News Corp names new adtech chief ahead of programmatic launch, while Google continues damage control

News Corp hopes its programmatic offering will prove a welcome alternative to Facebook and Google

Ahead of the launch of its much anticipated programmatic advertising offering later this year, News Corp chief Robert Thomson has named Jesse Angelo as chief of digital advertising solutions, the same day as Google announced a content safety program for YouTube, plus a host of third-party measurement partners.

In his new role, Angelo will help coordinate the platform’s development and launch, leading News Corp’s charm offensive on advertisers, in addition to his current role of chief executive officer and publisher of The New York Post.

How News Corp's programmatic offering will work

Among the media brands expected to be involved in the launch of News Corp’s programmatic offering are: Dow Jones; The Wall Street Journal; MarketWatch; Barron’s and Mansion Global; The New York Post; plus News America Marketing, including Checkout 51, and Realtor.com.

News Corp is hoping that its rich pool of first-party user database, as well as a guarantee of high quality (and, most importantly, brand safe) content, will prove lucrative to advertisers, plus pose a serious threat to Facebook and Google’s dual hegemony of the online media market when it comes to advertisers’ spend.

Angelo will report directly to News Corp chief, Thomson, who said: “With brands searching for trusted and transparent platforms to reach high-quality, engaged audiences, this is the perfect moment to launch an alternative to the digital platforms that have arbitraged ambiguity and compromised the integrity of advertising.”

The new offering is being touted as a “one-stop-shop” for brands eager to extend their reach across News Corp titles, and will essentially be based on their News Connect product, launched in Australia in 2015, which combines audience data from across a number of News Corp Australia’s different titles.

Each of News Corp’s businesses will continue operating their independent ad sales operations, with the new platform being offered as an additional promotional opportunity. Revenues from the initiative will flow through to the business units of News Corp, according to the company.

Thomson takes aim at programmatic rivals

Thomson first gave an insight into the media giant's plans for its own "ad network" during its latest quarterly earnings call, where it also boasted of a significant boost in its digital revenue albeit, and amid, a 2.1% overall dip in revenue.

He voiced the media owner’s ambitions to ramp up its programmatic selling, adding that its “verified environment” means advertisers “don’t have to fear being guilty by association” to suspect content, reiterating The Times exposé on programmatic media buying.

This series of investigations put Google firmly in the dock, as ads from tier one brands were observed to be served against extremist content on its video-sharing site YouTube during the investigation, with multiple advertisers halting spend on the platform as a result.

However, during his subsequent earnings call statements, News Corp's Thomson also took aim at other players in the online media space, with media agencies also fingered as wrong-doers.

“Affinity and integrity are far too often missing in the modern marketplace,” he said. “A tweak to an algorithm, or a fact check here or there does not solve the basic problem. Ad agencies and their programmatic ad networks are also at fault, as they sometimes artificially aggregate audiences, and these are then plied with content of dubious provenance: the agencies win; the fabricators of the take win; and advertisers and society both lose.”

Google reveals YouTube Partner Program brand safety assurance

Meanwhile, today (April 6) also saw Google continue its damage-control operation, with the announcement of an updated YouTube Partner Program (YPP) aimed at reducing the likelihood of ads being served against inappropriate content, as well as multiple advertising measurement tie-ups. This move comes hot on the heels of its recent brand safety tie-up with comScore announced yesterday (April 5).

The updates to the YouTube Partner Program will see it introduce a threshold before it will start serving ads against content on the video-sharing service, in the hope that this will lessen the likelihood of ads being served against inappropriate content.

In a blog post, Ariel Bardin, YouTube’s vice president of product management, stated: “Starting today, we will no longer serve ads on YPP videos until the channel reaches 10k lifetime views. This new threshold gives us enough information to determine the validity of a channel.

“It also allows us to confirm if a channel is following our community guidelines and advertiser policies. By keeping the threshold to [10,000] 10k views, we also ensure that there will be minimal impact on our aspiring creators. And, of course, any revenue earned on channels with under 10k views up until today will not be impacted.”

Bardin went on to state that YouTube will be adding extra filters to its “review process for new creators”, meaning that it will closely review after a channel hits 10,000 views.

“If everything looks good, we’ll bring this channel into YPP and begin serving ads against their content,” he added.

Google allowing more third-party measurement

In addition, earlier today on its Agency Blog, Google also moved to placate recent advertiser anger over its earlier unwillingness to allow third-party measurement of the effectiveness of ads on its network.

This included the naming of Marketing Management Analytics, Nielsen and Neustar among its Marketing Mix Model Partners, a program it has launched to better help brands assess the impact of media spend with Google among their wider marketing efforts, as well as counter ‘walled garden’ allegations.

“Today we’re excited to announce a program to help marketing mix model providers better incorporate Google media data into their services,” reads the post penned by Mallory Fetters, Google product manager, marketing mix models.

As part of the program, partners will get access to “accurate, granular campaign data across all relevant Google video, display and search media in a standardized format”, training in how to better understand Google’s feedback and tools, as well as how to incorporate its data into their modeling methodologies, as well technical support through a team of account managers.

“As part of our commitment to providing the industry with trusted, transparent, and independent third-party metrics, we’ll be expanding the program over the coming months,” adds Fetters, who goes on to invite others to join.

Media buyers want more for their money

After coming under fire from some of the media buying world’s biggest names for not allowing them to use third-party tools to measure the impact of ads on its network, Google last month eventually bowed to this demand.

This emerged when Google revealed that DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science and Moat will be able to independently verify whether ads served on its video sharing site YouTube are actually viewed by a user, and for how long.

Additionally, Google has also agreed to have ads bought via DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM) and AdWords audited by the the Media Ratings Council (MRC) accredited outfits.

This means that Google is now fully accredited for video ad impressions and viewability statistics for media bought on desktop web, mobile web and mobile app via DBM.

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