Whoa! Is Third-Party YouTube Advertising Back?; Peaches And Crea … tive Automation M&A Spree

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Google’s $18 Billion Offer

Almost exactly one year ago, the EU began an antitrust inquiry into whether Google restricts access to the cross-site web and app data it uses to benefit its own products. Specifically, the European Commission examined how Google forces advertisers to use its buy-side products, DV360 and Google Ads, in order to buy YouTube ads, while publishers and content creators must use GAM, its supply-side tech.

Usually, even a multibillion-dollar fine isn’t enough to make Google blink, but now it looks like the enforcers in Europe may have finally gotten Google’s attention with a potential fine large enough to extract concessions. Reuters reports that the commission threatened a penalty that could be as high as 10% of Google’s global revenue turnover, amounting to more than $18 billion.

Eighteen billion is a big number – and the EU may have shaken loose a true plum. No sources are cited, so it’s hardly official, but according to Reuters, Google is offering to let outside ad tech intermediaries (once again) place ads on YouTube without going through Google’s server. 

Opening the YouTube gates would be a pretty big win, if it happens. Apparently, Google is floating the YouTube ad-serving concession as an option “that could pave the way for it to settle the case without a fine.”

A Peach Of A Deal

Video ad workflow and delivery tech vendor Peach announced that it’s acquired Cape, a SaaS creative automation startup.

Peach did not disclose the deal price.

Peach will acquire all of Cape’s IP, which centers on automated testing and variations of creative assets for different media channels, as well as automation tools for campaign approval, data management and publishing to social media and ad-buying platforms. Cape will also develop multivariate testing and campaign-planning features.

The acquisition rounds out Peach’s creative versioning for converged TV and social media content, Peach CTO Doug Conely tells AdExchanger. “For connected TV, converged TV and social video, people need a painless workflow for creating many versions of the same core concept.” 

Peach will add Cape’s team of 18, including founders Michiel Blonk and Eelco Van De Wiel, to its global team of 240. The merged company will complete the financial and legal aspects of the deal within 30 days, then coordinate a unified go-to-market approach within 100 days, according to Conely.

The Cape deal is Peach’s third ad tech acquisition in the past 18 months. Its previous deals include Adtoox and Advalidation. (Too bad Cape’s name isn’t “AdCape,” just for the sake of alliteration.)

Cheap At Twice The Price

The Wall Street Journal has a new buy-side product?! Sort of.

The Journal has launched a new consumer product review site called “Buy Side from WSJ.” The site will review consumer products and personal financing services, including credit cards or insurance providers.

The plan is for “Buy Side” to make most of its revenue through affiliate deals, plus some ads and content marketing in the mix. Keeping “Buy Side” free and un-paywalled will increase sitewide Google search traffic (the engine downgrades links to articles that can’t be read), which should help prospective new audiences, WSJ’s revenue chief Josh Stinchcomb tells Axios. “We see this as a logical step for us to take.”

Keeping “Buy Side” free is also a key differentiator from The New York Times, which acquired The Wirecutter in 2016 and brought it under the subscription banner last year. 

Though perhaps the Journal will follow in NYT’s footsteps, just as it did with affiliate media. Another option might be for the Journal to begin manufacturing and retailing products of its own. 

The publisher has no plans for that right now, but “anything is possible,” Stinchcomb says.

But Wait, There’s More!

CTV advertising is plagued by glitches as devices play while TVs are off. [The Information]

Meet Neil Vogel, the CEO of Dotdash Meredith. [Business Record]

One great place for streamers to find new audiences: 35,000 feet up. [Marketing Brew]

A Q&A with Axios Editor-In-Chief Sara Kehaulani Goo on bundling newsletters as an audience engagement strategy. [Digiday]

You’re Hired!

Operative appoints Michael Grossi as CEO and Ben Tatta as chief commercial officer. [release]

IPG-owned Huge doubles its commerce practice, hires four new senior leaders. [release]

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