11º Media, MarTech & AdTech. - 1st April


  • US ad revenues will rise 3.4% this year, down from 5.7% in 2022: Like Magna, we forecast softer ad growth this year over last year. But the market is still growing, even as economic factors lead to tightening budgets. Link
  • The Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD) has voluntarily suspended the six-month implementation period of IAB Europe's action plan for TCF due to unresolved questions sitting with the EU Court of Justice. [IAB Europe]
  • Criteo is making a new attempt to sell itself after discussions with potential acquirers in previous years proved unsuccessful. [Digiday]
  • Google announced the first beta release of Android Privacy Sandbox, which will initially roll out to a small percentage of Android 13 devices. The Android Privacy Sandbox includes four APIs: Topics, FLEDGE, attribution reporting, and SDK Runtime. [AdExchanger]
  • Netflix has procured the services of Jon Whitticom, former chief product officer at FreeWheel, as its “advertising platform advisor” to help the company assess its next step in ad tech: build or buy. [Digiday]
  • Marketers respond to TikTok CEO’s testimony and potential ban: It’s looking more and more like Congress will try to ban TikTok. The question is what that will look like. A total banishment seems unlikely, but other actions like limiting monetization could still hurt the platform. Link
  • US ad spend reached its eighth month of decline in February: US ad spend dropped 8.0% YoY in February, according to a MediaPost analysis of Standard Media Index’s US Ad Market Tracker. That marks eight months of consecutive YoY decline as part of a trend that began in July 2022. Link
  • The state of generative AI in 7 charts: The buzz around generative AI — which refers to AI technologies that generate entirely new content, from lines of code to images to human-like speech — has reached a fever pitch. Link
  • With Elliott Management, Starboard Value, and Third Point now invested in Salesforce, what assets might it sell off and who are the likely acquirers? Link
  • The Trade Desk's OpenPath: one year later: The Trade Desk's OpenPath, a program that allows its DSP advertisers to bid directly on publisher inventory without the involvement of SSPs, launched a year ago. By circumventing SSPs, OpenPath offers advertisers an efficient supply chain with more bidding power. Some publishers have seen OpenPath become one of the primary ways TTD buys impressions from them. However, some publishers are concerned about TTD becoming too powerful, and SSPs are concerned about margin pressure. Around 4,000 domains now actively sell inventory via OpenPath. (Digiday)
  • Yahoo shutting down its SSP: Yahoo plans to lay off over 20% of its total workforce, with over 50% of its ad tech employees affected. The decision is driven by strategic changes in the company's unprofitable "Yahoo for Business" advertising unit. At the same time, Yahoo will shut down its SSP business and seek outside partners to help monetize Yahoo's media properties. Its native advertising platform, Gemini, will also be shut down, leveraging a partnership with Taboola instead. According to Yahoo CEO Jim Lanzone, this move will be "tremendously beneficial for the profitability of Yahoo overall." Yahoo will continue to focus on its DSP business, renaming it "Yahoo Advertising" and targeting Fortune 500 businesses and "premium" accounts in global markets. Yahoo also wants to focus on growing its own media properties as standalone brands. (Adweek)
  • EMX shutting down its SSP: Big Village Media, previously known as Engine Group, and its ad-tech subsidiary EMX Digital has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, leaving creditors uncertain about receiving payments. The filings indicate that Big Village and EMX Digital have an estimated 5,000-10,000 creditors, with assets ranging from $10-50M and liabilities between $50-100M. Major creditors include Pluto TV, Yahoo, and Google. Claims among the top 30 creditors vary from $6.6 million (CPX Interactive) to $348,527 (Roku). The bankruptcy follows the departure of two consecutive CEOs from Big Village and EMX Digital, Kasha Cacy and Michael Zacharski. (Business Insider)
  • The cautionary tale of MediaMath: MediaMath was once considered one of the leading companies in ad tech, with a unicorn valuation and blue-chip clients. However, despite multiple acquisition talks and partnerships, MediaMath never achieved its desired exit. In 2022, it gave up a controlling stake to private-equity firm Searchlight Capital, leaving early investors and the founding team with shattered expectations. The story of MediaMath's rise and fall is a cautionary tale about strategy, competition, and the consequences of raising too much capital. (Business Insider)

Startups raising funds

  • Turntable LIVE, a collaborative music streaming service, raised $7m co-led by Founders Fund and f7 Ventures. Link

M&A and Private equity deals

  • Investing.com agreed to acquire Michigan-based financial news site StreetInsider for more than $10m. Link
  • WPP (LSE: WPP) acquired Obviously, a New York-based social influencer marketing agency. Link
  • Recognize invested in 2X, a Berwyn, Pa.-based provider of B2B marketing-as-a-service solutions
  • WildBrain (TSE: WILD), the Canadian producer of Teletubbies, agreed to acquire House of Cool, Toronto-based animation studio, for C$15.5m in cash and stock. Link
  • MusicBird, a music-rights investment firm, acquired the catalog of Midge Ure, a Scottish singer-songwriter-producer. Link
  • KKR is seeking to sell RBMedia, a Landover, Md.-based audiobook publisher that could fetch up to $2b. Link

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