ExchangeWire European Weekly Round-up

ExchangeWire rounds up some of the biggest stories taking place over the last seven days, and in this week's edition: WPP takes a chunk of comScore; AOL results prompt mixed response; SpotXchange moves into the Netherlands, and more.

WPP takes 15% stake in ComScore

Advertising giant WPP this week announced a "strategic alliance" with analyst house comScore via its data investment management division, Kantar, including the acquisition of a 15% of the measurement company.

The alliance will see the companies establish a framework for the parties pool their products, technology, data assets, research panels and relationships – to better provide cross-media audience and campaign measurement capabilities.

Under the terms of the agreement, comScore will issue 4.45% in shares in exchange for the benefits of the strategic alliance, and acquisition of certain European internet audience measurement assets.

The purchase of the 15% stake in comScore also means WPP will now control between 15-20% of comScore, according to the company. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed publicly.

Serge Matta, comScore, CEO, said: "The emerging mediascape points to a massive global opportunity waiting to be unlocked by cracking the code on cross-media audience and campaign measurement."

AOL posts mixed results

AOL this week called in its latest quarterly results, missing previous forecasts, with its stock price falling in the immediate aftermath of its earnings call where it alluded to its 2015 investment plans.

AOL reported revenue of $710m, up 5% from the previous year, but this figure was still short of analyst expectations, although it did report 16% growth in "third-party properties revenue", driven by growth in the sale of premium ad formats, including video, and its programmatic platform.

A further breakdown of its results reveals that its programmatic revenues soared 250% year-on-year throughout 2014, accounting for 39% of its non-search revenues during the last quarter of 2014.

However, analysts had predicted that revenues would reach $720m, leading to an 11% slump in AOL share prices after it revealed its further focus on programmatic advertising, despite its average revenue per user (ARPU) increasing 6% during the period. This focus on programmatic also saw it lay-off vast swathes of its sales teams in 2014.

SpotXchange goes Dutch JV

SpotXchange this week announced it is to join forces with RTL Netherlands to form a joint-venture company in the country.

The joint-venture will operate as of mid-March from Amsterdam, and will be called SpotXchange Benelux. The new venture will offer media agencies, trading desks, and premium premium publishers programmatic sales expertise on video-on-demand inventory.

Mike Shehan, CEO of SpotXchange, said: "As announced with the acquisition, RTL Group’s decentralised operation will give SpotXchange the chance to thrive and grow as the last independent digital video ad monetisation platform.

"It provides significant opportunities to work with RTL Group’s leading European broadcast companies. We recognise the unique opportunities and challenges of each market and look forward to finding the best approach to increase uptake of programmatic video across the region."

Print goes programmatic

MediaMath and publishing house Time Inc (formerly IPC Media) this week announced plans to make print audience segments available on the former's digital programmatic marketplace.

The deal sees the last ad formats embrace programmatic technology for the first time. The terms of the agreement will see audience segments, including Women, Men, Lifestyle, Luxury, Business/Finance and Rapid Scale, provide valuable audiences made available via the platform.

To mark the launch of the partnership media agency Haworth, Target is executing a multi-title print ad campaign with Time Inc, purchased exclusively using programmatic technology.

In addition to enabling buying of print audiences via a digital platform, marketers will also be able to target digital ads to those audiences, across programmatic display. The offering comes with post-campaign measurement powered by AdMeasure.

Mark Ford, executive vice president, Global Advertising, Time Inc, said: "We view this as a natural evolution of how we conduct business with our advertisers, and allows them scalable, turnkey access to engaged audiences across our brands, regardless of the platform. Our Programmatic Print offering is a powerful complement to the way digital advertisers are currently buying, while providing audience segments that are consistent across both print and digital."

Affectv announces key hires

UK-based Affectv has announced two key senior hires to strengthen its management team in order to scale the business and prepare for its US launch, with Pascal Zähner joining as COO and Joanne Patterson joining as CMO.

Zahner will look after the development of Affectv’s commercial operations, with a primary focus on the EMEA region. Pascal previously was a Director and CEO of Real Media, covering non-US markets, the pioneering Open AdStream (OAS) ad serving technology and media services company, acquired by 24/7 and subsequently WPP.

Pascal more recently was the MD EMEA for Tribal Fusion, and was responsible for the development of operations across the EU.

Zähner said: "The smarter use of data is to discover people’s intent, deliver advertising people want with SignalAds and optimise ROI for marketers. This is what Affectv’s technology solutions are all about and what brought me to join the company’s fast-paced leadership team, after a year of close collaboration.”

Meanwhile, Patterson will be responsible for Affectv’s global marketing efforts, Joanne has a wealth of marketing experience in digital advertising having been responsible for the marketing teams at leading ad tech firms Blue Lithium, Adconion and Exponential.

Patterson said: “Since its inception in 2011, Affectv has been building fantastic technology and products such as SignalAds - a new marketing tactic consistently generating superior performance for advertisers by serving different ads to each persona based on personal signals - as well as getting an excellent team in place to deliver on the company’s mission: to improve the internet by making advertising relevant for people."