In this week’s Week in Review: YouTube tests an online gaming product, brands ask TikTok creators to submit video ads, and Ampere forecasts the addressable TV market to be worth $87 billion by 2027.
YouTube Tests Games Offering
YouTube is testing an online gaming product, the WSJ reported this week. According to an email sent to Google employees, Playables will be available on YouTube via web browser or the mobile app. “Gaming has long been a focus at YouTube,” said a Google spokesperson. “We’re always experimenting with new features, but have nothing to announce right now.”
The report noted that YouTube is already a popular destination for gamers, competing with Amazon’s Twitch for viewers of livestreamed gaming content. Last year Google shut down its cloud gaming service Stadia after struggling to attract users. At the time, the company said it could redeploy the Stadia technology to other parts of the company, including YouTube.
Brands Ask TikTok Creators to Submit Video Ads
TikTok has invited brands to request video submissions from creators. The videos will run as in-feed ads, giving the creators a cut of the revenues. The “TikTok Creative Challenge” enables brands to post creative briefs, or “challenges”, which qualified creators can scroll through and submit their videos for the brands to review. The videos then appear solely as in-feed ads, instead of being posted on the brand or creator’s accounts.
While the program gives creators the chance to earn money without fear of alienating their followers with sponsored spam, some creators argue that this payment model has them making ads for free. Marketers are not required to pay creators an upfront fee, as the performance-based payments are determined by views, clicks and conversions.
Addressable TV Market to be Worth $87 Billion by 2027
The global addressable TV market is forecast to be worth $87 billion by 2027, according to a report by Ampere Analysis, in partnership with Finecast and Microsoft Advertising. The sector is currently worth $56 billion, the research found, and is projected to grow by over 50 percent in the next four years.
The study also revealed that on average, one-sixth of advertisers’ video ad budgets are currently being spent with addressable TV service providers. And while both small and large brands use addressable TV, smaller advertisers devote less of their budget, suggesting addressable TV service providers need to work to remove barriers to using the technology.
“The extent to which addressable TV advertising is now being used by non-traditional TV advertisers, including smaller companies and B2B brands, is illustrative of how the medium can support TV service providers in their push to reach beyond traditional broadcast TV budgets and to open entirely new revenue streams,” said Ampere Analysis executive director Richard Broughton. “But it’s clear that there is still work to be done by the industry in challenging entrenched opinions and in countering common misconceptions.”
The Week in Tech
Google Accused of Costing Brands Billions in Fraudulent Video Ad Placements
New research from Adalytics has revealed that Google violated its own standards when placing video ads on third-party websites, potentially costing advertisers billions of dollars. Google’s TrueView in-stream ads are meant to play before main video content with the audio on, and must be skippable. But the data shows that Google breaches those standards around 80 percent of the time. Read more on VideoWeek.
Twitter to Introduce Video Ads Service
Twitter could introduce a video ads service, the FT reported on Thursday, as part of Linda Yaccarino’s plans to bring back advertisers. The new CEO is planning to introduce full-screen, sound-on ads on Twitter’s new video feed. She also intends to pursue more celebrities and political figures, as well as raising headcount at the company.
Microsoft Takeover of Activision Gains Ground in US Court
A US court case determining the fate of the Microsoft and Activision merger has tipped in favour of the takeover going ahead, according to the FT. The Federal Trade Commission is seeking an injunction to stop Microsoft’s $75 billion acquisition of Activision. But on Wednesday a judge invited a Microsoft executive to swear to a 10-year licence deal with Sony, which would make Activision’s Call of Duty available on Playstation. A decision is expected next week.
Open Source Unified Auction Solution Prebid Gets Privacy Update
Header bidding software Prebid has been updated, giving publishers more transparency into specific ad transactions. Prebid 8 can give publishers greater insight into how revenue is affected by supply chain intermediaries, according to the open source group. The unified auction solution will also allow publishers to start testing Google’s Privacy Sandbox, the organisation said.
FreeWheel and MediaScience Launch Viewer Experience Research Initiative
TV ad tech company FreeWheel has partnered with research firm MediaScience, launching a joint initiative called The Viewer Experience Lab. The lab will carry out research to measure viewer response to new ad formats, as well as developing tools for video content providers. FreeWheel also released a report, The State of TV Advertising Viewer Experience, which found:
- 67 percent of viewers are annoyed by seeing the same ad more than once within the same ad pod
- 24 percent of all streaming ad breaks last four minutes or longer
- Up to 25 percent of ad avails are not filled on FAST channels, adding a lot of downtime for viewers and underutilised inventory for FAST programmers
- 73 percent of respondents said they prefer ads that are related to personal interests
The Week in TV
RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes Resigns Over Alleged Secretive Agency Payments
RTÉ director general Dee Forbes resigned this morning, following a week of scandal around undisclosed payments to TV presenter Ryan Tubridy. Between 2017 and 2022, RTÉ paid Tubridy €345,000 more than the Irish public service broadcaster (PSB) published in its earnings reports. Forbes was suspended last week and has now tendered her resignation, arguing that “the Board has not treated me with anything approaching the levels of fairness, equity and respect that anyone should expect as an employee, a colleague or a person.” Read more on VideoWeek.
UK Consumer Spending on Streaming to Overtake Pay-TV in 2025
UK households will spend more on streaming services than pay-TV packages by 2025, PwC has forecast. In 2025, British consumers are predicted to spend £4.2 billion on SVOD memberships (such as Netflix and Disney+), versus £4.1 billion on TV subscriptions (such as Sky and Virgin Media). The report noted it will have taken 13 years to reach this tipping point, since the arrival of Netflix in 2012 triggered the shift in viewing habits.
Warner Bros. Discovery Introduces Six-Second Pre-Roll Ads to Digital Sports Platforms
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has introduced a six-second pre-roll ad product across its digital sports properties, Bleacher Report and House of Highlights. The company said the format has been “generating success for partners” since soft-launching in Q1 2023. “As we continue to offer even more premium video content across our platforms, it is critical that we provide an ad experience that enhances the sports moments that fans and partners come to us for,” said WBD SVP Ad Sales Seth Ladetsky.
ITV and Silver Marketing Association Launch Advertising Fund for Reaching Over-55s
ITV has partnered with Silver Marketing Association to launch a fund for brands aiming to reach consumers over 55. The companies will also promote joint research from ITV and System1, a guidebook for making ads for the older market called “Wise Up!”. “This segment accounts for 65 percent of TV impressions – yet many brands find it hard to get it right when it comes to advertising to over-55s,” said ITV.
Netflix Scraps Basic Ad-Free Plan in Canada
Netflix has discontinued its basic ad-free plan in Canada for new subscribers. Three plans remain available: Standard with ads, Standard (without ads), and Premium (ad-free viewing on four devices). The move is thought to signal similar culls of the basic tier in other markets, with Netflix previously testing its password crackdown in Canada before rolling it out internationally.
ShowHeroes Brings Animated Ad Formats to CTV
Ad tech firm ShowHeroes has launched custom animation formats for CTV. The product incorporates interactive elements and animations, including a brand-aligned animated QR code, and a full-frame animation around the video. “The unlimited potential for brand interaction lies in the ability of QR codes on CTV to generate immediate engagement on second screens,” said Sabela Ruiz, Global Senior Commercial Product at ShowHeroes.
DAZN Urges Italian Government to Crack Down on Sports Piracy
Sports streaming service DAZN has urged the Italian government to clamp down on online TV piracy. Citing a report by anti-piracy federation FAPAV, DAZN Italy chief Stefano Azzi said sports piracy costs the industry some €290 million each year. He called on parliament to speed up the approval of a bill “which would enable authorities to block illegal platforms within 30 minutes of initial complaints.”
Warner Bros. Discovery to Add Live CNN Programming to Max
Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is looking to add live CNN content to Max, its new combined streaming service, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday. Rumours have also emerged that WBD could sell CNN in the next year. The news network has struggled financially and laid off staff last year, while the CNN+ streaming service closed one month after launch.
The Week for Publishers
BOMESI and Vox Partner to Drive Ad Spend to Black-Owned Media
The Black Owned Media Equity and Sustainability Institute (BOMESI) is partnering with Vox to help drive more ad-spend to Black-owned media businesses. The deal will see ad inventory from the BOMESI Collective, a group of 50 Black-owned publishers, sold through Vox Media’s Concert SSP. Buyers can access this inventory through The Trade Desk, though Vox plans to add more DSP partners in the future.
Reach Trials Paid Subscriptions on MEN
UK regional publishing group Reach is trialling a metered paywall on its Manchester Evening News app, Press Gazette reported this week, its first experiment with paid subscriptions. Paid readers will get ad-free reading, as well as extra curated content and newsletters. Subscribers will also get unlimited articles on the MEN app, while non-subscribers will be limited to 25 free articles per week. Reach will consider rolling out paid subscription products on more if its titles if the trial proves successful.
Group Black Buys Majority Stake in Sports Illustrated
Media company Group Black, a group which seeks to accelerate inclusive spending by brands, is in talks to buy Arena Group Holdings Inc according to the Wall Street Journal. Arena Group Holdings publishes Sports Illustrated magazine and owns titles including TheStreet, Parade, and Men’s Journal. Group Black has looked at a number of possible acquisitions recently including Vice, BET, and Bustle Digital Group, though so far none of these have come to fruition.
Fortress Investment Group to Buy Vice
Vice Media Group is set to be acquired by Fortress Investment Group, the company’s largest creditor. The $225 million deal would see Fortress, Soros Fund Management and Monroe Capital take control of the publishing outfit. Vice filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 15th May.
Journal du Dimanche Journalists Protest Arrival of Far-Right Editor
Journalists at Journal du Dimanche have gone on strike in protest at the hiring of far-right editor Geoffroy Lejeune. The French newspaper’s parent company Lagardère is being acquired by billionaire industrialist Vincent Bolloré, dubbed the “French Murdoch” in the press. Staff are concerned by Lejeune’s connection to anti-immigration politicians Eric Zemmour and Marion Marechal, the granddaughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen. “We have to stand up to protest the arrival of a far-right figure as editor — it’s an ethical and moral question,” one journalist told the FT. “But it’ll be very hard to change the course of what is happening.”
Polish Editors Defend Press Freedom
A group of editors from Polish media outlets published a joint declaration in defence of press freedom on Wednesday. The move follows complaints that the ruling nationalists are attempting to curb press freedom ahead of elections this autumn, while independent publications and broadcasters claim they have come under pressure from the government. “We declare that we will defend the independence of Polish journalism, and the editorial offices managed by us will jointly and consistently inform the public about any attempt by the authorities to influence the media,” the statement said.
Google to Shut Down Google News in Canada
Google has said it will shut down its Google News service in Canada, in response to the passage of a law that forces tech platforms to negotiate payments with publishers. Meta also plans to block links to news on Facebook and Instagram in Canada, the social media giant declared last week. A similar shutdown was averted in Australia three years ago after amending the legislation, but the Canadian parliament has refused to water down its Online News Act.
Reuters Acquires MAM Company Imagen
Thomson Reuters has acquired media asset management company Imagen for an undisclosed sum. Imagen owns video archive Screenocean, and counts the Premier League and Major League Baseball among its clients. The company will become part of the Reuters News division.
LADstudios Arrives in the US
LADstudios, the digital content unit of LADbible Group, is launching in the US. The studio will develop and produce content in the region, starting with three new series: celebrity interviews in Get A Job, food format Grub or Gourmet, and “prank call competition show” Don’t Hang Up. “We look forward to ramping up our production capabilities with our new slate of formats and working with some of the biggest A-list talent in the US to help service more brands, partners and young communities than ever,” said LADbible Group US VP Joseph Summers.
The Week For Brands & Agencies
Advertisers Sign Up for Origin Tests
UK advertiser trade group ISBA this week announced it will begin launching trials of Origin, its in-development tool for cross platform measurement. EE, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, P&G and Unilever are signed up for initial tests which will begin next month, with more advertisers due to join for Beta testing further down the line.
“In-life [Origin] will deliver significant ROI for advertisers, allow agencies to assist their client partners in providing better multi-media advertising solutions and will allow media owners to make level playing feed single-source comparisons as to the contribution their medium makes in solving advertiser communication problems,” said Tom George, CEO of Origin. “Seeing real data surfaced from Origin in phase 4, will help achieve that vision.” Read more on VideoWeek.
MeToo Scandal Hits Italian Agency
A sexism scandal has emerged at We Are Social’s Italian business, The Times reported this week, after Massimo Guastini, the former president of the Art Directors Club Italiano revealed a sexist culture within the company. Allegations include male workers sending sexually explicit texts to female colleagues, and colleagues’ appearances being ranked in a private Skype chat. A number of clients have distanced themselves from the agency, according to The Times.
Unilever says Jury is Still Out on Generative AI
Unilever has set up a global steering group to explore appropriate uses for generative AI within its business, Adweek reported this week, but chief digital and commercial officer Conny Braams says the jury is still out on how useful the technology currently is within advertising. “Will it give us more of the same creativity or allow us to tap into a new pool of creativity?” she told Adweek. “We can’t tell at this moment in time … but one thing is for certain, we need to use it in a responsible way.”
Havas and Adelaide Launch Meaningful Ad Metric
Agency group Havas and attention measurement business Adelaide have launched a new attention measurement metric in North America called the ‘Meaningful Ad Unit’, which will be integrated into Havas’ Meaningful Media Marketplace. The MAU is a variation on Adelaide’s own Attention Unit, which gauges the likely attention related to an ad placement based on a number of signals.
ASA Updates Rules for Environment-Related Ads
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has issued new guidance for its CAP and BCAP rules, adding new guidance on making environmental claims in ads. The new guidance allows advertisers to make environmental claims about their products, but identifies factors which makes such claims more or less likely to comply with the ASA’s codes.
Hires of the Week
Dentsu Americas CEO Jacki Kelley Leaves for IPG
Dentsu Americas CEO Jacki Kelley is joining Interpublic Group as executive VP, chief client officer and chief business officer. Michael Komasinski will succeed Kelley as CEO of Dentsu Americas.
Brandtech Group’s Will Luttrell Joins Good-Loop
Ad tech company Good-Loop has appointed Will Luttrell as a non-executive director. Luttrell is CTO of The Brandtech Group, and previously co-founded Integral Ad Science.
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