Upfronts Predicted To Bounce Back; Google Faces Second Antitrust Suit In Germany

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Bouncing Back

The virtual Upfronts have concluded; the celebrities have bounced; the guest DJs are spinning on Brooklyn rooftops. And the time has come for advertisers to commit. The broadcast industry wants to know whether flashy presentations by Disney, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS, WarnerMedia and others paid off (i.e., worked well enough to again go virtual next year instead of shelling out for the event). According to eMarketer, Upfronts ad spend will return to nearly pre-pandemic levels – if not to 2018-2019 peak numbers – in the next year. Advertisers will increase their upfront TV spending by 7.6% this year to almost $20 billion. Upfront commitments don’t always translate to ad dollars spent, of course, since advertisers typically cancel about 4% of their spend each year. The eMarketer forecast said cancellation rates should return to that single-digit figure, after a painful 2020 when $3 billion worth of Upfronts commitments were abandoned.

Epic Decision Awaits

The three-week courtroom drama between Epic Games and Apple concluded on Monday, and now it’s up to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers to decide whether Apple ran an illegal monopoly. Specifically, Rogers will determine whether the iPhone maker improperly prohibited third-party app stores by requiring developers to use its in-app payment system. Gonzalez Rogers is expected to return her decision in the coming months and it could impact the future of mobile commerce, per The Wall Street Journal. Epic’s hit game Fortnite was removed from the App Store last year after it implemented its own in-app payment system, which didn’t pay Apple’s 30% cut of in-app revenue. Lawyers for Epic argued that Apple runs its store as an illegal monopoly because iOS devices don’t allow alternative payment systems, and they grilled current and former execs on the stand. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that opening the iPhone to rival payment systems and app stores would hinder users.

Fresh Probe

Speaking of alleged monopolies … German regulators launched a fresh antitrust investigation into Google’s business practices. Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (FCO) – not to be confused with FLoC, keep up, folks – said that Google’s panoply of essential digital services, such as Search, YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail, Android and Chrome, “could be considered to be of paramount significance for competition across markets.” The investigation will examine whether Germans looking for apps and services are impeded in their selection of an alternative to Google because of how the tech giant collects and uses data. The FCO is running two simultaneous Google antitrust investigations – one against Google Germany, and one against Google’s European HQ in Ireland. Google has already been slapped with $10 billion in the European Union in the past two years. Business Insider has more.

But Wait, There’s More! 

Amazon’s advertising revenue is now 2.4 times larger than Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest combined. [CNBC]

Tremor International, parent company of Tremor Video and Unruly, saw net revenue increase 96% to $63 million in Q1 2021, while programmatic net revenue more than doubled to $55.7 million during the CTV boom. [release]

Apple just rolled out a new ad format, but advertisers say it’s expensive and underperforms. [Business Insider]

Adform and Smart will integrate Lotame’s Panorama ID. [release]

Digilant is teaming up with Lasso to bolster its omnichannel healthcare and pharma advertising solutions. [release]

Verizon Media plans for digital out-of-home interest as parts of the country reopen. [Adweek] Related: OAAA releases digital video out-of-home buyers guide. [release]

One year later: Where agencies stand in the fight against racism in the industry. [The Drum]

You’re Hired!

Data Axle promotes Neelika Choudhury to chief data and privacy officer. [release]

Canela Media has appointed Germán Palomares Salinas as country manager, VP of sales in Mexico. [release]

S4M has hired Cyrille Geffray as Global COO. [release]

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