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June TwentyFour

This is your midweek Fix, going deeper on our core topics. This week newTV, next week Merchants and we will alternate. We will get this onto a separate database so people can opt out of this if they want - but if you unsubscribe now you lose Fix Friday too. Would love your thoughts on how we make this better  - hit reply.

It’s all about Video - from the new Ericsson report. 5 times more data by 2025 and three quarters will be video.
 
Adspend
 
The latest GroupM forecast is pretty chilling reading. But it is positive for digital; both for the platforms and what GroupM call Digital Extension  - online ads sold by traditional media companies. The most dramatic figures are those for TV - showing a 17.6% fall in 2020 and just a 6% rise in 2021. The comparative figures for newspapers are worse -  26% and 2.6%.From the FT this quote from a senior ad exec resonates;
 
“This shock may do for free-to-air broadcast television what the financial crisis did for newspaper advertising,” they said. “It never recovered for newspapers. The question is how can broadcasters stop that from happening to them.”
 
A good new essay from Benedict Evans on 75 years of US advertising is good background for this - his data shows a disconnect between ad spend and GDP since the dotcom boom.
 
New Fronts
 
So it’s a good time to consider the IAB New Fronts which run through this week. Designed to build on the TV Upfronts (which have set the agenda for US TV spend over the last half century), the New Fronts are where Digital brands set their stall out - and per the Ericsson chart above it’s (nearly) all about Video. And everyone significant is there.

So lots of announcements and some seem significant. The Hulu GatewayGo format should tempt performance marketers. The Samsung data on streaming popularity is interesting -especially as the majority of streaming viewing is on ad supported platforms. More on this in Fix / Friday as we absorb all the news and it’s worth registering so you can see some of the sessions.
 
Bundling
 
The distribution of channels is a key factor in their success and we are seeing some players emerge as gatekeepers. Both Roku and Amazon are key and seem to be playing hardball. Alternative work arounds - like getting your app on to Samsung and other smart TVs - are good but making the most of these gatekeepers seems critical. 
 
HBO is still not on Amazon or Roku but the AT&T CEO is pleased with progress and promised some figures when they do their quarterly call next month.
 
Peacock is in negotiations with these two and with Google but no agreement yet. Their launch is July 15. If we are correct in our thinking, the sticking point is ad inventory.
 
The CBS news channel is expanding globally having secured distribution with all the main apps and platforms. Their parent Viacom CBS still has plans to launch a streaming service but unusually continues to license IP to others - and their owned and operated services like Pluto. (Which is expected to reach 30 million users this year)
 
On this side of the Atlantic, Sky is strengthening its position  - now partnering with Discovery for their channels.
 
Quibi
 
Jeffrey Katzenberg has belatedly seen the benefits of bundling and is in talks with Amazon and  Roku - so that may help get them out of the hole they are in. In an interview (conducted by one of their investors) they are still optimistic and talk of the lockdown as a form of beta. They need a hit.
 
ITV
 
With Caroline McCall running the show the new regime at ITV seems to have a plan. As their core business struggles, the burning platform has driven some smart initiatives and many forget they have been focused on data for a while. You get a good sense of how ITV think now from this interview with the head of their Agency talking about their Mental Health initiative. Their PlanetV project is making good progress and this long interview with their head of Advanced Advertising is a really good read. It ends with this bullish quote;
 
So a lot of people in the ad tech world think TV is going to be ripe for the plucking, but that’s nonsense.
 
YouTube
 
One of the main proponents of plucking ITV is YouTube and they have new shoppable ads. Their intro to the new formats opens with this statement
 
Prolonged store closures have forced brands around the world to recalibrate their media campaigns to focus on driving online sales. With this shift to digital, it’s become even clearer that every advertiser is a performance advertiser
 
This news story on the launch sums up the other platforms push for more Performance focused ads. Everyone wants to get closer to a transaction as that is where the value lies.
 
McKinsey
 
The new report from McKinsey called Performance branding and how it is reinventing marketing ROI is really relevant - especially this quote;
 
In a recent McKinsey survey, 45 percent of CFOs said the reason marketing proposals had been declined or not fully funded in the past was that they didn’t demonstrate a clear line to value, and 40 percent didn’t think marketing investments should be protected during a downturn.
 
As we emerge from lockdown into a world ravaged by recession and high unemployment I don’t believe any board will approve any spend without being really clear about its impact on the business.
 
Plus
 
DAZN is aggressively competing for soccer rights - they now have Bundesliga rights from 2021 for Germany, Austria and Switzerland
 
Microsoft is shutting down Mixer and partnering with Facebook Gaming
 
New Ways to Connect With Friends and Family on Facebook Portal
 
The boom time is over - Americans are watching a lot less TV now that states are reopening
 
This Recode Podcast on Netflix looks good
 
Finally the people at Disney have been smart and shelved their free trial offer. If you want to watch Hamilton on July 4 - and who doesn’t - you will have to subscribe.
Making the simple complicated is commonplace;  Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity - Charles Mingus

I'm with Charles. Too many people makes things too complicated. I try to really understand what's going on, and look for the patterns that unlock opportunities.
How could I help you unlock the potential of newTV?
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