Wibbitz, an Israeli text-to-video startup, has raised an $8 million Series B round led by NantMobile, with participation by existing investors. The funds will be used to expand into the U.S. via a new New York City office, headed by CEO and co-founder Zohar Dayan, who brought me up to speed on the company yesterday.
Wibbitz uses natural language processing to quickly turn publishers' text articles into short videos. The process begins with Wibbitz's technology digesting the article via algorithms meant to emulate a human reader's behavior, identifying key people, main points and the theme, resulting in a summary of about 20% of the full article.
Early bird discounted registration ends this Friday for the 5th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 16th in NYC. All early bird registrants save $100 and are entered to win a 55-inch TCL Roku TV.
Our top-notch program includes keynote guests David Cohen, Chief Investment Officer, Universal McCann and Neeraj Khemlani, co-president, Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, plus 35 executives from Bonnier, CBS Interactive, Digitas, Disney/ABC, Conde Nast, Google, Heineken USA, Initiative, MEC, Nielsen, Puma, Reuters TV, Starcom, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, Zenith Optimedia and many more.
The Ad Summit is generously supported by 19 industry leaders including Title Partner Videology; Premier Partners DashBid, FreeWheel and Pixability, Headline Partners Altitude Digital, Beachfront Media, Genesis Media, LiveRail, Nielsen, Ooyala, Operative, Teads.tv and TubeMogul, plus Branding Partners Adobe, Akamai, Alphonso, Brightcove, Roku and Tremor Video.
FreeWheel has released its Q1 '15 Video Monetization Report, which reinforces many of the key trends seen in recent quarters. Of note, TV Everywhere viewing increased 328% vs. Q1 '14, now accounting for 57% of long-form content viewed. Once again, live content grew the fastest, up 140% year-over-year. Sports accounted for 82% of live ad views, basically flat from Q4 '14.
Overall, FreeWheel found that video views grew 40% in Q1 '15 vs. Q1 '14, with ad views up 43%, the fastest growth since 2012.
iSpot.tv, which monitors ads in over 100 national TV networks and then correlates real-time digital actions such search, social and video viewing, has raised a $21.9 million series B round, led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from existing investor, Madrona Venture Group. The new funds will be used for product development and increased staff.
In a world where ads are everywhere, with TV viewing becoming more fragmented, and viewers distracted by mobile devices, iSpot.tv's value to advertisers is that it helps them understand the TOTAL impact of their TV ads, including "earned" subsequent digital actions.
I'm thrilled to announce that Universal McCann Chief Investment Officer David Cohen will be the morning keynote guest at the 5th annual VideoNuze Online Video Ad Summit on Tuesday, June 16th in NYC. One of the industry's foremost innovators, David will participate in a interview with me titled "The Future of Video Advertising," in which he'll share insights on how unprecedented forces are impacting video advertising and who the ultimate winners will be in the fast-evolving landscape.
In addition, our afternoon keynote guest is Neeraj Khemlani, Co-President of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication and President, Hearst Digital Studios. Neeraj will participate in a conversation with me, titled "The Future of Video Content Providers," in which he'll explain how established media companies are transforming themselves for the online video era and new entrants are gaining audience momentum. Neeraj will also provide insight into Hearst's key video initiatives including investments in Vice, AwesomenessTV, BuzzFeed, Roku and others.
David and Neeraj are part of an all-star group of over 35 industry executives from Bonnier, CBS Interactive, Digitas, Disney/ABC, Conde Nast, Google, Heineken USA, Initiative, Nielsen, Puma, Reuters TV, Starcom, Turner Broadcasting, Viacom, Zenith Optimedia and many more who will be participating in this premier day of learning and networking!
Early bird, discounted registration expires THIS Friday, May 22nd, so don't delay. Register now to save and to win a 55-inch TCL Roku TV!
Learn more and register now!
I'm pleased to present the 273rd edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
Since Verizon announced it was acquiring AOL for $4.4 billion earlier this week, there has been a ton of media coverage, with lots of speculation about what the deal means for Verizon going forward. This is at least partly due to the companies doing a relatively poor job of articulating the deal's strategy.
In this week's podcast, Colin and I weigh in as well, focusing mainly on how AOL's video, programmatic and video syndication assets could mesh well with Verizon Digital Media Services, which already provides back-end delivery and monetization to video content providers (see here and here). Combining the two seems like the biggest point of leverage to Colin and me, yet we note that Verizon didn't even mention a VDMS role in any public comments on the deal.
Meanwhile, in a week when the pay-TV industry suffered its first-ever first quarter loss of video subscribers, we also discuss how Verizon seems intent on innovating beyond the traditional multichannel bundle.
Listen in to learn more!
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Ad tech provider Jivox has announced a series of updates to its Jivox IQ platform, streamlining workflows for advertisers to create/deliver dynamic ads in programmatic environments. The end goal is for viewers to experience more personalized, relevant ads, based on data that will drive higher engagement. Jivox's founder and CEO Diaz Nesamoney recently briefed me on the updates.
Jivox has redesigned its ad creation environment as Dynamic Ad Studio based on technology it calls "Dynamic Canvas." Instead of using code templates, the technology uses dynamic ad components so assets can be resized, depending on where the ads are delivered. This also reduces the ads' weight for improved loading.
More evidence that video advertisers are embracing multiscreen strategies: Videology reports that in Q1 '15, 58% of all campaigns on its platform ran on more than one screen, up from just 17% in Q1 '14. Almost half (46%) of campaigns ran on Desktop/Mobile/OTT, vs. 40% on desktop only.
The most popular campaign objectives remained view-through rate and click-through rate, followed by audience verification and viewable rate. Another big shift was that 89% of campaigns ran on VPAID inventory in Q1 '15, up from 52% in Q1 '14. Videology believes this reflects brands' increased appetite for interactivity, creativity and measurability not possible in the VAST format.