The Wall Street Journal reports that P&G is increasing pressure on major digital platforms like Google and Facebook to improve safeguards and verification around advertising delivery. Recent commitments for data to be audited by the Media Rating Council is "not enough" according to P&G's chief branding/marketing officer Marc Pritchard. He added that he's "encouraged by the recent progress" but that "it's not enough until the verification and audits are actually implemented." The timing is unlikely accidental as upfront season looms and we expect big marketers like P&G to come in with as strong a hand as possible, thus P&G concluded "We don't want to waste time and money on a crappy media supply chain." We'll see what type of data and verification digital and TV platform sellers can bring to the table this year as measurement may prove a key theme in how funds are allocated in the upfront. (Source: WSJ, RBC Capital Markets)
You Down with W-P-P?
WPP reported full-year revenue growth of 3.0% on a like-for-like basis with net revenue up 3.1% like-for-like. For FY17 the company is guiding to 2% revenue and net sales growth and 30bps margin expansion. Tepid economic growth and headwinds from net new business were cited as reasons for conservatism in the outlook (IPG and OMC each guided to around 3.5% organic growth in 2017). Shares are down around 8% on the LSE. Separately, Ad Age reports that OMC's PHD has won the global digital media business for HP from WPP's Essence. PHD already has HP's traditional media account. (Source: Company reports, FactSet, Ad Age, RBC Capital Markets)
Do You Like Apples? Well I Got a Studio! How Do You Like Them Apples???
According to yesterday's NY Post, AAPL (covered by RBC CM's Amit Daryanani) could be "looking for a transformative acquisition" in the form of a major studio following meetings with studio execs last week. The article says AAPL is looking to enter the original content biz for TV and has been meeting with studio executives, potentially to poach one for its internal initiative. At least one such exec believes the ambitions could include a studio acquisition. Reportedly, AAPL met with Sony and Paramount last week, though we'd note that both studio's parent companies have indicated recently that their studios are not for sale. Neither AAPL nor Sony nor Viacom has commented. (Source: NY Post, RBC Capital Markets)
Weekend Box Office: The Best Wolf Cry Since Training Day
FOXA's Logan, the next Wolverine installment, opens this weekend in over 4,100 US theaters with Fox looking for a $60mm opening. BOM thinks the prospects are better given the competition is LGF's faith-based film The Shack, the well-reviewed holdover Get Out (from Jordan Peele) and Open Road's Before I Fall. X-Men Origins: Wolverine opened with some $85mm while its sequel The Wolverine did $53mm. We've enjoyed the Logan trailer and think the inclusion of a major young female character could broaden the box office appeal (sound familiar a la Force Awakens, Rogue One, Stranger Things?). BOM thinks The Shack will open in the $12-$13mm range. We're still eagerly awaiting the home on-demand availability of Miss Sloane, which premiers in Paris this weekend, starring the imponderably talented Ms. Jessica Chastain. (Source: Box Office Mojo, RBC Capital Markets)
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