100% Media Roundup: Netflix, Amazon, Pubmatic
This is a daily digest of news stories from around the media world, updated by The Media Leader team, to ensure you’re 100% up-to-date.
Thursday, 15 September
Netflix ‘estimates 40m viewers’ for ad-supported option
That estimate came from a document reportedly shared by Netflix with media buyers.
Executives from Netflix and Microsoft, its advertising partner, have been meeting with media-buying groups in recent weeks to discuss deals.
Netflix plans to launch an ad-supported version in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Amazon to allow brands to directly contact repeat customers
Amazon plans to give brands a series of new marketing tools, including the ability to send direct emails to customers who have made repeat or recent purchases.
Until now, third-party companies have only been able to send marketing emails via Amazon to customers who have chosen to ‘follow; their brands.
The new tool, called Tailored Audiences, responds to sellers’ requests for more ways to market to customers who’ve purchased items from them before, Amazon said in a conference in Seattle on 14 September.
The announcement came on on the same day that the state of California filed an antitrust suit alleging that Amazon forces third-party sellers and suppliers into “anticompetitive agreements on price.”
Amazon also announced it will fund and manage co-branded “Buy with Prime ads’ on Facebook and Instagram to drive customers to advertiser sites involved in the program.
Pubmatic to acquire media measurement business Martin
Independent digital adtech company Pubmatic is set to acquire Martin, a media measurement and reporting platform, in a big to deepen its investment in supply path optimisation.
The transaction will be fully funded from existing cash on PubMatic’s balance sheet, and is expected to close in mid-September 2022, subject to customary closing conditions.
Rajeev Goel, co-founder and CEO at PubMatic, said: “By integrating Martin’s robust workflow, analytics and optimization capabilities for advertisers and agencies into our platform, we believe we will further accelerate and solidify our position as the platform of choice for buyers, and in turn bring greater advertising revenue to our global publisher base.”
Wednesday, 14 September
IPA and Ad Assoc welcome HFSS ‘review’ amid Truss U-turn reports
Liz Truss is reportedly poised to scrap new advertising restrictions on HFSS foods proposed by the Government under former Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The Guardian, which first reported the story, suggested that restrictions on the advertising of some products before the watershed on TV could be dropped.
In response, the IPA’s legal and public affairs director Richard Lindsay said: “We have always been clear that, based on that Government’s own evidence, the restrictions would do nothing to address the problem of childhood obesity that all of us want to solve, but would have a damaging impact on businesses.
“That we are still waiting for a Government consultation to provide details of the restrictions just adds to the uncertainty for businesses.”
Sue Eustace, director of public affairs at the Advertising Association, added: “We all agree that addressing obesity requires a holistic, evidence-based approach. By the Government’s own estimates, the planned TV watershed and full online ban for HFSS advertising would barely scratch the surface — only reducing calorie intake by two to three calories a day.
“Advertising bans are not the silver bullet to the nation’s obesity challenge because obesity levels vary considerably across the country and are worst in disadvantaged areas. Childhood obesity would be more effectively tackled with holistic programmes targeted at these areas.”
Future hires Guardian’s Blunt as COO
Future has appointed Claire Blunt as chief operating officer, 18 months after she became the advertising sales boss at Guardian Media Group.
Blunt (pictured, left), who is currently chief advertising officer and CEO of international for Guardian Meidia Group, will join Future on 7 November.
Before joining GMG last January, she spent seven years at Hearst, latterly as chief financial, operations and data officer for Hearst Europe.
Zillah Byng-Thorne, CEO of Future, highlighted Blunt’s experience in the retail sector, as well as her publishing expertise, as being a “great fit”.
She added: “[Blunt] will contribute a wealth of vital knowledge to support our continued success and global expansion.”
Horizon Media’s big holds bootcamp for emerging brands
Horizon Media’s Big (stylized ‘big’), a company dedicated to supporting companies in a state of business transformation, has announced its inaugural Sightline Bootcamp.
The goal of the workshop is to provide participating companies with an actionable roadmap for media strategy and investment through a collaborative and case-based agenda.
The Bootcamp is being held 13-15 September, where big is hosting founders, CEOs, and marketing executives at emerging and high-growth brands to help them address challenges including customer acquisition, channel distribution, and how to maximize budget allocations.
It consists of two distinct programming items: interactive case-based learning, and mentor masterclasses from big and Horizon Media experts.
Pearl & Dean brand launches in Ireland
The owner of Pearl & Dean has rebranded its Irish cinema ad business Wide Eye Media as Pearl & Dean Ireland.
Both businesses are owned by Irish parent company, Deanforbes. The rebrand will see Pearl & Dean Ireland using a deep purple ident alongside the familiar theme tune Asteroid.
Wide Eye Media and Pearl & Dean have been working together since 2015, collaborating on client strategy and market knowledge. Both companies will continue to share finance, marketing and operational resources.
Pearl & Dean said it has further ambitions to grow its influence in Ireland and extend its suite of creative services and offerings in the region. Its particular focus of growth is research and audience insight, with the team currently working on replicating the CAA Film Monitor survey for the Irish cinema-going market.
Wide Eye Media boss Eoin Wrixon is staying on as CEO of Pearl & Dean Ireland, which has 100% market share in the Republic of Ireland and also operates in Northern Ireland.
Warner Bros. Discovery ‘faces round of layoffs in ad sales division’
Warner Bros. Discovery has laid off around 100 employees, the majority of which from its US ad sales division, according to a report by The New York Times.
The recent layoffs follow reports last month, when the company let go of around 70 HBO Max employees.
The redundancies occur as the recently merged Warner Bros. Discovery seeks to become more efficient and lean in the face of a sizeable debt problem.
Tuesday, 13 September
HBO, streaming services dominate Emmys
Warner Bros. Discovery’s HBO dominated the Emmys Monday with 14 wins, 10 more than any other network or streaming service.
Succession, The White Lotus, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver led the network to the impressive showing.
Apple TV+ earned its awards for Ted Lasso and Netflix for Squid Game, while Disney’s Hulu took home awards for both Best Actor and Best Actress in a Limited Series (Amanda Seyfried in The Dropout and Michael Keaton in Dopesick, respectively).
Streaming services more broadly dominated the “prestige” categories, the only exception being ABC’s Abbott Elementary winning for best comedy writing.
NBC’s wins were for live productions (SNL and the Super Bowl halftime show), as was CBS’ lone win (Adele One Night Only).
While not necessarily a bellwether, the award distribution is yet more evidence of subscription streaming companies’ dominance over prestige TV production compared to traditional linear broadcasters.
Google faces €25bn lawsuit over ‘anticompetitive’ behaviour
A multi-billion pound lawsuit is being brought against Google in the UK and EU in which the tech behemoth stands accused of anticompetitive conduct in the digital advertising market.
Google is accused of abusing its power in the adtech market. The combined suits are seeking total compensation that, according to estimates from legal representatives, could reach €25bn.
The suits are being financed by litigation funding firms in the UK and the Netherlands, which would take a cut of any proceeds from a legal victory.
“Publishers, including local and national news media who play a vital role in our society, have long been harmed by Google’s anticompetitive conduct,” said Damien Geradin, of the Belgian law firm Geradin Partners, which is involved in the EU case.
A spokesperson for Google said: “Google works constructively with publishers across Europe — our advertising tools, and those of our many adtech competitors, help millions of websites and apps fund their content, and enable businesses of all sizes to effectively reach new customers. These services adapt and evolve in partnership with those same publishers. This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. When we receive the complaint, we’ll fight it vigorously.”
The Athletic introduces ads across website and app
Sports news publication The Athletic has launched ads across its website and mobile app, publisher David Perpich has announced.
Perpich, who also works as publisher for product review website Wirecutter, added that the integration of advertising will not have any impact on the independent nature of The Athletic‘s journalism.
“The introduction of high-quality advertising should feel seamless and will allow us to invest further in this world-class sports journalism,” wrote Perpich. “And we’ve been deliberate about creating a premium and relevant advertising experience for our subscribers.”
The Athletic was purchased by The New York Times Company in January of this year for $550m, and has since lost its parent company money. The brand launched as an ad-free subscription service in 2016 and expanded to the UK in 2019 and Australia in 2021.
Athletic subscribers did not appear to take the news well, with some commenters of Perpich’s post accusing the company of misleading its paid subscribers and lamenting “being sold to advertising companies”.
Roblox adds new in-game ‘Immersive Ads’ inventory
Popular video game Roblox has added a new ad format to its in-game advertising inventory.
Immersive Ads are 3D portals that allow users to enter into a custom, branded game world.
In an example, a player character enters a portal into “Vans World”, a virtual skatepark sponsored by the shoe company, flagged to users by in-game posters and a billboard.
Roblox has over 52 million active daily users as of Q2 2022, according to Statista.
Users ‘spending less than one-tenth of time on Instagram Reels compared to TikTok’
Users are spending less than one-tenth of the time on Instagram Reels as they are on TikTok, according to internal documents from Instagram obtained by The Wall Street Journal.
Whereas TikTok users spend 197.8 million hours on the app per day, Instagram users are spending just 17.6 million watching Reels, Instagram’s own short-form video player.
The report comes as Instagram has stumbled in trying to compete more directly with TikTok; the Meta-owned social media platform was criticized for, and had to temporarily walk back, changes to its algorithm that recommended more Reels and other sponsored content.
Fox partners with Comscore to transact on advanced audiences in local TV
Fox Television Stations has entered into a partnership with Comscore that will see the local TV broadcaster leverage a Comscore-based currency to support transactions on advanced audiences across its entire owned-and-operated footprint.
Comscore’s local TV solution combines real-world TV viewership information with advanced household-level consumer and demographic behavior data, allowing buyers and sellers to access relevant metrics.
Ashley exits as Tesco head of media to join Dunnhumby
Nick Ashley is leaving the head of media role at Tesco, one of the UK’s biggest advertisers, to become UK managing director Tesco UK for sister company Dunnhumby.
Ashley (pictured, right), who joined Tesco five years ago from WPP media agency Mindshare, posted his job move on LinkedIn and added his focus will be on the growth of the Tesco Media and Insight Platform, which offers a “closed-loop” solution for media agencies and FMCG advertisers.
He added: “I have had the chance to work with the smartest, kindest and most sincere people possible, both within the company but also at our agencies MediaCom UK, BBH London, Kinetic and Dunnhumby. To do this on a resurgent brand, delivering innovation across multiple campaigns with multiple media partners, has been an amazing journey.”
Dunnhumby, founded by Edwina Dunn and Clive Humby, helped Tesco establish the Clubcard loyalty scheme in 1994 and is now a global data science consultancy that is wholly owned by Tesco.
How can TV today translate to brand growth? Watch Ashley debate at The Future of Brands alongside Channel 4’s Clare Peters, SixteenbyNine founder Elizabeth Anyaegbuna, and Finecast’s Stefan Jansen.
Monday, 12 September
Time Out hires ex-Future exec for sales MD
Time Out Media has hired Rob Biagioni as managing director sales UK.
Based in London, he will lead the commercial teams within the UK Time Out Media business in order to drive further growth through bespoke solutions for a wide client base and to evolve Time Out’s advertising business centred on a digital-first strategy.
Biagioni (pictured, left) was previously commercial director at Future, where he was responsible for the sales team and trading agreements across agencies and key clients, and previously TI Media’s group client director. He has also held senior commercial roles at John Brown Media, City AM, and Express Newspapers.
Biagioni reports to Stacy Bettman who recently became Time Out Media President, North America & UK, to lead the commercial and content teams across the two regions.
Netflix partners with Ubisoft for three new mobile games
Netflix is partnering with Ubisoft to create three new mobile games for some of Ubisoft’s most famous franchises.
Netflix and Ubisoft will release a Valiant Hearts mobile game in January 2023, as well as a new The Mighty Quest game slated for an unspecified release later next year.
Netflix also announced it would be exclusively publishing a new mobile game for Ubisoft’s flagship Assassin’s Creed series at an unannounced time in the future.
Netflix and Ubisoft previously partnered in October 2020 to develop a live-action Assassin’s Creed show, which has yet to be released.
Netflix has sought to aggressively enter the mobile gaming market in recent months, completing multiple acquisitions of game studios earlier this year.
YouTube introduces YouTube Player for Education
YouTube has launched YouTube Player for Education, a new YouTube-embedded player that shows content on commonly used education apps.
The player will be “without distractions” including ads, external links, or recommendations.
It is being developed in partnership with US edtech companies such as EDpuzzle, as well as Purdue University and Purdue Global.
The Google-owned company also announced that qualified creators can begin offering free ad-supported or paid ad-free educational courses on the platform.
The courses program will expand to more countries at an unspecified date following a beta in the US and South Korea.
YouTube is also beta testing a quizzing feature for education creators.
Game engine company Unity selects Media.Monks as first global agency of record
Cross-platform gaming engine company Unity has selected S4 Capital’s Media.Monks as its first ever global agency of record, according to reports.
The agency will handle media planning, buying, measurement, and strategy for Unity.
Unity previously used several different unidentified agencies before selecting Media.Monks.
ID5 names Caitlin Borgman chief commercial officer
Online advertising company ID5 has named Caitlin Borgman its new chief commercial officer.
Borgman will oversee sales, business development, and customer success operations across the ID5 partner ecosystem.
She will also be in charge of establishing the revenue organization’s go-to-market strategy and operational framework for scaling ID5’s service for partners.
Before coming to ID5, Borgman most recently worked as the Head of Sales at ActiveFence.
Instagram to ‘test repost feature’
Instagram will begin testing a “repost” feature that allows users to reshare posts, according to a report by TechCrunch.
The feature will work similarly to Twitter’s retweet, or Instagram’s extant ability to repost Stories.