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Newspaper publishers unite in video advertising deal

The publishers of Britain’s leading quality newspapers have signed a landmark deal to create a one-stop shop for video advertising online, in a sign of increasing industry collaboration to challenge the dominance of Facebook and Google.
Telegraph Media Group, Guardian News and Media, and News UK will pool their video advertising slots in The Verified Marketplace to offer a total audience of nearly 40 million unique users. The websites and apps of The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times and The Sun will all be part of the same offering.
The venture is designed to attract advertisers seeking large audiences and to ensure their brands do not appear alongside inappropriate material, as well as assurance their money is not wasted.
A string of brands including Tesco and Volkswagen stopped advertising on YouTube earlier this year after it emerged Google’s video service had placed them alongside extremist propaganda. Advertisers have also raised concerns over widespread fraud in which unscrupulous middlemen generate fake traffic on obscure websites to make it appear that campaigns have been viewed by real people.
The Verified Marketplace covers only what is known as outstream video inventory, advertising typically inserted between paragraphs of articles. Advertisers spent ?363m on the format in the first half of the year, more than half the total online video market, according to industry figures.
Newspaper publishers unite in video advertising deal

WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has raised concerns over widespread adveritising fraud online
Advertisers typically buy the slots programmatically, whereby software automatically finds the best prices and places campaigns with minimal human involvement. Large scale is viewed as an advantage for sellers, as it increases efficiency for buyers.
The publishers will each retain control of sales of so-called pre-roll advertising, the more expensive slots that run before editorial videos.
The collaboration nevertheless marks a shift for an highly competitive industry in which rivals have struggled to form commercial alliances.
The Verified Marketplace is the first fruit of talks that began with the more ambitious goal of creating a single newspaper advertising sales house across multiple titles. Various iterations of the plan were dubbed Project Juno, Project Rio and Project Arena as potential participants dropped out.
The Verified Marketplace will be run by Unruly, a digital advertising technology company acquired by News UK two years ago for ?58m.
The move was welcome by GroupM, the advertising buying giant owned by WPP.
Managing director Robin O’Neill said: “At Group M we have long believed in the many positive benefits associated with professionally produced, high quality content for our clients advertising campaigns. We also require the ability to independently verify delivery and performance of campaigns. The Verified Market place delivers both.
“Group M will continue to push for greater levels of collaboration from publishers in order to bring our clients quality media with the ability to transact at scale.”
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