Need to Know to 11th August

Need to Know to 11th August

In company news

 UK payments processor Worldpay this week said it was to merge with US company Vantiv. The announcement came as Worldpay reported an 18 per cent rise in first-half revenues to £2.5 billion. “The combination of scale and presence that the merger will bring is an exciting step in the creation of a truly global leader in payments,” said chief executive Philip Vantiv. Read more here

Asos UK shoppers can now use visual search to pinpoint the item they’re looking for from the retailer’s range of more than 85,000 items. The retailer introduced the functionality to its iOS app so that shoppers can easily find products that look similar to one they’ve seen – whether that item was worn by a friend, posted on Instagram, or pictured in a magazine. Visual search will also soon be available on its Android app. Read more here

Facebook has closed a video-focused app targeted at under-21s less than a year after it was launched. Lifestage was designed to connect students going to the same school or university, making all of their posts available to each other. However, the app faced criticism for having limited privacy controls and a confusing user interface. Read more here

Media giant Walt Disney, owners of the Star wars and Marvel franchises, plans to start its own online streaming services in the US, ending its current deal with Netflix. Disney said its distribution deal with Netflix for new Disney and Pixar movies would end in 2019, with discussions ongoing about the fate of Star Wars and Marvel franchises. The news sent Netflix shares down almost 3 per cent in after hours trade. This news came about as Disney announced on Tuesday that it would acquire a majority stake in a video-streaming company called BAM Tech. Read more here

Google Play has started down ranking poorly performing apps, making them harder to find on the app store. Under the new rules, the company will penalise poor quality apps by demoting them in its search rankings. It will also incorporate app quality signals in its ranking algorithms in order to flag faulty apps. Apps that have poor reviews and have a history of bad performance will not show up on top of the search results on Play Store. Read more here

Asos is to open a new ecommerce fulfilment centre in the United States. Operations from the centre, in Union City, outside Atlanta, Georgia, will start in autumn 2018, after a $40m fit out is complete. Read more here

Zalando is expanding its European fulfilment network. The Berlin-based fashion retailer and marketplace says that it plans to open two large fulfilment centres in Poland and Italy, alongside smaller fulfilment centres and localised warehouses near key cities including Paris, Milan and Stockholm. Read more here

In Launch news

Dixons Travel has opened a new-look digital concept store in London Heathrow’s Terminal Three. The store, says Dixons, represents a new approach to bringing the online and offline together in the store. The new store also enables shoppers to use omnichannel services, reserving products online for Heathrow pick-up, or buying online in store for home delivery. Read more here

Snapchat has revamped its self-service advertising tool with an “Advanced Mode” designed for larger brands looking to conduct bigger campaigns at scale. The Advanced Mode for its Snapchat Ad Manager works in a similar way to Facebook’s Power Editor, giving brands more tools to build, manage and scale their campaigns faster and more efficiently. Advanced Mode is rolling out to “select advertisers,” with a wider release set for later this month, and it will be open to all brands using Ad Manager at no additional cost. Read more here

 Mobile ad technology firm YOC has announced a three-way partnership to form a ‘brand safe ad environment’ with Future Publishing and Appetite Creative Solutions. The agreement will enable brands to extend Future’s high value audience data across YOC’s boutique collection of premium publisher sites. Advertisers can also tap into YOC’s suite of programmatic rich media formats, powered by Appetite Creative Solutions. Read more here

 Facebook launched its television platform ‘Facebook Watch’ to encourage its 2 billion monthly active users to see the platform as a destination for watching longer videos. Read more here

Ahead of the Premier League kick off, Yahoo Sport launched online football series “For The Win”, hosted by sports presenter Colin Murray and former Manchester United and Aston Villa striker Dion Dublin. The free, ad-funded will feature previews, player ratings and fantasy football picks for the 2017-18 Premier League season. Read more here

Google has launched a new initiative to help reduce annoying advertisements online, by telling websites if they serve ads that people tend to find annoying. Under the new scheme, those websites can then visit their Ad Experience Report for more info and screenshots of the advertisements in question. Read more here

Pinterest launches autoplay video ads with Cheetos and Universal first to sign up. Pinterest has opened up its Promoted Video with Autoplay to all advertisers, after running a successful test phase. Pinterest is making this format available to all advertisers, including through its self serve product, which advertisers purchase using a credit card. Read more here

Kantar Media has announced the integration of Facebook data into its Kantar Twitter TV Ratings tool. The enhanced capabilities of its newly renamed Kantar Social TV Ratings tool will deliver an even more comprehensive picture of social TV engagement. Kantar Media’s collaboration with Facebook now enables clients to see counts of posts, likes, comments and shares across the Facebook platform as it pertains to TV programmes. Read more here

Reports and Results

Omnichannel retailer DFS says its growth strategy remains on track, despite falling second-half revenues. The sofa retailer reported a 4 per cent fall in second-half revenues, taking growth for the year to 1 per cent. And it warned that profits were likely to be at the low end of the £82 million to £87 million range it had previously envisaged. Read more here

Pets at Home reported group revenues of £256.5 million in the 16 weeks to July 20. That’s 5 per cent up on the same time last year, while group like-for-like (LFL) sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were up by 2.7 per cent. Within that, LFL merchandise sales were up by 1.5 per cent, services were up by 10.5 per cent, LFL. Omnichannel revenues grew by 80 per cent. chief executive Ian Kellett today pointed to the importance of stores to a business that saw omnichannel revenues grow by 80 per cent in the first four months of its financial year, compared to the same time last year. Around 60 per cent of omnichannel income at Pets at Home involved a store or help from a member of staff at some point. That might be through click and collect or order in store services, or when using subscription services. Read more here

Zalando  released first-half results. Revenues of €2.1 billion (£1.9 billion) in the first half of the year were 21.5 per cent ahead of last time, while earnings before interest and taxation came in at €102.1 million (£92.2 million), up from €101.2 million (£91.4 million) last time. Plans for expansion come after a first-half in which the retailer launched Zalando Fulfillment Solutions, enabling fashion brands to use its logistics infrastructure and expertise, similar to the Fulfilled by Amazon solution. It also added new sports and lifestyle brands to its assortment, including KICKZ, Nike, Lacoste and Esprit. Zalando said that revenues grew by 20 per cent in the second quarter alone, to €1.1 billion, as average orders increased to 3.7 per customer a year. This, it said, marked “another all-time high and indicated strengthened customer loyalty.” Active customers rose by 800,000 to 21.2 million. Read more here


According to Verto Analytics, British adults accumulate 42.7 million days a month across Google properties – primarily search, YouTube and Gmail – the equivalent of more than 1 in every 6 minutes (17 per cent) of UK internet time. Around 11 per cent of time (28.4 million days) is spent on Facebook-owned properties which include WhatsApp and Instagram. Read more here

Half of firms avoid investing in tech because of cost. Read more here

Cash only payment is becoming a deterrent for UK consumers, as Brits are increasingly in favour on mobile payments for their high street shop, according to new research. The study, from Ubamarket, surveyed 2,000 UK adults and uncovered widespread frustration at the inefficient payment methods currently available in UK shops. Read more here

Global smartphone demand totalled 347 million units in 2Q17, up four per cent year-on-year, marking the strongest second quarter on record, according to new research. The study, from GfK, indicates that emerging Asian countries led the demand growth with a 13 per cent year-on-year increase, followed by Central and Eastern Europe at 11 percent, and Latin America at 10 percent. Market value grew nine percent year-on-year, due to rising average sales price (ASP). Read more here


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