More Color On AT&T’s Roadmap; Barbie Busted For Ad Label Fail

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Ma Bell Speaks

AT&T hasn’t gotten regulatory approval for its Time Warner takeover, but it’s not waiting on a green light to hit the gas. The telco recently poached GroupM leader Brian Lesser for its nascent ad platform and is growing the number of wireless subscribers who receive free HBO (which is owned by Time Warner), reports The Wall Street Journal. “I know very little about running a media company,” said AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York. Stephenson added the company will be “well down the path” toward a new ad platform that uses data such as demographic data and viewing behaviors to increase video ad prices. “We have placed a high value on this data.” More.

Barbie Busted

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a regulatory subset of the Council Of Better Business Bureaus, gave Mattel a sharp rap on the knuckles after the watchdog discovered video ads served to the toy maker’s Barbie app that were not clearly labeled as ads. Mattel had been deploying a common app monetization strategy, which is to offer users in-app or in-game bonuses for watching a video ad. CARU decided children wouldn’t necessarily understand that the video was an ad, only that it was a mechanism for a reward. Mattel pointed blame at third-party ad-serving companies, which it said should have designated ads more clearly. Though trusting mobile ad intermediaries is itself a kind of self-regulatory failure. More at MediaPost.

Auction Games

Header bidding wreaked havoc on supply-side platforms by eliminating their access to unique inventory, and now buyers are paying the price. Some SSPs have quietly raised their price floors after bids come in, making buyers pay a higher CPM than they expected for a given impression. In a second-price auction, SSPs are supposed to set their price floors before bids come in, but doing so after the bid lets them squeeze more money out of buyers. Some SSPs are raising floors to as high as 95% of the winning bid. “With the onset of header bidding, these games kicked into full force,” an anonymous demand-side platform exec told Digiday. “SSPs are trying to differentiate themselves to publishers based on yield, and they get that yield by ripping off the buy side.” More.

Two Sides Of The Same Coin

If consultancies are allowed to join the 4As, would their encroachment on agency turf feel more threatening? It’s something 4As board members will have to consider during a meeting next week, where CEO Marla Kaplowitz is expected to broach the possibility of letting consultancies join as members. “It does not go against our bylaws and as [the consultancies] continue to acquire agencies, we have to figure out if it’s something we address or ignore,” Kaplowitz told AdAge. While some agencies are reluctant to address their new competition, others welcome the possibility as just another reality of industry evolution. More.

But Wait, There’s More!

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