Roku And Shopify Bring Ecommerce To CTV; WaPo’s Zeus Launches A News Publisher Ad Network

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Buy What You Know

Shopify and Roku announced a partnership to bring a Roku app for CTV ad creation and campaign management to the dashboard of all Shopify merchants. The idea is to crack into the $16.4 billion that small and medium-sized businesses spend on local TV ads, Insider reports. It’s unclear whether Shopify’s customer base overlaps considerably with businesses that spend on local TV ads, as opposed to ecommerce brands. But many Shopify merchants likely are lukewarm on CTV advertising, because it’s expensive relative to video CPMs and is a fragmented, unfamiliar market. “You don’t know who to trust and there’s a lot of clutter,” said Jesse Math, VP of advanced TV at the performance agency Tinuiti. “So having the confidence you’re spending your money in the right places and in the right way can be a barrier to entry.” AdExchanger has more on Shopify’s platform partnership streak, adding TikTok, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and more. 

News You Can Zeus

Zeus Technology, The Washington Post’s ad tech unit, launched an ad network pooling inventory from the Post and publishing partners such as the Dallas Morning News and Graham Media Group, an affiliate TV station owner. Zeus has 125 clients, so there’s low-hanging fruit, but local news outlets are past ripe. Joy Robins, the Post’s revenue chief, tells Axios the ad network could propel Zeus to nine-figure ad revenue next year. The goal is to have a dozen publishers in the network this year and 100 within a year. And the pricing will be a flat $9 CPM – add an extra $1 for audience targeting parameters. Those rates are higher than Google or Facebook, typically, but lower than publisher-direct deals. It’s hard to imagine a local news ad network earning nearly $100 million next year (BuzzFeed earned $321 million in 2020, for comparison’s sake), but it’s the logical, looked-for next step for Zeus Technology. Vox Media launched an ad network last year. And while there aren’t huge revenue gains in local news sites, being the best-in-class news publisher ad network is a long-term priority, as advertising IDs consolidate. 

Bullish About Bundles

Discovery CEO David Zaslav is aiming to take on Disney Plus and Netflix once Discovery’s merger with WarnerMedia closes in 2022 with a “shock and awe” campaign, per The Hollywood Reporter. The combined entity hopes to hit 200 million global subscribers in the next few years. But it’s undecided whether HBO Max and Discovery Plus will be bundled or sold separately. Big media companies are consolidating to reach scale, and streaming providers are increasingly offering bundled packages to boost subscriptions through co-marketing and cheaper rates. Disney recently began bundling Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus at $13.99, and on Tuesday, ViacomCBS announced it will package Paramount Plus and Showtime with a $9.99 AVOD offering and a $12.99 ad-free subscription. “We expect this competitively priced bundle to only further expand the reach of both services,” Tom Ryan, president and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming, said in a news release

But Wait, There’s More!   

Nielsen will transition to impression-based reporting for local TV starting 2022. [MediaPost]

Influencer agency CreatorIQ acquires influencer analytics Tribe Dynamics. [Adweek]

More startup CEOs are moonlighting as investors. [The Information]

Sendinblue Acquires Three Ecommerce Marketing Companies For $47M. [release]

Piano introduces digital analytics solution. [release]

Slack and Salesforce announce a suite of new tools and integrations. [TechCrunch]

You’re Hired

GumGum hires Outbrain’s Erin McCallion as its global CMO. [release]

33Across appoints Matt Gillis to its board of directors. [release]

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