ComScore Now Shows Advertisers Who’s Watching Their Content

For a while now, those in the television industry have been clamoring for viewership data on people watching content on streaming services, including Amazon, Hulu and Netflix. And it appears measurement firm comScore, which has been nipping at Nielsen’s heels for some time, is attempting to step up to the plate.

According to Fierce Cable, comScore is promising viewership data for streaming content on TV screens through a new service called OTT Intelligence. The data is gathered through comScore’s Total Home Panel, a platform that has access to audience statistics based on approximately 12,500 households and 150,000 active devices.

Subscribers to OTT Intelligence will have access to metrics including household reach, audience size and usage for the aforementioned streaming services as well as YouTube. The company said the data can be segmented for cord-cutting and cord-never homes as well as those with a cable or satellite subscriptions.

“With very limited insight into viewing behavior across providers, the OTT market has largely been a black box,” said Mike Rich, comScore vp of emerging products, in a statement. “As more TV viewers look beyond traditional content sources, it’s more important than ever for networks, content producers, device manufacturers and others in the ecosystem to understand this growing segment of cross-platform viewing.”

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon occasionally provide updates about their total number of subscribers, but they’re traditionally far vaguer when it comes to releasing viewership data for their original content.

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Rocket Fuel Launches Anti-Malvertising Platform

In an effort to combat malvertising, Rocket Fuel has launched a detection and prevention platform that uses Google Cloud Vision API to detect and reject problematic ad types. The new platform applies artificial intelligence (AI), data, blacklists, and anti-malware tactics to scrutinize ads.

In partnering with Google, the platform extends Rocket Fuel’s ability to identify and prevent ads that fail to render or click-through properly, as well as protect consumers against malicious intent.

The platform offers advertisers the ability to do text inspections via Google Translate, which automatically translates ad copy in 104 foreign languages to detect prohibited products and “click-bait” ads. When ads are flagged as suspicious, they are held for human review and typically turned around in a matter of hours, according to Rocket Fuel.

Randy Wootton, CEO of Rocket Fuel said the platform represents an example of how the company is focusing on its platforms business with offerings that appeal to brand marketers. “We’ve been working with Google for awhile and in our striving to provide more transparency and integrate with supply partners, this is another example of where we’re trying to partner with industry-leading companies to ensure we’re creating a safe place for brands to advertise.” Wootton said.

The Paradox of Digital Video

– by Rachel Parkin

Fact: Nearly every advertiser wants video and there isn’t enough supply to go around. In light of that, why are publishers struggling to justify investment in their video businesses?

The answer is complicated, but the short version is that limited video supply has created a heavy reliance among buyers on open market programmatic buying. That, combined with the prevalence of fraud, dominant presence of YouTube and Facebook and bias toward traditional formats, has put downward pressure on both prices and the supply of brand-safe video inventory.

It’s true that advertisers want fraud-free, premium inventory, but they aren’t yet heavily buying video through the channels where that can be achieved. How can we untie this Gordian knot?


The video market is rife with fraud. Excess demand, limited supply and high CPMs make it attractive for fraudsters. With as much as 50% of programmatic video impressions purported to be fraudulent, per a joint study from the Association of National Advertisers and White Ops, the effective human and viewable CPM for a buyer who may be paying, say, $12 on the open market could be twice as high.

The logical response to this state of affairs, and the one some marketers have chosen, is to buy directly from that publisher via a private marketplace (PMP) and to pay a $24 CPM. However, many advertisers still insist PMP rates be competitive with prices they are used to paying in the open market.

The resulting lower returns for video inventory transacted through PMPs makes it difficult for publishers to justify investing more in video creation or, frankly, to open any video at all to programmatic buyers.

Brand Safety

While YouTube and Facebook have tried to make it easy for advertisers to sidestep the complexity of video, ad buyers are uncomfortably aware that their scale comes from a sea of user-generated content. The technology for screening the appropriateness of these videos will never catch everything, and Facebook has acknowledged as much with the recent announcement that it will hire 3,000 human content monitors.

The recent brand-safety fiasco and public outcry from advertisers may have started to chip away at the platforms’ armor, but advertisers haven’t done a total about-face yet. Buying PMP video from publishers that produce editorial videos designed to connect with their audiences is the only way to assure brand-safe media environments. And by channeling dollars to premium, publisher-originated video content, advertisers will incentivize media companies to create more video content.

Advertiser Dilemma

The challenge facing advertisers is that they lack good choices. Buying through Facebook and YouTube presents brand-safety concerns. Buying on the open market has significant fraud (and brand-safety) issues. Buying through PMPs is complicated and hard to scale.

Many have chosen to go the easy route, and rely on technology to deal with fraud and brand safety – but clearly that isn’t a true solution. Domain spoofing alone is a huge fraud issue that no current platform has a good fix for.

The best answer to brand advertisers’ video challenge is to work directly with trusted publishers via PMPs. While this requires some manual effort, it gives advertisers exactly what they want – brand-enhancing advertising in trusted, well-lit environments that are genuinely brand-safe and free of fraud.

A New Video Paradigm

As advertisers seek the safety of working with trusted publisher partners via PMPs, the stage is set to ignite a virtuous cycle that will create the influx of quality supply advertisers need. Together with the launch of video header bidding, access is now open and free markets can go to work.

Publishers shouldn’t be afraid to set a lower-than-expected CPM floor, to prime the pump and get as many buyers as possible interested and scaling. With premium video in short supply, multiple advertisers will bid up the price to a new equilibrium. Today’s lowball bidders will eventually be frozen out.

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4 Ways To Enhance Video Advertising

by Tom Alexander

New options for enhancing your video include companion banners, which can be purchased from most publishers, and sequential messaging and retargeting, which are relatively easy options that don’t require rich media-type servings.

Another option is to overlay a custom creative unit on top of your pre-roll ad that invites users to skip the pre-roll and jump straight to the content video by interacting with your brand. The benefit is being able to capture both “skip” actions and completed views.

Here are four enhancements that will help you prepare your video for repurposing across multiple channels and boost overall consumer engagement with your brand.

1. OTT Branding

While traditional advertising delivers your brand message to a viewer just once, over-the-top branding focuses on building long-term relationships that turn leads into loyal customers. Solid OTT strategies create opportunities to deliver relevant messaging to people who actually want to receive it on an ongoing basis. Instead of focusing only on broadcast placements, brands should consider adding OTT to their video strategies.

2. Sequential Messaging

Placing retargeting pixels within creative allows you to display a second message for users who have already been exposed to your campaign. And it helps keep in contact with potential customers.

Customers frequently transition between devices, which means you have to deliver your message to them multiple times. Each message should build off the previous ones, tailored to the device they’re using at any given time. The most crucial element of this tactic is identifying the same customer across multiple devices.

3. IAB Rising Stars Ad Units

Consider ways to create more engagement opportunities, one option is the IAB’s Rising Stars ad units, which are ad formats that take up more space upon opening or as the page expands.

Rising Stars can play video in the billboard or filmstrip units of a Web page to provide a more interactive experience for users. Billboard ad units appear above the main content on the page, and filmstrip units provide a large space to fit content and visual elements. These larger interactive ad units with rich content appeal to customers more than traditional ads, furthering engagement.

4. Interactive Elements With Pre-Roll

With customized interactive overlays, completion rates for video ads hit almost 95 percent.

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Banks and financial services institutions who were among the first to help Facebook realise their first version of a payments solution might be feeling quite safe at the moment. Afterall, they’re in cahoots with one of the world’s most used platform. Surely a deal with Facebook meets the requirement for a tick in the innovation box, right? I’d caution them against getting too comfortable.

This is Facebook dipping their toes into payments to learn about a huge new market. This partnership is unsurprising – MasterCard is desperate to keep cards relevant. They subsidize and partner with seemingly anyone to keep their business growing, as cards become less relevant in mature markets.

Banks in Europe are extremely conscious – or at least they should be – that January 2018 brings about the second payment services directive (PSD2). While this is an EU regulation, banks around the globe will no doubt be aware of the precedent this will set for how people want to and will do their banking. Unless they make a dramatic shift, the banks will effectively become the backend for financial services offered and controlled by others once they figure out that direct from account is much better than using a third-party, like MasterCard.

PSD2 regulation, from the beginning of next year, gives direct account access to anyone who has applied and been granted the appropriate license.

The effect this regulation has on everyone living (and banking) in Europe can be easily illustrated. Imagine this: you wake up sometime in January 2018, reach over and do your obligatory Facebook check…

Facebook, who already have the required license issued in Ireland, ask you a question: Would you like to see the balance of all your cards and accounts in one place? They say: we will make it easier than ever to simply pay your friends and make payments at shops. Of course there’ll be a few other compelling offers alongside this – apart from it being hassle free and similar to many other third-party services you already use with Facebook.

After you approve this, your bank accounts will be accessible through an easy to use interface that you already use many more times a day than you would ever use the mobile banking app offered by your bank.

Internet banking and banking mobile apps will die because you now use Facebook (or Google, or an Apple app). Your money is still safe and sound in your bank account, but the way you interact with your account and your money will change forever. Banks will lose their customer interface to players who are experts at making the digital experience engaging and problem solving.

Scandinavian banks saw these changes coming and took early action. They now boast the highest levels of bank-owned mobile payment use in the world. What this means for them, is that as companies like Apple (with Apple Pay), Google (with Android Pay) and now Facebook, gain traction in other regions with their current payment solutions, they have yet to enter the Scandinavian market. Why? The banks solutions offer more than just another way to pay.

Right now and until PSD2 comes into effect, all that third-parties like Apple Pay or Facebook can do is create a payment experience that is essentially exactly the same as using a bank card. Until they can blow people away with a completely new experience – which they will – people are starting to losing interest.

So right now, this gives banks the upper hand and a first mover advantage if they decide to take it. If they, as Nordic banks have done, innovate like never before and invest in delivering sticky solutions people actually want to use – before the competition gains massive traction and accounts are opened up – they have the opportunity to remain relevant.

A recent EY survey of 55,000 banking customers in 32 countries found that traditional banking trust is under threat and that relevance with consumers was waning. The resulting report recommended banks undertake a serious overhaul when it came to re-thinking their approach to consumer relationships.

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Facebook launches big attack on TV next month

Facebook has kicked its push for TV-like shows into high gear and is aiming to premiere its slate of programming in mid-June, multiple people familiar with the plans told Business Insider.

Facebook plans to have about two dozen shows for this initial push and has greenlit multiple shows for production, according to people familiar with the discussions. They said the social network had been looking for shows in two distinct tiers: a marquee tier for a few longer, big-budget shows that would feel at home on TV, and a lower tier for shorter, less expensive shows of about five to 10 minutes that would refresh every 24 hours.

The new video initiative means Facebook would play a much more hands-on role in controlling the content that appears on its social network with nearly 2 billion members – and it comes as companies like Amazon, YouTube, and Snap are locked in an arms race to secure premium video programming.

Facebook sees high-quality, scripted video as an important feature to retain users, particularly a younger demographic that is increasingly flocking to rival Snapchat, as well as a means to rake in brand advertising dollars traditionally reserved for traditional TV.

Whether Facebook’s users will embrace such programming is unclear. The short video clips that autoplay in Facebook’s News Feed have been a success for most publishers, but there’s no guarantee that consumers will begin to think of Facebook as a destination for watching longer-form shows.

Facebook declined to comment for this story.

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Citi lists Netflix, Tesla as potential takeover targets for Apple

Citigroup listed seven companies as potential takeover targets for Apple Inc, including Netflix, Walt Disney and Tesla Inc, as a way to put its cash hoard of more than $250 billion to work.

With over 90 percent of its cash sitting overseas, a one-time 10 percent repatriation tax would give Apple $220 billion for acquisitions or buybacks, Citigroup analyst Jim Suva said in a note to clients.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax blueprint, which was unveiled last month, proposes allowing multinationals to bring in overseas profits at a tax rate of 10 percent versus 35 percent now.

“Since one of the new administration’s top priorities is to allow US companies to repatriate overseas cash at a lower tax rate, Apple may have a more acute need to put this cash to use,”

Suva said.

The analyst is rated three out of five stars for his recommendations on Apple, according to Thomson Reuters StarMine.

The other potential acquisition targets include video game developers Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts and Take Two Interactive Software as well as video streaming service Hulu.

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YouTube: Channels with more than 1 Million Subs up 75%

At its annual Brandcast presentation last night during the two-week-long NewFronts video ad conference, YouTube announced a slew of new shows and also revealed some noteworthy stats.

Citing a Google-commissioned Nielsen study, CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that more 18- to 49-year-olds visit YouTube on their mobile devices during primetime television — when ratings are at their highest — than any cable or broadcast network. YouTube also announced that there are now 75% more channels that have surpassed 1 million subscribers than there were last year. And smart TV sets represent the company’s fastest-growing screens, Wojcicki said, with watch-time doubling year-over-year.

Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s chief business officer, discussed the growth of Google Preferred, which aggregates content from the likes of Michelle Phan, Good Mythical Morning, and other top creators into packages for advertisers. Google Preferred has expanded into 20 countries, Kyncl said, and the number of advertisers using the service has grown three-fold since its launch in 2014.

On the subject of advertising, Wojcicki also took a moment to deliver a sincere apology in the wake the ad boycott, whereby marketers were aghast to discover that, in some cases, their ads were running against extremist videos. “We apologize for letting you down,” Wojcicki said. “We can and will do better.” She noted that the company was working around the clock in order to ensure brand safety. Accordingly, certain advertisers, including Johnson & Johnson, have resumed their YouTube spend.

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YouTube Announces Original Programming

YouTube has decided to make a bigger investment in original programming. One year after creating originals for its YouTube Red subscription service, it’s creating ad-supported original programming that everyone can view. At its YouTube Brandcast event tonight in New York City—an annual event that takes place during NewFront Season—YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki and CBO Robert Kyncl announced the company is working with a handful of proven commodities—Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, Ryan Seacrest, Demi Lovato, the Slow Mo Guys, and Rhett and Link—to create original series. Speaking to an audience made up of thousands of advertisers and agencies, Kyncl plugged the programming as a way for advertisers to find a home is a streaming world increasingly dominated by ad-free SVOD originals.

DeGeneres’s program will be called Ellen’s Show Me More Show, and will bring viewers backstage with celebrities. Hart’s program will be called What the Fit?, and will show the fitness-loving comedian taking part in unusual fitness regimens. Other originals include Seacrest’s Best.Cover.Ever, Lovato’s I Am: Demi Lovato, Rhett and Link’s Good Mythical Morning, and the Slow Mo Guys’ The Super Slow Show. You Tube will also create an original special with Katy Perry. YouTube didn’t offer details on its financial investment in these programs.

This year’s newfronts have been dominated by brand safety conversations thanks to YouTube’s recent disaster where it ran major brand ads on videos from hate groups, leaving publishers working extra hard to assure advertisers that their content is brand safe. Wojcicki addressed the issue early in her Brandcast presentation, offering an apology and a pledge to do better.

“The last several weeks have been challenging for some of you,” Wojcicki said, promising YouTube will put more controls in place and work with trusted third-parties like ComScore to create a “stronger and better platform.”

At the 2016 Brandcast, Wojcicki said YouTube was visited by more 18- to 49-year-olds in a month on mobile devices than any cable or broadcast network. This year, she added that even during primetime YouTube is visited by more 18- to 49-year-olds on mobile than any network. In all, YouTube is watched by over 1 billion people worldwide, she said.

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Digital advertising insights as the market reaches attention saturation

Digital advertising will capture 77 cents of every new ad dollar this year and will surpass TV advertising in five additional countries, reports GroupM in its annual Interaction Report. Rob Norman, global chief digital officer and author of the report, addresses the value exchange between the user and the advertiser. Norman points to new revelations in today’s advertising model, “Attention is a reward not a right. Useful advertising is a function of relevance which in turn is a function of time, place, context, cognitive targeting and creation, and actionability.”

Once again, overall daily media usage grew by nine minutes in 2016, to a total of eight hours. Mobile and its many devices drove the increase with a 14-minute increase of time online. In this report, GroupM states that the 2017 forecast appears to be approaching a point of saturation. They see this period as a time of two distinct challenges: peak advertising and peak segmentation. Peak advertising refers to a state of reduced commercial interruption and peak segmentation is the point at which the value of user data cannot be converted in value. Both of these challenges can offset advertising results, for example when inefficient allocations counterbalance detailed targeting precision.

GroupM media snapshot offers key insights on digital platforms and marketing practices. These include:

Advertising paradigm shifts

GroupM recommends that every brand have data and every brand have a data story. Without a data story, a brand lacks discovery, relevance and algorithmic referred platforms. Today there are also expectations of augmented reality and data overlays. Consumers expect brands to have a voice (which may soon be powered by artificial intelligence) to increase consumer interaction, both structured and unstructured.

Many market channels are experimenting with limited commercial interruption on a whole, or within individual programs. The thinking here is the less cluttered an environment, the higher the recall, the more an advertiser is willing to pay the premium that offsets the reduction in inventory. And further, the better the advertising, the more native to its environment, the even better and improved recall. This thinking warrants creative advertising content to be easily placed inside programming and network context.

Media options:

TV with commercials, as we know, will continue to exist. However, commercials will be more creative with skippable options.
A middle ground of mostly short form commercial content will be traded with guarantees on view duration and “sound on” consumption. GroupM’s current standard will continue to apply; human verified exposure to 100% of the video window, audio on and 50% of the ad viewed.
An entirely new creative category that values both time and attention with the opportunity scale and share.
Platform profiles

Google/YouTube/Google Preferred

Google/YouTube/Google Preferred want to change the idea of the “forced view” advertising television paradigm, which is the forced completion of a commercial. In contrast, Google’s TrueView counts viewing only after a video ad is clicked on or after completed viewing or viewing of the first 20 seconds. The video ad length has no limits, it can be longer than 30 or even 60 seconds and the advertiser only pays for the ads the consumers choose to watch.

Combining the viewership data with all of Google’s other data, provides a robust and detailed report of an opt-in view. Despite YouTube’s success, it has not achieved the watercooler moment of significant simultaneous reach. Consequently, YouTube is often used as a compliment to TV and not a replacement. Even Google Preferred, an aggregation of its highest quality content, has difficulty building scale. The impressions are often placed in questionable content causing marketers concerns.

Facebook/Facebook Video Live

Facebook’s video product is questionable as an advertising vehicle given unease with auto play and sound off. Unfortunately, the consumer’s news feed is now being populated by content that is not necessarily of interest. GroupM shares their Moat data which implies that for every 20 video ads served in the news feed, three are watched for three seconds or more and just one is watched for ten seconds or more. Facebook believes that even minimal exposure has value. However, advertisers need to factor into their own valuation of the platform’s performance to accurately reflect actual video ad consumption.

Facebook’s Live video inventory is familiar to the advertiser because the ad frame is content rather than just the user interface. These ads are initiated by the producer of the content with Facebook determining which ads are seen.

The challenge of measurement is huge with the need to identify and share who watched what, where, for how long and on what device. This is a necessary building block to assess ad and audience value.

Over-the-Top (OTT) or Connected TV (CTV)

Over-the-Top (OTT) or Connected TV (CTV) refers to “television” content delivered via streaming over the internet to a smart TV, streaming Player (such as Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV) or gaming console. OTT services offer consumer choice, new distribution for program and channel owners and new opportunity for advertisers. The OTT inventory is currently limited but becoming more targetable and measurable. OTT offers an opportunity to reach quality content in a brand-safe and on-demand environment.

A hybrid service combining on-demand and live linear television, called skinny bundles, has a number of strong players in the marketplace; AT&T, Turner, Google, Verizon, Hulu, CBS, Sony and Sling (Dish Network). The premise here is that consumers via their broadband connection can access a reduced channel line-up for a fraction of their original cable bill. The monetization of skinny bundles is based on subscription sales, highly targeted advertising (at a higher cost to marketers) minus the network transmission fees.

Audio on-demand and streaming

Spotify is an online on-demand music collection with the added the ability to find playlists from others, to customize your own and download music for offline listening. Spotify is generally recognized as the global market leader with 100 million users and 40 million subscribers. Pandora, on the other hand, is more about music discovery and a radio service. Pandora decodes music on hundreds of vectors and uses it to create custom “stations.” Pandora also launched an on-demand service (including offline downloads) bringing it closer Spotify’s model. Neither Pandora nor Spotify are profitable, as about 80% of their revenue is returned in royalties to artists and labels. Pandora and Spotify revenue models include subscriber fees and advertising revenue.


The merger of AOL and Verizon offer the world’s third largest aggregation of ad impressions with scaled “channels” in news, sports and finance, and significant ad tech assets and first party data from Yahoo Mail. While it may not challenge the duopoly of Google and Facebook, it could be, if executed properly, a strong offering for advertisers.


Twitter is a unique environment for brand video advertising and for brands to be an immediate and timely connection to consumers. While Twitter’s social significance is unquestioned, it still has not established itself as a profitable entity.


Snapchat has over 100 million users. It is the first of the internet mobile giants to offer a multimedia person-to-person communication experience. The Snapchat Lens is the most innovative digital ad product since the keyword and the news feed. It’s native to the platform and the ability to offer brand assets in user communication makes earned media that much more powerful.


Pinterest has approximately 150 million monthly users with approximately half residing in U.S. People use the platform to collect and share images. While often used by hobbyist, it also presents highly commercial and monetizable categories like fashion, food, design and crafts. Pinterest users “pins” (picture postings) of what they like and also learn about what they do not know much about from other user pins. This duality offers a unique advertising opportunity to reach different audience across the lower, mid and upper marketing funnel.

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