The WIR: German Broadcasters Cooperate on Streaming, Google Vows to Fight Breakup of Ads Business, and Publicis Posts Another Strong Quarter

Tim Cross 13 October, 2023 

In this week’s Week in Review: ARD and ZDF launch an interesting take of PSB cooperation, Google vows to fight a breakup of its ads business, and Publicis’ hot streak continues.

Top Stories

ARD and ZDF Launch Joint Streaming Network

German public service broadcasters ARD and ZDF this week rolled out a new joint “streaming network”, whereby each broadcaster’s content is viewable and watchable within the other broadcaster’s streaming library.

The fairly unique take on broadcaster cooperation is designed to make it easier for German users to access and navigate German content, helping both to fulfil their public service mandates. Users searching for content on either broadcaster’s streaming service will see content from the other broadcaster, and both run a shared recommendation engine, which pools content from both services to recommend to users.

The two say they plan to develop their joint efforts further, working together on a shared login system and streaming player technology. And the broadcasters say the backend technology has been designed to accommodate similar pooling of content across Europe.

Google Vows to Fight the Breakup of its Ad Business

Google has warned the European Union that it will fight legislative attempts to break up its ad business. Bloomberg reported that a recent letter to EU watchdogs stated Google’s intention to refuse to sell its ad tech arm, which Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, deems the only viable way of restoring competition.

The formal opposition to the proposal may cause years of legal issues with EU regulators who accused Google of favouring its own ad exchange program over rivals, bolstering the company’s central role in the ad tech supply chain.

Publicis Raises its Guidance Again After Strong Q3

French agency group Publicis Groupe posted another strong set of financial results this week, reporting 5.3 percent organic growth in Q3. The company now expects full-year growth of between 5.5-6 percent growth, higher than its previous guidance of five percent growth.

While several of the major agency groups have had a tough time in recent months due to a pullback in tech spending, Publicis has consistently reported growth each quarter. The agency attributed the strong results to tailwinds from new business its won over the past year, and a “uniquely balanced” revenue mix which it says makes it more resistant to wider macroeconomic troubles.

CEO Arthur Sadoun said the company’s priorities for the rest of the year will be bringing staff back into the office, and accelerating the “AI-fication” of Publicis’ operations.

The Week in Tech

ISBA’s Origin Tests Adding ACR Data into its Cross-Media Measurement Solution

Origin, the cross-media measurement initiative run by advertiser trade group ISBA, announced on Wednesday it is running proof of concept trials which will fold in automatic content recognition (ACR) data from Samba TV. ISBA says that incorporating ACR data into its measurement solution will not only provide more granular measurement, but also open up possibilities around outcome measurement in the future. Read more on VideoWeek.

Scope3 Raises $20 Million in Funds from Google Investors

Scope3, an emissions data business, has raised $20 million in a Series B funding round led by GV, the venture capital investment arm of Google parent Alphabet. Scope3 said the investment will be used to expand its global team, expand its data and measurement capabilities, and accelerate the development of its collaborative sustainability platform (CSP). “At Scope3, we’re building a business that will serve as the foundation for the next generation of media and advertising,” said Brian O’Kelley, co-founder and CEO at Scope3. “This investment gives us the resources to put decarbonisation tools into the hands of the industry, while attracting the talent needed to build a more sustainable ad ecosystem and deliver on our mission.”

CMA Approves Microsoft and Activision (and Ubisoft) Deal 

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared Microsoft’s deal to acquire Activision without the cloud gaming rights, which will be divested to Ubisoft. The concession ensures the cloud streaming rights for Activision games produced over the next 15 years will be controlled by a competitor, said the CMA, enabling continued consumer access to that content.

“With the sale of Activision’s cloud streaming rights to Ubisoft, we’ve made sure Microsoft can’t have a stranglehold over this important and rapidly developing market,” said Sarah Cardell, Chief Executive of the CMA. “As cloud gaming grows, this intervention will ensure people get more competitive prices, better services and more choice. We are the only competition agency globally to have delivered this outcome. ”

Paramount Enlists iSpot.TV as Currency for National Campaigns

Paramount has partnered with, a TV measurement provider, to transact national TV ad campaigns using iSpot’s currency. The metrics will be used across campaigns on Paramount’s media and streaming properties in the US. The broadcaster said the deal grants advertisers “greater choice” in campaign activation and evaluation. “Paramount has taken the lead in accelerating new measurement and currency enablement because the future of our industry depends on it,” said John Halley, President of Paramount Advertising. “We are committed to supporting all new currency providers certified by the US Joint Industry Committee, and we look forward to bringing greater transparency and flexibility to the way TV is transacted and measured. Our partnership with iSpot helps facilitate that goal.”

Google Ads Introduces First-Party Data Manager

Google has introduced Google Ads Data Manager, centralising controls for first-party data in preparation for the demise of third-party cookies in Chrome. The collaborative interface enables advertisers to apply discrete data to measure conversions or reach people with relevant ads, according to Google. The tool will become generally available in Google Ads in early 2024.

IAB Releases Retail Media Definitions

IAB Europe has released a set of pan-European definitions for retail media advertising. Key definitions include:

  • Retail media refers to the digital advertising space, retail data assets and in-store opportunities a retailer or marketplace owns, which is then made available to brands for the execution of advertising campaigns
  • On-site retail media is advertising sold on the retailer’s own digital properties. This typically includes retailer websites and apps (e.g. Lidl, Ocado, ICA), or online consumer shopping marketplaces (e.g., eBay and Amazon)
  • Off-site retail media refers to the use of retailer data to buy advertising sold on inventory outside of retailers online (web and app) shopping platforms. The inventory available with third-party partners (using retailer data) includes display, video, social, connected TV (CTV) and digital-out-of-home (DOOH)
  • In-store digital retail media opportunities are also offered by retailers to agencies and brands. The digital opportunities available include radio, DOOH screens, TV, ATMs and hand scanners

Community Notes on X Making Advertisers Nervous 

Community Notes on X (formerly Twitter) are making brands cautious about advertising on the social media platform, according to the WSJ. The feature allows contributors to tag posts with additional context or information, and their prevalence has reportedly increased this year. In recent months, Uber has deleted an ad after a Community Note tagged it for misleading claims, and a note on an Evony ad for a video game simply said, “This is a false advertisement.” Some advertisers have responded that the notes themselves can be misleading. X is also testing a new “clickbait” style ad that cannot be blocked or reported, according to Campaign. Currently available in the “For You” feed on the mobile app, the ads reportedly carry no “ad” or “promoted” label, and redirect users to a third-party site when clicked.

Zeotap Launches Audience Segments Based on Telco Data

Zeotap Data, a Berlin-based ad tech firm, has launched 12 audience segments called ‘Zeotap Tribes’. The segments are derived from mobile telco partnerships, analysing the data to identify shared characteristics among users. Zeotap then organises the individuals into cohorts who exhibit similar interests, preferences or behaviours. The Tribes are: Fitness Enthusiasts, Adrenaline Junkies, Lifelong Learners, Foodies, Experience Travelers, Beauty Gurus, New Movers, Everyday Investors, Luxurious Lifestyle Seekers, Green Drivers, Fashion Trend Chasers, and Tech Geeks. “We are providing advertisers with finely-tuned, premium segments to elevate their campaign effectiveness, reduce waste, and deliver better results,” said Zeotap SVP Matt Bennathan.

The Week in TV

CNN Needs to Deprioritise TV Warns CEO Mark Thompson 

CNN is “nowhere near ready for the future,” the network’s new CEO Mark Thompson told staff on Monday, according to a Deadline report. He warned that TV was “too dominant at CNN and digital too marginal,” since most people consume news via mobile devices. He added that linear TV “can no longer define us.”

ITV Rolls Out Addressable Ads On Linear Broadcast Channels

UK broadcaster ITV this week announced it is rolling out addressable ads on a number of its linear channels: ITV2, ITV3, ITV4, and ITVBe. Addressable ads will be available in households with YouView-powered set-top boxes, providing a reach of 1.3 million UK homes according to ITV. The new offering will enable full ad replacement within ad breaks on these channels, targeted using data from ITV’s registered user database. Addressable campaigns will be planned and managed exclusively through Planet V, ITV’s ad booking platform. Read more on VideoWeek.

YouTube Announces UK Launch of Primetime Channels

YouTube this week announced the launch of Primetime Channels in the UK. The feature allows users to browse, subscribe to, and watch premium content from third-party streaming services within YouTube. The UK is the third market where the service is available globally, after releases in the US and Germany. Users will be able to pay and watch services including Paramount+, Lionsgate+, Hayu, History Play and Crime & Investigation Play via Primetime Channels. DAZN services will soon be added in the UK and Germany. Read more on VideoWeek.

CMA to Investigate ITV and BBC Over Freelance Contracts

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into TV companies’ practices in the hiring of freelancers. The probe will examine a number of broadcasters and production companies, including the BBC and ITV. The CMA said it had “reasonable grounds to suspect one or more breaches of competition law”.

SkyShowtime Cost Sky and Paramount £300 Million Last Year

SkyShowtime, an SVOD service launched in 20 European markets by Sky and Paramount, cost its owners around £300 million last year, according to The Sunday Times. Accounts for the UK-based business show costs for the first 13 months of operation amounting to €323 million, revenues at €133 million, and losses of €190 million. The company expects continued losses over the next few years, with the majority of expenditure going towards Sky and Paramount content. 

Disney Investor Nelson Peltz Sets Sights on Board Seats

Activist investor Nelson Peltz is pushing for a seat on the Disney board, nine months after the company denied his previous bid. Disney has made moves to appease Peltz, whose Trian Fund Management is one of its largest investors, pursuing cost-cutting initiatives including layoffs. But with Disney stock down 30 percent this year, the 82-year-old billionaire is now expected to seek “multiple” board seats. Also this week, Disney has entered into talks to sell its Indian operations. According to Bloomberg, the media giant held preliminary discussions with Indian billionaires Gautam Adani and Kalanithi Maran, as well private equity firms, to sell the business outright or establish a joint venture.

TF1 Finds TV Advertising Offers Highest Sales Contribution 

TV advertising offers the highest contribution to sales compared with other media, according to an econometric study by TF1 PUB, Ekimetrics and Zenith. The research measured the effectiveness of different media activated by Nescafé Dolce Gusto from January 2019 to April 2022. The results found that TV represented 41 percent of incremental sales generated by the campaigns. TF1 PUB also noted that when TV is activated in parallel with one or more other channels, it helps strengthen the ROI of the other media by up to 57 percent. 

TF1 PUB Adds Low-Carbon Ad Products

TF1 PUB, the French broadcaster’s sales house, has announced two low-carbon ad products. The offering helps brands lessen the carbon impact of video campaigns broadcast on MYTF1, the commercial broadcaster said, reducing emissions by 14-32 percent compared to a non-optimised campaign. The offer is available to all advertisers at no additional cost.

European Public Broadcasters Team Up to Produce and Sell Scripted Series

Eight European public broadcasters have launched New8, a consortium designed to jointly commission, share and sell scripted series internationally. The members are ZDF (Germany), NPO (The Netherlands), VRT (Belgium), SVT (Sweden), DR (Denmark), YLE (Finland), RÚV (Iceland) and NRK (Norway). They aim to withstand US pressure from Netflix and Amazon, starting by co-producing eight TV series per year and ensuring broad distribution of projects.

BBC Studios Enters US FAST Market on Freevee

BBC Studios is launching five free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels on Amazon’s Freevee in the US. The channels are BBC Comedy, BBC Gameshows, BBC Sci-Fi, BBC Travel, and a channel dedicated to crime dramas Silent Witness and New Tricks. “As more and more viewers discover the joys of discovering classic TV shows on FAST platforms, we’re delighted to debut our new suite of customised channels on Amazon Freevee in the US,” said Beth Anderson, BBC Studios general manager and SVP FAST and VOD sales in North America and Latin America. “FAST is becoming a larger part of the TV viewing landscape and we’re committed to meeting the demand and growing our FAST footprint here in the US.”

ITV and Captify Offer Targeting for Emotional Moments

ITV and Captify, a search intelligence company, have upgraded the broadcaster’s Automated Contextual Targeting (ACT) tool. ITV will use Captify’s advanced contextual classification technology to identify certain types of moments, themes and emotions during its programmes. By identifying emotional parts of shows, categorising them as uplifting or joyful for example, ITV enables advertisers to target these moments on the self-serve platform Planet V. “We have built Captify’s business on our ability to develop technology that understands natural language and turns it into intelligence,” said Captify CPO Amelia Waddington. “Bringing that ability to television through ITV’s massive content catalogue and ad platform will bring a huge boost of scale and effectiveness for ITV advertisers.”

Crunchyroll Launches FAST Channel in US

Crunchyroll, the Sony-owned anime streaming service, has launched its first FAST channel in the US. The 24/7 Crunchyroll channel will be available on Amazon’s Freevee, LG Channels, the Roku Channel and Vizio WatchFree+. “The Crunchyroll channel is a gateway to the world of anime where we will guide viewers to discover new worlds, new stories and new characters,” said Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini. “And thanks to our distribution partners at launch, millions of fans have easy access to the medium that is taking the world by storm.”

The Week for Publishers

Reach Reports 13.7 Percent Drop in Q3 Digital Ad Revenue

Reach, the Daily Mirror and Daily Express owner, recorded a 13.7 percent YoY drop in digital ad revenue Q3 2023, with print ad revenue declining 8.9 percent. The figures represent improvement on the 18.7 percent and 15.7 percent respective declines from Q2. The company attributed the challenging market in part to Facebook’s “de-prioritisation of news”, Campaign reported. Overall Q3 revenues dipped 7.8 percent.

News Media Canada back’s Google’s Online News Law Concerns

News Media Canada, a Canadian news industry body, lent its support to Google’s concerns surrounding a new law aiming to make large internet companies share advertising revenue with news publishers in the country. Reuters reports NMC’s belief that Google made a “good faith articulation of legitimate concerns” that need addressing by the Canadian government while finalising rules to implement the new law. Google’s concerns relate to a potentially uncapped liability on tech companies in terms of payments, and the fact that the law doesn’t allow non-monetary forms of payment.

Mail, News UK and Reach Dominate UK Online and Print Reach

The “Who Owns the UK Media” 2023 report from Media Reform Coalition found that DMG Media, News UK and Reach control 90 percent of the UK’s national newspaper market. Press Gazette reported the analysis suggests if DMG Media succeeds in its expected bid to acquire Telegraph Media Group, its print market share would increase from 42 percent to 47 percent. Together with News UK and Reach, DMG Media control over 40 percent of the audience reach of the UK’s online news brands. The report stated that the dominance gives the three publishers “an unrivalled position for setting the news agenda”.

BBC News CEO Promises More Investment in Verify

Deborah Turness, BBC News Chief Executive, has promised more investment in fact-checking and transparency brand BBC Verify, Press Gazette reported this week. Turness outlined the plans at the annual Upfront event, saying that “BBC Verify is really having an impact, and you’re going to see us pouring in more investments both here and around the world”.

Google Agrees €3.2 Million A Year German Publisher Deal

Google will pay German Publishers €3.2 million a year for its publication of news content, pending a German patent office decision on the issue. Reuters reported Google reached the agreement with Corint Media, an organisation responsible for publishers including Sat.1, ProSieben, RTL, Axel Springer and CNBC. Google said “payments are in line to what we have already agreed with 470 regional and national publications in Germany”, for the likes of Spiegel, Zeit and FAZ.

Washington Post To Offer Employees Voluntary Redundancy Packages

The Washington Post plans to offer voluntary separation packages to employees across all functions, according to a company spokesperson. Reuters reports the newspaper did not offer specific details or the roles impacted by the move, as they look to trim their headcount by 240. The weak advertising market and slowing economic growth is forcing several media and tech companies to reduce costs, with The Washington Post being the latest among them following the likes of BuzzFeed and Vice Media in implementing cost cutting measures.

The Week For Brands & Agencies

Marketers Plan Agency Consolidation, finds WFA & MediaSense Report

Many marketers are looking to trim down the number of agency partners they’re working with, and a significant amount are looking to work with more integrated agency partners, according to a new report from the WFA and MediaSense.  The report, based on a survey of over 70 multinational companies representing $50 billion, found that 37 percent of respondents are looking for simplification through fewer and better integrated partners. And while media and creative requirements remain distinct, a quarter of those surveyed plan to consolidate media, creative, data, and technology.

Investment Analysts See Brand Strength as Critical to a Firm’s Success

Investment analysts see the strength of a firm’s brand and marketing as one of the most critical factors when it comes to assessing that firm, according to research from the IPA and Brand Finance. A survey of over 200 financial analysts found that ‘strength of brand/marketing’ was most frequently cited as a factor (at 79 percent) for appraising and analysing a company. This was ahead of leadership quality (76 percent) and technological innovation (72 percent).

Wavemaker Wins Extended Remit from Merlin Entertainment

UK-based attractions and amusements business Merlin Entertainment has appointed WPP’s Wavemaker as its global media consultancy partner, extending the agency’s remit. Wavemaker retained the £24 million business, but has also been handed media planning and buying duties worth $34 million across the US and EMEA. Wavemaker has also been charged with leading digital and data transformation globally for the brand.

Dentsu Tests VideoAmp Metrics Across Seven Media Companies

Dentsu is testing using metrics from VideoAmp for audience planning and guarantees of reach and frequency across seven media companies including Warner Bros. Discovery, Paramount, and NBCUniversal, Variety reported this week. The two have previously trialled VideoAmp’s metrics on Paramount inventory. Brad Stockton, senior vice president of video innovation at Dentsu Media US, said the goal is to help advertisers optimise for audience segments across different media companies.

Stagwell Acquires AI Specialist Left Field Labs

Agency group Stagwell announced this week it has acquired Left Field Labs (Left Field), a digital agency which specialises in digital transformation, AI, and immersive consumer experiences. Left Field will join Stagwell’s Constellation Network’s, providing services including strategic innovation, user experience design, adept prototyping, and technological engineering.

Extinction Rebellion Protests at Havas Offices Over Shell Contract

Climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion staged a protest at agency group Havas’ offices in Kings Cross in London, over Havas’ appointment as Shell’s new media agency. “Shell spends more on advertising than on renewable energy like wind and solar,” said Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Katie Burrell. “But now Havas will help them produce communications and media campaigns to convince the world that they are part of the solution to the climate emergency, not one of the main causes.”

Hires of the Week

Ogilvy Re-Hires Melanie Huggins as New Chief Strategy Officer

Ogilvy, a France-based global agency, has re-hired Melanie Huggins in a new role as Chief Strategy Officer in Paris, Campaign Live reports. Huggins’ previous stint at Ogilvy saw her working as the European Planning Director for the company’s Motorola account from 2003 to 2005.

ShowHeroes Appoints Gerry D’Angelo and Eric Tourtel as Senior Advisors

ShowHeroes Group this week appointed two new global senior advisors: Gerry D’Angelo, former VP of global media at Procter & Gamble and Eric Tourtel, former CEO Latin America at Teads. ShowHeroes says both executives will “contribute their acumen and business strategy” to the company as it continues to strengthen its Better Media approach to digital solutions across global markets.

This Week on VideoWeek

X’s Ad Sales Chief Steps Down Amid Ad Revenue Downturn

Connatix is Bringing Transparency to Axel Springer Video Buys

YouTube Announces UK Launch of Primetime Channels

Half of CTV Bid Requests Seen by GroupM Don’t Contain GDPR Signals

ITV Rolls Out Addressable Ads On Linear Broadcast Channels

Streaming Publishers Need to Understand the Dynamics of CTV Ad Auctions

ISBA’s Origin Tests Adding ACR Data into its Cross-Media Measurement Solution

Ad of the Week

Norwich City Football Club, Check In on Those Around You

Not an ad per se, but Norwich’s spot for World Mental Health Day deserves the pick this week.

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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