Google Video Viewability; Verizon-AOL Rumors Swirl

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Buffing Google’s Video

Google will begin reporting on the viewability of video ad campaigns, including ads that run on the Google Display Network and YouTube, head of video and display ad products Neal Mohan said during a presentation at CES in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Google is backing the industry standard of 50% in-view for at least two seconds (a standard that has been called inadequate by Unilever and GroupM). Neal sweetened the pot in a followup blog post:  ”Later in the year, we also plan to report on audibility for video ads, as well as the total amount of time an ad was viewable.” (Related comic!) Separately, Google announced initial partners for its “Partner Select” curated video offering. They include CBS Interactive, Fox News, Discovery and Animal Planet.

Rumored AOL Takeover

Bloomberg reports that Verizon is eyeing digital media companies as potential takeover or joint venture targets, and that the company has looked at AOL. “Verizon needs a digital response and AOL has shown the best strategic foresight of navigating the digital-video world,” Laura Martin, senior analyst at Needham & Co., told the outlet. “Verizon can buy or build that, but it’s unlikely to build it fast enough.” Quartz tech editor Dan Frommer chimes in, “While the companies overlap in several places, the most logical explanation for any possible deal is that Verizon sees mobile as the future of video.” But Verizon’s own CEO denied the rumor in comments at the Citi media conference. Re/code.

Medium On Measurement

Medium CEO Ev Williams pens a think piece on the Internet’s attention war and Medium’s approach to measuring engagement. According to WIlliams, the danger of relying on monthly uniques or sudden upticks in traffic is that it can represent unengaged users. Medium’s top-line metric is TTR, or total time reading. But measuring time is also imperfect. “The problem with time is it’s not actually measuring value,” writes Williams. “It’s measuring cost as a proxy for value. Advertisers don’t really want your time — they want to make an impression on your mind, consciously or subconsciously (and, ultimately, your money).” Read it.

A Programmatic Future

PubMatic surfaced with a forward-looking report that touches on, among other things, how business can navigate media tech’s walled gardens, programmatic campaign measurement and best practices for mobile. “Programmatic has moved beyond just transactions and RTB,” said PubMatic CEO Rajeev Goel in a press release. “And it is touching both direct and indirect sales channels and reaching more consumption channels, from desktop and mobile to connected TVs. Undoubtedly, programmatic will play a role in accelerating new digital channels such as wearables or even self-driving cars.” Go here for the report.

WPP In The Game

WPP is looking to beef up its sports and content arsenal, and on Tuesday led a $250 million investment round in sports marketing agency Bruin Sports Capital. George Pyne, former president of sports and entertainment at IMG Worldwide, is pioneering the agency, which has already racked up $500 million in buying power. “WPP's investment in sports and content through Bruin Sports Capital is an important part of its strategy as it impacts new markets, new media, data investment management and the application of technology and horizontality," commented WPP Chief Sir Martin Sorrell in a press release. Ad Age has more.

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