,” said DCI Gary Robinson, head of the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU).
Joyn joins FAST with 16 Channels
German streaming service Joyn has launched 16 new FAST channels, across genres including true crime, action films and supernatural series. The ProSiebenSat.1-owned company plans to expand its 24/7 proposition in the coming months. “FAST is the buzzword of the year in the media industry,” said Joyn CEO Tassilo Raesig said. “With our new thematic streams, we are now taking the first step towards Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV for Joyn and paving the way for new ad-financed offers on demand. We are also offering our users easier access to content.”
The Week for Publishers
Politico Plans Expansions in US and Europe
Axel Springer-owned current affairs publication Politico is planning expansions in both the US and Europe by growing out its coverage outside of the very biggest legislative centres, Reuters reported this week. In the US, Politico will look to grow its reporting on state-level politics, CEO Goli Sheikholeslami told Axel Springer’s internal podcast, since more decision making is happening outside of Washington. In Europe, the publisher will grow its coverage outside of Brussels, eyeing up expansions in the UK, France, and Germany.
Publishers Report Lack of Confidence Over Year Ahead
Less than half of all leaders working for publishers say they feel confident about their company’s business prospects for the year ahead, according to a survey carried out by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. While 44 percent said they feel confident, the majority responded they were either not confident (19 percent) or neither confident nor unconfident (37 percent).
Vice Begins Selling Ads on Twitch
Vice has agreed a deal to begin co-selling ad space on Twitch alongside Twitter’s own sales team, Digiday reported this week. Vice will start by selling pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll ad space on its Refinery29 channel, as well as branded content and product placement. Live shopping and e-commerce are also being explored in partnership with Twitch.
National World Acquires Scoop Dragon and News Chain
UK local publishing group National World, this week announced two new publisher acquisitions: Scoop Dragon and News Chain. Scoop Dragon runs 49 club-specific news sites covering the English Premier League as well as a number of Championship, MLS, and Scottish Premier League clubs. News Chain meanwhile is a video-first news site, which also runs World of Women’s Sport.
BBC News was UK’s Most Downloaded News App Last Year
The BBC News app was the most downloaded news app in the UK last year, according to data from Sensor Tower analysed by Press Gazette. The BBC News app was downloaded over 908,000 times in total between January and February last year, beating out the Sky News app with 607,000 downloads. Opera News, a news aggregator app, came in third with 332,000 downloads.
YouGov Pegs Podcasts as Major Media Growth Opportunity This Year
Market research business YouGov’s latest Global Media Outlook Report picks out podcasting as a major opportunity for media businesses, given that audiences expect to spend more time listening to podcasts this year. Thirteen percent of respondents said they expect to spend more time listening to podcasts this year, compared to six percent who expect to spend less time. This is the biggest net gain for any media listed by YouGov.
Twitter Alternative Post Signs USA Today as First Major Publishing Partner
Post, a Twitter-rivalling social network launched by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin, has signed up USA Today as its first major publisher partner. One of Post’s aims is to allow publishers to distribute their content via a pay-as-you-go model, whereby users pay small sums to read specific articles. It currently costs the equivalent of one US cent to read a USA Today article in the platform without ads, though this cost may go up in the near future.
The Week For Agencies
S&P Global Expects US Spending on TV Advertising to Drop by 8.2 Percent
Market intelligence business S&P Global reported this week that it expects US TV advertising spend to fall by 8.2 percent this year, as tough economic conditions threaten to induce further cord cutting and weaken advertising demand. Local TV is expected to be hardest hit, with S&P forecasting an 18.8 percent drop, due in large part to high local spending on political advertising last year.
US Ad Market Cut 3,500 Jobs in December
Overall US employment in advertising, public relations, and related services fell by 3,500 jobs in December, according to AdAge’s analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in the sector has fallen during three of the past four months, despite growth in the overall labour market.
Dentsu X Wins Global Media Duties McCormick & Company
Denstu X has won an expanded remit with food industry giant McCormick & Company, being named the brand’s agency of record after a review. Dentsu was already handling media duties for McCormick in select markets, and will now also cover Europe, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
WFA Sourcing Board Sets New Goals
The World Federation of Advertisers’ Sourcing Board, which sets guidelines and best practices for marketing procurement, has reset its goals with a series of new initiatives that it hopes will help procurement practitioners drive efficiency, effectiveness, and delivery. The board says a key element for 2023 will be looking at agency and supplier diversity, with a view to creating a guide to best practice in procurement’s role in boosting diversity and creating opportunity for diverse-owned media supply.
GroupM’s Finecast Expands to Poland
GroupM’s addressable TV unit Finecast has launched in Poland, the agency announced this week. The new unit will be lead by Maciej Olenderczyk, who prior to this role was working for fellow GroupM business Wavemaker.
H&M Trials Metaverse Marketing with ‘Looptopia’
Global fashion retailer H&M has launched a metaverse activation within popular game Roblox called ‘Looptopia’, created in partnership with metaverse studio Dubit. Looptopia will let Roblox players create and trade virtual garments within Roblox, as well as hosting minigames and virtual fashion shows.
Saatchi & Saatchi Calls for Government Investment in Creativity
UK-based agency Saatchi & Saatchi is calling on Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to invest more in creativity in schools, following the government’s announcement that it plans to make maths compulsory in schools up to age 18. The creativity agency drove a van around Westminster bearing the slogan “Investing in creativity isn’t double maths”, a reference to the proposed policy. “It’s vital that we are also able to prioritise and fund creativity at school level to ensure the next generation of brilliant thinkers, makers and fixers are aware of and excited by the careers and opportunities that the creative industries offer,” said Sarah Jenkins, MD of Saatchi & Saatchi UK.
Hires of the Week
Paolo Stucchi Picked as Dentsu’s CEO for EMEA Media
Paolo Stucchi has been selected to lead Dentsu’s EMEA media division, taking over from Thomas Le Thierry. Stucchi steps up from his previous role as CEO of Southern Europe.
Ogury Names Geoffroy Martin as CEO
Ad tech business Ogury has named Geoffroy Martin as its new CEO, replacing Thomas Pasquet who will transition to chairman of the board. Martin was previously Ogury’s COO, and before that worked for Criteo as general manager and EVP of growth portfolio.
RTL Deutschland Hires Inga Leschek as Programming Chief
RTL Deutschland has taken on Inga Leschek, previously Netflix’s direct of non-fiction programming for DACH and CEE, as its new programming chief for RTL and its streaming service RTL+.
Good-Loop Promotes Julia Hitchman CCO
Julia Hitchman has been chosen by purpose-led ad tech company Good-Loop as its chief commercial officer, a promotion from her previous role as head of brand and agency partnerships. Hitchman’s appointment comes as Good-Loop focuses on expanding its US presence.
Nano Interactive Appoints Hannah O’Neill as VP of Programmatic Demand
Ad tech business Nano Interactive has hired Hannah O’Neill as its new VP of programmatic demand. Hannah is tasked with continuing to build on Nano’s growth in 2022 with a specific focus on its agency partnerships. She will be playing a lead role in the adoption of Nano’s LIIFT solution as a platform, especially accelerating the growth of its self-serve and data-only revenue lines.
This Week on VideoWeek
Canal Plus Finalises Takeover of Orange’s TV Channels and Production Studio, read on VideoWeek
Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone Plan Advertising ID Joint Venture, read on VideoWeek
Meta Limits Options for Targeted Advertising to Teenagers, read of VideoWeek
Belgium’s DPA Approves IAB Europe’s Action Plan for the Transparency and Consent Framework, read on VideoWeek
DAZN Scores Over $2 Billion in 2022 Revenues, read on VideoWeek
Ad of the Week
Apple, Action Mode