02/08/21: Cynopsis Media Tech Update


Medias First Morning Read


Monday February 8, 2021

Google launched a platform in Australia last week offering paid news content. “We have been continually working with Australian news publishers of all sizes to provide their readers with a different kind of news experience under News Showcase,” said Kate Bleddoe, Head of News, Web and Publisher Product Partnerships at Google. “As this early version of News Showcase rolls out, the partnerships will provide financial support for some of the country’s most respected independent, local and regional publications.” Proposed legislation in Australia calls for companies that curate news from publishers would have to pay for that content, a move Google hopes to show is unnecessary.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced he is stepping down in the third quarter of 2021 and transitioning to executive chair, where he intends to focus on “new products and early initiatives.” The CEO role will be taken by Andy Jassy, who has led Amazon Web Services. The company reported stellar fourth quarter results, with revenue of $125.56 billion and earnings of $14.09 per share, exceeding expectations.

Alphabet also reported a rosy quarter, as sales jumped to $56.9 billion in 4Q20, versus $46 billion the year prior, handily beating expectations. YouTube ad revenue hit $6.9 billion, up from $4.7 billion in 4Q19, and Google search and other ad revenue jumped to $31.9 billion, from $27.2 billion.

In a fresh iteration of big tech company developer conferences, NBCUniversal introduced “ONE21,” an annual gathering of marketers, developers, technologies and creative professionals to explore the consumer experience and NBCU’s “development roadmap.” “The last year taught us that, in order to rebuild this economy, radical transformation is both necessary and completely possible,” said Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Global Advertising Partners, NBCU. “For any brand and every business, we hope ONE21 will spark meaningful transformation, empower their entrepreneurship, and show them what’s possible using all our resources.” The inaugural event is scheduled for March 22.

Facebook unveiled a strategy aimed at encouraging iPhone and iPad users to allow online tracking. Before seeing Apple’s upcoming privacy screen, which will enable users to opt out of tracking, Facebook will show a screen explaining that tracking will result in ads that are more personalized. Facebook’s screen will also “provide more information about how we use personalized ads, which support small businesses and keep apps free,” said the company in a blog post. The move is in response to Apple’s plan to require user opt-in to Identifiers for Advertisers, which poses a threat to Facebook’s ad revenue.

Facebook is only one of the companies concerned about privacy changes. Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel warned investors that the changes “will present another risk of interruption” to ad demand, while Unity projected IDFA changes would cause a 3% drop in revenue in 2021.

Starting with the iOS 14.5, mask wearers will be able unlock their iPhones with the Apple Watch. Also included with the software when it launches will be the ability to ask Siri to call emergency contacts, support for new Xbox and PlayStation game controllers, AirPlay support for Apple Fitness+ and emoji search for iPad.

Parler CEO John Matze was ousted, as the conservative social media site remains dark. Amazon Web Services suspended the platform on January 10 for an inability to moderate content that threatens public safety. Parler sued AWS, but a judge denied its request for a temporary restraining order. “These people just want to censor me,” Matze told USA Today. Obviously, my statement about their vision not aligning with mine must be true considering they are trying to stop me from speaking my mind.” Responded Parler’s Chief Policy Officer Amy Peikoff, “Mr. Matze’s characterizations of the events and circumstances surrounding his termination from the Parler CEO position have been inaccurate and misleading.”

Eluvio announced a multi-year agreement with Metro Goldwyn Mayer to extend use of the Eluvio Content Fabric to power MGM.com and MGM ROAR, their enhanced B2B platform which provides MGM licensing partners the ability to experience new content, screenings, and marketing materials. “Our goal is to make it easy for business clients and prospects to watch and access our vast library from any location in the world,” said Evan Scheffel, EVP and Global Head of Distribution Strategy and Operations at MGM. “We’ve been incredibly impressed with Eluvio’s ability to help us launch and create new client-facing experiences with exceptional speed and quality, with tailored permissions and content rights enforcement to support pre-releases, screenings and more.”

The Video Call Center has been issued US Patent No. 10,904,386 for its solution that makes it possible to manage large numbers of participants, each using IP-based video calling from their smartphone or other devices, in the production of video shows. The approach makes it possible to create television shows and other video productions that feature massive numbers of filtered and pre-screened smartphone participants.

Newly formed Antix Digital has acquired the live streaming and compression solutions portfolio of Imagine Communications, including software-based compression, processing and streaming solutions aimed at engaging audiences across a variety of delivery platforms, including mobile, OTT, linear broadcast and cable TV. “Imagine Communications has been a great steward of the technology and solutions it acquired with Digital Rapids, but the ubiquity of multiscreen media consumption creates opportunities beyond Imagine’s core focus, from social media streaming to immersive, interactive training,” said Tony Huang, president and CEO of Antix Digital.

NetElixer and Miva, Inc., e-commerce software and service providers for mid-size and enterprise merchants, announced a new partnership giving online sellers access to NetElixir’s e-commerce site development expertise and suite of marketing solutions to build conversion-focused stores on Miva’s e-commerce platform. Miva offers merchants native functionality, the ability to manage complex catalogs and sales, and access to an ecosystem of e-commerce solutions. “By combining NetElixir’s website development expertise and cutting-edge marketing technology with the Miva platform’s sophisticated e-commerce functionality, merchants can maximize every customer interaction and find new ways to be even more competitive in the changing e-commerce landscape,” said Mike Schrader, SVP of Sales and Marketing at Miva.

Smart Communications, provider of a customer conversations management platform and global cloud communications software and solutions provider IMImobile have signed a strategic partnership that will bring two-way message orchestration capabilities to Smart Communications customers. “Two-way messaging channels, such as SMS, WhatsApp, and push notifications are critical ways for businesses to interact with their customers, and will become even more so moving forward,” said James Brown, CEO of Smart Communications. “By combining our two leading cloud-based technologies we will seamlessly empower the businesses we serve to engage in meaningful conversations with their customers across multiple channels.”

Wheelhouse is establishing new division, Wheelhouse DNA – “digital ‘n audio” – to develop, produce and distribute content from creators and influencers. DNA launches with deals to create original content for digital-native talent across all platforms, including YouTube, Snap, Instagram and Tik Tok, as well as longform TV with linear networks and streamers. Original projects are already set up at Netflix and Discovery+ and DNA programming will encompass scripted, unscripted, animation and more. “As Wheelhouse has continued emerging as a destination for some of the world’s most entrepreneurial talent, we saw the need for a vehicle to help young creators move from their social onto broader streaming and premium longform platforms,” said Ed Simpson, Chief Strategy Officer. “DNA will be a one-stop shop for the best talent, essentially connecting the influencer and content worlds to each other, and to Wheelhouse’s wider production and investment capabilities.”

Brainbase and BBC Studios announced a partnership that will have BBC Studios using IP licensing platform Brainbase Assist to streamline and manage their global licensing business for “Bluey,” which airs in the US on Disney Junior and Disney Channel

South by Southwest announced it has chosen Brightcove as the official video partner for the all-digital SXSW Online and SXSW EDU events, which will be completely virtual and streamed to attendees on March 16–20, 2021.

The Clock is Ticking!

The buzzer is sounding this Wednesday on your Sports Media Awards application.

This is your final chance to get on the industry’s most renown and referenced list for the elite players in sports media.




Mobile-first advertising platform Nativex has expanded its partnership with TikTok, with TopWorks Creative Studio by Nativex joining the TikTok Marketing Partner Program. TopWorks Creative Studio delivers localized mobile ad creatives, with formats including live-action video creatives, TV commercials, interactive videos, 3D animations, VR videos, and more. “Localized ad creative is more important than ever, especially as marketers and advertisers fight for consumers’ dwindling digital attention spans,” said Keson Su, Creative Director at Nativex

Magnite, the independent sell-side advertising platform, is acquiring SpotX from the RTL Group for $1.17 billion. “Sellers have been looking for a scaled independent alternative to the giant companies who dominate the CTV marketplace,” said Michael Barrett, president and CEO of Magnite, which was formed with the merger of the Rubicon Project and Telaria.

Magnite also launched the open beta of Unified Decisioning, a solution that empowers CTV and OTT publishers to maximize yield by removing the need to manage direct sold and programmatic demand channels independently and allowing them to compete side by side. “We’ve designed and built Unified Decisioning to address the barriers between unifying direct sold and programmatic demand with the specific needs of CTV publishers in mind,” said Paige Bilins, VP of Video Product Management. “Publishers are eager to tap into the efficiencies that programmatic provides without relinquishing the control they are used to when selling directly to buyers.”

Advanced TV platform company Cadent announced an expansion of its agreement with Premion, the CTV/OTT advertising platform for regional and local advertisers. Under the terms of the new agreement, Cadent Viewer Graph, Cadent’s proprietary and cookieless matching technology, will unify audiences across Premion’s inventory of branded networks and providers so that advertisers can activate cross-screen campaigns against custom segments. “True audience-based targeting tied to real-world business outcomes is critical for marketers today,” said Tom Cox, President, Premion. “Our agreement with Cadent allows us to better understand the value of our audiences so that we can provide best-in-class solutions to advertisers.”

Over $480 million was invested in Snapchat advertising in 2020, up 37% year-over-year, according to MediaRadar. The top ten advertisers – accounting for 26% of the total spend – were State Farm Auto Insurance, Levi’s, American Eagle, Gymshark, Van’s, Call of Duty, Discord Mobile, Best Buy, Monster Energy and PlayStation Now.

TikTok and WPP entered into a partnership that gives WPP’s media clients early access to the social media company’s advertising products in development, including marketing API integrations. “Our clients want new and innovative ways to reach consumers,” said Mark Read, CEO of WPP. “TikTok has quickly demonstrated the power of mobile video and the many opportunities that exist for brands to engage in meaningful and creative ways on its platform.”

Tru Optik, a TransUnion Company, has entered a partnership with WideOrbit to offer advertisers audience-based targeting capabilities for streaming audio. WideOrbit’s WO Traffic platform is a content and revenue management solution for maximizing audience value on any audio format, and its Digital Suite is a cross-media platform for distributing and monetizing digital inventory on any device, supporting live-stream, time-shifted and on-demand content. The Tru Optik Data Marketplace integration will help WideOrbit expand their clients’ advanced audio targeting capabilities.

Nearly 3 out of 4 advertisers are willing to try new audience measurement currencies, according to “The Evolution and Revolution of Measurement Currencies,” from Comcast Advertising’s Agency Leadership Council. Advertiser Perceptions examined advertisers’ and marketers’ openness to new providers, and what may be holding them back from moving more quickly on new measurement currencies, and found that nearly 90% of marketers and advertisers say it’s important that measurement partners work with specific data matching solutions and third-party providers. A lack of internal knowledge about measurement is a reason cited by 57% of those surveyed as reason not to work with a new provider; 42% cited pre-existing relationships and agreements.

A+E Networks Ad Sales will transact on a Total Audience currency leading into 2021 upfront negotiations. “By recognizing and engaging with all audiences, brands can finally plan media more holistically – to leverage every audience across every platform and to tap into the receptivity and buying power of the critically undervalued 55+ viewer,” said Peter Olsen, President, Ad Sales. “With Total Audience, we’re upending traditional demos for bigger impact.” The network group – including A&E, Lifetime and The History Channel – has scheduled its virtual upfront for Wednesday, March 3, with a presentation outlining new primary audience guarantees against Adults 18+. A+E noted that one in three adults in the US are 55+, account for $3.4 trillion in annual spending, and are twice as likely to recall brands and messages from TV ads versus 18-to-34-year-olds.

Audiencex, the trading desk built for performance marketers and agencies, has finalized its acquisition of New York-based marketing agency Bigbuzz Marketing Group. All of BBMG’s current client engagements and long-standing customer relationships are now supported by Audiencex. “As part of our 2021 acquisition strategy, Audiencex is pursuing digital companies that are defined by their creativity, focus on performance and strategic problem solving,” said Jason Wulfsohn, co-Founder and COO at Audiencex.

Advocado, a cross-media data management platform, announced a suite of new capabilities giving advertisers access to data-only subscription; “out-of-the-box” analytics; and automatic content recognition, weather signals, and live stream natural language processing to trigger micro-moment actions across search, social and shopping platforms. “With the hyperbolic rise of data, media channels and unrealistic expectations, marketing leaders are under greater pressure than ever and finding it increasingly challenging to prove ROI,” said Brian Handrigan, CEO, Advocado.


In 2020, 95.4% of OTT video viewers watched YouTube at least monthly, surpassing even Netflix (74.9%), according to a report from eMarketer and Sightly covering trends around YouTube CTV viewing and advertising. Other stats include:
* In 2020, more than 104 million US households (nearly 81%) had connected TV, an 82% increase from 2016.
* When people watch YouTube on CTV screens, viewing session lengths are longer compared to other devices.
* Net ad revenue for YouTube in 2020 was $4.04 billion, with a forecast of $5.56 billion for 2021.Longer video ads, over 30 seconds, dropped to 16% in Q3, down from 33% in the first quarter.

fuboTV has joined the Unified ID 2.0 initiative, an alternative to third-party cookies, as a connected TV partner. Representing 93% of total viewing hours during the third quarter of 2020, CTV is fuboTV’s most popular streaming platform. “We believe Unified ID 2.0 has the potential to both enhance targeting capabilities for our advertisers as well as allow our viewers to experience relevant advertising,” said Diana Horowitz, SVP, Ad Sales, fuboTV. “

Univision Communications is kick-starting its upcoming AVOD, PrendeTV, with the acquisition of VIX, Inc., an independent ad-supported streaming service that offers VOD content to US Hispanics and consumers in Latin America. VIX will be integrated into PrendeTV in the US, bringing immediate scale to Univision’s video streaming business with a content library, management talent and distribution via more than 30 mobile and connected TV platforms.

The Disney Bundle with Hulu No Ads is now widely available to consumers for $18.99/month. A bundle with ad-supported Hulu is still available for $12.99/month.

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