The WiR: Christmas Day TV Ratings Fall to Lowest on Record, Twitter Issues Refunds After Overcharging Video Advertisers, Hulu’s Launches Live Streaming Service


Welcome to your first Week in Review of 2017! It’s a bumper edition this week as we catch up with the news over the holiday period. Our top stories: Nielsen acquires Gracenote, BBC top of the pile, but Christmas day TV ratings lowest on record, Twitter issues refunds after overcharging video advertisers. To receive a weekly summary of industry news and other VAN interviews and videos, sign up to the weekly Video Round-Up.

Top Stories

Christmas Day TV Ratings Fall to Lowest on Record
BBC’s Call the Midwife topped ratings, but a UK audience of 9.2 million on Christmas day was smallest for the most watched show since records began. According to the consolidated ratings that include online streaming, it was the smallest audience number for the most watched show on Christmas Day since ratings began in 1981.

Twitter Issues Refunds After Overcharging Video Advertisers
Twitter has issued refunds after overcharging some advertisers between November 7th and December 12th 2016. A source told Business Insider that video ad buyers were overcharged up to 35 percent. In a short blog post, Twitter mentions the error but doesn’t mention refunds. VentureBeat reports that some of those refunds might only be $1, indicating at least a portion of those advertisers impacted weren’t running huge campaigns.

Hulu Previews New Live TV Service at CES
Hulu announced that its upcoming live streaming TV service would be initially priced at $40, and the offering will feature content from CBS as well as from sports and entertainment channels CBS Sports Network and POP. The company has already established deals with Disney, Fox, and Time Warner, and is being hailed by the B2C tech press as being one of the most compelling offerings for cord-cutters.

The Week in TV

UKTV Seeks to Catch ITV Digital as Ad Share Beats Channel 5 and Sky Again
UKTV claims its growing commercial share is closing the gap with ITV’s digital channels after projecting it would beat Channel 5 and Sky channels for the second-year running. The multichannel broadcaster, which is an independent joint venture between BBC Worldwide and Scripps Network Interactive, is projecting just under eight per cent growth of share of commercial impacts (Soci) to a record-year high of almost ten per cent for 2016.

AGCom to Investigate Vivendi’s Mediaset Dealings
Italy’s comms watchdog, the Autorità per le Garanzie nelle Comunicazioni (AGCom), has confirmed that it is to open an investigation into French media group Vivendi’s shareholdings in Italian broadcaster Mediaset. Mediaset had sought the Authority’s intervention submitting a complaint to AGCom highlighting the “illegality” of Vivendi’s conduct.

Social Media Video Driving Viewing Screen Shift
The ascent of social media platforms as video destination sites is having a dramatic impact on the viewing behaviour and screen choices of consumers. Ampere research shows that social-media video platforms and viewing devices are heavily segmented around age with Snapchat and Instagram, viewed mainly on smartphones, showing huge skews to the very youngest age group. YouTube and Facebook, where desktop remains important, trend to average for video usage by age.

Fox and Sky Agree Deal
Less than a week after the pair confirmed that an offer had been made, Twenty-First Century Fox reached an agreement with Sky plc. The terms have been set by a recommended pre-conditional cash offer by 21st Century Fox for the share capital of Sky which 21st Century Fox and its affiliates do not already own. It is anticipated that the acquisition will complete before the end of 2017. However, calls are growing for an Ofcom investigation into the proposed takeover of Sky by 21st Century Fox.

Digital Video Subscriptions and Downloads Overtake DVD Sales for First Time
Digital film and TV subscriptions overtook sales of DVDs and Blu-ray discs for the first time in 2016, according to the Entertainment Retailers Association. It said its preliminary figures show that the digital video market has become the majority at 58%, with revenues increasing 23 per cent year on year to £1.3bn.

Opera Sells Majority Stake in Opera TV
Opera Software ASA has sold a controlling stake in Opera TV for to Moore Frères & Company, an investment run by former Viacom execs.

RTL to Bundle its French Broadcast Activities
Pan-European broadcaster RTL Group plans to regroup its French radio operations into Groupe M6. With a 48.26 per cent shareholding, RTL Group is the controlling shareholder of the publicly-listed French TV broadcaster Groupe M6.

Mobile Device OTT Viewing Fails to Dent In-home 
Video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon are falling short of their potential on mobile devices, according to new research on OTT viewing habits from GfK which shows that 98 per cent of video content is consumed in-home. While 90 per cent of the UK’s OTT users have access to a mobile device, only four per cent used smartphones to watch content and just one in ten used a smartphone.

BBC and ITV Unveil Details of Britbox Catch-up TV Service in US
The BBC and ITV have unveiled Britbox, an ad-free subscription video-on-demand service in the US, which will launch during the first quarter of next year.

23 Per Cent Choose Provider on Content Search Experience
Viewers are spending too long searching for good content, according to a study by Piksel and Censuswide. According to the study, consumers spend an average of 16 minutes searching for content and will look elsewhere if they don’t find anything. 41 per cent of users surveyed also think recommendations made by broadcasters and OTT providers are hit and miss.

US Cord-cutting Slowing
Cord-cutting in the US is less than forecast and fewer users see themselves dropping pay-TV in the future, according to a survey by PwC in the US. The report also says 84 per cent of pay-TV subscribers say they expect to still subscribe to cable one year from now. That’s up from 70 per cent in the 2015 study.

Over 75 Per Cent of UK/US Watch Online Video Weekly
More than three-quarters of consumers watch online video weekly, with television shows being the most popular type of online video content, according to Limelight Networks’ State of Online Video report. However, buffering remains the primary frustration with watching online video.

TV Accounts for 86.5 Per Cent of All Viewing in Australia
Australian homes have more screens, channel and platform choices than ever before, according to the Q3 2016 Australian Multi-Screen Report from Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen. The number of connected screens in households continues to rise while the number of TV sets has fallen slightly. Despite this however, ‘traditional’ television viewing remains dominant.

India’s ‘Inactive’ Pay-TV Subs Rise
India’s officially recognised (by regulator TRAI) DTH active pay-TV subscribers grew in the summer quarter (July-September 2016) by 1.4 million (2.31 per cent) to 61.9 million. However, the bad news is that India’s ‘inactive’ subscribers (those who have paused subscriptions or not paid their fees for less than 120 days) grew at a faster rate, by 2.68 million to 32.71 million.

Italian TV Market Grows by Five Per Cent in 2016
The TV market in Italy has shown signs of recovery in 2016, according to a report by Rome-based ITMedia Consulting. Total market growth amounted to €404 million, growing at a rate of over 5 per cent compared to 2015.

Content Owners Should Communicate with Pirates
Content providers must tackle social norms amongst peer groups in order to tackle illicit downloading according to the International Journal of Business Environment. Digital goods can be duplicated endlessly without loss of fidelity, making piracy easy but also making the moral decision less onerous for illegal downloaders than were they to steal a CD or DVD from a high-street shop. The study urges a pragmatic approach to tackle the issue.

The Week in Publishing

Twitter to Turn Vine into Vine Camera
From January, Twitter’s Vine app will transition into Vine Camera. The new camera app will, once again, allow people to create six-second looping videos and be able to either post them directly to Twitter or save them to their phones. In addition, Twitter will be introducing an easy way for people to follow their favourite Viners on Twitter.

Lawsuit Filed Against Snapchat Alleging Fake Growth Figures
A motion has been filed against Snap Inc by an ex-staff member, claiming that the company has been misleading investors to drive up its forthcoming initial public offering (IPO) and that he was fired for being a whistleblower. Anthony Pompliano, who was poached by the messaging app from Facebook in September 2015 filed a heavily redacted complaint against the firm earlier this week claiming that he was let go after just three weeks after he learned of “misrepresentations” and urged executives to rectify the problems.

Medium Cuts Staff Amid ‘Broken’ Ad Model Claims
Online publishing firm Medium will lay-off 50 workers, a third of its workforce, after CEO Ev Williams conceded that the company’s business model wasn’t working. The energetic start-up has secured more than $130m from investors but has struggled to make money of its own by selling ads, prompting a radical change in tack from what Williams describes as a ‘broken system’.

Facebook is Top of the Apps
Facebook was last year’s most popular smartphone app as tech and web giants dominated the charts. An average of more than 146 million unique users visited the app each month in the United States, 14 per cent more than in the previous year. The company also clinched second place in the rankings with its Messenger app, which was spun off from its main social networking app in 2014.

Condé Nast Pre-tax Profits Halve to £6.9m
GQ and Vogue owner Condé Nast’s pre-tax profits dropped 56.6 per cent in 2016 to £6.9m, from £15.9m in the previous year.

Nearly Half of Online Campaigns Miss Target Audience
Only 53 per cent of ad impressions served in the UK were viewed by people of the age and gender advertisers intended, according to a study of more than 44,000 campaigns across 17 countries by Nielsen. The accuracy of ad targeting varies widely by sector, with travel marketers currently the most likely to reach their desired audience in the UK (doing so 66 per cent of the time) and FMCG (40 per cent) and retail (42 per cent) least likely.

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News Publishers Contributed £5.3bn to the UK Economy in 2015
The news publishing industry contributed £5.3bn to the UK economy in 2015, according to a Deloitte report commissioned by the News Media Association (NMA), the industry’s trade body. The news media industry generated £4.8bn revenue through circulation and advertising over the course of 2015. The sector also supported an estimated 87,500 UK jobs; invested £97m in digital services; and added value across the supply chain because the average publisher dealt with nearly 2,600 suppliers.

The Week in Ad Tech

Adtech Startup Funding Drops Amid Facebook/Google Dominance
Funding in adtech startups has dropped 33 per cent in the past year, from $3.2bn (£2.6bn) to an estimated $2.2bn as Facebook and Google created an ad sector duopoly, reports the Financial Times with data from CBInsights. Funding has crashed to its lowest point in five years – with global venture financing deals seeing a 17 per cent drop from 414 in 2015 to 343 in 2016. In 2016, Facebook and Google jointly accounted for 75 per cent of all new online spending, according to a Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers report. However, Brian O’Kelley, CEO of AppNexus, takes a optimisitic view and wrote in a blog post that: (a) the numbers for Google and Facebook are often fudged as they factor in the money spent on media – not just ad tech – with both companies. O’Kelley also said he believes the industry in about to enter a new era for ad tech innovation that will be fuelled by machine learning and native, with less money being spent on intermediaries and more going direct to publishers.

Nielsen Acquires Gracenote
Nielsen has acquired Gracenote, which specialises in audio and video content recognition technology, for $560 million. Gracenote will operate under Nielsen’s “Watch” business – the side of the house that measures audiences. Nielsen claims Gracenote’s metadata will help marketers target customers and optimise campaigns in real time and that media clients will be able to distribute more relevant content to specific consumer subsets.Nielsen Acquires Gracenote
Nielsen has acquired Gracenote, which specialises in audio and video content recognition technology, for $560 million. Gracenote will operate under Nielsen’s “Watch” business – the side of the house that measures audiences. Nielsen claims Gracenote’s metadata will help marketers target customers and optimise campaigns in real time and that media clients will be able to distribute more relevant content to specific consumer subsets.

Record US Q3 Internet Ad Revenues
US advertisers invested $17.6 billion (€16.8bn) in digital advertising in the third quarter of 2016, according to the latest IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report from IAB and PwC US. This marks the highest third quarter for digital advertising spending on record, a 20 per cent increase over the same time period in 2015. It also accounts for a 4.3 per cent increase over Q2 2016.

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Online Video Ad Views Up 37 Per Cent YoY
Content consumption in non-linear environments is growing significantly, and that consumption is taking place on bigger screens,according to the FreeWheel Q3 Video Monetization Report. Year on year video ad views grew 37 per cent, mostly driven by a relatively higher consumption of short-form content. Short-form and live content achieved high double-digit growth, with the Olympics and US election driving much of that traffic. Live news ad views, fuelled by US election coverage grew at 145 per cent.

Samsung Has Sold More Than Five Million VR Headsets
Samsung has told media at CES 17 that it has sold more than five million of its Gear VR headsets.

Vibrant Media Claims Vastly Improved Viewability Rates
On average, just 53.4 per cent of ads on desktop devices and just 42.4 per cent of ads on mobile are fully in view to humans across the ad industry. However, Vibrant Media claims to smash this rate, with 86.72 per cent of its ads fully in view on desktop devices and 85.17 per cent fully in view on mobile devices.

Dailymotion Releases Vertical Pre-roll
Dailymotion has released a vertical pre-roll instream ad format. Unlike vertical interstitials or vertical native and outstream formats, the vertical pre-roll is served on the same ad position than a standard pre-roll.

Instagram Rolls Out Its Live Video Feature to All US Users
Instagram’s 78 million users in the US can use Instagram’s new live video capabilities from this week if they update their app. The live video will appear in Instagram Stories, where people can swipe and toggle into live mode.

Britain 54th in World for 4G coverage
Britain is 54th in the world for 4G coverage, and the typical user can only access 4G barely half the time, according to the UK’s National Infrastructure Commission. The Commission’s Chairman has called for government to act now to ensure the nation’s major transport networks and urban centres are 5G ready in time to give British industry every chance to lead the world in exploiting its applications.

Games and Education Top VR App Categories
Games is the top apps category across all stores, although the proportion of games available varies considerably. Educational content is the top non-games category overall, and appears as one of the top three content categories in all storefronts. Strategy Analytics has tracked the apps available across the dedicated VR app stores for Samsung GearVR, Oculus Rift, and the VR apps available on Steam.

Pre-purchase Experience Vital to Adoption of VR
Half of consumers who try a VR (virtual reality) headset enjoy it and make plans to purchase one, while 15 per cent who try one enjoy the experience and then buy a headset according to research from Parks Associates.

The Week for Agencies

Digital Device, Services, Content Spend to Reach $3.4trn
Consumer spending on digital devices, services, and content will reach $3.4 trillion (€3.26trn) worldwide in 2020, rising 4.7 per cent annually from 2015, according to a new forecast from International Data Corporation (IDC). The share of consumer digital spending on devices will fall from 28 per cent in 2015 to only 22 per cent by 2020, while consumer spending on digital content will rise at a 12.6 per cent annual clip. Digital services, however, will maintain its 61 per cent share of consumer digital spending by growing 4.9 per cent annually.

Global Advertising Revenue to Hit $532bn
Big brand budgets and events such as the Olympics, European Football Championship and US Presidential Election will drive 2016’s global advertising revenue growth to $532 billion (€508bn) according to findings from IHS Markit. Advertising revenue accounted for 0.69 percent of global GDP in 2016, up from 0.66 per cent in 2015, the report said.

Opera Mediaworks Rebrands to Become AdColony
Opera Mediaworks will rebrand to become AdColony in a move that will unify the brand, performance and publishing business under a single name. The name change will become effective starting in January 2017. The company will continue to stay independent, with the corporate entity listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under Opera ASA.

The Lad Bible Launches Content Agency
The Lad Bible group has launched a “branded entertainment” agency called Joyride to help brands reach its portfolio of sites. The agency will be headed up by Ian Richardson, formerly UK head of Vice Media’s Virtue. There are 12 employees in total at the agency, which effectively rebrands the group’s existing ad proposition.

Partnerships of the Week

AirTV Android from Technicolor
Technicolor announced at CES 2017 in Las Vegas that it was chosen by Air TV to build the AirTV Player, an Android TV streaming device.

AppNexus Partners with Playwire on PreBid for Video Advertising
HTML5 video player and monetisation platform, Playwire has partnered with AppNexus, as a partner for its newly released PreBid Video offering. Prebid offers video header bidding capabilities in prebid.js.

Unruly Taps IBM Watson To Improve Accuracy Of Online Marketing Campaigns
Unruly has turned to IBM Watson to create a new cognitive powered psychographic targeting tool to increase the effectiveness of digital video ads. Unruly DNA combines the company’s emotional intelligence tools with IBM Watson’s machine learning capabilities to help identify and engage the people most likely to increase a brand’s sales.

Mediarazzi Launches AdNexxt, New Video Ad Network for Roku Channels
Roku developer Mediarazzi has launched a new video advertising network for Roku publishers. The new ad network, called AdNexxt, claims to brings increased revenue opportunities to Roku publishers while promising to fill the gaps in fill-rates left by other ad networks.

Hires of the Week

Nickelodeon Appoints New VP Creative in UK
Virginia Monaghan will join Nickelodeon UK & Ireland as Vice President, Creative, Marketing and Communications. He joins them from Viacom.

IAB UK Promotes Jon Mew to CEO
The Internet Advertising Bureau UK’s chief operating officer Jon Mew will succeed Guy Phillipson as head of the trade body from 13 January.

ITV Searches for Crozier’s Successor
ITV has reportedly hired headhunters to help with succession planning for the departure of its chief executive Adam Crozier and group finance director Ian Griffiths.

SpotX Extends Platform Services Team
SpotX is expanding its platform services team with three new appointments. Marta Lopez joins them from AudienceScience, Holly Waylen from Arcadia and Mike Lampard.

OpenX Boosts Agency Expertise 
OpenX has appointed Charlie McGee as Senior Director, Buyer Development, EMEA. He joins them from Carat Digital.

IRIS.TV Names Ashley King and Christian De Gennaro as Vice Presidents of Sales
IRIS.TV has hired Ashley King and Christian De Gennaro as Vice President of Sales. The pair join them from Optimatic and Verve Mobile respectively.

RKCR/Y&R Vice-chairman Hoad Resigns
Vice chairman of RKCR/Y&R, Alison Hoad will be leaving the agency after eleven years, having joined it in 2005 to replace co-founder MT Rainey.

This Week on VAN

The Future of TV Advertising is People Based, read more on VAN

Bidstack CEO James Draper on Bringing Programmatic to the Great Outdoors, read more on VAN

The Annual CEO Prediction List for Video & TV Advertising: 2017, read more on VAN

Context, Placement and Creative: What’s Next for Native Video? Read more on VAN

Publishers are Choosing Between Acquisition Sprees or Co-operatives to Counter Google and Facebook, read more on VAN

Ad of the Week: Sky, Lego Batman

Who do we need to save us from broadband woes? Lego Batman… no, Sky’s tech team. Video profiling the tensions between nerds and the caped crusader.


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