The WIR: Disney Launches Shoppable and ‘Advergaming’ CTV Formats, the EBU Calls for AI Cooperation, and Madhive Acquires Frequence

Tim Cross 14 June, 2024 

In this week’s Week in Review: Disney launched new interactive formats, Madhive acquires Frequence, and the EBU calls for cooperation on AI.

Top Stories

Disney Launches Shoppable and ‘Advergaming’ CTV Formats

Disney this week announced several new shoppable and ‘advergaming’ ad formats, powered by KERV and Brightline respectively, which will run on some of its CTV streaming services.

Three new shoppable formats, which will use dynamic QR codes, product carousels, and custom graphics to showcase products and then lead users to checkout via their phone, will be available on Disney+. Meanwhile the gaming-based formats, Quiz Show and Beat the Clock, will enable brands to run trivia games or small interactive experiences relevant to their brands within ad slots on Hulu and ESPN+. These games will be controlled via the TV remote.

“Brands come to Disney with the intent of delivering new, unique advertising experiences for consumers that both drive engagement and provide a seamless viewing experience,” said Jamie Power, SVP of addressable sales at Disney. “Offering expanded shoppable ads and advergaming formats to marketers will allow them to connect with audiences in a more differentiated and dynamic way.”

EBU Calls for Cooperation Around AI Strategies

The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has published a strategic paper advising its members on implementing AI tools in the best interests of audiences. The EBU, which represents Europe’s public broadcasters, emphasised the need for cooperation among regulators, AI developers, and media companies.

“Today, AI is the burning issue for public service media, who seek to maximise its benefits in the public interest,” said Eric Scherer, Director of the News MediaLab at France Télévisions and Chair of the EBU News Committee. “To do this, we need regulators, AI developers and media to find a common purpose through open and ongoing dialogue, which is what we’re advocating in the EBU strategic paper on Generative AI and public service media. Our paper sets out our vision – including some red lines – to ensure public media organisations can continue to serve European society properly.”

Madhive Acquires Frequence for Local Omnichannel Ad Sales

Madhive, a CTV ad tech firm, has acquired Frequence, an ad sales platform for local media companies, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition aims to capture local advertising budgets, while helping advertisers deliver geo-targeted campaigns across streaming TV, search, online video, display, audio, out-of-home, and social.

“Over the past fourteen years, Frequence developed the leading omnichannel advertising sales platform through relentless innovation and the integration of cutting-edge technology,” said Frequence CEO Tom Cheli. “Now, together with Madhive, we are surging forward by uniting our unique strengths to establish the leading digital advertising hub for local media companies.”

The Week in Tech

Equativ and Sharethrough Announce SSP Merger

Equativ, a French ad tech firm, is merging with Sharethrough, a Canadian supply-side platform (SSP), the companies announced on Wednesday. The deal, whose financial terms were undisclosed, intends to establish an ad marketplace across 18 countries, according to the companies. The combined entity has 720 employees, and combined net recurring revenue above $200 million, the partners said in a statement. The merger aims to provide advertisers and media owners with an alternative to walled gardens, enabling programmatic operations at scale. Read more on VideoWeek.

Oracle Quietly Exits the Advertising Business

Tech giant Oracle made a low key announcement in its quarterly earnings call this week that it has decided to exit the advertising business. CEO Safra Catz said that the company decided to wind down its advertising business over the past three months, stating that revenues from the segment had fallen to around $300 million for its most recent financial year. Catz didn’t give any further details on the timing of the wind down, what it plans to do with its advertising related assets, or what will happen to clients working with Oracle Advertising. Read more on VideoWeek.

IAB Tech Lab Launches New Framework for Consistent Creative IDs

IAB Tech Lab this week announced the launch of the Ad Creative ID Framework (ACIF), a new framework which it says will standardise creation and registry of persistent creative identifiers across linear TV, CTV, and digital video. Inconsistency in creative identifiers is a significant roadblock in advertisers’ ability to measure ad campaigns, and to effectively control ad frequency for individuals and households. Tech Lab says the ACIF will help solve these problems, while also improving ad experiences for viewers. Read more on VideoWeek.

Google TV Introduces CTV Ad Network

Google has launched an ad network for its CTV offering, Google TV. The network provides advertisers in-stream video inventory across more than 125 channels, according to the tech giant, with non-skippable and 6-second bumpers ads currently available. Advertisers can access the Google TV Network through Google Ads and Google Display & Video 360.

Walmart Expects E-Commerce Profits in Two Years

Walmart expects its US e-commerce business to turn a profit within the next two years, the retail giant told investors last week. Walmart CFO John David Rainey said the e-commerce business has been among the company’s growth drivers. E-commerce sales rose 21 percent globally in Q1, and 22 percent in the US.

United Airlines Launches Media Network

United Airlines has launched its own media network, enabling advertisers to target customers based on the airline’s travel behaviour data. The platform, Kinective Media, offers inventory across the United Airlines mobile app and inflight entertainment screens. “We’ve built a first-of-its-kind, real-time, ad-tech-enabled traveller media network where brands have already started connecting to premium audiences at an unmatched scale,” said Richard Nunn, CEO of MileagePlus, the company’s membership scheme.

Pinterest Set for Soaring Ad Revenues Finds WARC

Pinterest ad revenues are expected to reach $3.6 billion this year and $4.2 billion next year, according to WARC Media. The report forecasts 17.3 percent YoY growth for the ads business over the next two years, as the social sharing company invests in shoppability and AI. “For so long, Pinterest has been known for upper-funnel discovery, where users look for inspiration,” said WARC’s Celeste Huang. “However, Pinterest has an audience with high commercial intent.”

LinkedIn Disables Targeted Ad Tool for EU Compliance

LinkedIn has disabled a tool facilitating targeted advertising in order to comply with the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). The move followed a complaint by European civil rights bodies, who told the European Commission the tool could allow advertisers to target users based on sensitive personal data, such as race or political opinions. “Disabling this tool is a proactive step to align with the DSA’s requirements and to maintain the trust of our community,” said a LinkedIn spokesperson.

ANA Spins Off Division for Cross-Media Measurement 

The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) has spun off the division working cross-media measurement solution (CIMM), into a separate business called Aquila. “After sufficient testing and validation, Aquila is moving the CMM initiative to the next phase of bringing a scaled CMM solution to the US,” said Aquila president Bill Tucker. “This will unlock substantial value for all stakeholders and deliver an improved ad experience for all audiences and segments through transparent measurement.”

Roku Opens Direct Path for Programmatic Buyers

Roku, a smart TV and streaming company, has launched Roku Exchange, a programmatic network connecting streaming inventory to advertiser demand. The platform offers programmatic buyers the same data as direct buyers, according to the company, such as the length of ad breaks and metadata for surrounding content, including genre. “Democratising access to Roku Media, which includes video and native ad formats across the ecosystem for all demand-side partners, brings better results for advertisers while also keeping the consumer’s experience best in class,” said Louqman Parampath, VP of Product Management at Roku.

Retailers Bring £1 Billion Class Action Against Amazon

A group of independent retailers have launched a £1 billion class action lawsuit against Amazon for anticompetitive practices. Brought by 35,000 sellers and headed by the British Independent Retailers Association (Bira), the suit accuses Amazon of pushing the retailers out of its online marketplace, using their data to inform its own rival products, and preferencing its own items. “The consequences of Amazon’s abusive conduct have been to inflate its profits and harm the UK retail sector, especially the smaller independent retailers who are struggling at a time of difficult economic circumstances,” said Bira. 

Comcast’s Effectv Expands Addressable Audiences to Local Advertisers

Effectv, the sales division of Comcast Advertising, has expanded its addressable audiences to regional and local advertisers, enabling them to drive incremental reach across Comcast households. The Audience Addressable solution enables accurate campaign delivery across linear, VOD and streaming platforms in a single buy, according to the telco. “We’ve seen a surge in national advertisers buying addressable TV fuelled by aggregated Comcast data insights that offer initial audience match rates as high as 95 percent – much higher than IP address match rates,” said Effectv EVP and GM Pooja Midha. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring our Audience Addressable solution and its heightened precision to regional and local advertisers, enabling them to better reach their strategic audiences with accuracy, efficiency, and scale.”

Utiq Announces First SSP Integration With Equativ

Utiq, an identity solution created by four European telcos, has announced its first SSP integration, making its addressable audiences available through the Equativ SSP. Utiq’s Authentic Audiences will be available in France, Germany and Spain, enabling buyers to activate the consented audiences through any DSP integrated with the Equativ SSP. “We believe this is the future of digital marketing – a future where respect for consumer privacy and effective marketing are not mutually exclusive but are, in fact, two sides of the same coin,” said Utiq CPO Will Harmer.

The Week in TV

Shari Redstone Calls Off Paramount and Skydance Merger, Edgar Bronfman Jr Mulls Bid

Shari Redstone, owner of Paramount’s parent company, called off its merger with Skydance Media at the last minute, according to people close to the companies. The National Amusements owner reportedly soured on the deal after Skydance revised its terms, lowering the offer to National Amusements in order to sweeten the pot for Paramount shareholders. Meanwhile Edgar Bronfman Jr, billionaire owner of Fubo TV, has entered the fray, signalling his interest in a $2.5 billion bid for National Amusements. 

Broadcasters Should Keep Spending on Content Says Ampere

European broadcasters should resist the temptation to cut content investments, Ampere Analysis recommended this week, in order to capitalise on spending cuts by the SVOD giants. “Sustaining or increasing content investment is crucial for broadcasters to differentiate themselves in an industry where major global streamers are adopting more conservative spending strategies,” said Neil Anderson, Senior Analyst at Ampere Analysis. “Bold commissioning decisions can set broadcasters apart, drive engagement and advertising revenue.”

Tech Watchdogs Urge Justice Department to Probe YouTube Dominance

Eleven tech and competition watchdogs have requested that the US Department of Justice investigates YouTube’s dominance of home entertainment. In a letter to Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter, the groups raised concerns that YouTube being pre-installed on smartphones and TVs gives Google a competitive advantage. “YouTube has a decade-long record of using its dominance across numerous markets to crowd out competitors, lock in customers, and force the purchase of bundled services,” the groups said in the letter.

M6 Reports Strong First Month for New Streaming Service

M6 has reported a strong first month for its new streaming service M6+. According to the RTL-owned company, the service saw 21.9 million monthly users in May, up 29 percent YoY compared to its predecessor 6play. The French broadcaster is aiming to double its volume of online video content, and triple its streaming revenues by 2028.

Max Continues European Roll-Out in France and Poland

Max, the Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) streaming service, has launched in France and Poland, making the SVOD service available in 25 European countries. Max will also land in Belgium on 1st July, following an early-access period starting this week. “Max’s global momentum continues to build as even more customers now have access to unparalleled quality content including HBO, Discovery, Warner Bros, DC, Eurosport and CNN,” said JB Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming & Games at WBD. “These international fan-favourites are complemented with meaningful, high-quality local original programming. With over half the worldwide market still ahead of us, the globalisation of Max is only just beginning.”

US Audiences Favour Pre-Roll Ads to Product Placement Finds MAGNA

US audiences are less receptive to product placement than pre-roll and homepage ads, according to new research from MAGNA Media Trials and Roku. According to the findings, 61 percent of consumers consider themselves open to pre-roll ads, and 48 percent to homepage ads, versus 37 percent for product placement within content. “Streamers are seeking ways to reduce friction and enhance content discovery during their browsing journey, and brands that help address these needs have a real opportunity to drive awareness and action at key moments,” said Jordan Rost, Head of Ad Marketing at Roku.

The Week for Publishers

New York Times Partners with Instacart for Shoppable Recipes

The New York Times has partnered with grocery delivery business Instacart in the US, which will make New York Times Cooking recipes shoppable via Instacart, and will embed the NYT’s cooking videos within the Instacart app. New York Times Cooking users will also get discounts and offers for Instacart and its paid premium service, Instacart+.

Mediahuis Aims for 70 Percent Digital Revenue by 2030

European news business Mediahuis is aiming for 70 percent of its total revenues to come from digital operations by 2030, Press Gazette reported this week, a significant swing from its current balance of 30 percent digital and 70 percent print. The company says that growing its online audience and reaching young readers will be key parts of its strategy.

Netmums Joins Ozone

UK-based publisher collective Ozone this week announced a new partnership with Netmums, which will add its inventory to Ozone’s pool of premium publisher ad space.”We’re very proud to announce the arrival of Netmums into the Ozone family,” said Dipti Patel, publisher development director at Ozone. “The Netmums team has developed a really compelling editorial proposition for parents adapting to family life that will provide a new dimension to our premium publisher portfolio.”

AI Search Has “Devastating Impact” on Publishers

The integration of generative AI tools into online search is having a “devastating impact” on publishers, according to an investigation from Press Gazette and Future Media, run by Authoritas. The investigation looked at the 3,300 most important search terms for leading publishers, and found that in over 23 percent of cases, Google offered an AI-generated response, pushing publisher links down the screen (and possibly into irrelevance, if the AI tool satisfied the user’s query).

AP Seeks Ad Revenue Growth

The Associated Press (AP) is looking to diversify its revenue with a number of new and grew revenue streams, including advertising, Press Gazette reported this week. Speaking at the WAN-IFRA World News Media Congress in Copenhagen, Kristin Heitmann, SVP and chief revenue officer at AP, said that digital advertising, service, generative AI and data licensing, and philanthropy are four revenue streams the publisher is exploring. Heitmann said that while she doesn’t expect digital ad revenues to ever make up more than ten percent of overall revenues, the news agency still has plenty of room to grow.

Pinterest Launches New AI-Based Ad Creation Tools

Social sharing platform Pinterest has announced a new AI-powered set of ad tools, which it is hosting within Pinterest Ad Labs, where advertisers can trial experimental new tools. One generative AI tool enables advertisers to swap out the background of their creative using AI prompts, while another tool, Pinterest Performance+ uses AI to optimise campaigns towards advertisers’ goals. Pinterest also announced a new brand safety partnership with DoubleVerify.

The Week For Brands & Agencies

GroupM Predicts Global Ad Spend Will Pass $1 Trillion Next Year

WPP’s media arm GroupM released its midyear This Year Next Year report this week, raising its expectations for ad spend over the next few years. GroupM now predicts total ad spend will grow by 7.8 percent this year (excluding the impact of US political advertising), passing $989 billion. And with further growth expected next year, GroupM forecasts total global ad spend will top $1 trillion in 2025. The agency group also expects 69.5 percent of all ad revenue to be informed by AI in some way this year.

Video is Primary Driver of Digital Ad Growth in Europe, finds IAB AdEx Report

The European digital advertising market grew by 11.1 percent last year, reaching €96.6 billion, according to IAB Europe’s latest AdEx Benchmark report. Inflation was once again a major factor – though the market still grew by 3.8 percent when adjusting for inflation. And video, as has been the case in recent years, was one of the best performing parts of the market, up 20.9 percent year-on-year. Read more on VideoWeek.

PHD Comes Out On Top in Volkswagen Global Media Review

Omnicom media agency PHD has retained car giant Volkswagen’s global media duties for an account covering brands including VW, Audi, and Škoda, Ad Age reported this week. Omnicom, which has held the account since 2016, credited the win to its ‘agency-as-a-platform’ approach, according to Ad Age.

Carat Wins Pernod Ricard’s €100 Million EMEA Media Account

Dentsu’s Carat has won drinks maker Pernod Ricard’s newly consolidated EMEA media account worth around €100 million, according to Campaign. The account covers the UK, where Pernod Ricard previously worked with Manning Gottlieb OMD, as well as 14 other markets including France, Germany, and Spain.

Croud Acquires Digital Agency Vert Digital

Full-service digital agency Croud this week announced it has acquired Vert Digital, a fellow digital agency based in Atlanta, for an undisclosed fee. The acquisition will expand Croud’s presence in the US, which it describes as its most important strategic market. Vert Digitals’ clients include American Honda Motor Company, First Watch Restaurants, and Barco.

Only 25 Percent of Advertisers are Ready for Cookie Deprecation

Only 25 percent of advertisers say they are completely ready for the deprecation of third-party cookies in Google’s Chrome browser, according to a study commissioned by Taboola and run by YouGov. Meanwhile 46 percent of those surveyed say they are happy with Google’s decision to delay its deadline for getting rid of third-party cookies.

Sainsbury’s Picks PHD as Sole Media Agency

UK supermarket PHD has picked Omnicom-owned media agency PHD as its sole media agency, following a review which also included WPP’s EssenceMediacom, More About Advertising reported this week. PHD already handled Sainsbury’s primary media planning and buying duties, while EssenceMediacom has charge of its digital business.

DAIVID Picks ‘Winner Stays’ as Nike’s Most Exciting Football Ad

As the men’s European Championships kick off, creative effectiveness platform DAIVID said its tests have found ‘Winner Stays’ to be the most exciting Nike football ad of all time. The ad, starring Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Neymar, and Andres Iniesta among others, was launched in 2014 alongside the Brazil World Cup. ‘Nice to Beat You’, ‘Take it to the Next Level’, ‘Airport’, and ‘Dream Further’ rounded out the top five.

Hires of the Week

BBC Studios Hires Devina Seth as Brand Partnerships Director

BBC Studios this week announced Devina Seth as brand partnerships director within its Global Digital Brands team. Seth, who previously worked at Vice, Dazed, and Refinery29, will be responsible for building out the digital value proposition, commercial product and core capabilities to take the portfolio of IP out to clients to deliver content led brand partnerships, according to BBC Studios.

Madison and Wall Makes Two New Hires

Madison and Wall, an advisory and strategy consultancy covering media and advertising, this week announced that Jose George and Olivia Morley are joining the firm as senior analysts. Jose George joins from WPP’s GroupM, where he was a trading manager in Canada, while Olivia Morley joins from Adweek, where she was a senior reporter.

This Week on VideoWeek

Can Single-Source Data Solve Advertisers’ Cross-Media Measurement Headaches?

The Role of the Agency in Retail Media

IAB Tech Lab Launches New Framework for Consistent Creative IDs

Video is Primary Driver of Digital Ad Growth in Europe, finds IAB AdEx Report

Equativ and Sharethrough Announce SSP Merger

Oracle Quietly Exits the Advertising Business

The Buy-Side View: Q&A with Vodafone’s Daniel Mogridge

Cannes 2024: What Will People Be Discussing Off-Stage?

Ad of the Week

Jif, The Merger

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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