Industry headlines


18th - 24th August 2014


August 22, 2014

Murdoch's 21st Century Fox withdraws £80bn bid for Time Warner

Time Warner rejected Fox's initial offer in July and the share price of Murdoch’s company had declined following the announcement. 21st Century Fox said it still believed that a union of the two made sense, but Time Warner‘s failure to communicate and a drop in its own stock price had made pursuing any deal untenable. Shares of 21st Century Fox rose sharply in after-hours trading after the withdrawal, while shares in Time Warner fell by 11%.

August 22, 2014

BBC iPlayer usage up 9% as TV on demand increases

One-off BBC Three drama 'Murdered by My Boyfriend' (based on a horrific true story of teen violence brought to life by screenwriter Regina Moriarty) was the most popular programme to be viewed on BBC iPlayer, with nearly two million requests. Live viewing also increased across TV and radio as audiences used the digital BBC service to keep up to date with sporting action from the World Cup, Test Cricket and Wimbledon. The Brazil v Chile game generated more than one million requests, 600,000 of which were live. The iPlayer's busiest month was in March this year, when it received 320 million requests. The service has grown steadily year on year since it launched in January 2009 with 62 million requests from viewers.

August 22, 2014

Thirst for control of hit shows puts ITV in prime takeover territory

A £10bn-plus takeover of ITV is expected to be top of the list for US media firms and even BT among potential buyers. The British broadcaster is tipped as the next target in a wave of takeover activity in the media sector, as big, established groups seek to fend off digital competitors by bulking up their "content". The creator of Mr. Selfridge, Come Dine with Me and Coronation Street is a content powerhouse. The digital age has given viewers the option of more than one screen on which to view, which has fuelled the ambitions of Google, Apple, Amazon and Netflix in the content game. This has made for an increasingly cut-throat battle to become king of content and win consumers' attention and drive profits.

August 22, 2014

TalkTalk attracts 1.1m customers and joins Thinkbox

TalkTalk reported a 3% rise in revenues to £434m in quarter to 30 June, compared with the same period last year. TalkTalk is becoming an associate member of Thinkbox, sitting alongside RTL Group, Virgin Media, London Live, Norway’s SBS Discovery and Australia’s ThinkTV. Lindsey Clay, chief executive of Thinkbox, said: "It’s wonderful to welcome TalkTalk to Thinkbox as an associate member. Their support and insight will help us continue to help advertisers in the UK and beyond get the very best out of all the new opportunities in commercial TV." Thinkbox represents more than 90% of the commercial TV market through its shareholders operations: Channel 4, ITV, Sky Media, Turner Media Innovations and UKTV.


August 22, 2014

The Sun joins forces with Google to launch a coding competition

The Sun has teamed up with Google to encourage people to learn how to code ahead of computer programming being introduced as part of the curriculum from next month. The paper launched its “get kids coding” campaign in its print issue, announcing that it will open a "code camp" at Google's London. Mark Warriner, Google's director of engineering, has said there is a "serious digital skills shortage" in Britain and a need to spark young people's interest.

August 22, 2014

News Corp revenues fall 3% in last quarter amid circulation decline

For the company's first full year as a standalone company News Corp reported revenues of $8.57bn (£5.01bn) compared with $8.89bn (£5.28bn) in the prior year. Fourth quarter total revenues were $2.19bn (£1.30bn), down from $2.26bn (£1.34bn) for the same quarter last year. The company's news division, its largest and whose titles include ‘The Times’ and ‘The Sun’ in the UK reported a sales decline of 6% to $1.56bn (£0.9bn), driven by a 9% decline in advertising revenues and a 4% decline in circulation revenues.

August 22, 2014

Twitter introduces optimised campaigns

Advertisers can decide whether they want people to engage with their tweets, click to go to a website and/or provide contact details, install or engage with apps or simply increase their number of followers. Much digital advertising is already based around a pay-per-click model but what Twitter is offering through optimised campaigns is an additional layer of control for the brand.

August 22, 2014

Yo app invests in features for brands

Yo, the simplistic instant messaging app, has introduced a host of features to make it more attractive for brands and websites. Users will now be able to send URL links of their choosing, and include a hashtag. The more times a hashtag is used, the more it will start trending on the app, enabling businesses to create brand awareness. The new Yo index allows users to look for Yo services within the app, without having to visit its desktop site. The boost follows a recent $1 million investment after a $10 million valuation.

August 22, 2014

22 billion minutes spent on Google sites in one month

Google sites were the most visited websites across laptop/desktop and mobile in March 2014, with 47 million monthly visitors racking up 22 billion minutes of browsing time. According to Ofcom’s latest Communications Market Report, users visiting Google sites spent an average of 8 hours a month browsing, with 13 billion minutes of the total figure accountable to time spent on YouTube, which has increased its audience by over 5 million year on year to 40 million.

August 22, 2014

BuzzFeed outlines expansion plans after raising $50m

BuzzFeed will use the money to launch sites in Berlin, Mexico City, Mumbai and Tokyo this year. The company is planning to roll out new products for advertisers. It will centralise its existing team of 60 creative’s and 15 branded-video producers in a division called BuzzFeed Creative, overseen by recently appointed president, Greg Coleman. The company’s editorial team will be split into three divisions: news, life and team (which covers web culture). All three will report to editor-in-chief, Ben Smith. It is also launching a 20–strong social media team called BuzzFeed Distributed, which will focus on producing content specifically for social media sites such as Tumblr, Imgur, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and messaging apps.


August 22, 2014

Twitter extends ad offering with Promoted Video trial

Twitter will be allowing advertisers to run campaigns with a new cost-per-view buying model, meaning they will only be charged once a user starts playing the video. Brands will be able to follow their campaigns using a "robust" video analytics services, offering a completion percentage and a breakdown of organic and paid video views. Twitter is also in discussions with content publishers and verified users over extending the video service beyond advertisers to ‘create a richer and more engaging Twitter’.

August 22, 2014

Yahoo keeps agencies guessing about Europe

Yahoo’s strategy in Europe remains unclear and agencies have started to question their silence. The company’s acquisition of the mobile analytics company Flurry is the latest big play by the internet giant as it prepares to sell off part of its stake in the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba and struggles to compete with Google and Facebook. Flurry boosts Yahoo’s position as a "mobile-first company", giving it greater opportunities to help app developers deliver personalised ads to users.

August 22, 2014

Ocean Outdoor acquires Signature

Ocean announced the acquisition of Signature Outdoor, as it looks to strengthen its digital out-of-home footprint. The deal will see Signature operate and manage its portfolio and continue to develop heritage digital formats, while Ocean's national network is expected to be boosted by the infusion of Signature's digital inventory and banners. In the second quarter of 2014, outdoor advertising grew 6.4% to £258.8 million, the fourth best performance ever recorded. At £68.3 million, digital revenues were particularly strong - up 30% year on year to account for 26% of total revenue, amounting to the greatest quarterly digital revenue recorded for the sector.


August 22, 2014

Primesight and Now TV launch interactive campaign in cinemas

Primesight and Sky's Now TV have joined forces to launch a new interactive digital campaign in cinemas across the UK. BackInYourBox is a touch-enabled campaign that has been created to encourage families to engage with Now TV, and features a touch screen game based on the arcade hit 'Whac-A-Mole'. Now TV, Sky's internet TV service, launched in 2012 and gives users access to a range of content from Sky without a contract. It is available across a number of connected devices including the Now TV box, mobiles, tablets, desktop, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.


August 22, 2014

TalkSport extends global Premier League broadcast deal

TalkSport has extended its deal to broadcast Premier League matches globally until 2019. The initial deal was due to expire at the end of the 2015/16 season. The UTV-owned station will now provide live commentary of all 380 Premier League matches to listeners outside the UK and the Republic of Ireland. TalkSport broadcasts coverage from its London studios via the internet and mobile apps, using a branded radio player. The station provides live commentary and football programming in nine languages, including English, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, French and Bahasa Indonesia. As well as broadcast partnerships, TalkSport also has tie-ups with audio streaming partners such as radio app TuneIn Radio, Chinese sports website Usportnews.com, and football app OneFootball. In the UK, the BBC, Absolute Radio and TalkSport share the radio rights to the Premier League.