The WIR: News Avoidance on the Rise, Disney Announces Data Matching Tool, and Havas Commits €400 Million to AI

Tim Cross 21 June, 2024 

In this week’s Week in Review: TV news consumption falls, Disney announces new data matching capabilities, and Havas commits €400 million to data, tech and AI investments.

Top Stories

News Avoidance is On the Rise, as TV News Consumption Falls

News avoidance is on the rise around the world, according to the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism’s latest Digital News Report, with audiences reporting they find it “relentless” and “depressing”. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed by the Reuters Institute said they sometimes or often actively avoid news as a result. This is up from 29 percent in 2017.

When audiences do engage with news, the means through which they do so are continuing to change at pace. Just fifty percent of the UK gets their news from TV, the report suggests, compared with 73 percent saying they find their news online. And while Facebook remains the main social media platform for news, the Reuters Institute notes its ongoing decline as a news channel.

Meanwhile TikTok has overtaken X as a source of news, with online video (particularly short-form) gaining traction among younger groups. “Consumers are adopting video because it is easy to use, and provides a wide range of relevant and engaging content,” said Nic Newman, lead author of the report. “But many traditional newsrooms are still rooted in a text-based culture and are struggling to adapt their storytelling.”

Disney Announces BridgeID Data Matching Tool

Disney continued its substantial investment in the tech side of its ad offering this week with the announcement of BridgeID, a solution which connects up Disney’s audience graph with third-party identity solutions, for ad targeting and measurement.

The media giant says that BridgeID “allows advertisers to activate their audiences against Disney’s proprietary data for insights, while increasing match rates, scale in biddable programmatic, and ensuring accurate measurement – all built with privacy at the forefront.” Disney says this essentially allows advertisers to “bridge” third-party capabilities into its own pool of CTV inventory.

Disney, whose CTV offering covers Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, has taken a fairly open approach to streaming sales. While it has invested heavily in its own tech and in-house targeting and measurement capabilities, it has also opened up its inventory to a wide range of DSPs, making access easier from the buyer’s perspective. BridgeID is similarly designed to give buyers more options, in this case letting advertisers use their choice of ID solution to match up with Disney’s audience.

Havas Announces €400 Million Data, Tech and AI Investment

French agency group Havas has committed €400 million to data, tech and AI over the next four years, as part of its new ‘Converged’ strategy revealed this week at Cannes. Overseen by a new Global Task Force, the investment will focus on content production, customer experience, and e-commerce, as well as strategic partnerships with tech companies such as Adobe.

The group also unveiled a new operating system (OS), built on its AI-driven ‘Converged’ media planning tool. The OS will be available across all Havas networks, supporting the company’s 23,000 employees across intelligence, design, activation and measurement. The announcement comes ahead of the agency’s planned split from parent company Vivendi, potentially making Havas a publicly traded company. 

“I couldn’t be more excited about this transformative development for Havas,” said Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and CEO at Havas. “Aiming at supercharging our positive impact for our clients and contributing to shaping the future of the fast-evolving communications industry, our new Converged strategy will build even more bridges between creativity, media, production, and technology than ever before.”

The Week in Tech

Major Ad Tech Companies Launch New Initiative to Accelerate Programmatic TV in Europe

A number of major ad tech businesses – PubMatic, Magnite, Equativ, The Trade Desk, Cadent, and Adform – this week announced the launch of the European Programmatic TV Initiative (EPTVI), a joint effort aimed at accelerating growth and adoption of programmatic TV in Europe. The EPTVI is a collaboration with the Project X Initiative, and has a number of broadcasters and agencies on board (though these haven’t been named). This initiative will look at the major factors holding back the development of programmatic TV in Europe, bringing together different stakeholders in order to solve these challenges. Read more on VideoWeek.

The Trade Desk Threatens to Shut Off Access to Yahoo Videos

The Trade Desk, a demand-side platform (DSP), has told buyers it will no longer monetise Yahoo’s video, accusing the publisher of mislabelling its inventory. The DSP said Yahoo had misdeclared video inventory as in-stream, which tends to cost more for buyers. The Trade Desk threatened to disable access to the inventory if the issue persists. 

Verve Acquires Mobile Gaming Ads Business Jun Group

Ad tech group Verve has acquired Jun Group, a mobile video and gaming ads business, for $185 million, the companies announced on Tuesday. Previously owned by Advantage Solutions, Jun Group delivers video and display ads into mobile games. “Over the past few years, we have built Verve into a strong, organically growing media company with a primary focus on the advertising supply side,” said Verve CEO Remco Westermann. “With Jun Group, we are now significantly strengthening the demand side, which will enable us to achieve significant synergies.”

Meta Spotlights AI Advertising Enhancements at Cannes

Meta used its Cannes presentation to tout the impact of its AI-driven content and advertising capabilities. According to the social media giant, 50 percent of Instagram content is now AI-recommended, and 79 percent of users report to have made purchases after viewing Reels. The company also cited a UC Berkeley study that said advertising ROI has increased 12 percent over the last two years, with every advertising dollar spent on Meta now yielding $3.71.

Over Half of Last Year’s Hottest AI Stocks Have Fallen This Year

The hottest-tipped AI stocks from last year have fallen this year, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday, suggesting waning investor interest in companies peddling the technology. More than half the companies included in Citi’s “AI Winners Basket” have declined in 2024, although Nvidia bucks the trend, having more than doubled in value this year. “AI is still a big theme but if you can’t demonstrate evidence you’re getting hurt,” said Stuart Kaiser, Head of US Equity Trading Strategy at Citi. “Just saying ‘AI’ 15 times is not going to cut it any more.”

Elon Musk Tries Appealing to (Rather Than Swearing at) Advertisers

Seven months on from telling advertisers to “go f—” themselves for pulling their spend from X, Elon Musk struck a more conciliatory tone at Cannes on Wednesday, suggesting the social media platform was “worth trying out.” Asked by WPP CEO Mark Read to clarify his earlier comments, Musk said: “It was with respect to freedom of speech. Advertisers have a right to appear next to content that they find compatible with their brands. That’s totally fine … What is not cool is insisting that there can be no content that they disagree with on the platform.” He also noted the company’s use of AI in improving the relevance of its advertising. “We are very focused on having ads be shown to people who would find the ad interesting,” he said. “That is something we have done and are making a lot of progress on.”

CoolerX Unveils Seasonal AI-Driven Ad Format for In-Store Takeovers

CoolerX (formerly Cooler Screens), an in-store retail media company, has unveiled a new AI-driven ad format. The “Own the Moment” format allows CPG brands to take over CoolerX’s video displays across the US, at stores including Kroger and Walgreens. Advertisers can hone in on events such as the Super Bowl or Thanksgiving, and deliver targeted ads using the company’s AI-driven intent engine to analyse consumer behaviour, contextual signals, and first-party retailer data.

“Our AI-powered intent engine might, for example, discover a key regional moment such as the start of ski season in a mountain town, when local stores frequently experience a surge in demand for hot beverages like coffee, tea and hot cocoa,” said Artem Lavrinovich, Chief Data and Product Officer at CoolerX. “With this insight, brands in these product categories can tailor their advertising strategy to the needs and preferences of customers in that area, running targeted campaigns that enhance their overall shopping experience and driving incremental sales – a triple-win for brands, retailers and customers alike.”

The Week in TV

TF1 PUB Renews FreeWheel Partnership for TF1+

TF1 PUB, the French broadcaster’s media sales arm, has renewed its partnership with ad tech firm FreeWheel, the companies announced at Cannes. FreeWheel will be a “key ally” for the sales house in the ongoing rollout of streaming service TF1+, according to the broadcaster, which uses FreeWheel’s ad management platform. FreeWheel will also provide TF1 PUB with a new suite of monetisation tools for streaming environments. “We are delighted to extend our partnership with TF1 for the coming year,” said Thomas Bremond, SVP & CRO at FreeWheel. “TF1’s renewed confidence in us reflects our position as a leading technological platform for the global advertising market. This partnership has already been key in the development of the TF1+ platform and will continue to support TF1’s ambitions in the streaming market, drawing on our expertise in the field of connected TV.”

NBCU to Offer Audience Data and Intent Insights for Live Events

NBCUniversal is strengthening its first-party audience data after live events, the US broadcaster announced this week. This will include insights into interest and intent signals across categories, such as the type of car the audience is in the market for, and how recently they visited a dealership. “Live event content brings people together and sparks real-time emotional connections and conversations. And for marketers, the power of live to build relationships between brands and fans is unmatched,” said Alison Levin, President of Advertising & Partnerships at NBCUniversal. “These new accelerated audience capabilities make media more accountable — enabling brands to have a more nuanced view of their audiences and quickly understand campaign performance.”

Disney Announces Commerce Media Offering with Affinity Solutions

Disney has announced a new commerce media offering in collaboration with Affinity Solutions, a consumer intelligence firm. The new solution delivers attribution measurement and consumer purchase insights across categories to brands and advertisers, according to Disney, by accessing 140 million debit and credit card transactions through Affinity Solutions. “Taking this next step with Affinity Solutions will allow Disney to not only deliver unique insights from our proprietary Audience Graph, but also leverage granular, historic consumer purchase data to better serve advertisers,” said Dana McGraw, SVP of Data and Measurement Science at Disney. “This extension of our data capabilities will open new doors for brands, allowing them better planning, targeting, outcomes measurement and optimisation across our platforms.”

Channel 4 Makes Hollyoaks Available on YouTube Worldwide

Channel 4 is making full episodes of Hollyoaks available internationally on YouTube, becoming the first UK soap to be hosted on YouTube worldwide. The move follows the UK launch on YouTube last year, and will see daily episodes available one week after their TX on Channel 4. “We’re hugely excited to see Hollyoaks’ continual growth on YouTube, and this innovative move towards global distribution will only supercharge it further,” said Matt Risley, Managing Director at 4Studio. “YouTube is a core viewing platform for young viewers in the UK and abroad, so there’s no better place for us to be reaching new audiences with the best soap on TV.”

Fremantle Brings 25 FAST Channels to Pluto TV

Fremantle, a British production and distribution company owned by RTL, is launching 25 free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels on Pluto TV. The channels will bring IP such as Baywatch, Supermarket Sweep and Project Runway to the US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Italy, San Marino, Demark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and the UK. “Pluto TV’s state-of-the-art platform provides a seamless streaming experience for viewers and makes it the perfect home for our channels,” said Laura Florence, SVP of Global FAST Channels at Fremantle. “This is the next stage of our valued partnership with Pluto TV, as we continue to evolve our FAST strategy and content delivery for our global audience.”

Sky Italia Paywalls UEFA Matches

Sky Italia has said it will keep UEFA club competitions on its pay-TV platforms, rather than sub-licensing matches to a free-to-air (FTA) broadcaster, or showing games on its own FTA channel TV8. The UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Conference League will only be shown on the linear Sky channels and Now streaming service in Italy. The move follows significant price hikes by Sky Italia, making the full subscription €22.90-26.90 per month.

Viaplay Introduces Cheaper Ad Tier in Denmark

Nordic streaming service Viaplay has launched a new ad-supported tier in Denmark. The “Films & Series with Advertising” plan will cost DKK 99 per month, compared with DKK 149 for the ad-free Film & Series plan. The tier is expected to be later rolled-out across the region. 

TF1+ Launches in Belgium and Luxembourg

TF1+, the new streaming service from French broadcaster TF1, has launched in Belgium and Luxembourg. The TF1+ app is available on Google TV, Android TV, Samsung, LG, Hisense, Sony, Philips, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. “This international expansion illustrates our ambition to position TF1+ as the go-to streaming platform in the French-speaking world, and to reunite a cultural community around the French language,” the company said.

The Week for Publishers

Daily Mail Looks to Long-Form Video with New YouTube Slate

The Daily Mail this week unveiled a slate of new video content, due to launch on YouTube over the next six months. The strategy also opens up advertising opportunities via the publisher’s Global Video Studio, a new commercial offering enabling brands to integrate with the Mail’s video content. The Mail said there are over 20 original shows in development, with 12 expected to launch this year. The series will comprise 15-25 minute episodes, intended to be watched on connected TV. The publisher expects to release episodes on a weekly basis, looking to mirror traditional TV schedules. Read more on VideoWeek.

The Telegraph Reports Revenue Growth, but Mystery Loans Lead to Big Loss

The Telegraph’s full year accounts for 2023 show five percent turnover growth, reaching £268 million, helped by 18 percent growth in digital subscription revenue and 33 percent growth in digital ad revenues. But the newspaper posted a £245 million loss, due to a £278 million ‘black hole’ in its finances caused by loans and fees extracted by the Barclay family the newspaper’s previous owners. The mysterious loans have drawn interest from criminal investigators, The Telegraph itself reported.

Reach Launches Cross-Title Video Series in Election Run-Up

UK publishing group Reach has announced it is launching a new pre-election video series which will run across a number of its national and local titles including the Mirror, the Express, the Manchester Evening News, ChronicleLive, Liverpool Echo, Daily Record and Wales Online. The ‘5,000 voices’ project aims to collect 5,000 vox pop clips from people across the country, fielding their views in which issues are important to them in the upcoming general election.

News Corp Australasia Executive Calls for ‘Social License’ on Tech Companies

Michael Miller, executive chairman of News Corp Australasia, has called on the Australian government to impose a ‘social license’ on big tech platforms, requiring them to pay and agree to operate by certain rules in order to be able to operate in Australia. Writing in Press Gazette, Miller said the UK government will face a tough fight as it implements its Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Act, warning that tech companies are likely to either paralyse the government through litigation, or hide behind their international structures in order to avoid full compliance.

Mediahuis Ireland Partners with Taboola for Content Recommendation

Publisher group Mediahuis Ireland has entered a partnership with Taboola which will see the ad tech company power content recommendation on Mediahuis Ireland’s digital titles. Taboola already runs content recommendation on Mediahuis Ireland-owned newspaper The Belfast Telegraph, and the new deal will cover The Irish Independent and Sunday World.

The Week for Brands & Agencies

Ad Net Zero and GARM Launch Global Framework for Ad Carbon Measurement

The Global Alliance for Responsible Media (GARM) and Ad Net Zero on Monday announced the launch of a new global framework for measuring carbon emissions generated by six media types: digital, television, print, audio, outdoor, and cinema. The Global Media Sustainability Framework outlines formulae for measuring emissions from the six media channels (digital, TV, and print have already been released, with the others to follow), as well as:

  • A common enterprise level data request form for more efficient data collection of company data from media sellers, with more specific channel level data being required in the framework over time.
  • A disclosure form for the industry to understand the scope, data rigour and scientific validation of media sustainability solutions providers.
  • A voluntary monitoring template to help GARM and ANZ learn about the adoption and effectiveness of the frameworks.

ANA Reports Drop in MFA Buying

One year on from the release of its Programmatic Media Supply Chain Transparency Study, which found that 20 percent of impressions bought through programmatic pipes were from made-for-advertising (MFA) websites, the Association of National Advertisers says that signs suggest MFA buying has fallen. The ANA released new benchmark data, based on log-level data from 11 brands, which found that just four percent of their spend went to MFA websites, down from 15 percent, according to AdExchanger.

WPP Launches AI Production Studio and Watsonx-Powered B2B Offering

UK-based agency group WPP this week announced two new major AI-based initiatives. The first is a new AI-powered Production Studio, which is built on NVIDIA’s Omniverse development platform and integrated into WPP Open. Production Studio can be used for 3D model creation, visual content creation, generating multilingual copy, and personalisation among other things. WPP also announced a new deal with IBM to create a new B2B solution powered by IBM’s watsonx. This new solution will help identify and engage buying groups, partly through using LinkedIn data, according to WPP.

Magna Reports Stronger Than Expected Ad Growth in UK

IPG-owned media intelligence business Magna released an update to its global advertising forecast this week, reporting that ad spend growth in the UK has been faster than expected so far this year, The Media Leader reported this week. Growth in the UK so far this year has been 12.2 percent according to Magna, faster growth than other major markets measured by Magna. Magna expects growth to continue, forecasting that the UK’s total ad market will pass £40 billion this year.

McDonald’s CFO says Advertising Has Moved from Black Box to Growth Driver

McDonald’s’ CFO Ian Borden says that while marketing was once seen as a ‘black box’ within the company, it is now understood as an investment and key driver of growth, Marketing Week reported this week. Speaking at the Cannes Lions festival on Monday, Borden said that internal education driven by CMO Morgan Flatley on the measurement tools used to prove marketing’s value, as well as increased consistency in measurement across the business, have helped bring about the change.

Dentsu Plans Global Expansion of Innovation Lab

Agency holding group Dentsu on Monday announced it is rolling out Dentsu Lab, an innovation hub run in Tokyo, to global markets. The first new labs are rolling out in London, Amsterdam, Warsaw, Mumbai and Bengaluru. Dentsu says services offered by the labs will include creative R&D connecting contexts and technologies including events, sports, gaming, installations, retail, new products, proposition design, VR, AR, MR, data visualisation, AI, mobile, IoT and rapid prototyping.

UK Marketers Lag Behind on AI Readiness, finds TripleLift Data

Ad tech business TripleLift this week launched its ‘Global Innovation Readiness Scorecard’, ranking how prepared programmatic marketers are to adopt CTV, retail media, AI and addressability in four markets: the UK, US, France, and Germany. And according to TripleLift’s data, UK marketers are generally ahead of the curve when it comes to CTV, and fairly level with other markets on retail media and addressability, but lag behind other marketers in readiness to adopt AI. Read more on VideoWeek.

Hires of the Week

Roblox Poaches Xbox CMO Jerret West

Gaming company Roblox has hired Jerret West, currently CMO at Xbox, as CMO and Head of Market Expansion. The move sees Roblox split its marketing and comms role in two, with interim officer Desiree Fish moving to Chief Communications Officer. The duo replaces Barbara Messing, who served as Roblox’s Chief Marketing and Comms Officer until November 2023.

MFE Reconfirms Pier Silvio Berlusconi as CEO

The MediaForEurope (MFE) Board of Directors has reconfirmed Pier Silvio Berlusconi as CEO, and Fedele Confalonieri as Chairman of the Board, for the next three years. The Board of Directors also established an Executive Committee, consisting of Berlusconi, Marco Giordani, Gina Nieri, Niccolò Querci and Stefano Sala.

This Week on VideoWeek

Major Ad Tech Companies Launch New Initiative to Accelerate Programmatic TV in Europe

How Are Agencies Using AI on the Media Side?

UK Marketers Lag Behind on AI Readiness, finds TripleLift Data

Political Pressures Are Halting Progress on Sustainability

Daily Mail Looks to Long-Form Video with New YouTube Slate

Sir Martin Sorrell: Tech Giants Must Self-Regulate or be Broken Up

AR and Shoppable Formats Are Driving Engagement for Snap

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About the Author:

Tim Cross is Assistant Editor at VideoWeek.
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