Home Daily News Roundup Nielsen Sues VideoAmp; Rembrand Dials Up Product Placements

Nielsen Sues VideoAmp; Rembrand Dials Up Product Placements


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Measurement Strife

​​Nielsen just hit VideoAmp with a lawsuit. (Talk about kicking them while they’re down.)

The lawsuit, filed in Delaware District Court on Wednesday, alleges that VideoAmp infringed on two patents issued to Nielsen in the last two months, Ad Age reports. The patents cover technology Nielsen uses to collect and report viewing data, such as determining whether TV sets are actually on, session duration or who within a household is watching.

These are common (and essential) use cases for modern TV measurement technology, which may explain why Nielsen keeps suing its competition.

This marks the ninth patent infringement lawsuit Nielsen has filed against its rivals in just three years. Panel providers TVision and HyphaMetrics are also on Nielsen’s hit list.

It’s too early to tell how this suit will shake out, considering patent infringement cases can last three years or more. In the meantime, a pending case is bad news for VideoAmp because investors don’t like funding companies with undetermined costs attached – and cash is something VideoAmp sorely needs, despite a $150 million lifeline last September.

Social Placements

Almost exactly one year ago, the AI-generated product placement startup Rembrand opened for business. 

Since then, its work is turning up in interesting social media placements, The New York Times reports.

When it launched, Rembrand primarily worked with fixed settings, such as podcasts or YouTube-based talk shows, where it could place a cup on the table or poster on the wall and not worry about movement or lighting changes. As Rembrand’s machine learning improves, though, it can do more to integrate product placements for free-flowing videos. 

It also now works across YouTube, TikTok and LinkedIn. 

Omar Tawakol, founder and former CEO of BlueKai, co-founded and leads the Rembrand business. And he knows how to surf the edge of online media. 

For instance, Rembrand’s new form of product placement might theoretically be co-opted by the platforms themselves, NYT posits. 

The platforms or ad regulators could also step in to require disclosures like other influencer sponsorships. 

One influencer who inserted a Bubly poster into two TikTok posts applauded Rembrand because “there’s no obligation for me to talk about it.”

Group Discussion

The nonprofit Movement for an Open Web (MOW) and supportive publishers raised the alarm with the CMA, Britain’s antitrust regulator, regarding the Chrome Privacy Sandbox’s Related Website Sets (RWS), Press Gazette reports.

RWS requires publishers to combine owned sites into groups of no more than five to use the Sandbox’s cross-site tracking capabilities. Publishers must also publicly list these site groupings on GitHub.

Google says the limitation prevents abuse and that typical users are unaffected.

But publishers are skeptical. “Five won’t make sense for a lot of publishers, and therefore, they will ignore this feature,” says sell-side consultant Rob Beeler.

Google will be the arbiter of which site groups are legitimate, says the MOW’s James Rosewell. Rosewell tested RSW using placeholder domains, but Google flagged his grouping because the sites used templated designs.

The CMA, which has the power to scuttle Chrome’s third-party cookie replacement plan, submitted a letter of complaint regarding RWS. It cites concerns about Google’s gatekeeping power and that the Sandbox proposal primarily benefits companies with large logged-in user bases (i.e., Google).

But Wait, There’s More!

Scam ads featuring fake endorsements from finance industry celebrities are proliferating on Instagram. [404 Media]

Newsroom strikes appear to have little to no effect on daily publisher traffic. [Digiday]

Can an AI-powered search engine replace Google? [NYT]

Spotify re-upped its contract with Joe Rogan, but this time he can distribute on other platforms. [Bloomberg]

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