Advertisers Want The Option To Cancel TV Commits; HBO Max Left Out Of Amazon And Roku

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Advertisers want more flexibility in upfront deals this year. Cancellation options are a big topic, with buyers pushing for the right to cancel a higher percentage of their commitments closer to air date, agency executives tell Digiday. Advertisers also want “expansion rights,” or the ability to invest more money in a given quarter at upfront prices. Brands are prepared to pay a premium for the flexibility, recognizing the need to adapt to a more fluid cycle. “Having the flexibility to take money out or put money in is what we’re going to look toward,” an agency exec said. Brands also want the TV marketplace to look more like digital, with standard 14-day-prior cancellation windows for guaranteed deals and the right to reinvest at any time.

All Content, No Distribution

Distribution deals are increasingly cutthroat as programmers and distributors consolidate streaming ownership. HBO Max’s launch on Wednesday did not include distribution on Roku or Amazon Prime, the two largest OTT platforms in the United States. WarnerMedia, which owns HBO, hasn’t reached an agreement with Amazon because the AT&T business is pushing subscribers directly toward the HBO Max app, instead of going through Prime’s UI. With Roku, the disagreement is about revenue sharing and advertising, The Wall Street Journal reports. Five million HBO subscribers who watch through Amazon Prime have lost access to HBO content. WarnerMedia also barely eked out a deal with Comcast prior to the launch.

AT&T & CDP

AT&T has selected Salesforce as its customer data platform. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff boasted about the client win on the company’s full year fiscal 2020 earnings call on Thursday. AT&T is set to deploy the CDP offering, dubbed Customer 360, by the end of July. The deal will help AT&T accelerate its digital transformation, Benioff said, and give AT&T a single source of truth for customer data across retail, sales, call centers, marketing messaging and in-home service. MuleSoft will connect AT&T’s data on the backend; Tableau will help with understanding customer preferences; and Einstein will pinch hit with predictive recommendations. Even so, the company’s stock dipped in after-hours trading after Salesforce lowered its guidance for FY 2021 slightly from around $21 billion to $20 billion. Revenue for Salesforce’s Q1 fiscal 2021 clocked in at $4.865 billion, up 30% YoY. Revenue for the Marketing and Commerce Cloud was $714 million, up roughly 27%.

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