VOD Sees Big Growth In The UK, Spotify launches voice-enabled ads and other news

Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week

VOD Sees Big Growth In The UK

The Advertising Association and Warc have turned much more bullish on the growth prospects for adspend around broadcaster video-on-demand in the UK. In their latest forecast, issued today, the AA and Warc said BVOD expenditure was likely to rise by 26.3% in 2019 and admitted this part of the market was much bigger than it previously thought. Warc has changed its estimates for the historical size of the BVOD market from £211m to £302m for 2017 and from £236m to £391m for 2018. It has not changed its figures for the overall size of the TV market, meaning it has reduced its estimates for expenditure on spot ads by the same amount as the BVOD upgrade. The revision has also led the AA and Warc to become more optimistic on growth prospects for overall TV advertising this year, changing its forecast from 0.8% to 2.2%.


Bitmax, MTonomy Partner On Blockchain-Based VOD

Digital media management and licensing company Bitmax has announced a new partnership to license and provide new release content to MTonomy, a blockchain-based digital media rights, and content management company. MTonomy customers rent and buy content through ether, a cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain, and through this deal will now have access to Bitmax TV series, movies, documentaries, and digital shorts. Viewers can access MTonomy’s entire range of VOD content using cryptocurrency wallets such as Metamask, Coinbase Wallet and Cipher. By making its content available via cryptocurrency on the MTonomy online platform, Bitmax’s content has now been made available to millions of new viewers and provides the filmmakers with new and innovative revenue streams.


Raine Group Leads $70 Million Investment in Ad-Tech Firm VideoAmp

Advertising technology firm VideoAmp Inc. has raised $70 million, suggesting that investors still have confidence in the challenged category. The funding comprises $50 million from the Raine Group LLC and $20 million from Ankona Capital. VideoAmp had previously raised $36 million from companies including Mediaocean and RTL Group since its launch nearly five years ago. VideoAmp, which helps advertisers target and measure the impact of their ads across platforms such as TV and mobile, also named former Tribune Media Chief Executive Officer Peter Liguori a senior adviser and member of the board of directors. Erik Hodge, managing director and head of the Raine Group’s Los Angeles office, is joining the board as well. The firm will use the new funding to hire more data and customer-service staffers to support the marketers, agencies and media companies that use its services.


Spotify launches voice-enabled ads on mobile devices in a limited US test

Spotify is increasing its investment in voice technology, as hinted at earlier this week on the company’s earnings call with investors. The streaming service today is announcing the launch of voice-enabled advertisements, which will encourage the listener to say a verbal command in order to take action on the ad’s content. Initially, the audio ads will direct listeners to a branded Spotify playlist or a podcast, the company says. Some of the first voice ads being tested come from Unilever’s Axe and Spotify Studios. One ad, starting today, will direct users to the Spotify Original podcast, Stay Free: The Story of the Clash. Another will promote a branded playlist on Spotify related to a Unilever Axe ad campaign later this month. For now, Spotify is only focused on content promotion within its own service — not anything outside of its app. These voice ads will only be available to a subset of Spotify’s free mobile listeners in the U.S. during the test period, and only to those who have already enabled Spotify’s voice controls.


Amazon is readying a Hi-Def Music Streaming Service

Less than a week after the online giant launched its first fully free music streaming service, the company’s next big plan is to challenge the likes of Spotify. We understand that Amazon is currently in discussion with various large music rights-holders regarding the upcoming launch of a high fidelity music streaming platform – and that at least one major record company has already agreed to license it. “It’s a better bit rate, better than CD quality,” said one source. “Amazon is working on it as we speak: they’re currently scoping out how many catalogs they can get from everyone and how they’ll ingest it.” The world’s two biggest music subscription streaming platforms – Spotify and Apple Music – are yet to venture into the world of high fidelity audio. “With Amazon making this move, it feels like a positive step for consumer pricing flexibility and good news for streaming ARPU generally. Spotify has just been outmaneuvered.”


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