European broadcast and entertainment giant RTL Group has bought a 65% stake in online video ad platform SpotXchange for $144 million, plus an earnout based on performance and an option to buy the remaining 35%. SpotXchange will continue to operate as an independent company, with CEO Mike Shehan saying that funds will be used to accelerate growth, particularly in Europe.
Cloud-based online video publishing company thePlatform has partnered with Verizon Digital Media Services to help drive multi-screen video delivery for pay-TV operators and content providers. Under the deal, VDMS services have been integrated with thePlatform's mpx video management system, forming a solution that will be jointly sold. The primary benefit is streamlined online video workflow which can be managed from a unified console.
Key to the integration is Verizon's single-format video acquisition and distribution capability, which is primarily attributable to VDMS's acquisition of upLynk last November. upLynk enables content to be encoded one time, with the resulting adaptive stream working across all devices, thereby reducing complexity. upLynk complements the EdgeCast content delivery network which Verizon also acquired late last year.
As devices continue to proliferate, reaching viewers across multiple screens is becoming an imperative for advertisers. At the recent Video Ad Summit, one of our sessions focused on how advertisers are beginning to do this and what challenges remain. Participants included Larry Adams (Mindshare), Josh Chasin (comScore), Rob Holmes (Comcast), Chuck Parker (Brightcove), Katie Seitz (Tremor), with moderator Jeff Lanctot (Mixpo).
There's a ton of activity in programmatic ad buying against online video, which is now starting to reach TV inventory as well. In a session at the recent Video Ad Summit, Chris Smith, VP, Emerging Media at Turn and John Holmes, Partner at Sq1, explained how they are beginning to automate TV ad buying using programmatic tools and based on users' digital behaviors.
Chris and John presented 3 short case studies demonstrating how this works with cable and satellite operators, along with some of the results. While they both admit it's still very early days for programmatic TV, it's clearly a trend that's starting to develop.
Here's a great example of how convoluted the media ecosystem has become: if you visit NYTimes.com today, you'll notice that upstart Vice News has taken over the masthead ad position. I check NYTimes.com every day and this is the first time I've noticed the Vice News ad though it's possible it has run previously. Vice News positions itself as "an international news organization created by and for a connected generation" and still carries a "beta" label.
The ad itself runs a series of protest scenes from what looks like Ukraine, with periodic statements interspersed like "You go to both sides of the front line," "Look beyond the headlines," "Follow the story wherever it leads" and "Don't just watch the news." Clicking "Watch Now" starts a loop with similar scenes and statements. There is a click through to the Vice News site on YouTube and ability to subscribe (the counter shows 588,220 subscribers so far).
A new survey by rich media ad provider Jivox has found that 75% of advertisers are running multi-screen ad campaigns, with 83% of the remainder planning to do so in 2014. The top reason for not currently running multi-screen campaigns, cited by 51% of respondents, was lack of technology. The survey included 130 executives at leading ad agencies.
Viewability has emerged as one of the hottest topics in the online video industry this year, for good reason - video ads that aren't seen diminish the advertiser's ROI and undermine the integrity of the market.
However, the industry is addressing viewability and at the recent Video Ad Summit, IAB presented a session that dug into the details. Participants included Rob Brett (Viacom), Tal Chalozin (Innovid), David Gunzerath (MRC) and Julian Zilberbrand (Zenith Optimedia) with Matt Prohaska moderating.
Bright House Networks, the sixth largest cable TV operator in the US, with 2.5 million subscribers, has announced that will use BlackArrow for dynamic video ad insertion (DAI) for on-demand and multi-screen delivery. As viewers continue to embrace both VOD and myriad viewing devices - and operators make more content and TV Everywhere options available - effectively monetizing these streams is becoming more and more essential.