Samba Files The ACR S-1; Yelp’s ROI Pitch To CPGs

Can You Samba Alone?

Samba TV filed its S-1 on Tuesday, often the precursor to an IPO (although many are filed in vain). Samba is one of a few automated content recognition (ACR) companies that are specialists in recognizing and attributing content played on a smart TV. 

But the ACR market is tough for independents.

Nielsen acquired the ACR business Gracenote and later sold it to Roku, which then switched off Gracenote’s ACR data licensing, making it fully proprietary instead. LG Ads took over the ACR tech company Alphonso earlier this year. With its own product to sell, it’s no surprise LG subsequently took its ACR data off the market. Vizio removed all ACR data sales for advertising purposes except for its own ad platform and one exclusive partner, Verizon (now Yahoo). 

The walls going up could be seen as a benefit for Samba, which licenses ACR data. Every data set that disappears makes it a more important supplier. But as TV manufacturers develop ad businesses, the playbook is to hoard first-party data rather than license it. 

Can Samba corner the market on third-party ACR data? It may have to – or eventually merge with a smart TV, telco or streaming platform.  

Yelp’s B2B CPG Pitch?

Yelp launched two ad products on Tuesday: Sponsored Collections, a way to promote national brands alongside local businesses, and Seasonal Spotlight Ads, which show seasonal deals on Yelp’s home screen. 

IHOP is a Seasonal Spotlight Ads pilot partner. Not a shock, since the product is for multi-location companies with seasonal specials. Kraft Heinz is a partner for Sponsored Collections campaigns. Heavily branded Heinz creative on the Yelp homepage – iOS apps only – directs Yelp users to local restaurants that carry its products (ketchup or Philadelphia cream cheese, in this case).

Advertising on Yelp isn’t like Instacart, where Kraft Heinz can peg the ROI to sales. Part of Yelp’s value prop is to reach local business and restaurant operators that work with Kraft Heinz’s B2B division. Who goes through more ketchup, you or a burger joint? 

Kraft Heinz has reached four million self-identified restaurant or local business owners on the platform, according to Yelp’s news release. The Yelp data set “allows us to target this very specific – and hard to reach – audience both on and off the platform,” said Brandon Potter, Kraft Heinz’s head of brand marketing for away from home (aka restaurants and food services).

Salty Sorrell

Stop the presses: Sir Martin Sorrell, former WPP CEO and current executive chairman of S4 Capital, has some salty things to say about the agency holding companies.

While Facebook, Google and Amazon are seeing huge growth over “on planet digital … on planet analog, it’s much tougher,” Sorrell said during a fireside chat Tuesday morning at an event hosted by Zeta Global.

Although the holding companies “make a lot of noise” about how brilliantly they did during the second and third quarter of this year, that doesn’t mean as much “when you had the worst-ever Q2 in 2020,” snarked Sorrell, who also opined on the current obsession with top-line growth.

And spoiler alert, guess where that growth is mainly coming from: “It’s digital, right.”

“We’re totally focused on growth,” said Sorrell, who turns 77 in a few months. “I’m too old to muck about in slow growth areas.”

But Wait, There’s More!   

Speaking of S4 Capital, it just made another acquisition as net revenue increased 42%. [Marketing Dive]

Pinterest intros TwoTwenty, an internal product experimentation division. [MediaPost]

Data is telling DTC brands to open stores in emerging cities. [ModernRetail]

US retail sales saw a boost last month, despite higher prices. [WSJ]

Instacart is pushing off its public offering to focus on grocery services. [The Information]

You’re Hired!

MediaMath appoints Mary Matyas as SVP and general manager for North America. [release]

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