YouTube TV Launches With Recording Feature; LeEco Drops Vizio

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Fast Forward

YouTube TV launched last week with a DVR-like recording feature allowing users to store an unlimited number of shows. But for many major TV shows the service prevents ad skipping, in deference to YouTube’s cable network partners (who use the same policy with their own on-demand apps). Shalini Ramachandran writes for The Wall Street Journal, “While it isn’t possible to put the DVR genie back in the bottle for traditional cable customers, TV networks are hopeful they can train viewers to expect ads at least in on-demand, current-season shows.” More.

Lost Vizio-bility

After much pomp and circumstance surrounding their (stalled) $2 billion acquisition deal last summer, Chinese tech giant LeEco has officially called it quits with smart TV manufacturer Vizio, citing “regulatory headwinds.” Vizio was supposed to be LeEco’s ticket to more distribution in the US, but the writing was on the wall. The deal was reportedly mired in hiccups around the transfer of capital from China and LeEco’s own financial pressures. Meanwhile, Vizio has been embroiled in its own legal battles stateside. The two companies aren’t divorcing entirely – and still expect to collaborate on connected TV apps. More.

A Pritch In Their Side

Procter & Gamble Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard has been on the industry trade show circuit all year speaking about brand concerns around the digital supply chain. He summarizes the issues in a Q&A with The New York Times: a messy digital supply chain, a duopoly that grades its own homework and proxies for success that don’t translate into business outcomes. “We’re not growing enough as an industry and the markets aren’t growing enough, so we need to spend time on products and packaging and shopping experiences and advertising to drive growth, and yet we have all this time spent in this opaque media environment,” he said. “That’s the basis for why we, at least, are poking at this so hard.” Read it.

Diplomeasuracy

Nielsen debuted an out-of-home reporting service with ESPN on board as its first account (press release). The service combines Nielsen’s in-home TV ratings panel with viewing captured by Nielsen Audio’s Portable People Meter, a product Nielsen acquired with Arbitron in 2013 that measures radio exposure via recording devices carried by volunteers. The revenue involved is immaterial to Nielsen and ESPN, but Brian Wieser, senior analyst at the equity investment firm Pivotal Research, writes in an investor note that it could be a big win for Nielsen regardless of the low stakes. The agreement “demonstrates Nielsen’s capacity to develop and launch a new ratings product.”

Minecrafty

Microsoft’s Minecraft will go live this spring with an in-game marketplace where businesses can sell items, activities and landscapes. An in-game market for bonus features may seem trivial, but could be a big hit given Minecraft’s sheer scale. (It has sold more than 100 million copies, trailing only Tetris.) Microsoft’s offbeat gaming media network now spans Xbox consoles, video games, PCs and handheld devices, all slowly becoming more brand- and commerce-enabled. Bloomberg has more.

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