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Introducing today’s digest of stories from around the media world, updated by The Media Leader team to ensure you’re 100% up-to-date.Friday, 4 March

Cannes Lions bans Russian delegates and entries from this year’s awards

The advertising industry’s biggest awards body has announced it will not accept submissions or delegates from Russian organisations this year.
Both agencies and brands from Russia will not be welcome at the annual event after the invasion of Ukraine last week.
The organisation also said it would welcome any and all Ukraine creative to attend Cannes Lions free of charge and would also honour refunds on awards submissions for Ukraine agencies.
The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and MailOnline’s Ukrainian Refugee Appeal has already raised £2.55m as of this morning.
The appeal is operated by the Mail Force Charity and the funds will be passed to aid organisations operating in Ukraine and on the borders with Poland, Romania and Hungary.
The registered charity was initially set up to procure personal protective equipment for NHS workers and now is focusing its efforts to help Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict with Russia.
Channel 4 has reported its total audience for its weekday evening bulletins has increased by 54% compared to the same time last year.
This is an increase from 589,000 viewers last year to 905,000 between 24 February and 2 March 2022.
Viewers aged 16-34 have more than doubled from 37,000 to 75,000 in the same period.
Disney is discussing launching a cheaper, ad-supported tier of its Disney+ streaming service in the US, according to The Information, citing “a person involved in the discussions”.
The entertainment giant is aiming to make the streaming service profitable by 2024 but appears to be facing slowing subscriber growth. Disney did not comment on the story.
NOW READ: Disney+ subscriber base forecast to overtake Netflix in 2028
Thursday, 3 March
ITV reported its total advertising revenue was up 24% year-on-year to £2.1bn, with video-on-demand advertising up 41%, the highest in its history.
The broadcaster says it is now “the largest ad funded premium streaming service in Europe” and has delivered compound annual growth in digital revenues (+28%) and digital viewing (+12%) since 2018.
Total external revenue was up 24% year-on-year to £3.45bn, the company reported in full-year financials for 2021.
McCall said it had been an “outstanding financial performance” and set targets to double digital revenues to £750m and also double streaming viewing, monthly active users and subscribers by 2026.
In its full year financial earnings release, it said: “We have a clear ambition and strategy to be a leading streamer in the UK and an expanding global force in content.”
The company also reported a 48% year on year increase in pretax profit (£480m) and a 24% increase in total group revenue to £4.04bn, helped by a 28% surge in revenue from ITV Studios to £1.76bn.
READ MORE about the launch of ITVX, the streaming service that will bring together ITV Hub and Britbox
CNN+ is planned for launch this spring and will be priced at be $5.99 a month or $55.99 a year.
There is a promotional lifetime rate for early subscribers of $2.99 a month which will include HBO Max services and advertising.
CNN+ programming has not been fully disclosed but will include daily and weekly shows by CNN’s known reporters like Chris Wallace, Wolf Blitzer, Kasie Hunt and Brian Stelter among others.
Publicis Groupe UK has launched a scheme, The Innovators, to offer young people from marginalised communities paid internships and job opportunities in data and commerce roles.

The agency group has committed to this initiative until 2030  and will deliver six-month paid internships for school leavers in partnership with OPEN_, a joint venture between Livity and Hidden, to replace traditional grad schemes.
Every February, Publicis Groupe UK will take 10 interns on a six-month placement programme including onboarding, workshops led by senior leaders in data and commerce and six separate training modules.
OPEN_ will offer pastoral care to those in the scheme.
IPG Mediabrands’ agencies will receive early access to Reddit’s trending insights as part of a new partnership agreement.
Mediabrands will also have access to Reddit’s local sales, marketing sciences, community teams and creative services from KarmaLab.
As part of the deal, Reddit expects to strengthen its global advertising business.
Previously, Reddit has struck an enterprise partnership deal with Omnicom Media Group.
Manchester-based social media, marketing and licensing business, the KOMI Group, has acquired The Tradesman, a specialist, multi-platform, social brand.
The value of the deal has not been disclosed but the KOMI Group has acquired the brand with all of its associated assets from Fix Media.
The Tradesman is the second largest community for tradespeople in the world.
The audience for the BBC’s Russian language news website has more than tripled its weekly average to 10.7 million last week.
Visitors based in Russia to bbc.com also increased 252% to 423,000 and the live page in Russian covering the invasion received 5.3 million views making it the most-visited site across the BBC World Service’s non-English language services
The Ukrainian language site doubled its audience reaching 3.9 million in the past week and visitors to bbc.com increased 154% in Ukraine.
These figures are only for direct traffic to BBC websites rather than social media audiences and the broadcaster said these are likely to rise when the latter is factored in.
BBC’s online coverage of the conflict in English got 77.4 million unique visitors in the first five days and the live page on Ukraine gained 200 million views.
ITV has announced it will launch the UK’s first integrated advertising and subscription-funded platform later this year.
Read more on this story here.
Wednesday, 2 March 

The Independent starts a petition and fundraiser for Ukraine

The Independent
is calling for Western authorities to do more to save lives in Ukraine.
Since relaunching its Refugees Welcome campaign earlier this week, The Independent has started a petition with change.org demanding urgent aid and support for Ukrainian refugees from the UK government.
The national has also started a fundraiser with gofundme.org.uk to raise money for those fleeing the conflict with Russia with donations going to charities on the frontline like the Red Cross.
So far nearly £60,000 has been raised out of its £100,000 target.
The Carabao Cup Final between Chelsea and Liverpool on Sunday averaged 3.16 million viewers and peaked at over 4 million, Sky Sports has reported.
The broadcaster said this is the highest in-home peak and average viewing figures on record for a League Cup Final on the channel.
Sky Sports also said it was the highest peak audience of the 21/22 football season and across its social and digital platforms there were more than 24 million views.
Sky trialled new filming technologies during the match, some for the first time in football coverage, including Super Slow Spidercam, Super Slow Steadicam and ACS zoom net cameras.
Rival broadcasters BBC and ITV have announced new measures regarding Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The BBC has said it will no longer licence TV content to Russian customers and has requested the remaining episodes of Dancing with the Stars and The Green Planet not be aired on Russian state TV, despite rights already being sold.
A spokesperson for ITV said: “We have made the decision to stop new sales to Russian clients as we do not believe it appropriate to be doing business with them at this time.”
Tech giant Apple also said it will suspend its product sales in Russia for the same reasons.
The Financial Times (FT) has reached one million paying digital subscribers, the second British title to do so for content behind a paywall after The Guardian in November.
More than half of the FT’s subscribers are based outside the UK with 20% based in the US.
It introduced digital subscriptions in 2002 and evolved to its current model of paid £1 four-week trials before asking to readers to pay a full subscription in 2015.
FT chief executive John Ridding said: “The FT is proof that quality journalism can be a quality growth business, and digital journalism can be a quality global business.”
Netflix has entered into a combination agreement to acquire Finnish mobile game developer Next Games.
The streaming giant will tender an offer to acquire all issued and outstanding shares in the gaming company and the Board of Directors of Next Games has unanimously decided to recommend shareholders accept.
Pursuant to the offer, shareholders would receive €2.1 in cash per share of Next Games, for a total equity value of approximately €65 million.
Next Games was founded in 2013 and creates and operates mobile games such as Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales.
Manchester independent media agency, Love Sugar Science, has hired Dom Mellin as planning partner.

Mellin (pictured, left,with co-founder Jessica Scott) will be responsible for leading the agency’s multidisciplinary Planning Unit with its existing client base as well as working with the Founder team to deliver “significant growth” and innovation plans.
Previously he was strategy director at Wavemaker London and worked on the Home Office and London & Partners accounts.
Prior to that he was senior planning manager at Spark Foundry and also had roles at Hunterlodge Advertising, The Adventurists, and Dentsu Aegis Network.
Tuesday, 1 March
Several Hollywood Studios have said they will pause theatrical releases in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.
Film releases in Russia of The Batman, Morbius and Turning Red have been confirmed as paused so far.
“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” Disney said in a statement. “In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance.”
Google Europe has announced in a Tweet that YouTube channels affiliated to Russia Today and Sputnik will be blocked across Europe.
Users in Europe when searching for RT or Sputnik content on YouTube should see the message: “this channel is not available in your country”, but Google has said it could take some time to come into effect.
Facebook, Microsoft, TikTok and Twitter announced similar restrictions yesterday.
This comes as the EU banned RT, Sputnik and their subsidiaries across online, app and traditional broadcast channels.
Due to the ongoing war in Ukraine, we’re blocking YouTube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe, effective immediately. It’ll take time for our systems to fully ramp up. Our teams continue to monitor the situation around the clock to take swift action.
— Google Europe (@googleeurope) March 1, 2022

Netflix refuses to air Russian channels

Netflix has refused to comply with a broadcast rule, the Vitrina.TV Law, to carry 20 Russian channels.
The streaming giant was added to Russia’s audio-visual regulatory body Roskomnadzor in December 2021 when it hit more than 100,000 subscribers.
As a result, Netflix was required to distribute “must-carry” free-to-air Russian news, sports and entertainment TV channels including Channel One (which reportedly has close ties to the Kremlin)and Spas (operated by the Russian Orthodox Church).
“Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson said.
Discovery has announced it will appoint Chris Licht as chairman and CEO of CNN.
Licht is expected to start in the role in early May following Discovery’s expected completion of its acquisition of CNN’s parent company WarnerMedia.
He is currently executive vice president of special programming at CBS and executive producer and showrunner for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
He has spent more than twenty years in broadcast news and prior roles include vice president of CBS This Morning and co-creator and original executive producer of MSNBC’s morning news show Morning Joe.
Acast has announced That Peter Crouch Podcast has joined its podcast network, opening it up to advertiser opportunities for the first time.
The show is hosted by ex-England footballer Peter Crouch and produced by George Cottam and is the UK’s biggest sports podcast with 60 million listens since launching on BBC Radio 5 Live in 2018.
It will now be hosted and distributed to podcast platforms and apps by Acast and monetised exclusively through the Acast Marketplace.
Advertisers will now be able to buy sponsorships, brand integrations, ads and other premium ad products for the show and fans can support the show through through Acast’s subscriptions service Acast+.
New research from global media consultancy MediaSense revealed nearly half of global marketers believe cross-media measurement will never be realised.
The report, Media 2025, surveyed more than 100 global marketers including chief marketing officers and directors about the state of the current media ecosystem in partnership with ISBA.
Four in 10 (42%) believed the cross-media measurement ambition will never be realised with 49% saying self-interest was “a key limiting factor”.
Other issues raised were sustainability, the talent crisis, digital transformation, and changing operating models. For example, nearly half (46%) are planning to focus more on sustainability and measuring the environmental impact of media.
– 11% of global CMOs are confident they have completed their digital transformation journey.
– 82% of brands are planning or transforming their internal media operating model.
– 76% are planning or changing their external agency model.
– 55% are expecting to bring more functions in house.
– 56% believe a skills shortage is holding the industry back. This has been rising steadily from 27% in 2015 when Media 20:20 was first launched.
TikTok is expanding the maximum length of its videos from three minutes to 10 minutes.
Last summer the platform increased its maximum per-video length from 60 seconds to three minutes.
Ad tech companies The Trade Desk and LiveRamp have announced they plan to lead an industry effort to bring a “privacy-first interoperable ID solution” to meet emerging advertising standards requirements in Europe and the UK.
They plan to deploy a European Unified ID (EUID), a new privacy-conscious identity solution that would comply with GDPR regulations and consent framework limitations.
The two companies also plan to enable bidding on RampID, LiveRamp’s privacy-first, people-based identifier, within The Trade Desk in Europe.
TTD and LiveRamp announced a global collaboration on addressable advertising and measurement in 2020.
Illva Saronno,  the global wine and spirits business, has appointed the7stars to handle its UK media planning and buying account.
the7stars is tasked with helping to drive innovative, media-neutral planning across the product and brand portfolio including iconic Italian brand Disaronno, coffee liqueur Tia Maria, and Irish whiskey The Busker.
In a review handled by Eley Consulting, the7stars fought off competition from WPP’s MediaCom and Goodstuff Communications (the incumbent media agency).
Monday 28 February 
The Independent has called on the government to accept Ukrainian refugees without visas and do more with Europe to support neighbouring countries with emergency accommodation, food and medical supplies.
Currently there is no safe and legal route for Ukrainians fleeing the fighting with Russia to come to the UK to seek asylum without a visa, unless they have close British relatives already here.
Estimates indicate 368,000 Ukrainians have already crossed the borders into Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, with many more expected to evacuate in the coming days.
The original campaign was first introduced in 2015 calling on the UK and Europe to do more to help refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and restarted in 2021 when the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.
ESI Media, parent company for The Independent, is owned by the Lebedev family. Alexander Lebedev is a former KGB agent and his son Evgeny was given a peerage after being nominated by prime minister Boris Johnson.
The latest editor’s Column: 
Russia went to war with us long ago and media is the frontline
INTERVIEW: Independent CEO Zach Leonard has a global plan after five years of profit

Dentsu UK&I have announced they will work with WeAre8, a sustainable ad-buying engine, to help advertisers deliver more sustainable and ethical media to their campaigns.
Dentsu said advertisers could move only 6.5% of their digital media budget through WeAre8’s platform to make their entire digital spend carbon neutral.

The deal was brokered by Amplifi, the UK arm of Dentsu’s media investment division.
DoubleVerify and Comscore have announced they will work together to provide advertisers with an “exclusive cross-platform measurement solution”.
The solution will combine data from DV Authentic Ad and Comscore Campaign Ratings and be available to a select group of customers from Q2 2022.
DV Authentic Ad is a MRC-accredited metric that verifies ads have been fully viewed, by a real person in a brand-suitable environment in the intended geography, while Comscore Campaign Ratings give deduplicated reach and frequency across TV, CTV, desktop and mobile.
Online publishers Vox Media, Buzzfeed and Bustle are testing alternatives to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages framework (AMP).
These online publishers are looking to move away from AMP and create their own frameworks since AMP “generates less advertising revenue”.
Google’s mobile initiative is a web component framework that was introduced in 2015 to help “easily create user-first websites, stories, emails, and ads”.
DAZN has partnered with Buzzer, who will market and distribute short-form boxing content from the streaming service to fans.
Read more on this story on our sister publication Videonet.
Roku has revealed that its monthly active users have reached a global total of 60.1 million, with 8.9 million active accounts added year-over-year.
Research from Conviva shows that 41% of total big screen viewing time in Q4 2021 in North America was delivered to a Roku-powered device.
Read more on this story on our sister publication Videonet.
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