Netflix buys rights to Christmas Day NFL games.

Netflix has expanded its reach into live sports broadcasting, saying this week that it has obtained global streaming rights to NFL games played on Christmas Day in a three-year deal. Netflix will air two games this year, as well as at least one game on Christmas Day in 2024 and 2025, with mostly exclusive rights – with the exception of the participating teams’ home cities, where they will be available on TV and mobile in the United States via NFL+.

Netflix has boosted its commitment in sports material in recent years, and while it has officially stated that it has no ambitions to bid for large live sports packages, it has begun purchasing rights to sports content. The most notable of them occurred earlier this year, when Netflix purchased rights to WWE’s flagship show Raw in the United States, as well as all of its content in international regions.

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This NFL purchase aligns with Netflix’s current sports strategy, which is to seek worldwide rights that it can exploit across its huge international user base rather than investing in domestic rights for sports leagues. Netflix has not stated if it will broadcast advertising during NFL games, but doing so would strengthen Netflix’s ad offering by providing mass simultaneous reach, which it cannot provide advertisers with the majority of its content.

Dentsu launches a specialized retail media unit in the United Kingdom.

Dentsu, an agency business, said this week that it will open a new retail media unit in the United Kingdom dubbed Retail Media Specialised Practice. The practice will collaborate with brands seeking to launch end-to-end retail media campaigns, as well as retailers developing retail media capabilities. It will include initiatives that run directly on retailers’ owned and operated inventory, as well as campaigns on third-party channels where retail data may be used for targeting and measurement, including as TV, social media, the open web, search, and email.

“Dentsu’s Retail Media Specialised Practice offers flexible, transparent, retailer-owned, technology-independent capabilities that integrate seamlessly into existing tech stacks—a necessity for retailers and brands in today’s landscape,” said Paul Lynch, integrated solutions lead for commerce and retail at Dentsu UK&I. “We are providing a roadmap for our customers to deliver the ultimate retail experience and drive value realisation.”

Dentsu claims the new practice will focus on monetising first-party data and creating new revenue streams for retailers, boosting buy-side media efficiency through automated insights and activation, and inventing novel retail media experiences that span multiple consumer touchpoints.

M6 launches a new streaming platform.

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This Monday, French broadcaster M6 debuted its new M6+ streaming platform, which is free and supported by advertisements. M6 claims that the new app is a big enhancement to its prior on-demand product 6Play, with double the quantity of material, an AI-powered search engine, and an improved video player that includes interactive data visualisation capabilities. M6+ is also debuting with more than 20 free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels built in, as well as producing short-form content based on its series, M6+ Stories.

The broadcaster is marketing M6+ to advertisers as a supplement to linear TV, promising “precise and high-performance data targeting” and “optimized quality of ad exposure.” Eight brands have agreed to form alliances: L’Oreal, Henkel, L’Or, Intermarché, Skoda, Booking, HP, and Forunteo. These brands will feature in specific ad slots at the start of ad breaks on M6+, as well as on some of the new formats developed for the platform.

Barb issues a tender for Big Data providers.

Barb released a formal tender for big data suppliers this week, with the goal of enhancing its panel-based TV measuring data with big data sets. It published a tender earlier this month to design a system for combining these two forms of data, and now it is looking for data. Barb’s chief operations officer, Caroline Baxter, stated that the firm is looking for sources of return-path data that cover as much of the UK population as feasible, include as many linear watching kinds as possible, and are not biased against specific channels or viewing behaviors.

Samsung Ads UK launches the Insights Planner Tool.

Samsung Ads, the company’s advertising arm, introduced the Insights Planner tool this week for all UK clients and marketers. information Planner gives buyers planning information based on Samsung’s own automated content recognition (ACR) data and other proprietary first-party data, as well as data from linked third parties like Experian. According to Samsung, the technology may reveal which users and audiences have seen a linear TV ad campaign, as well as who has not been reached and where those unreached audiences might be located.

Nexxen and Stagwell collaborate on audience discovery.

Nexxen, an ad tech company, announced this week a partnership with advertising holding company Stagwell. Under the agreement, Stagwell will leverage Nexxen-powered data solutions within its own internal Stagwell Marketing Cloud. Nexxen said the agreement will allow Stagwell clients to supplement their own data with Nexxen’s own data offering (formerly known as the Nexxen Platform) using Nexxen’s unified identity graph. The agreement also requires Stagwell to route spend through Nexxen’s DSP rather than straight into its SSP.

Rumble sues Google for $1 billion, alleging anticompetitive practices.

Rumble, a video sharing site, has filed a lawsuit against Google seeking $1 billion in damages, asserting anticompetitive activities in the advertising technology field. Rumble, which is known for hosting creators who have been banned from Google-owned competitor YouTube, claims Google has monopolized the ad tech industry by purchasing up companies on the buy and sell sides, as well as a pact with Meta that prevents it from launching a competitive product. Google has refuted Rumble’s assertions.

X claims 8 billion video views each day.

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X said in a message to marketers this week that its platform now receives an average of 8 billion video views each day, according to Digiday. X counts a view when at least two seconds of a video have played and at least half of the video player is visible on screen. X is gradually portraying itself as a video platform in order to attract more ad revenue.

Reddit Signs Data Deal with OpenAI

Reddit, a social media network, has reached an agreement with OpenAI to provide the latter access to its content data, which it will use to train huge language models. The deal means that Reddit postings will appear in some ChatGPT responses, and OpenAI and Reddit will collaborate on AI-powered solutions for the platform. As part of the partnership, OpenAI has agreed to become an advertising partner on Reddit.

Snap partners with Scope3 on a new emissions solution.

Snap launched a new relationship with sustainability technology company Scope3 this week, making it easier for marketers to track carbon emissions from Snapchat marketing campaigns. According to the agreement, Snap will collaborate with Scope3 to refine and improve its emissions model for the platform, as well as contribute additional data to allow Scope3 to measure its platform-specific video and VR ad formats.

Yahoo anticipates increased industry testing of Google’s Privacy Sandbox.

Yahoo DSP this week disclosed statistics from its own tests of Google’s Privacy Sandbox, indicating an increase in testing on the sell side of the market. Yahoo discovered an overall rising trend in SSP and web domain use for March. Yahoo identified three additional SSPs that began processing Protected Audience auctions (PAs) in March, bringing the total number of SSPs processing these auctions to eight. Yahoo has also observed a surge in the number of domains implementing PAs, with double-digit rise in recent weeks.

ProSieben says content investments are paying off as ad revenues grow by 5%.

This week, German broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 released its entire first-quarter financial results, claiming a 5% year-on-year growth in advertising income in Germany. Joyn, ProSieben’s free ad-supported streaming service, has made a significant contribution as audiences rise and their monetization increases. However, ProSieben continues to invest heavily in linear TV, with plans to increase content spending as it seeks additional growth across its linear channels and streaming business. Read more at VideoWeek.

Netflix plans to build its own ad technology offering.

Netflix stated at its UpFront presentation this week that it is developing its own internal advertising technology, which it hopes to deliver by the end of next year. Netflix initially collaborated with Microsoft to expand its advertising business, but has now stated that it is widening its reach by providing The Trade Desk, Google, and Magnite with access to its inventory. The streamer did not indicate whether its own internal ad tech would replace or complement existing relationships.

Bob Iger claims Disney has dramatically cut linear TV spending.

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced this week that the media corporation has significantly reduced its investments in traditional TV in order to focus more on its streaming unit Disney+, which generated a profit for the first time in its most recent quarter. Iger, speaking at MoffettNathanson’s 2024 Media, Internet, and Communications Conference in New York, stated that these channels are still useful for addressing older people who do not use Disney+. Some of Disney’s commissioned content appears on both its streaming and conventional TV properties. However, content investment directed exclusively at linear channels has declined dramatically.

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Channel 4 reworks its web-based streaming offering.

Channel 4 has revamped its website to better align with its CTV streaming offering as part of its push to become a “public service streamer.” Channel 4’s streaming content is accessible through both web browsers and mobile applications, and the broadcaster claims that the revamp makes the website more app-like. The website will also surface and recommend content in the same way as Channel 4’s apps.

Media companies warn of a “disastrous impact” if BBC runs advertisements.

A number of big media businesses, including ITV, Channel 4, DMG Media, Reach, and Sky, wrote a combined letter to the UK’s culture minister Lucy Frazer this week, warning of a “disastrous impact” on the ad industry if the BBC proceeds with plans to put advertising on some of its audio material. The BBC said earlier this year that it would begin selling ads on podcasts and on-demand audio housed on third-party sites. However, the signatories argue that the BBC’s ability to provide a large amount of content without the same economic restraints as other firms will affect smaller businesses.

Amazon Ads Signs Up for Barb’s Audience Reporting

Barb revealed this week that Amazon Ads has signed up for its industry-standard audience reporting services. Barb’s monthly report on reach and share of viewing for broadcasters and streaming services will now include Amazon Prime Video and Twitch as service options. Barb claims that its own data on Amazon items will supplement the analytics and measurement tools available through Amazon Ads itself.

British newspapers challenge Apple over its ad blocking plan.

According to the Financial Times, the News Media Association, a trade group that represents British news companies such as The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Reach, and News UK, has warned Apple that a planned new tool on its Safari web browser threatens journalism’s financial sustainability. Apple is apparently developing a ‘web eraser’ technology that will allow internet users to permanently hide sections of online sites they browse, including areas where advertisements display. The NMA described it as a “blunt instrument” that would jeopardize essential ad revenue.

BuzzFeed’s ad revenues are falling despite programmatic growth.

BuzzFeed’s revenues in the first quarter were $44.8 million, down 18 percent year on year, according to the company’s financial reports released this week. This was mostly attributable to a 22% decrease in ad sales and a 19% decrease in content revenues. BuzzFeed said that programmatic advertising sales increased for the third consecutive quarter, and direct traffic was increasing. However, these advantages have not been sufficient to offset declining social traffic and a generally challenging ad market for publishers.

DMG Media sees growth in digital revenues.

DMG Media, which owns The Daily Mail, Metro, and i, among other publications, reported an increase in digital sales over the last six months despite a challenging ad environment, CEO Rich Caccappolo told Press Gazette this week. Caccappolo attributes some of this success to the fact that DMG Media’s domains receive a lot of direct traffic, which protects them from falling referral traffic from tech businesses. He also spoke out against news publishers’ hard paywalls, claiming that they create a two-tiered society in which those with more money have better access to information.

Tough US ad market leads to revenue decline for the future

Future, a specialist publisher, announced its financial results for the second half of 2024 (October 1st – March 31st), with overall revenues down 3% year on year. Organic revenues in the United Kingdom increased by 3% year on year over the period, while organic sales in the United States fell by 11% due to a tough ad environment. However, Future reported that digital ad revenues in the United States returned to organic growth in the second quarter, as did total business revenues, which increased by three percent year on year.

The Independent Formally Debuts New Network Following BuzzFeed Deal.

This week, The Independent officially launched Independent Media, a new network that includes The Independent, BuzzFeed UK, HuffPost UK, Tasty UK, and Seasoned. The debut comes after The Independent announced a deal earlier this year to take over BuzzFeed and some of its sister sites in the UK. Independent media claims it will enable commercial partners to buy seamlessly across the network, with combined on-site audiences reaching half of all British consumers.

Politico Introduces Audience Registration Wall.

Politico, owned by Axel Springer, has installed a registration wall, requiring viewers to register an account and provide basic information in order to gain unlimited access to content. Politico will prompt users to register after reading ten items in a month, asking for their email, job title, and employer. According to Adweek, this data will help Politico better understand its audience and will be useful for ad targeting.

The ANA calls for transparency and clarity in principal media.

The ANA, an advertiser trade group, released a new report this week on the rise of principal media, highlighting some brand marketers’ lack of understanding of what it is and whether their agencies are doing it, and recommending that brands be proactive in pushing for clarity and transparency from their agencies. Only 48% of brand marketers polled by the ANA stated that they are extremely familiar with major media. Given the risks that principal media models may incentivize agencies to act against their clients’ best interests, the ANA recommends that brand marketers exercise more control over principal media trading, such as setting caps, updating contracts, and requiring agencies to explain clearly why principal media is in their best interests.

According to Gartner, marketing budgets are falling as a percentage of revenues.

According to a new Gartner poll of 395 CMOs and marketing professionals, the average marketing expenditure has decreased to 7.7 percent of total business revenues in 2024. This represents a considerable reduction from 9.1 percent last year and falls below the post-pandemic average of 8.2 percent. And the post-pandemic average is a significant decrease from the pre-pandemic average of 11%.

According to Gartner’s chief of research at its marketing practice, Ewan McIntyre, many CMOs claim they do not have enough budget to carry out their 2024 strategies. Many are hopeful that AI tools can bring efficiency to compensate for the budget shortage.

Dentsu Reports 3.7% Drop in Organic Revenues in Q1

Dentsu, a Japanese holding firm, reported first-quarter results that showed organic revenues down 3.7 percent, which the company stated was in line with forecasts. Organic revenues increased in Japan, but declined by 6.6% in the Americas and 9.4% in EMEA. Dentsu hopes to improve during the rest of the year, with a goal of one percent organic growth for the year.

Omnicom Media Group Secures Major Gap Media Account

The fashion store Gap has delegated media coverage of the United States, Canada, and Japan to Omnicom Media Group, the firm stated this week. According to AdAge, the account will be served by a number of Omnicom-owned media firms, with OMD serving as the primary provider. Gap also announced this week that it is forming a marketing shared services business to standardise media operations across its many sub-brands.

WPP’s Mark Read is targeted in a deepfake scam.

Mark Read, CEO of agency holding group WPP, said this week that he was the victim of a scam that employed deepfake technology to imitate him in a meeting with an unnamed agency boss in order to steal money and personal information. The crooks set up the meeting using a false WhatsApp profile, then impersonated Read on a Microsoft Teams conversation using deepfake speech technology and YouTube footage.

According to a Spark Foundry report, audiences feel increasingly represented in advertisements.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents to a January survey by Publicis-owned media firm Spark Foundry said they felt represented in advertisements, up from 16 percent in September and October. According to Spark Foundry’s most recent Insights Accelerated research, 62 percent of respondents felt represented by television commercials, the greatest rate of any channel. TikTok was judged to be representative of 18-34s (62 percent), while just 12 percent of over 55s and 30 percent of people in the C2DE social grade felt represented in TikTok commercials.

Reddit hires Jyoti Vaidee as its VP of Ad Sales.

Reddit, the social sharing network, has hired Jyoti Vaidee to fill the newly formed position of VP of Ad Sales, the company announced Monday. Vaidee, who formerly worked as a director of product management at Google, would be in charge of advertisements product strategy, execution, and management within the advertisements Product organization.

Sharjeel Suleman joins Future as CFO.

Future, a specialist publisher, has announced the appointment of Sharjeel Suleman as its new CFO. Suleman is currently the CFO at ITV Studios and will join Future after Penny Ladkin-Brand, the publisher’s current CFO, retires in July.

Index Exchange appoints Cadi Jones as SVP of Europe

Index Exchange has appointed Cadi Jones as its new SVP, Europe, the company announced this week. Jones will oversee the strategic direction and execution of Index’s operations in Europe. Jones comes from Pixability, where she was MD for EMEA.