In this week’s Week in Review: French streaming service Salto is set to close down, IAB Tech Lab announces a new decarbonisation initiative, and Disney reveals plans to bring Hulu’s targeting capabilities to Disney+.
Salto Set to Close as France TV Pulls Out
Salto, a joint streaming venture launched by French broadcasters TF1, M6, and France Télévisions in 2020, is set to close down after France Télévisions confirmed it is withdrawing from the business.
Salto was launched as France’s answer to Netflix; uniting the best of French TV from the three major broadcasters into one paid platform. But Salto faced a number of significant barriers along the way, including struggles over distribution deals with telcos, and disagreements over strategy.
When TF1 and M6 announced their plans to merge, it looked like Salto might form the bedrock of the unified company’s streaming push as France TV announced plans to pull out. But that merger collapsed due to concerns from France’s competition authority, leaving Salto’s fate uncertain.
Last Friday after an internal meeting, France TV CEO Delphine Ernotte confirmed the broadcaster’s plans to withdraw. The other two broadcasters will shutter the company unless a buyer can be found, according to Les Echos.
IAB Tech Lab Launches Initiative to Decarbonise Programmatic Trades
IAB Tech Lab this week launched the Green Supply Path Initiative at its annual leadership meeting, which is designed to support the ad industry in meaningfully cutting carbon from programmatic transactions via supply-path optimisation.
The project, which is a collaboration between Tech Lab, supply chain carbon measurement company Scope3 and sustainability coalition Ad Net Zero, will create a standard for sharing data on carbon emissions through programmatic supply chains. Tech Lab will work with Scope3 and Ad Net Zero to figure out a standard for quantifying carbon emissions across ad tech vendors. A framework will then be established for how these figures are transmitted between agencies, publishers, and ad tech partners. This will enable the creation of tools which let businesses enforce their own policies on carbon emissions, by ensuring they’re working with carbon-efficient supply paths.
“Programmatic advertising, like any other economic activity, contributes to global carbon emissions, which many brands have committed to reducing but lack meaningful ways to benchmark or enforce programmatically,” said Anthony Katsur, CEO of IAB Tech Lab. “As the global technical standard-setting body for the digital advertising ecosystem, Tech Lab’s goal is to provide the information and mechanism to send and receive signals pertaining to carbon emissions programmatically. We believe this is a critical step in moving the industry towards a green future.”
Disney+ to Get Hulu’s Targeting, Signs Up Alternative Currencies
Disney Advertising plans to roll out Hulu’s ad targeting capabilities to Disney+, the company revealed at its annual Tech and Data Showcase on Wednesday. The full suite of tools is expected to become available in April, enabling targeting by age, gender and geo-location.
“The past few years we have been focused on building a complete, proprietary ad server for the entire Walt Disney Company,” said Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution CTO Aaron LaBerge. “This gives us control over how we deliver ads, how we insert ads, formats of ads we use, how we integrate with programmatic networks, which really just gives us the complete flexibility to reimagine how we want to sell in the future. That Ad server is now powering Hulu and is at the heart of the ads on Disney+.”
Also at the showcase, Disney announced measurement partnerships with EDO and Samba TV, adding to its use of alternative currencies ahead of upfronts season. The company additionally signed a two-year extension on its deal with Magnite, the SSP that Disney already uses for Hulu. “The new deal increases the scale of our partnership across CTV, mobile, web and podcasting, as well as unlocks new capabilities around first-party audience activation,” said Magnite.
The Week in Tech
Ipsos to Add 1,850 Homes to BARB Panel
BARB has awarded a panel expansion recruitment contract to Ipsos, the UK measurement body announced on Monday. Ipsos will be responsible for adding to BARB’s national panel as it looks to grow from 5,150 to 7,000 homes – “an increase that demonstrates the continued commitment of the UK TV and advertising industry to the independent and objective insight that comes from panel-based measurement,” said BARB Research Operations Director Caroline Baxter.
Justice Department Aims to Split Google’s Ad Tech Business in Antitrust Filing
The US Justice Department (DOJ) and eight US states are suing Google over its anti-competitive practices in the advertising market. The antitrust lawsuit accuses Google of monopolising the ad tech stack and violating the freedom of the internet itself, recommending the ad tech business be broken up in order to restore competition. “Today’s complaint alleges that Google has used anticompetitive, exclusionary, and unlawful conduct to eliminate or severely diminish any threat to its dominance over digital advertising technologies,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. Google’s Global Ads VP Dan Taylor responded that the DOJ’s action would “reverse years of innovation, harming the broader advertising sector.”
Twitter Enlists Brand Safety Partners, Teases Ad-Free Option
Twitter has struck deals with Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify to give advertisers tweet-level analysis on content appearing next to their ads. The social firm’s latest plan to assuage brand safety concerns amid ailing ad revenues comes the same week it reinstated the account of white supremacist commentator Nick Fuentes. Meanwhile Elon Musk suggested a higher-priced ad-free version of its subscription tier.
Also, there will be a higher priced subscription that allows zero ads
— Mr. Tweet (@elonmusk) January 21, 2023
Venezia Gets Data Assist From Audiencerate
Identity specialist Audiencerate has teamed up with Venezia FC. The Italian football club will use Audiencerate’s new customer data platform (CDP) to manage its first-party online and offline customer data across digital advertising channels, to help it better target fans with news, tickets and merchandise. “One of Venezia FC’s goals for 2023 is to improve the knowledge of and the relationship with our fans,” said Venezia FC business area director Gianluca Santaniello. “As our business grows, working with Audiencerate will help us evolve these relationships, improve our targeting, and be smarter with our online and offline marketing data.”
Cedara Launches Carbon Measurement Standardisation Product
Carbon management firm Cedara has released a product combining a carbon calculator and proprietary emissions database. Cedara Factors helps media companies standardise carbon measurement across their vendor partners, Cedara said. “We hope that this product will make it not only seamless for agencies to build and host their emissions calculators, but also sync them across their supply chain for measurement purposes,” added Cedara CEO David Shaw.
Amplified Intelligence Builds Cross-Channel Attention Planning Tool
Attention measurement firm Amplified Intelligence unveiled an attention planning tool covering linear TV, CTV, YouTube and social media. The attentionPLAN tool allows brands and agencies to see the “exact human attention” they will receive from ad investments, the company said, based on their uploaded media plans. “Brands and agencies need measurement technology that generates an accurate, equitable and actionable understanding of cross-channel attention they can use to improve spending efficiency and results,” added Amplified Intelligence CEO and founder Karen Nelson-Field. “This is exactly what attentionPLAN was built to provide.”
US Measurement Group CIMM Welcomes 26 New Members
The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) announced that 26 new members joined the group last year. FreeWheel, Samba TV and Samsung Ads were among the companies joining the US coalition, which promotes best practices in measurement and data. “The media and advertising industries are changing rapidly, presenting both challenges and opportunities for participants across the market,” said CIMM managing director Jon Watts. “We believe that inclusive collaboration and cooperation are critical, to support the development of improvements and innovations that support the entire industry.”
The Week in TV
Consumers Prefer New Streaming Ad Formats in Magna/Roku Survey
New streaming ad formats are twice as popular among consumers as traditional TV ads, according to a joint study by Roku and Magna Media Trials. The new formats tested were:
- Thematic Tagged Vignette: 30-second animated ad where a brand celebrates streaming
- Roku Original Vignette: 30-second ad where a brand references the Roku Original show being streamed
- Watch Alongs: ad breaks where a brand sponsors discussion about the show/film being streamed
All three placed above TV ads for brand recall (57 percent vs 43 percent), brand favourability (8 percent vs 3 percent) and intent to search (16 percent vs 9 percent). “In the current advertising environment, it is important to recognise that viewers can easily skip over advertising, but our study found they are less likely to do so if the ads are as entertaining as the programming and present a more enjoyable experience,” said Magna Intelligence Solutions EVP Kara Manatt.
ITV Increases Infosum Investment
ITV has upped its investment in InfoSum by 50 percent of its original amount, the broadcaster announced on Tuesday. Both its updated ad buying platform Planet V 2.0 and new retail media offering Matchmaker use Infosum’s data technology. “ITV is an innovator that drives real change across the media landscape,” said Infosum Chairman and CEO Brian Lesser. “Starting with its pioneering use of privacy-first data collaboration in Planet V and, more recently, retail media with the launch of the Matchmaker product alongside Tesco and Boots. With ITV’s additional investment, we are thrilled to further solidify our close partnership and all that is to come.”
Half UK Consumers Would Accept Ads for Cheaper Streaming Tiers
Almost half of UK consumers would accept ads on their streaming services if their subscriptions were cheaper or free, Kantar’s TGI global quickview report has found. Around one third would prefer to keep paying for ad-free services, according to the research. Meanwhile 20 percent said they would prioritise their subscriptions if they had to make cuts elsewhere due to the cost of living crisis, behind holidays (29 percent) and eating out (27 percent). “Attitudes to ad-supported subs vary significantly internationally,” noted Kantar. In Denmark the ad acceptance rate was just over one third, compared with high levels of tolerance in India (79 percent) and Nigeria (80 percent).
Digital UK Rebrands as Everyone TV
Digital UK is changing its name to Everyone TV. Jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, the consortium runs Freeview and Freesat. The company said the new name reflects “a revised mandate” in the face of fragmenting TV viewing. “Among our tasks in the years ahead is defusing a threat to universality that could catch the industry by surprise,” said Everyone TV CEO Jonathan Thompson. “We at Everyone TV will lead the evolution of free television services in the UK so that universality remains a fundamental principle.”
Paid Password Sharing Could Lose Netflix Over Half its Spanish Customers
Netflix’s impending crackdown on password sharing could result in churn, Spanish research firm Barlovento Comunicación warned this week. The Barómetro TV-OTT survey showed that 56.9 percent of the Spanish population shares Netflix accounts, a higher figure than rival services. If they could no longer share accounts for free, 58.7 percent of Netflix users would terminate their subscriptions, according to the survey. Just 14.8 percent said they would pay extra to continue using the service. In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it anticipates “cancel reaction”, but expects the policy to deliver longer-term gains. “As borrower households begin to activate their own standalone accounts and extra member accounts are added, we expect to see improved overall revenue, which is our goal with all plan and pricing changes,” said the company.
FAST Revenues to Reach $12 billion in 2027
Free ad-supported TV (FAST) revenues are set to reach $12 billion in 2027, Omdia found this week. However the forecast also noted challenges on the horizon, with original content expected to become a key differentiator. “The challenge will remain on discoverability of content, because in the US there are already more than 1,500 channels available and that number will increase over the next five years,” said Omdia senior research director Maria Rua Aguete.
TV Piracy Surges in Germany
Viewing of illegal live TV streams is rising in Germany, according to a Goldmedia study for industry association VAUNET. In 2022, 5.9 million people regularly watched illegal streams in Germany, the research revealed. This cost media companies a total €1.1 billion, and the state €390 million in tax and social security contributions. “The results of the study clearly show that the illegal consumption of live TV signals remains a mass phenomenon with serious economic and social consequences,” said VAUNET MD Frank Giersberg. “Once again, we therefore appeal to the government and regulators: live content needs live protection on the internet. We see no clear sign of support from Brussels or the German government, and demand changes be made promptly.”
Murdoch Shelves Fox/News Corp Merger
Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have shelved proposals to merge Fox Corp and News Corp, having deemed the move “not optimal” for shareholders. The merger was raised in October as a means to compete with the tech giants, but was met with resistance by major shareholders. The Murdochs confirmed the scrapping in a letter to both companies this week.
The Week for Publishers
Major Publishers Join Informed Subscription Bundle
Informed, an app which bundles content from a number of premium publishers into one paid subscription, has signed up a number of major content partners, Press Gazette reported this week. The Financial Times, The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post are among those contributing content to the app.
As Hate Speech Increases on Twitter, so are Attacks on Jews and Gay People
As hate speech grows on Twitter, physical attacks on Jewish people and gay people in the US are also on the rise, according to a report this week from the Washington Post. The Post reports, for example, that use of the word “groomer”, a word with strong homophobic connotations, has spiked on Twitter in the wake of Elon Musk’s takeover; at the same time, attacks against LGBTQ people in America has also risen.
Daily Mail Owner Restructures Ad Sales Arm Amid Economic Challenges
Mail Metro Media, the advertising arm of UK news publisher DMG Media, has laid out plans for a major restructure which is likely to include redundancies, in light of a difficult ad market. Measures outlined in the plans include the merging of all agency sales into a single team, and the merging of categories and planning teams, according to Press Gazette.
Whynow Resurrects Great Big Story
Media startup Whynow has obtained a licence to relaunch Great Big Story, CNN’s short-form documentary unit which was killed off in 2020. “I’ve been a fan of Great Big Story for many years,” said Gabriel Jagger, founder of Whynow. “I wanted Whynow to take on the brand because the optimistic look at the world and remarkable feats of storytelling are what we champion here, so who better to take on the challenge of telling the best Great Big Stories from around the globe?”
BuzzFeed Signs Content Partnership with Meta
BuzzFeed has signed a deal worth around $10 million with Meta which will see it create content specifically for Facebook and Instagram’s short-form video product Reels, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. Meta hopes the move will help attract other creators onto its platforms, as it seeks to compete with TikTok and YouTube Shorts, according to the report.
National World Launches Self-Serve Ad Platform
UK local news publisher National World has launched a new self-serve advertising platform, National World Ad Manager. The platform has been built by DanAds, a specialist in self-serve ad tech. The platform includes the ability to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviours, via National World’s first-party dataset.
MPs Call for Local News Government Fund
A UK parliamentary committee has called for a series of measures to help revive the UK’s local news sector, including the creation of a long-term public interest news fund with a remit to support innovation. A report released by the committee suggested that the quality of local news in the UK is on the decline, as local newspapers are increasingly starved of resources.
The Week For Agencies
High Inflation Means UK Faces Real Decreases in Ad Spend This Year
The Advertising Association and WARC have forecasted 3.8 percent growth in UK ad spend this year in their quarterly Expenditure Report, following what is predicted to have been 8.8 percent growth last year. But when inflation is taken into account, the AA and WARC expect a 3.0 percent decline in ad spend, reflecting the current tough economic climate. Meanwhile ad spend in 2022 is predicted to have been pretty much flat in real terms, down by 0.1 percent. Read the full story on VideoWeek.
ISBA President Calls for Focus on Efficiency and Effectiveness
Margaret Jobling, CMO of NatWest Group and president of advertiser trade group ISBA, used her keynote speech at ISBA’s LEAD conference to call for the industry to focus on efficiency and effectiveness. Jobling highlighted ISBA’s own efforts in these areas, including its Origin cross-media measurement initiative and its studies into programmatic supply chain transparency.
Havas Media Group Launches Havas Business
Havas Media Group has partnered with performance marketing agency Search Laboratory to launch Havas Business, a new B2B marketing offering. Havas says Havas Business, which is born from existing capabilities within HMG, aims to “disrupt traditional approaches to B2B growth with boardroom-read media and marketing solutions.
VCCP Group Highlights Ad Industry’s Image Problem
Two pieces of research from VCCP Group and trade body the APG have found that an “insider culture” in the ad industry is making careers in advertising feel inaccessible to young people across the UK. A national survey of 16-24 year olds found that just under a fifth feel that being unable to afford a move to London stops them from considering creative careers. The survey also found that those who know someone in the industry are much more likely to believe they could have a successful career in advertising compared with those who don’t.
EssenceMediacom Wins Flutter Media Account
GroupM’s newly combined business EssenceMediacom has won gambling app operator Flutter’s business, worth around £130 million. The contract covers all of Flutter’s brands: Paddy Power, Betfair, Tombola and Sky Betting & Gaming.
Industry Groups Launch #CannesForAll Campaign
Brixton Finishing School, DigiLearning Foundation and Lollipop Mentoring this week collectively launched the #CannesForAll campaign, which calls for businesses in the ad industry to make it easier for underrepresented talent to attend the Cannes Lions festival. The campaign calls for businesses to dedicate one percent or more of their Cannes activation budgets to help fund diverse talent seeking to attend the festival.
Advertising Association Puts Investment in Talent at Heart of Strategy
The Advertising Association has put investment in the ad industry’s talent pool at the heart of its new three year strategy, following the release of a new talent report. The AA says the report has highlighted the need for better attraction and recruitment of new talent, as well as increased retention and development of existing talent. Preliminary actions penned by the AA include plans for a campaign to promote advertising as a career choice to young people, a central industry hub for professional skills training, increased successful uptake of the apprenticeship scheme and support on best practice around hybrid working.
Total Media Wins AJ Bell Account
UK independent agency Total Media has won media duties for investment platform AJ Bell, as the company looks to build awareness and market share. Total Media will work alongside Pablo which has been picked to handle creative.
Hires of the Week
YouTube Promotes Alison Lomax to Manage YouTube UK&I
Alison Lomax has been promoted to YouTube UK and Ireland MD. She has held management roles at Google since joining the company in 2011. “I’ll be working with Government and Policy makers to ensure YouTube continues to lead in online safety; and partnering with world-leading creators, producers, partners and broadcasters to make sure YouTube remains a major force in the creator economy, giving diverse British talent a platform to thrive,” said Lomax.
DoubleVerify Hires Four Enterprise Sales Directors
DoubleVerify has appointed Brandon Whitelock, Steve Sargent, Jonathan Lucas and Taha Crorie as Enterprise Sales Directors EMEA. “In today’s climate, we are proud to invest and expand upon our commercial talent to work towards our mission of building a better industry,” said Nick Reid, SVP and Managing Director, EMEA at DoubleVerify. “With Brandon, Steve, Jonathan and Taha at the helm of enterprise sales, we’re in a strong position to do just that.”
Publicis Taps WPP’s Demet Ikiler for COO
Publicis has hired Demet Ikiler as COO for EMEA. Ikiler spent more than 20 years at WPP, including as CEO of GroupM EMEA, before which she served at Zenith and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Watching That Appoints Chief Experience Officer, Director of Marketing
Watching That has named Erica Crossen Venuto its new Chief Experience Officer (CXO). Venuto joined the firm in 2021 as Global Customer Experience. The company also hired Luc Benyon as Director of Marketing. He previously served at Switzerland-based Video Intelligence.
Javier Meza Named Coca-Cola European Marketing VP
Javier Meza will replace Walter Susini as Coca-Cola’s European Marketing VP at the end of June. Susini took up the position in January 2021 and will continue to work with the company in an advisory capacity. Meza joined Coca-Cola in 1998 and has worked across APAC and LATAM.
Reddit Announces Four Key Appointments
Reddit has announced four senior leadership appointments: Harold Klaje as Chief Revenue Officer; Neal Hubman as Global Client Solutions VP; Ori Schnaps as Engineering Core Product VP; and Milana McCullagh as Legal VP. “It’s really something to look back at the growth of Reddit’s ads business in the last three years,” said Klaje. “We’ve gone from a place for advertisers to test and learn to true full funnel, strategic partners and are now at a point where we’re onboarding new advertisers every day.”
Sandbox Names Shan Eisenberg CRO
Sandbox Group has enlisted Shan Eisenberg as Chief Revenue Officer, working across the learning, gaming and kids divisions. He joins from Netgem where he spent eight years as Chief Commercial Officer, following a decade in the telco industry, including stints at EE and Orange UK.
This Week on VideoWeek
Call Me with Timothée Chalamet, Apple TV+