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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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  • Altitude Digital Lands $5 Million to Build Out Visualtising, A Video SSP

    Anyone working in or around the video ad tech space knows how incredibly crowded and well-funded it is. So, when a couple of weeks ago I noticed that a company I was only mildly familiar with, Altitude Digital, announced it had raised $5 million, I was intrigued. While not a blockbuster-sized round, financings of this size signal that the investors, after having done their customary due diligence, see some "white space" still available to operate in.  To learn more, I recently spoke to Devin Yeager, Altitude's COO, and Joe Salvador, VP of Video Operations.

    Denver-based Altitude started up about 4 years ago as a display ad rep firm, but 2 years ago began building its own technology. More recently, Altitude has expanded into video, creating a new division called Visualtising. As a whole, the company is now processing about 12 billion display and video ad impressions per month. Altitude currently has 20 employees and is looking to double in size this year. It was also #54 ranked on Inc. 5000 list last year. Expanding Visualtising is the main purpose of the new financing.

    As Devin and Joe explained, Visualtising is publisher-focused SSP (Supply Side Platform) offering Real Time Bidding (RTB). Like many others in the industry, Devin and Joe see "programmatic buying" - the use of advanced technologies to match buyers and sellers in a highly efficient, dynamic and transparent manner - as the future of video advertising.

    Currently Visualtising enablers publishers via VAST/VPAID tags, a pre-content ad player, or a FlowPlayer plugin as well as with an all-in-one video player that not only brings advertising, but also customizable, relevant content in verticals like sports, automotive and entertainment. There are currently 450 different publishers using Visualtising products, generating over 1.5 billion impressions per month.

    The range of ways to work with Visualtising reflects Devin's and Joe's belief that the video market is still in its infancy with a range of publishers spanning the gamut of sophistication - some are just getting into video (not even necessarily with their own originals, but rather by syndicating in content), whereas others are further ahead, focusing on detailed performance metrics. Visualtising is aiming to service the full spectrum of publishers on its own and in partnership with others in the video ad ecosystem.

    Visualtising's ramp-up is another sign that publishers will have a broad range of monetization providers and solutions. This is critical to the overall online video market's growth and in particular to the budding market for online-only originals, because absent monetization, none of this can flourish. Much as content providers are exhilarated about the creative possibilities that online video offers, it is essential to always remember they need to be monetized to be viable. Visualtising is the latest player to help ensure this.

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