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What’s the news from the MEF community? Here’s your weekly round up of all the latest announcements from MEF members including product launches, partnerships, research insights and more…

Universal Music Group signs virtual reality tech deal

Universal will push deeper into the VR space thanks to a new partnership with British startup MelodyVR.

The two have agreed to distribute ‘revolutionary virtual reality music experiences’ featuring artists from UMG’s roster.

Universal already has form in the space. It teamed up with iHeartMedia in January 2016 and launched VR app VRTGO in October.

Michael Nash, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy at UMG, said: “Given the depth of engagement possible with VR, many of our artists are interested in producing more of this content and we have a robust pipeline of projects coming soon.”

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Myriad Connect tackles SIM swap fraud

Myriad Connect has launched a USSD authentication service to help combat SIM-based crime.

SIM fraud happens when criminals steal SIMs and then pose as owners to to secure a replacement. Once activated by the fraudster, they can access bank accounts and other sensitive data authenticated through the SIM.

Myriad Connect’s service provides a real time check on the SIM using USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) authentication. USSD cannot be tampered with and provides a clear audit trail.

Paul Kingsbury, VP Business Development at Myriad Connect, said: “The threat from SIM Swap is greatest in regions where mobile banking penetration is highest. In South Africa there have been a few cases of millions of Rand going missing. The challenge for banks and operators is how to protect customers not only from criminal gangs, but often invisible, compromised staff.”

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PubMatic hires Michael Zeisler as regional manager for Central Europe

Digital ad firm PubMatic is to open its second German office in Hamburg, and has recruited Michael Zeisler to run it.

Zeisler will manage business in Central Europe, which is a key growth area for PubMatic. In 2016, the programmatic digital display market in Germany 24 per cent to hit €798 million.

PubMatic’s vice president of EMEA, Bill Swanson, said: “As PubMatic continues to grow at a rapid pace, we’re expanding our management team to ensure that we can continue to support our clients and partners in the best and most efficient way possible.”

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Media spend via SpotX rises up a third in 2016

Vide ad specialist SpotX announced impressive financials for 2016, with numbers up across the board.

The company said media spend through the SpotX platform increased 33 per cent year-on-year. The number of media owners using the platform grew 56 per cent. It now comprises over 300 publishers.

‘Media owners are looking to advanced ad-server technology and a blend of transaction styles to get the most out of their precious video assets,” stated Mike Shehan, CEO of SpotX. “These trends have driven shifts within our business toward more private marketplaces and direct deals, as well as growth in new areas such as curated marketplaces and connected TV.”

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CLX Communications is the company of the year (in Sweden)

Fast growing messaging company CLX has followed in the footsteps of Zettle, King, Minecraft, Skype and Spotify by being named Sweden’s top firm.

The Swedish Mobile Awards have the award to CLX based on growth, market share and innovation.

Henrik Sandell, CLX’s co-founder, said: “We are honoured to win the company of the year award. Being acknowledged for that drive forward is a fantastic achievement.”

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IMImobile agrees to buy Infracast

Messaging and cloud specialist IMImobile is to acquire UK-based middleware firm Infracast for £8.2m.

The two firms say the deal is “highly complementary”. Infracast has multiple contracts in fintech, so the enlarged group will provide software and services to four of the top five tier one retail banking groups in the UK.

Jay Patel, chief executive of IMImobile, said: “The acquisition of Infracast helps us strengthen our capabilities and opportunities in the financial services sector, a sector which is profoundly impacted by the shift of consumer behaviour towards digital and mobile technologies.”

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