Happy Friday 28.06.2019

The Cannes Hangover Edition

Happy Friday,

This week the industry has been enduring the traditional Cannes hangover and consequently the news cycle has been a little less chaotic than usual. That said there is still lots going on, this is AdTech after all...

First off Live Ramp announced they are to buy attribution specialist Data Plus Math for a whopping $150m. We look at why the identity/data on-boarding specialist paid a 25X revenue multiple for the 20 person TV AdTech start up.

Next we turn to Amazon who re-launched their Ad-Funded streaming service as IMDB TV. Amazon spent H1 this year launching new DSP features & are now look like their trying to build out exclusive inventory to point this bidder at, we look at the details of this.

From businesses in the ascendancy to one looking to rebuild it’s empire, ComScore. It’s no secret that this business has had a tough 12 months, but they are looking to turn a corner & hoping that a $20m capital injection will help them rebuild their measurement business.

Finally to ease you into the weekend, some thought leadership from three interviews filmed by the Beet.tv at last weeks Cannes event. The topics on everyone’s lips were the media agency of the future, in-housing, data, privacy & AdTech.


Live Ramp Buys Data Plus Math For $150 Million

Programmatic TV is a hot space right now as the long held mantra of programmatic that what can be automated will be automated plays out in a market worth $200bn. The big news this week was that LiveRamp acquired Data Plus Math, a specialist in measurement & attribution:

Data Plus Math is one of a new wave of TV AdTech businesses, that more established businesses are beginning to look to acquire. They offer measurement products that allow advertisers to better understand their audiences. In 2018 they launched a product called TV Pixel, part of their MediaFX platform which allows brands to connect their TV campaigns to online conversions.

It has been reported that this measurement tool will be added to LiveRamp’s products to allow advertisers to combine various data sets to understand if their campaigns really worked. The business has 20 employees who will all join LiveRamp, the 25X revenue multiple has raised eyebrows across the board, with some questioning the logic.

So did LiveRamp pay over the odds? Impossible to say but given the direction of the market the long term value looks pretty clear & I also believe the acquisition will open up significant opportunities in the short term as well: 2020 will be a big year for TV as spending around the US election is expected to hit $9bn, Data Plus Math looks well placed to help candidates advertising teams understand which audiences their messages are resonating with based on who goes on to make an online donation etc.

To me it looks like 2020 could be to TV AdTech what 2010 was for the first wave of programmatic tech. Many readers will recall that Google bought Invite in this first wave, so will be watching the moves they make in this space very closely.

Amazon Is Bringing Ad Funded Streaming To Europe

Amazon has been developing its DSP at a breakneck pace this year, in the past 6 months the Seattle based giant has released an improved UI, view based conversion reporting, incrementality reporting & most recently innovative new targeting products.

So their DSP is improving rapidly & like Google’s DV360 gives buyers access to great data, but unlike DV360 Amazon currently doesn’t have much in the way of unique video inventory. It looks to me like they plan to rectify this & make their ad funded streaming product their DSPs equivalent of YouTube. To that end they have re-branded, expanded & re-launched the service, dubbing it IMDb TV:

The service is being expanded in the US with thousands of new movies being added & importantly it will launch in Europe by Q4.

European advertisers are excited by the product as it enables them to buy quality content via Amazon’s DSP using the businesses shopper data and measure the outcomes of this effectively.

Another thing of note is that the inclusion of IMDb TV within Prime Video allows advertisers to reach audiences on Prime Video’s otherwise ad-free service, addressing a long held concern of marketers that ad free streaming services like Netflix would close off opportunities to reach users whilst they are leaning back consuming content in their living rooms.

Historically Amazon hasn’t done much to market their streaming service, but given the expansion both in terms of content & markets I’d expect this to change in the near future. But will this help it reach YouTube scale? Unlikely, but I suspect it’ll be popular with consumers & long term will provide advertisers the opportunity leverage really smart targeting to reach audiences in a brand safe quality context, which is exactly what the market needs more of currently. As always, exciting times at Amazon.

Comscore Looks To Re-Build Its Empire

Comscore was once the de-facto platform for digital media planning, but as programmatic disrupted digital ad buying some felt the incumbent didn’t react quickly enough to this change or indeed the threat that new entrants into the the market like IAS & DoubleVerify posed to the status quo.

2019 has been equally tough for the storied/beloved measurement company, In April their Chief Exec left less than 12 months after joining, because of “irreconcilable differences over how to execute the company’s strategy” & their president followed shortly after.

Given this many (myself included) were pleased to see a positive news story for the business this week: ComScore is looking to stage a comeback, announcing they had raised $20m via a private placement deal to rebuild its digital measurement empire:

Interestingly the business did not confirm how they plan to invest this money, but given the direction of the market one imagines cross environment measurement, TV & Audio might be a focus given the direction of the market.

Unfortunately news of the investment wasn’t well received by the markets & this sent Comscore’s stock fell by 18% on the day & it has fallen further since. Its unclear if this was due to the lack of clarity on where the money will be invested, or the nature of the deal itself (details here).

The business has now lost 62% of its market cap YTD so I’d imagine they will be looking to make announcements on how they’ll use this investment soon.

It is worth noting they have the option to more than double the investment from the unnamed institutional investor should they wish to & hopefully they can close the book on a tough H1 and begin to rebuild in H2 & beyond. Everyone loves a comeback so I’m sure I’m not alone in wishing them well, I look forward to seeing this story pan out.

Thought Leaders At Cannes 2019

Last week the great and the good from Agency land & AdTech de-camp to the Côte d'Azur, in order to celebrate the best in creativity & chat about the future of the industry. As always Beet_TV had amazing coverage of what was on the minds of some of the industry’s thought leaders & below are three of the best.

Where else to start but industry sage & S4 Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sorrell. The interview covers everything from how & why the media market is changing, to how businesses will need to adapt in order to be successful:

Next up Erin Matts the former Annalect supremo, who became is the CEO of Hearts & Science in the US this February. She talks about data, privacy, the expectations of a modern media agency & the in housing trend:

Xandr launched at Cannes last year & the last 12 months have been busy for the AT&T owned AdTech business. CMO KirkMcDonald talks through how the business has progressed in the 12 months, it’s fair to say they’ve achieved lots:

If you want to check out more of the Beet.tv’s content from Cannes you can do so here whilst you’re there the channel is well worth subscribing to, the content is consistently great & it’s a really useful resource for keeping your finger on the pulse of the industry.

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If you want to get in touch & say hi I’m @SimonJHarris on Twitter or you can find me on LinkedIn here Thanks again for reading.