International round-up: US TV giants cut ads & the trial aimed at reducing ad fraud

Plus why the Australian ad watchdog says it won’t consider complaints for ads about legalising same-sex marriage and Nielsen adds Facebook, YouTube and Hulu views to its digital ratings.

TV giants are cutting back on advertising to ‘reduce clutter’

US TV giants including Turner and Viacom have been experimenting with cutting down the number of ads they air during shows. They hope it will appease viewers sick of so many ads showing in their favourite programmes while also meaning they could charge a premium because there are fewer slots, therefore driving up revenue in the long term.

However, the strategy doesn’t yet seem to be paying off. Viacom says it saw a 2% slide in domestic ad sales in the June quarter due to a decision to reduce ad loads on networks such as MTV. The company also warned that domestic ad sales will continue to decline in the September quarter.

Cutting ad load has become a popular move in the TV world for networks coping with sweeping changes in consumer habits and ratings pressure. Some are experimenting with new ad formats, including episode sponsorships and brand integrations with fewer standard ads. Viacom’s hope is that over time the reduction in clutter will win over viewers who otherwise skip through ads, change the channel or gravitate to ad-free platforms like Netflix .

READ MORE: Some TV networks take a hit from cutting ad time, benefits yet to materialise

ANA launches $50m pilot to investigate ad fraud

Digital media fraud and brand safety have dominated the news agenda over the last couple of years, and the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) is looking to tackle these problems with a new investigation.

The body is starting a six-month pilot with what it hopes will be 35 marketers responsible for more than $50m in spending across 30 premium online publishers.

The goals include better measuring how much money ad tech and other “middle players” are extracting out of the digital media marketplace between advertisers and publishers.

Only 30 to 40 cents of every digital media dollar are estimated to actually reach publishers, ANA CEO Bob Liodice says. The ANA’s goal is to get that 30 or 40 cents up to 70 cents, diverting $20bn from various middle players or fraud.

READ MORE: ANA pushes $50 million digital media pilot to combat ‘ad-tech tax’

Australian watchdog ‘unlikely’ to consider complaints against same-sex ads

The Australian Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) has said it is “unlikely” to consider complaints made about advertising campaigns around legalising same-sex marriage.

The topic is currently the subject of heated debate in Australia as the country is in the midst of a referendum campaign on whether it should be legalised.

The ASB says it is not possible to make decisions about whether a political or election advertisement breaches its ad code without the potential for it to look like it is taking a political viewpoint. However, the ASB will consider ads if they are regarded as “informational or educational” rather than political and they will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

However, some campaigners have warned this move will open the floodgates to “hurtful filth” being spewed by the parties and supporters of the ‘No’ campaign.

In response, creative agency The Royals started a campaign to rally creative agencies to reject working for parties that support the ‘no’ vote against marriage equality.

READ MORE: Watchdog unlikely to consider same-sex marriage ad complaints

Nielsen adds Facebook, YouTube and Hulu views to its ratings

Media ratings giant Nielsen is to start adding views for content aired on Facebook, Hulu and YouTube. It claims this will allow content creators to better display how their media is being consumed.

“Through capturing this audience, Nielsen is providing publishers, agencies and advertisers with a better picture of today’s media consumption, with comparable metrics,” says Nielsen’s president of product leadership, Megan Clarken.

Nielsen launched its Digital Content Ratings metric last September; it measures audiences using desktop and mobile devices to consume a range of digital content including text like Facebook Instant Articles and videos on YouTube. This latest move means that publishers will now get credit for the metrics Nielsen has been tracking. This includes content such as TV clips aired on YouTube and short-form videos posted on Facebook.

READ MORE: Nielsen ratings give credit for Facebook, YouTube and Hulu views

Cathay Pacific creates its own song with the aim of inspiring travellers

Cathay Pacific has put sound at the heart of its latest campaign by creating a music piece, ‘The Sounds of Travelling Well’.

The ad was composed entirely from thousands of sounds recorded when travelling around the Asia-Pacific region. These are audio moments that travellers would normally hear and encounter on a journey.

From buckling up at the Kuala Lumpur International airport, ordering street food in Osaka, to crossing a busy street in downtown Hong Kong and attending a bamboo cutting ceremony in Kyoto. All these were recorded and re-mixed at the music studio into one song.

Anna Choi, country manager Malaysia and Brunei of Cathay Pacific, says: “We went on an international journey to record thousands of audio moments and then crafted these sounds into one harmonious blend of rhythm and melody. We hope this will inspire our travellers to discover the beauty of travelling well from a whole new perspective.”

Cathay Pacific isn’t the only brand focusing on sound. EasyJet had a similar idea, recently releasing album featuring 10 hours of jet noises that it claims will help people sleep. Nothing like the soothing sounds of a jet engine to lull you to sleep…

READ MORE: Cathay Pacific creates ‘The Sounds of Travelling’ song

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