Hearts & Science Adds Marketing Technology Division; Roku Haggles With Broadcasters

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Hearts & Science & Mar Tech

Hearts & Science is launching a mar tech division with more system integrator capabilities. “And in doing so the agency hopes to beat back increased competition from consulting firms offering similar services,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The new team centralizes competencies such as customer data platforms, mobile attribution and consent management tools. The Mar-Tech Integrator Group, as the unit is called, connects client data with other sources, and feeds that back into the media plan. For Barclay’s US Consumer Bank, one of Hearts & Science’s pilot clients, the mar tech group centralizes data from major sponsorships and brand partners, including the NFL, Hawaiian Airlines and Wyndham Hotels, to create seed audiences based on merged data sets. “Our clients have a need for us to go deeper on individual platforms,” said Hearts & Science chief media and data officer Megan Pagliuca. “We’re expanding our services beyond traditional media strategy, planning and buying, and into an area consultants are historically known for such as systems integrations and the deployment of those systems.” More.

The OTT Toll

Roku’s negotiations with broadcasters have become “increasingly intense” as the OTT device maker tests its scale and power as an audience gatekeeper, according to The Information. Roku briefly booted Fox OTT apps off its platform days before the network aired the Super Bowl, though the two companies settled on a deal. But other confrontations have resulted in near suspensions for TV apps, including NBCUniversal and AMC Networks. Roku is trying to wring concessions from well-known entertainment companies to beef up its ad business. Mostly that means securing the right to sell ad inventory, though in its recent negotiation with Fox, Roku reportedly tried to include content for The Roku Channel, its own ad-supported network. “I don’t think Roku holds all the keys, but my sense is they are saying we can do better in selling ads than you can,” said Doug Knopper, co-founder and former co-CEO of Comcast’s FreeWheel. “As a result they are going for a bigger piece of the pie.” Unsurprisingly, broadcasters aren’t making it easy for Roku. More.

Small Change 

The FTC ordered Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft to disclose information on mergers and acquisitions they’ve made over the past 10 years that were too small to report to antitrust officials as the tech giants continued to be investigated by multiple arms of government. While most criticism has been focused on major deals such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram, many smaller deals along the way have helped tech companies build up their dominance as well. Facebook did 10 acquisitions between 2010 and 2019; Alphabet spent $1 billion on small, unspecified acquisitions in 2019 alone, particularly to bolster its cloud division; and Microsoft made $1.6 billion worth of small acquisitions in 2019. Apple has spent less than $500 million on small acquisitions over the past decade. The FTC said the queries were informational but theoretically could result in enforcement actions. “If during the study we see that there are transactions that are problematic … we could go back and initiate enforcement action to deal with those transactions,” said FTC Chairman Joseph Simons. More.

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