IBM Puts Its Weather Co. Buy To Work; Twitter Will Support VAST For Select API Partners

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Watson’s New Trick

IBM has made good on its forecast merging Weather Co. and Watson assets [AdExchanger coverage]. IBM just rolled out interactive Watson Ads, which use cognitive supercomputing to turn consumer text and voice requests into dynamic ads. If you’re Campbell Soup, people looking up recipes could be targeted with an ad asking which ingredients they have on hand, and then the ad would respond with an idea. Unilever and GSK Consumer Healthcare are other early testers and GroupM agencies Mindshare and MEC “drove strategy and discussions,” per the release. Although the ads are available only on Weather Co. properties, once Watson Ads are out of a controlled beta they could be scaled more programmatically, Jeremy Steinberg, Weather’s global head of sales, told AdExchanger. “The goal is to help marketers better understand consumer relationships and intent,” he said. “They will have a practical application across all advertising, not just on Weather.”

Programmatic Pre-Roll

Twitter announced it will support Video Ad Serving Templates (VAST) through select Ads API partners. The feature allows advertisers to programmatically serve pre-rolls of any length in front of premium content. Twitter is the only social platform with the functionality so far. AdParlor, Amobee, TubeMogul, and Visible Measures have signed on as partners. More.


Discovery in the oversaturated Apple store is a roadblock for app developers. In an opinion piece for MacStories, John Voorhees says better search capabilities would allow users to see beyond what’s featured on top charts and the tiny home screen. Search optimization should involve more human censoring, and Apple data could source better rankings and filters. Voorhees also says reviews should not be hidden every time an app is updated and featured apps should receive badges, and he gives a whole litany of other product recommendations for Apple to ignore.

Rebate And Switch

You know that secretive ANA audit on agency rebates coming out soon? An anonymous source told The Wall Street Journal its findings confirm the consensus belief: Big-spending ad agencies get rebates from US “media companies.” These rebates can take the form of undefined services fees, free inventory or everyone’s favorite: cold, hard cash. Specifics are sparse, as the report hasn’t been released yet and, when it is, it won’t be naming names. While the ANA declined to comment, a bunch of US agencies did, vehemently denying that they accept rebates. Read more.

Sun Showers

For all the supposedly existential threats facing digital publishers, new media companies across news, entertainment, sports and video are being plucked like ripe fruit. Fox just led an $8 million round in theSkimm, a newsletter branching into original video production, shortly after the TV net led a $15 million round for the football (ahem, soccer) video network FuboTV. From those kinds of low-risk, high-reward stakes to nine-digit investments in the likes of Vice, BuzzFeed and Vox, old media is diversifying in overdrive, giving plenty of lucrative reasons to stay in a tough game. More at Bloomberg.

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