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Ad Tech’s IPO Craze; Apple Gives In To Roku


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IPOs Popping

The ad tech party is raging after a slew of companies went public in recent weeks. AcuityAds, Taboola and Integral Ad Science went public in June. Not to be outdone, content recommendation company Outbrain announced plans to IPO a day before rival Taboola began trading on the Nasdaq. Ad server Innovid, meanwhile, reported that it would go public via a SPAC merger. After years of cold investor headwinds, since Wall Street was down on any competition to Google and Facebook, ad tech has regained its swagger, The Wall Street Journal reports. EMarketer estimates that digital advertising will reach $191 billion this year, and last month’s IPOs and SPACs come on the heels of public offerings by AppLovin, DoubleVerify, Pubmatic, Viant and Zeta Global. There has also been active M&A, such as Comcast’s acquisition of Beeswax. Ad tech deals are up 174% in the second quarter of 2021 from Q2 2020. But is there a bubble on the horizon? “It feels almost too good to sustain,” said Brent Hill, tech sector leader for software and internet research at Jefferies. 

Apple Of Whose Eye?

Check out the new Roku smart remote, which comes with the Roku TV plug-in or is sold separately, and you’ll notice a new logo among the easy-access streaming service buttons: Apple TV Plus. On the one hand, it’s a logical next step. Netflix and Hulu buttons have been there for years, and Disney Plus was added late last year. But the move is also a “shocking” concession that Apple’s streaming service is struggling, LightShed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield tells The NY Post. Apple has middling subscriber numbers compared to big-name players in the space. And it’s coming to the end of a year of major promotional pricing, so there’s going to be churn. Apple did not confirm, but the branded Roku button is thought to be the first instance of the Apple apple appearing on another company’s hardware. 

Mind The Store

Retailers and big store-based brands have emerged as important strategic exits in the past couple years, extending a run of investor confidence in ad tech and customer analytics companies. In the past few months alone, Nike bought the data integration startup Datalogue, fast-food operator Yum! Brands made three acquisitions and Neiman Marcus added a shopper personalization tech startup, Business Insider reports. McDonald’s and Walmart have also snapped up ad tech assets. “It’s the perfect storm,” investor Eric Franchi tells Insider. “There was this fuzzy notion that customer experience is going to be more important in the future, but COVID made it absolutely paramount and is forcing marketers to get digital experiences and data right.”

But Wait, There’s More!  

The Federal Trade Commission expands its discretion to regulate anticompetitive practices in tech. [WSJ]

The Supreme Court sides with the Association of National Advertisers, strikes down California law requiring charities to reveal donor identities. [MediaPost]

Huawei Ads is planning its expansion in Thailand. [Yahoo Finance!]


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LUMA Partners Q2 2021 Market Report [release]

Adcuratio, Beachfront, Extreme Reach, FreeWheel, Google, INVIDI and LTN have been certified by VIZIO for addressable tech as part of Project OAR. [release]

You’re Hired

NFT platform Chronicle hired former Universal exec Doug Neil as chief marketing and brand officer. [Deadline]

Jene Elzie joined Zeta’s board of directors. [release]

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