The WIR: Publishers Focus on Video, Disney Rolls Out Shoppable and Self-Serve Ad Tools, and Sports are a Major Driver of Streaming Sign-Ups

Tim Cross 12 January, 2024 

In this week’s Week in Review: Publisher plan to ramp up video output, Disney unveils new ad products, and Kantar shows the importance of sports for driving subscription sign-ups.

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Publishers Plan to Invest More in Video in 2024

Global publishing organisations expect video to be a major target of investment over the next year, according to data from the Reuters Institute’s latest ‘Journalism, media, and technology trends and predictions 2024’ report. When asked what content they are planning to produce more of in 2024, video came in above newsletters, podcasts, and written articles.

But while publishers say newsletter and podcasts will help drive revenues, the video push is more about engagement. The Reuters Institute said publishers will be looking to engage audiences with short form video, which at the moment is hard to monetise on TikTok, YouTube Shorts, and Instagram Reels, the major platforms.

The challenge for publishers will therefore be bringing more of this viewing onto their own sites, or at least using off-site short form to drive up on-site engagement.

Disney Announces Shoppable Ad Format and Self-Serve Expansion

Disney will enable advertisers to buy ads across Hulu and Disney+ in a single campaign, the company announced at CES 2024, ahead of launching a combined streaming service in March 2024. And more inventory will be available to buy self-serve, as Disney announced plans to make Disney+ and ESPN+ inventory available through its self-serve platform Disney Campaign Manager later this year. This will be followed by an international rollout for the tool.

Disney also unveiled a shoppable ad format called Gateway Shop, which will allow viewers to send on-screen products to a second screen without interrupting their streaming session. “Our industry-leading technology and data capabilities, paired with our global scale and reach, allows us to deliver intentional, and impactful experiences to consumers, while driving performance and effectiveness for brands,” said Rita Ferro, president at Disney Advertising.

Sports Drive Every One in Five Sign-Ups to Streaming Services

The average sports fan in Europe and the UK spends €88/£76 on streaming services, according to Kantar, significantly higher than the amount paid by non-sports fans. The research attributed every one in five new streaming sign-ups to sport. And while football is the highest-driving sport in Europe and the UK, Kantar identified a “long tail” of sports that households watch beyond their main choice. “This means that while securing single sports rights is important for a streaming service, it must also be aware [of] the opportunities that exist in offering diverse options,” said the report.

The Week in Tech

InfoSum Launches New Product ‘Private Path’

Clean room provider InfoSum on Tuesday announced the launch of Private Path, a new tool which the company says enables businesses to collaborate using first-party data in a privacy preserving manner, outside of the clean room environment. InfoSum says the new tool will enable data, measurement, and media partners to get the most out of their first-party data in a faster, safer, and more cost-effective manner. Read more on VideoWeek.

Samba TV and HyphaMetrics Form Combined Measurement Panel

Samba TV and HyphaMetrics have announced a partnership to form a TV and streaming measurement panel, set up as a rival to Nielsen data. The partnership will combine Samba TV’s first-party data in the US with HyphaMetrics’ AI-calibrated panel data, in order to measure person-level and co-viewing of linear and streaming TV, alongside multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) and user-generated content (UGC). “We are excited to provide a new and unprecedented level of detail that, in combination with Samba TV’s data, will fulfill the cumulative industry demand of granularity at scale,” said HyphaMetrics CEO Chris Wilson.

Netflix Looks to Monetise Gaming

Netflix is planning to monetise its games offering, the Wall Street Journal reported this week. The streaming giant currently offers free games for its subscribers and has so far resisted monetisation moves such as in-app purchases. Now Netflix execs are reportedly in discussions around introducing additional charges for games, in-game purchases or the inclusions of ads.

Panasonic TVs to Have Amazon Fire TV Built In 

Panasonic and Amazon have announced a deal that will see Panasonic TVs carry Fire TV as its operating system starting this year, replacing the manufacturer’s own home screen. The company unveiled two flagship TVs with Fire TV at CES 2024, and plans to expand its lineup of TVs with Fire TV built in. “This means customers around the world will get to experience all the benefits of Fire TV’s personalised streaming experience and access to Alexa, combined with Panasonic’s best-in-class smart TVs,” said Daniel Rausch, VP for Alexa and Fire TV at Amazon. 

iSpot Unveils New Streaming Measurement Tools

iSpot, an audience measurement firm, has introduced new streaming measurement capabilities. The suite shows advertisers viewing data from linear TV and over 400 streaming platforms in a single dashboard, the company said. The tools provide a streaming-first cross-platform view, according to iSpot, and includes co-viewing metrics derived from the TVision panel. “As the market moves towards streaming and increased fragmentation grows, brands need accuracy, consistency, scale and transparency to manage media investments,” said Sean Muller, CEO and Founder of iSpot. “The addition of these new metrics provides a foundation for new currencies and the insights to help drive efficiency and return on investment for both sides of a transaction.”

TikTok Plans Retreat From Gaming

TikTok is looking to retreat from gaming, with parent firm ByteDance announcing plans to focus on other core businesses. The Chinese company is eyeing up prospective buyers for its gaming assets, including gaming giant Tencent. Meanwhile TikTok has become the first non-game app to surpass $10 billion in cumulative consumer spending, according to a report from

Disney Goes All-in on Clean Rooms

Disney is leaning into data clean room technology, Adweek reported on Wednesday. Last year, the number of brands activating with Disney’s clean room increased 570 percent YoY, according to Dana McGraw, SVP audience modelling and data science at Disney Advertising. The clean room is currently accessible via Habu and Snowflake, but Disney plans to expand its vendors to include Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, the company announced at CES 2024.

Google Seeks to Reassure Industry Over Privacy Sandbox Concerns

Google has provided an update to its Privacy Sandbox products, a privacy-centric toolset designed to replace cookies as they begin their phase-out in Chrome. Google has struggled to get businesses to start testing the tools, prompting the tech giant to address some common objections in a blog post. These include the complexity and cost of Sandbox investment, as well as concerns that the tools will unfairly advantage Google’s ad products. The company said testing the tools is worth the investment of time and resources, both for the protection of online privacy and for business outcomes. Google added that it has given commitments to the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that the tools will not give Google special treatment.

Yahoo Brings Cookieless ID Solution to DSP

Yahoo has launched a new identity suite for its demand-side platform (DSP) in efforts to help advertisers prepare for third-party cookie deprecation. Clients can now test the new solution, according to Yahoo, essentially removing cookies across all identity-related use cases, such as frequency capping, targeting, conversion attribution, and reach metrics. “As cookie deprecation quickly approaches, advertisers are looking to easily and accurately test solutions without having to change the way they buy or introduce friction into their campaigns,” said Yahoo CRO Elizabeth Herbst-Brady. “These new testing capabilities and our continued enhancement of Yahoo Identity Solutions reflect our unwavering dedication to providing advertisers with accurate insights and measurable business outcomes.”

X Commissions New Don Lemon Show in Video Push

X (formerly Twitter) has commissioned further exclusive video content for the platform, the ailing social media company announced at CES 2024. Disgraced CNN host Don Lemon will front three shows per week, alongside content from politician Tulsi Gabbard and sports commentator Jim Rome. They will join former Fox News host Tucker Carlson on the video side of X under Elon Musk’s as-yet unrealised efforts to monetise free speech. 

Twitch Cuts 35 Percent of Staff

Twitch, Amazon’s gaming-focussed live streaming platform, this week announced it is laying off 500 workers, or around 35 percent of its staff. The cuts come as the business struggles with high costs related to its live streaming infrastructure. This is the second round of cuts in less than a year – Twitch announced it had laid off over 400 staff last March.

The Week in TV

Channel 4 to Cut 200 Staff in Advertising Downturn

Channel 4 is planning to cut up to 200 jobs, the broadcaster confirmed to The Guardian this week, as part of efforts “to become a leaner organisation” in the face of an ongoing advertising slump. The plans spell Channel 4’s most extensive layoffs since the 2008 financial crash, when the UK broadcaster was forced to cut almost one quarter of its 875 employees. Since then, the company’s headcount has risen to over 1,200 staff, giving the business an annual wage bill over £108 million. Read more on VideoWeek.

TF1+ Goes Live in France

French broadcaster TF1 this week launched TF1+, a new ad-supported streaming service, as it seeks to become the leader in free streaming in France. TF1 chairman and CEO Rodolphe Belmer described the launch as a “turning point” in the evolution of TF1’s business model, adding that the launch of TF1+ “strengthens the position of TF1 in the digital video market, with a unique value proposition for both French audiences and advertisers”. Read more on VideoWeek.

Amazon Prime Video Reportedly Offering Competitive CPMs

Buying ads on Amazon Prime Video will be cheaper than its streaming rivals, Adweek reported on Monday. Media buyers said Prime Video is coming to market with CPMs around $30, significantly lower than Netflix’s initial price of $65, which the company reportedly dropped closer to $40 last year. Also this week, Amazon told staff to expect hundreds of layoffs at Prime Video and MGM Studios, as well as its live-streaming business Twitch. 

Altice Co-CEO Departs Amid Corruption Probe

Altice co-CEO Alexandre Fonseca has left the company following a corruption investigation at Altice Portugal. Fonseca was not named as a suspect, but as head of the telco during 2017-22, the alleged corruption took place on his watch. Fonseca suspended himself from the company after Altice co-founder Armando Pereira and other individuals were arrested in July 2023.

TV to Benefit from 30 Percent Rise in US Political Ad Spend

Political ad spend will reach $12.32 billion this year, according to Insider Intelligence, a 30 percent increase on 2020, the previous US election year. And 71.9 percent of that spend will go on traditional media, with TV the biggest beneficiary. The forecast will come as welcome news for US TV networks whose ad revenues have taken a hit in recent months.

Viaplay Approves Rescue Plan, Canal+ and PPF Raise Stakes

Viaplay shareholders have approved a recapitalisation plan, which sees chief investors Canal+ and PPF raise their stakes in the company to 29.3 percent each. The rescue plan will raise SEK 4 billion in new equity, with debts to be written down or renegotiated. Shares in the struggling Nordic streaming company rose 7 percent at the news, but have fallen 97 percent in the last 12 months.

NBCUniversal Adds AI Planning Tool to Ad Platform

NBCUniversal has launched One Platform Total Audience, an AI-driven planning and activation tool for its ad platform. The new audience planning tool uses machine learning to produce a single media plan, across linear and streaming, that targets a brand’s specific audience segment, the company announced at CES 2024. NBCUniversal also said it will transact 50 percent of its business on strategic audiences in 2024. According to the broadcaster, 60 percent of NBCU’s advertising clients use audience-based buying to drive incremental value, and strategic audience buys have grown 25 percent in the last year. “2024 will be a watershed year for change,” said Mark Marshall, Chairman, NBCUniversal Global Advertising & Partnerships. “Seismic shifts in measurement will throw everyone’s media mix models up in the air, presenting a singular opportunity to transact on strategic audiences and measure real KPIs for marketers.”

The Week for Publishers

Future Launches Effectiveness Measurement Tools

UK special interest publisher Future has launched a new suite of effectiveness measurement tools, helping brands measure outcomes from campaigns run across Future’s titles. These include ‘Campaign Effect’ and ‘Campaign Effect Lite’, which will measure consumer recall, attention, and campaign feedback, as well as a brand lift measurement tool.

Daily Mail Expands Video Offering with New Talk Show

The Daily Mail continued its push into producing more video content this week with the launch of a new talk show hosted on YouTube. The new show, called ‘The Reaction’, features Daily Mail columnists Sarah Vine and Andrew Pierce as hosts. The Mail has previously focussed on producing video content for its paid app Mail+.

OpenAI Hits Back at New York Times in Copyright Suit

AI giant OpenAI has claimed that the New York Times deliberately manipulated its ChatGPT chatbot in order to strengthen its copyright case. The Times has filed a lawsuit against OpenAI, saying that OpenAI has ingested its content without consent. The Times said that the chatbot was seen regurgitating almost identical copy to the New York Times’ own reporting. But OpenAI says prompts used by the Times were intentionally designed to manipulate the chatbot into regurgitating content.

Group Black Prepares First-Party Data Platform for Black and Hispanic Audiences

Media company Group Black is preparing to launch a new first-party data platform to help brands reach Black and Hispanic audiences in Q3 this year, Digiday reported this week. The platform will collate data from between 10-15 diverse-owned companies across a range of sectors, creating targetable audience segments. This will be available to buy on Group Black’s owned inventory, as well as media brands included in its Group Black Collective.

DC Thompson Posts Loss After Flat Revenues Last Year

Publishing group DC Thompson says revenues were flat in the year ending March 2023, but costs were high due to inflation, leading to a £162 million loss, according to Press Gazette. One bright spot for the group was local news – chairman Christopher Thomson said the publisher saw its biggest growth in regional news for decades thanks to strong subscription revenues.

The Week For Brands & Agencies

Havas Media Network Touts Cookieless Planning and Buying Platform

Havas Media Network UK has rebuilt its ‘Converged’ planning and buying platform as an AI-powered tool fit for cookie-free advertising. Havas says the new platform handles audience creation, decisioning, analytics and attribution using data from its own audience insights. This means it doesn’t need cookies to operate, and also doesn’t need any other identity or identity resolution tech to function.

WPP Considers Offloading Kantar Stake

Holding group WPP is reportedly considering selling the 40 percent stake it holds in research business Kantar to co-owner Bain Capital, Reuters reported this week. The deal could see Kantar valued at around £7 billion including debt, according to Reuters, meaning it would bring a considerable chunk of cash in for WPP. WPP used to completely own Kantar, but sold a 60 percent stake to Bain back in 2019.

Accenture Acquires Work & Co.

Consulting giant Accenture has acquired digital design and tech agency Work & Co. for an undisclosed fee, the company announced this week. Work & Co., whose clients include Google and Apple, will be folded into Accenture’s marketing division Accenture Song.

L’Oréal Launches UK Media Review

Personal care brand L’Oréal is launching a review of its UK media account, Campaign reported this week. The account is currently held by GroupM’s EssenceMediacomX, and L’Oréal is looking to have a shortlist drawn up by the end of the month, according to Campaign.

US Ad Employment Continues to Grow, Reaching All-Time High

Total US employment in advertising, PR, and related services hit an all-time high in December, adding a further 1,900 jobs according to AdAge’s analysis of data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total employment in the sector hit 504,600, up by 11,300 from the previous year.

GroupM and Amazon Ads Collaborate on Amazon Marketing Cloud Maturity Framework

WPP’s media division GroupM announced this week it is working with Amazon Ads to develop a new framework to help GroupM clients assess their maturity with Amazon’s Marketing Cloud suite of products. The Amazon Marketing Cloud Maturity Framework will recommend the most appropriate tools within Amazon’s product set based on each marketer’s maturity.

UK Supermarkets Report Strong Festive Sales

Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and M&S have all reported strong sales over the festive period, despite some previous uncertainty over levels of consumer spending. M&S reported eight percent growth in sales, Sainsbury’s reported a 6.5 percent rise in festive revenues, and Tesco’s sales were up by 6.8 percent.

Hires of the Week

OMG Hires Joanna O’Connell as NA Chief Intelligence Officer

Omnicom Media Group has hired Joanna O’Connell as its new chief intelligence officer for North America, a new role at the company. O’Connell joins from Forrester as VP, principal analyst.

Walker Jacobs Joins DAZN as CRO

Walker Jacobs has joined sports streaming service DAZN as its global chief revenue officer and president of US. Jacobs previously worked as CRO of Amazon-owned Twitch, and also led sports for Amazon Advertising.

Jo Kinsella Joins Rebranded Extreme Reach as President

Extreme Reach, which has now rebranded as XR, had taken on Jo Kinsella as its new president. Kinsella was previously president of TV measurement business TVSquared, and then led Innovid’s measurement unit after Innovid acquired TVSquared.

Michael Dorn Becomes Chief Sales Officer of Ad Alliance

Michael Dorn has been appointed as chief sales officer of RTL Deutschland’s Ad Alliance, the company announced this week. Dorn rises up from the role of general sales director, which he’s been in since 2019.

This Week on VideoWeek

Channel 4 to Cut 200 Staff in Advertising Downturn

TF1 Touts AI Capabilities, Distribution Deals, and FAST Channels with New Ad-Supported Streaming Service

How Australia is Accelerating Programmatic TV

New York Times’ AI Lawsuit Could be “First of Many This Year”

InfoSum Launches Private Path, Enabling Data Collaboration Outside its Clean Room

Video Sales Overtake Games for First Time in 10 Years

Twitch Reportedly Prepares to Cut 35 Percent of Jobs

Netflix Announces 23 Million Ad-Supported Users in Major Play for Advertisers

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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