AppLovin To Serve In-App Ads In tvOS With New SDK

What Happened
Mobile advertising firm AppLovin is ready to tackle in-app ads on the new Apple TV, which officially launched two weeks ago. So far, Apple TV ads have been limited to video pre-rolls on ad-supported services like Hulu. AppLovin aims to bring in-app ads to tvOS with a new SDK, set to be released in the coming weeks.

What Brands Need To Do
The current rankings in Apple TV’s App Store indicates that games are among the most popular apps in tvOS at the moment, and the absence of iAd support in tvOS so far has made it difficult for app developers to monetize. A third-party ad network by AppLovin could solve that predicament and encourage more developers to work on Apple TV apps. For brands looking to try their hands at advertising on the new Apple TV, AppLovin’s upcoming SDK should provide a good starting point.


Source: The Next Web

Apple To Open Universal Search Wide On Apple TV

What Happened
One highlight feature of the new Apple TV that was unveiled last month is Universal Search, which allows users to search for content via Siri in a granular manner – down to a specific episode or even a specific guest star – across multiple OTT content platforms. At launch, this feature only supports select launch partners such as Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, and HBO, which vastly limits the reach of this killer feature. So it came as no surprise that Tim Cook confirmed, in a recent interview with Buzzfeed, that Apple would soon release an API for Universal Search, which allows developers to easily integrate this feature with their content, so it will show up in the search results as well.

What Brands Need To Do
As we previously wrote in our Fast Forward analysis on the new Apple TV, Universal Search provides an unprecedented opportunity for new content discovery across integrated apps, especially from lesser-known services. Now that Apple has confirmed that it will soon open this feature up to all providers, brands need to be prepared to add Universal Search support to their Apple TV app as soon as the API arrives, and to start by indexing their content for it to appear in favorable spots when users search for certain keywords.


Source: Buzzfeed


POV: Apps in the Living Room – Opportunities in Apple’s New TV Platform

On Wednesday, the Lab attended the 2015 OMMA Programmatic Video event, where our Director of Strategy Adam Simon delivered an in-depth presentation on the emerging opportunities for brands and advertisers on the new Apple TV.

Starting with a brief recap of the ongoing transition from linear TV viewing to OTT streaming, Simon quickly moved on to the significance of the new Apple TV, how Apple’s ecosystem plays into the future, and the transition to apps. Calling it “a collaboration between Hollywood and Silicon Valley,” he deftly pointed out how Apple TV offers media owners and brands with video content new ways of delivering engaging content. Also, retailers can benefit from the closed attribution loop consisting of iTunes Store, iAd, and Apple Pay delivered through new apps.

After explaining the potential social utilities and interactive, blended content on Apple TV with Airbnb and MLB TV as examples, respectively, Simon offered a few insights for brand integration and on how to reach audiences on streaming services without ads such as Netflix. He closed out his insightful presentation with two main takeaways for brands: start optimizing and experimenting with Apple’s New TV platform and adjust your ad buying and targeting strategy accordingly.

The Lab has extensive experience working with brands to reach their audiences in the OTT and digital video space. Earlier this year, we led our parent company Interpublic Group to invest in Samba TV, a startup that specializes in advanced real-time TV analytics and cross device retargeting. For more details on how brands can utilize the new Apple TV, read our Fast Forward analysis here.

You can go through the presentation embedded below.



Fast Forward: How Brands Can Take Advantage of the New Apple TV

Your guide to tech-driven changes in the media landscape by IPG Media Lab. A fast read for you and a forward for your clients and team.

•  Apple unveils new Apple TV, complete with a new tvOS platform and App Store
•  Brands can now develop TV apps to connect with consumers in their living rooms
•  A new path to native sponsorship and call-to-action opportunities

What Apple Announced
During Wednesday’s press event, Apple finally debuted the long-anticipated update to the Apple TV that aims to revolutionize the way people interact with their TVs. Equipped with a brand-new iOS 9-based operating system called “tvOS,” the new Apple TV comes with an App Store, Siri-enabled universal search across content platforms, and a touchpad remote that doubles as a game controller. The new Apple TV will ship in late October, and the tvOS developer beta is available now.

What Brands Need to Do
While we’re likely to see an explosion of new modes of interaction as developers explore the platform, we already know that good content works well in the living room. For brands who have existing content plays, such as Red Bull’s video and event content, it’s time to secure the OTT streaming rights. If your brand doesn’t currently produce content, an event sponsorship is a great way to get started. In an on-demand, App Store world, you don’t need to worry about producing a full slate of content to justify an app install — Apple themselves have an Apple TV app dedicated to the iTunes Music Festival, which this year will only feature a week’s worth of content. Focus on quality over quantity.

A couple of features which weren’t discussed on stage could provide interesting go-to-market strategy for brands: support for interactive video, and deep-linking between Apple TV apps. We expect these will be combined to form a paid app install ecosystem much like we have on mobile, with early leaders likely to be ad-supported platforms with premium content, such as Hulu and YouTube. Ahead of any such announcements, however, there are still opportunities for brands to partner with existing content creators and game developers to drive app installs or to push value offers and reminders from the TV to a phone with a single click.

What Retail & Ecommerce Brands Need to Do

•  Apple TV brings ecommerce into the living room and creates a shared online shopping experience
Experiment with shoppable videos built upon Apple TV’s support for interactive videos with links to additional info

During Wednesday’s press event, Apple invited online clothing retail platform Gilt on stage showed off their new app designed specifically for Apple TV. Users can use the new touchpad remote to scroll and swipe through the categories of clothing, view product details, and even purchase items direct from their couch. Support for ecommerce apps brings online shopping into the living room and make it a social affair to be shared with family and friends. Apple’s tight integration between TV and mobile will also allow activities to be handed off to a user’s phone, allowing a brand to activate mobile coupons which could easily be triggered automatically when the customer enters a retail location.

Moreover, brands should take advantage of Apple TV’s support for interactive videos and start experimenting with shoppable videos, which embed clickable info providing viewers with product information and an easy way to purchase, turning video content into direct sales channels. Brands such as Sears, Kohl’s, and Gap have been experimenting with shoppable videos with some early successes, and with Apple TV, shoppable videos seem to be on the cusp of mainstream adoption, demanding attention from retail brands.

What Entertainment Brands and Content Owners Need to Do

•  Apple TV can deliver a rich media experience
Index your content to make sure it is discoverable via universal search
Explore the interactive storytelling opportunities and new types of engagement

As MLB demonstrated during the event, apps provide a great way for content owners to deliver a rich media experience with additional information and interactivity. Apple TV supports universal search across integrated apps, providing an unprecedented opportunity for new content discovery, especially those on lesser-known services. Although only available for select partners at this time, it seems reasonable to presume Apple to open this feature up to all eligible platforms down the road, similar to the universal search in iOS 9. Brands need to index their content for it to appear in favorable spots when users search for certain keywords. The added interactivity also brings new storytelling opportunities for content and ad creators to explore and connect with viewers.

Market Impact
As expected, the new Apple TV introduces a new app platform, while not (yet) providing a truly new way for consumers to subscribe to television content. Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue called it the “foundation for the future of television,” which it may yet be, timed to take advantage of a holiday season which is primed for cord-cutters. It notably provides a way for Apple to extend their entire ecosystem – which may one day include platforms like iAd and Apple Pay – into the living room, along with their massive iOS install base and developer network, something that competitors such as Roku and Amazon cannot offer.

While it remains to be seen exactly how wide adoption of the new Apple TV will be, Apple’s new products quickly reach tens of millions of units sold and they are putting significant effort behind this one. Since a large share of marketing budgets are focused on the living room, a significant change in the way content is consumed there, away from linear and even streaming and towards the interactivity of apps, is worth adapting to. For both content creators and advertisers who support them, the new Apple TV offers expanded ways to reach users who earn more and spend more, whether that’s with traditional video content, expansions of existing iOS apps, or hybrids which blend video with interactive content of different types.

Apple’s entry into the living room gaming market is a bit more of a wildcard. While it opens up an obvious new market for existing iOS games, and we’ve seen some initial support of the device from big cross-platform games like Skylander and Guitar Hero, without a first-party game controller it remains to be seen whether the platform will be used for gaming or what price points it will support. Most at risk will be Nintendo, whose Wii U hardware and mainstream audience overlap with the new Apple TV’s capabilities and appeal. But if Apple follows its usual path of year-over-year hardware upgrades, Sony and Microsoft’s consoles may also be at risk, especially if Apple can woo top-tier game developers. As far fetched as it may seem, Apple was already EA’s biggest revenue generator all the way back in 2013. For the time being, our standard recommendations for brand integrations with gaming hold true for the Apple TV as well: integrate as natively as possible with branded content, sponsorship of in-app purchases, or participating in the wider gaming community.

For More Information
Please contact Engagement Director Samantha Holland ([email protected]) at the IPG Media Lab if you would like more detail or to schedule a visit to the Lab to discuss strategies and tactics around tapping into the marketing potential of the new Apple TV.

For previous editions of Fast Forward, please visit Please reply with any constructive criticism or feedback. We want these to be as useful as possible for you and your clients, and your feedback will help us immensely.


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Everything Marketers Should Know From Apple’s iPhone 6s Event

Regular as clockwork, Apple’s annual iPhone launch event took place this afternoon in San Francisco, where the company unveiled some major upgrades to almost its entire product line. Here are the highlights from today’s event that all marketers and brands should be aware of.

• Apple Watch Gets More Apps and Fashionable Watch Bands
Apple demoed various new Watch apps such as Facebook Messenger, GoPro, and AirStrip, and collaborated with Hermes on new models with exclusive bands.

• iPad Pro Gives Brands More Screen Space To Impress
The brand new iPad Pro that boasts a stunning 12.9-inch screen, giving brands more space and processing power to impress their audience on mobile devices.

• iPhone 6s Presents New Features For Brands To Engage
With 4K video recording, animated Live Photo, 3D Touch, and more, Apple debuts the next-gen smartphone that brands need to adept to.

• The Future Of TV Is Apps
With “tvOS”, Apple brings App Store, gaming capability, and Siri to Apple TV, providing brands with a gateway to infiltrate the living room space.

The new iOS 9 will be made available to all users on September 16, with updated iPhones available starting September 26. The Apple TV and iPad Pro will hit stores later this fall, in October and November, respectively. As always, the Lab will offer our hands-on take on these next-generation devices, so remember to check back for more.

The Future Of TV Is Apps, According to Apple

During Wednesday’s press event, Apple finally debuted a new Apple TV set-top box that aims to transform the way people watches TV. Equipped with a brand-new iOS 9-based operating system dubbed “tvOS,” the new Apple TV comes with App Store and Siri-enabled universal search across content platforms. Apple also debuted a new touchpad remote that doubles as a video game controller, further pushing Apple TV into the gaming market. The addition of App Store offers brands a gateway to infiltrate the living room space via branded TV app. Apple demoed several brands already developing their TV apps, including fashion e-retailer Gilt, Twitter’s livestreaming app Periscope, accommodation-booking app Airbnb, as well as media content providers like MLB.

Stay tuned for the Lab’s in-depth Fast Forward feature on the brand implications of the new Apple TV platform.

What To Expect From Apple’s Press Event Today

Apple’s annual press event is set for 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday, September 9 in San Francisco, where the Cupertino-based company is expected to unveiled the next-gen iPhones, iPads, and even a new Apple TV. Here is a quick summary of what to expect from tomorrow’s big event and why brands should care:

New Apple TV To Become The Smart Home Hub
Based on numerous credible reports, Apple will almost certainly unveil a major upgrade to its set-top box Apple TV, which will be equipped with a modified version of iOS that includes Siri integration, universal search, and a full-blown App Store. Moreover, it is also expected to add a motion-sensitive remote control to support gaming consoles, further signaling Apple’s intention to push Apple TV into the gaming market. The long speculated OTT TV subscription service reportedly won’t be ready until next spring due to stagnant negotiation with content owners, so this update will mostly focus on unveiling a new, more capable Apple TV, well poised to become the central hub for Apple’s smart home ecosystem.

iOS 9 To Arrive With Ad-Blockers
It was announced back in June at Apple’s WWDC event that the new iOS 9 will allow developers to build content blocking extensions for Safari browser, which has led to a round of panic and debates over the impending popularization of ad-blockers among the ad industry and digital publishers. You can read our take on this issue and brand implications in our recent Fast Forward here.

New iPhones And iPad To Push Consumers Deeper Into Mobile
As usual with Apple’s September events, the main star of the show would most likely be the new iPhones, which reportedly would be a minor upgrade with new features such as 3D Force Touch added in. More intriguingly, Apple is also reported to be launching a new line of tablets named iPad Pro, which will likely feature an impressive 12.9-inch display that can run 2 full-sized apps side by side. Together, we expect these new devices to usher today’s consumers deeper into the mobile-first age and away from desktops and TVs, and brands would be wise to follow where the audience is going.

As usual, Apple will be live-streaming the event tomorrow and the Lab will be live-tweeting @ipglab during the event, followed by our original posts highlighting the brand implications of the new announcements. So remember to check back tomorrow afternoon to learn more.

The Home Platform: Connectivity, Commerce, & Culture

In two weeks, Apple is expected to announce a new Apple TV set-top box, but this will be more impactful than just an upgrade to their “hobby”: the new device will serve as the cornerstone in Apple’s emerging IoT strategy. There’s a mounting battle for control of our homes, and entertainment plays to Apple’s home field advantage.

An Apple TV App Store will let a thousand streaming services bloom, and a new OTT slim channel bundle will debut in the spring. A key component of the entertainment platform will be a video-focused expansion of iAds, a turnkey solution for ads within any TV app, targeted using Apple’s rich user data. Entertainment will be the Trojan horse that gets Siri, HomeKit, and HandOff into our living rooms making the new Apple TV an always-listening hub, and providing a beachhead for connected devices within our homes.

After living with an Amazon Echo, I can attest to the significant appeal of an always-on voice interface. The Echo, and Alexa, are strong entry points into the home for Amazon, especially with an open API, and near-weekly updates to its capabailities. But because Amazon is operating largely outside the smartphone ecosystem, Alexa can’t send a text, or pause Netflix when someone calls — troublingly, she’s even disconnected from Amazon’s Fire TV. Apple and Google’s existing ecosystems will help, here, in ways that Amazon will struggle to match.

What Amazon does have, though, are millions of products, and Alexa can help you buy them. That’s convenient, but it belies Amazon’s even simpler vision for shopping, the Dash platform. Comprised of both a set of buttonsand an API, Dash allows you to purchase household staples with the tap of a button — a button which will eventually be subsumed into our devices directly, allowing them to re-order supplies as needed. It’s a critical component of our connected home which Amazon is uniquely positioned to deliver. But when coffee buys itself, brand loyalty takes on a whole new meaning, and CPG companies will need to spend mightily to acquire users up front, before a competitor becomes the default.

We also just gained some clarity into Google’s plans for the connected home. Despite having several TVproducts, as well as an entire line of home devices in Nest, Google has launched the OnHub wifi router, which also supports several connected home protocols. On is a new home brand for Google, with the Hub being the first product. With Nest providing ad-free, premium devices, On is free to experiment with lower cost options that are subsidized by advertising. It might work like Kindle Special Offers: pay full price, and use your network like any other, or have Google outfit your entire connected home at a discount, and allow On Hub to serve targeted ads based on the browsing behavior of each device on your network.

From fifty thousand feet, our admirals are moving their troops into position for the coming battle: Google wants to getting you and keeping you online, so the cornerstone of their home platform is a router. Amazon is tackling the home directly with the Echo, and through commerce with the Dash platform. And Apple, with a business built on taste and culture, is entering the home through entertainment. Notably absent is Microsoft, whose strategy whiplash with the Xbox One has left them without a foothold in the connected home, and Facebook, who will likely be content to ride Apple and Google’s coattails, at least for the time being.

With starting positions in connectivity, commerce, and culture, we’re about to witness a fierce battle to define the connected home, and, in a larger sense, what “home” itself will come to mean in the future.


A version of this story originally appeared on MediaPost IoT Daily.


Apple WWDC Preview: Updated Apple TV As Central Hub For IoT Devices?

We reported back in March that Apple might be updating Apple TV to include supporting functionality for smart home devices compatible with its HomeKit platforms. Now a new Apple support document has surfaced with clauses confirming that an Apple TV is required to remotely control HomeKit devices, potentially positioning it as the control hub for the connected devices. Although The New York Times is now reporting that there won’t be any new Apple TV hardware debut next Monday, it seems reasonable to predict that Apple will at least mention its central role in its smart-home ecosystem.

Of course, nothing is set in stone until Apple unveils its plan for the next iOS next Monday at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which may include major upgrades for its music app, Maps app, and the spotlight search feature. As always, the Lab will be live-tweeting @ipglab during the events, followed by our original posts highlighting the brand implications of the new announcements. So remember to check back next Monday to learn more.

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On Trend: Is 4K Content The Future Of TV Streaming?

After years of buzz, we are finally seeing some major leaps in streaming video quality. The Ultra-HD TV from Samsung stunned the crowd at CES 2014, and Netflix started its push for 4K content in last October, for good reason: not only does 4K content mean a higher subscription fee, Netflix also leveraged it to promote its Open Connect Initiative, an effort to partner with ISPs in various operating markets to localize substantial amounts of traffic with open peering.

That said, there are still some legitimate obstacles keeping 4K videos from becoming the norm in over-the-top streaming. Besides the fact that most of TV sets currently in the market have yet to add 4K support, streaming high-definition video to millions of users also poses a complex challenge to the broadband infrastructure. Recent reports claim that the upcoming new Apple TV model will not support 4K video streaming, citing additional production cost and low consumer interest as primary reasons.

While it is easy to see why Apple may choose not to tap into the nascent 4K content market just yet, in the long run, as production cost wanes and internet speed continues to improve, Netflix might just be getting the first-mover advantage as the ultra-sharp new standard of the streaming experience in the near future.