The WIR: Netflix Joins the Upfronts, The Trade Desk Launches a First-Party Data Hub, and Publishers Report Worries for 2023

Tim Cross 13 January, 2023 

In this week’s Week in Review: Netflix joins the Upfronts, The Trade Desk announces Galileo, and Reuters Institutes reports publishers’ financial concerns.

Top Stories

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

Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone Plan Advertising ID Joint Venture
A filing with the European Commission shows that European telcos Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone are planning to launch a new ad tech joint venture, which will operate a privacy-led ad ID solution based on their own first-party data sets. According to the filing, the joint venture would manage “a secure, pseudonymised token derived from a hashed/encrypted pseudonymous internal identity linked to a user’s network subscription which will be provided by participating network operators”. Read more on VideoWeek.

Belgium’s DPA Approves IAB Europe’s Action Plan for the Transparency and Consent Framework
Belgium’s Data Protection Authority on Thursday announced that it has approved IAB Europe’s action plan for the Transparency and Consent Framework, a technical infrastructure used for collecting and sending user consent for use of their personal data in digital advertising. The DPA gave IAB Europe a limited window to develop an action plan after it ruled last February that the TCF doesn’t comply with the General Data Protection Regulation. Theoretically, now that the action plan has been approved, IAB Europe will go about addressing the DPA’s concerns – though the true consequences aren’t too clear. Read more on VideoWeek.

Amagi Opens Croatian R&D Hub as FAST Gains Ground in Europe
FAST continues to outpace industry predictions, SaaS specialist Amagi found this week, revealing that ad impressions increased by 99.97 percent in Q3 2022 compared to Q3 2021 in Europe. The report added that CTV coverage in Western Europe is gaining on the US, at 70 percent and 80 percent respectively. Also this week, Amagi announced the opening of its first European R&D hub in Croatia, enhancing its technical support capabilities for European customers. “With a dedicated R&D center in Croatia, we will now be closer to our European customers and will be able to offer them technology support in real time,” said Amagi CEO and co-founder Baskar Subramanian.

TikTok Offers EU Reassurance on Security Concerns
TikTok executives met EU officials on Tuesday to discuss regulatory compliance, a sticking point for the social media company that recently admitted to spying on journalists via its app. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew said the firm was committed to complying with the Digital Services Act, which will require social media giants to stamp out illegal or harmful content. “I count on TikTok to fully execute its commitments to go the extra mile in respecting EU law and regaining trust of European regulators,” said Vera Jourova, European Commissioner for Values and Transparency.

Seattle Schools Sue Big Tech for Harming Students’ Mental Health
Seattle’s public school district this week filed a lawsuit against Google, Meta, Snap and TikTok, calling them responsible for a mental health crisis among students. “Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” said the filing. It noted the extra strain on school resources caused by the crisis, including the creation of materials to warn students about the dangers of social media.

Origin Requests TV Spot Records for Cross-Media Measurement
ISBA has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for the provision of independent commercial TV spot records, to be used within the cross-media measurement system Origin. The RFP asks for campaign laydowns, metadata and ID services for over 150 TV channels, for the purpose of measuring TV campaign exposures. A subsequent RFP will seek an industry Ad-ID harmonisation initiative, linking TV campaign IDs with the same campaigns across media channels.

Meta Starts Work on Improving Equity of Housing Ads
Meta has started implementing technology intended to improve the equity of housing advertising on Facebook, the company said on Monday. The efforts form part of a settlement with the Justice Department over accusations of discrimination in Meta’s targeting of housing ads. The new Variance Reduction System uses machine learning technology to serve relevant audiences, rather than targeting based on race, gender or religion. “This development marks a pivotal step in the Justice Department’s efforts to hold Meta accountable for unlawful algorithmic bias and discriminatory ad delivery on its platforms,” said Kristen Clarke, Assistant AG for Civil Rights.

Advertisers Flock to Cheaper Rates on TikTok
TikTok is offering cheaper advertising rates than its rivals and reaping the benefits, the FT reported on Tuesday. As digital ad spend slows, advertisers are migrating from Meta and Twitter to the Chinese firm, whose platform reportedly offers lower costs and better levels of engagement. According to VaynerMedia, TikTok’s CPI for video advertising is almost half the price of Instagram Reels and a third cheaper than Twitter. “So many of our brand partners … used to be 100 percent Instagram,” said Permele Doyle, founder and president of creative agency Billion Dollar Boy. “Now for 2023, we’re seeing 80 or 100 percent TikTok.”

Google Pushes for Antitrust Lawsuit to be Tossed Out
Google has argued that a Justice Department lawsuit against it be thrown out over lack of evidence. The suit alleges that agreements with Apple and other smartphone makers to make Google the default search engine on their devices harms competition. Google claims that these agreements do not bar the manufacturers from promoting rival search engines. “Requiring Google not to compete vigorously — or requiring browser developers to alter their product designs and provide a worse experience for their customers — would turn competition law on its head,” it said.

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.

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

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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