Ad Tech, Brand Messaging Take Center Stage at TV Upfronts

While this year’s TV Upfronts were packed with celebrity appearances and musical performances, the focus had clearly shifted from scheduling to content that could be watched anytime and anywhere and the technologies that facilitate ad insertions and brand messaging opportunities. In addition to changing viewer habits, streaming and binge watching have resulted in new priorities for program services, now focused on libraries that amount to inventory by the ton, according to reports from the television industry’s annual New York pitch event for advertisers. Continue reading Ad Tech, Brand Messaging Take Center Stage at TV Upfronts

NewFronts: Amazon, Peacock Demo Product Placement Tech

Amazon and Peacock both showcased virtual product placement tech solutions at the NewFronts, demonstrating how marketers can substitute new brands into previously produced material. Currently in beta, Amazon’s new VPP tool lends immediacy to marketing decisions that were once locked months, if not years, in advance, placing products directly into existing content streams from Amazon Prime Video and the company’s Freevee streaming service. Peacock takes a slightly different approach with “In-Scene,” which identifies in-show opportunities for message-freshening during post. Both developments tap artificial intelligence to improve on past practices. Continue reading NewFronts: Amazon, Peacock Demo Product Placement Tech

Meta Adds Facebook Challenges and Expands Monetization

In an effort to expand payment opportunities for creators of popular original video content, Meta Platforms is updating its Reels Play bonus program, adding Facebook Challenges and rolling out new insights for Reels Play creators. Successful Facebook Challenge videos will enable creators to earn “up to $4,000 in a given month,” according to Meta, which says it will “also explore the ability for eligible creators to earn a share of revenue on crossposted Reels via overlay ads” from videos that appear on both Facebook and Instagram. Continue reading Meta Adds Facebook Challenges and Expands Monetization

Twitter Announces Deals with FOX Sports and NBCUniversal

Twitter has entered into a deal with FOX Sports, which will create and distribute exclusive content on the social platform for all upcoming FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 tournaments. Appearing at the IAB NewFronts this week, Twitter also talked-up new and expanded deals with media partners NBCUniversal, E! News, Condé Nast, Essence and Sean “Diddy” Combs’ Revolt Media. The NewFronts announcements are important for Twitter, which accepted a buyout offer by Elon Musk that has some advertisers worried. Continue reading Twitter Announces Deals with FOX Sports and NBCUniversal

TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

Social video platform TikTok has unveiled a new advertising solution that allows brands to place their messages next to the top content in TikTok’s For You feed. The contextual ad solution, TikTok Pulse, is the first to allow TikTok creators a chance to share ad revenue. The program initially makes publishers, public figures and creators with 100,000 or more followers whose videos are in the top 4 percent eligible for a 50/50 ad revenue split. Pulse launches in the U.S. in June, with plans to roll out to additional markets in the fall. Continue reading TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

Snap Teams with Cameo and Introduces Its New Ad Initiative

Appearing at the NewFronts, Snap unveiled a new program in conjunction with celebrity greeting app Cameo as well as a new advertising initiative called Snap Promote and some new original programs. Snapchat creators will have the opportunity to team on short-form video ads with the 45,000-plus actors, athletes, musicians and influencers. The new Snap x Cameo Advertiser Program venture — an expansion of the Creator Marketplace Snap launched last year to increase monetization opportunities — was created by Cameo for Business and built by Snap. Continue reading Snap Teams with Cameo and Introduces Its New Ad Initiative

Amazon Rebrands Its IMDb TV Streaming Service as Freevee

Amazon Studios’ free streaming service IMDb TV has been rebranded Freevee as part of a global expansion. The ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) platform has in the past two years tripled its monthly active users, with growth driven by “rapid distribution across living room devices and mobile, an increasing slate of originals, frequently updated library of licensed content and more than 60 channels,” according to Amazon. Following a successful launch in the UK last September, Freevee will launch in Germany this year and plans to expand original programming by 70 percent in 2022. Continue reading Amazon Rebrands Its IMDb TV Streaming Service as Freevee

Roku Q1 Results Exceed Wall Street Expectation for Revenue

In Q1, Roku reported a 35 percent jump in active accounts, to 53.6 million, with revenue up 79 percent year-over-year to $574.2 million, beating Wall Street analysts’ expectation of $490.6 million. Those analysts also predicted that Roku would lose money in Q1 but instead it reaped an operating income of $75.8 million, up from $55.2 million in the red a year ago. Platform revenue increased 101 percent to $466.5 million. Total streaming hours on all Roku devices also reached 18.3 billion hours, a 49 percent YoY increase. Continue reading Roku Q1 Results Exceed Wall Street Expectation for Revenue

YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

As part of its IAB NewFronts presentation, YouTube demonstrated interactive advertising features for smart TVs and mobile devices, which will enable advertisers to create more engagement with viewers by sending links to their phones or connected second screens. Other newly introduced interactive features include those that expand shopping for direct response video ads, such as browsable images that click through to websites. The company stated that it intends to continue to introduce more interactive features for advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Amazon’s over-the-top businesses (including IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports and Amazon’s News app among others) have grown to 120+ million monthly viewers. The free, ad-supported IMDb TV, which is getting a mobile app, has seen its viewership rise 138 percent year-over-year, making it a rival to similar ad-supported streamers including Fox’s Tubi, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Roku’s The Roku Channel. Amazon’s exclusive rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will begin a year earlier than originally planned, with the 2022-2023 season. Continue reading Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Broadcast TV Programmers Move Upfronts to Online Platforms

Due to concerns regarding the coronavirus, broadcast TV programmers have canceled their in-person Upfront pitches to advertisers, scheduled for May in New York City. Viacom’s CBS, NBCUniversal, Fox Corp. and ABC parent Disney are calling off their annual stage shows, although advertisers will still seek to ink deals with them. NBCUniversal’s chair of advertising and partnerships Linda Yaccarino noted that, “this year’s Upfront presentation will ensure everybody’s safety, while allowing us to give fans and marketers a preview of the upcoming season.” Continue reading Broadcast TV Programmers Move Upfronts to Online Platforms

E3 Joins Growing List of Canceled Media & Technology Events

The Entertainment Software Association announced that E3 2020, slated for June 9-11 in Los Angeles, has been canceled. “After careful consultation with our member companies regarding the health and safety of everyone in our industry — our fans, our employees, our exhibitors and our longtime E3 partners — we have made the difficult decision to cancel E3 2020,” explained ESA in a statement. “Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented global situation.”  Continue reading E3 Joins Growing List of Canceled Media & Technology Events

Twitter LiveCut Helps Publishers Create, Share Video Clips

In its push for more video content, Twitter is launching a new tool named LiveCut to replace its SnappyTV third-party live video-editing tool. LiveCut, two years in development and now integrated within content management platform Twitter Media Studio, is designed to help marketers and brands easily create video clips of live broadcasts, distribute them via Twitter, and monetize them through Twitter Amplify, the platform’s video ad product. SnappyTV, which Twitter acquired in 2014, will shut down December 31. Continue reading Twitter LiveCut Helps Publishers Create, Share Video Clips

Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

Walmart, which bought video-on-demand service Vudu eight years ago, just inked a partnership with MGM to license family-friendly content. Vudu’s monthly viewer numbers lag behind Netflix and Hulu, the latter controlled by Disney, Comcast, 21st Century Fox and AT&T. Although media outlets reported that Walmart intends to launch a subscription-based streaming video service, sources inside Walmart reveal that Walmart is not doing so, but still hopes to improve its VOD business and target viewers outside big cities. Continue reading Walmart to License MGM Content for its Vudu VOD Service

YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows

YouTube plans to produce new original series to be available for free on its site. Actor and comedian Kevin Hart, talk-show host and producer Ellen DeGeneres and Internet comedy duo Rhett & Link are producing unscripted series to roll out in 2017. The Google-owned company will also invest more in its paid video and music streaming service YouTube Red, which launched in October 2015. YouTube will fund more than 40 original shows and movies in the next year. By devoting hundreds of millions of dollars to programming with high-profile stars, YouTube hopes to attract more advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Expands its Original Programming With 40+ Shows