For a glimpse into cloud computing's significant contribution to the successful scaling of online video advertising, yesterday BrightRoll shared some details of its relationship with Amazon Web Services (AWS) which it has been working with since 2008. According to BrightRoll, AWS now processes 30 billion data points per day in order to deliver 3 billion video ads per month. BrightRoll said in 2013 it delivered over 23 petabytes of content, which will double in 2014. In a related case study, Kenneth Cheung, BrightRoll's senior director of engineering said that "If AWS didn't exist, BrightRoll would be a different company."
Extreme Reach has closed its $485 million acquisition of DG's TV ad business, approximately 6 months after announcing the deal. Extreme Reach's CEO and co-founder John Roland told me this morning that all DG customers are being transferred to Extreme Reach's cloud-based delivery platform. The combined company will have $270 million in revenues and 750+ employees.
As John explained, while the short-term tactical benefit of the deal is to gain significant scale in the core business of delivering TV ads to over 7K different broadcast TV stations in North America, the longer-term, more strategic play is to better position Extreme Reach for the fast-approaching era of multi-screen advertising.
I'm pleased to present the 213th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. Today we focus on Amazon, which is already an important player in video, and is poised to become more so. Among the topics we discuss:
- plans to increase the price of its Prime service (and the role of expensive video licensing in driving this)
- the possibility video could be split off from Prime and become a more pure competitor to Netflix and others
- the many roles that video advertising could play as part of a new deal with FreeWheel
- why an Amazon connected TV device (widely rumored) would be highly strategic
- whether Amazon will enter the pay-TV business (as has also been widely rumored)
- the role of Amazon's original online productions
All in all, Amazon is circling the video space in many different ways, with potential to be quite disruptive. It's still very early in the game for Amazon and 2014 could be a big year. We'll see how it plays out.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (22 minutes, 32 seconds)
Yesterday, FreeWheel quietly announced that it's powering video ads for Amazon. Though the announcement was light on details, anytime Amazon moves into a new space, as it's doing with video ads, it's noteworthy. I spoke to Doug Knopper, co-CEO of FreeWheel, who noted this is the company's first customer that isn't a pure media company, underscoring for him how ubiquitous video and video advertising are becoming.
Though under tight constraints from Amazon about what he could say, Doug emphasized that, as with all Amazon initiatives, the focus is on creating a better customer experience. In FreeWheel's release, Lisa Utzschneider, Amazon's VP of Global Ad Sales positioned video ads as a discovery vehicle, helping customers learn about related products.
European video ad tech provider Videoplaza announced this morning that it has launched Aunia, a private, invite-only video ad marketplace for Spain's largest broadcasters. Videoplaza Founder and CEO Sorosh Tavakoli told me yesterday that Spain's challenging economic environment and the broadcasters' desire to tap into programmatic revenue motivated the initiative.
Specific Media jumped into the programmatic video advertising fray today, with a new offering called "Programmatic from Specific Media" that includes real-time bidding. According to Bill Schild, SVP, Global Marketing for Specific, one of the key differentiators is viewability ratings on all inventory, powered by Vindico's Adtricity technology (Vindico is a sister company to Specific, with both owned by Interactive Media Holdings).
Jivox, a multi-screen interactive ad technology provider, has raised a $5.8 million Series C financing. The round was led by Fortisure Ventures, with participation by Shah Capital and existing investors Opus Capital and Helion Advisors. Jivox intends to use the financing to grow its sales and marketing plus further build out its Jivox IQ video ad creation/management platform.
Back in February, 2006, I wrote a newsletter titled, "The $10 Million Super Bowl Ad?" In it, I suggested that sometime in the future, a Super Bowl ad could cost $10 million, up from the $2.5 million they were then selling for. My rationale was that subsequent online video viewing opportunities would drive not just exposure, but also new creative opportunities to engage the audience, translating to more advertiser value.
As it has turned out, the value of Super Bowl ads has indeed continued to march higher, with this year's spots going for $4 million. And no question, the subsequent online video views that Super Bowl ads receive reduce the net CPM that advertisers are in effect paying. But what I didn't anticipate were 3 key trends that have made Super Bowl ads even more valuable - and will continue to do so: the accelerating fragmentation of TV audiences, an emerging pre-game release/teaser strategy for the ads and the escalating media coverage Super Bowl ads themselves now receive.
Topics: Super Bowl
Beachfront Media announced earlier today that its Beachfront.iO video ad platform has been extended to deliver ads to connected TVs/devices including LG, Samsung, Google and Roku. This means that video content/app providers can tap into ads from multiple sources and manage them across smartphones, tablets, desktop and now connected TVs within one dashboard.
Primarily the extension allows content/app providers to maximize their revenues, improve targeting and achieve better time to market. Frank provided more details in a short video interview today at NATPE, see below.
In another sign of how significant programmatic is becoming to video advertising, SpotXchange announced this morning that 46% of its revenue came from programmatic in 2013. In December alone, it was up to 57%, 4x as much as a year earlier, in December, 2012. Programmatic powered a 74% increase in Q4 '13 revenue vs. Q4 '12.
LiveRail, whose programmatic video ad platform powers monetization for numerous premium content providers, announced this morning that it has appointed former NBCU ad executive Peter Naylor to its board of directors. Peter had headed up digital media sales at NBCU, where he helped lead the company's programmatic initiatives. Peter is a well-known digital media executive, serving as chairman of the IAB board and treasurer of the OPA.
Last week at Adap.tv's Worldwide Publisher Conference, Curt Hecht, The Weather Company's Global Chief Revenue Officer shared an eye-opening data point: 1/3 of the company's online ad revenue now comes from programmatic, though it only started selling ads this way around 18 months ago. And contrary to lingering concerns that programmatic reduces the value of inventory, Curt also said
ads sold programmatically actually generate some of the company's best pricing, and that overall CPMs are up since programmatic was introduced.
Programmatic is one of the biggest trends in advertising today, allowing ads to be bought and sold via marketplaces using data and specific audience targeting criteria. Real-time bidding is also a feature of programmatic, though not always. Programmatic also reduces some of the back-end friction associated with the exchange of RFPs and IOs.
I'm pleased to present the 210th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
2014 is shaping up to be another very busy year for all things video. In this week's podcast, Colin and I share our top trends to look for in 2014 and why. And in the spirit of accountability, we also review our 2013 predictions from a year ago - what we got right and what we got wrong.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (23 minutes, 26 seconds - sorry, for running long, lots of content this week.)
Videology released the findings of a Forrester Consulting survey yesterday, which studied attitudes toward video advertising among 150 executives at brands, agencies and media companies. There are many interesting findings in the report and one that stands out is that nearly 70% of brands and agencies think it's likely or very likely that agencies will unify the planning of video and TV campaigns within the next 3 years (though note only 52% of media companies believe so).
Interactive video advertising provider Innovid and Cisco are building on their previously announced partnership, announcing an initiative to have ads dynamically delivered to second screens using voice-based metadata from TV programs. Innovid's CTO and co-founder Tal Chalozin showed me a demo last week of Cisco's cloud-based technology analyzing words spoken in TV programming to generate keywords and context. The information was then passed to Innovid which delivered a relevant, interactive ad to the viewer's second screen within a few seconds.
In yet another sign of how online video and TV advertising are continuing to blur, this morning ActiveVideo and BrightLine have announced a partnership to enable set-top boxes and connected TV devices to deliver interactive video ads from the cloud without any additional technical or creative work. Using ActiveVideo's new "CloudTV AdCast," advertisers and agencies can seamlessly deliver HTML5 ads to set-top boxes and connected TV devices, vastly expanding the reach of their ads and increasing their ROI.
Brightcove announced this morning that it is acquiring Unicorn Media for approximately $49 million, a savvy move to expand into cloud-based video ad insertion, which is particularly beneficial for mobile devices.
Unicorn has differentiated itself by enabling content providers to dynamically insert ads in the cloud, rather than in the video player. By "stitching" ads in the cloud, Unicorn obviates some of the major issues in video ad insertion today, including delays and buffering caused by the video player switching between content and ad playback. These diminish the user experience, in turn causing abandonment which hurts overall consumption and monetization.
With the vast majority of online video views free and ad-supported, it's critical that online video advertising continues to grow and mature. At the recent VideoSchmooze event, we had a deep dive session on online video advertising featuring John Nitti, president of activation for ZenithOptimedia (who oversees $10 billion of client spending), Eric Franchi, co-founder of Undertone and Ashley Swartz, CEO and founder of Furious Minds, who moderated.
Late last week research firm IHS and video ad platform provider Videoplaza released a new report asserting that video content providers need to become "audience architects" - mining their user data to fully capitalize on the shift to programmatic trading of video advertising. The report is based on IHS's forecasts of the Western European video ad business, but many of its conclusions are equally applicable to US-based video content providers.
IHS believes the primary driver of change is the exploding array of video-capable devices, which in Western Europe it forecasts growing from 340 million in 2008 to 1.1 billion in 2017. As video consumption away from TVs increases, and in particular moves to mobile devices, new challenges around limited ad space and lower ad loads have arisen.
I'm pleased to present the 206th edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia.
This week we discuss 3 of our key takeaways from this past Tuesday's VideoSchmooze, which over 230 industry executives attended. The morning was jam-packed with learning and insights, which I'll continue to share in the coming weeks, along with the session videos.
First, Colin shares the observation of Craig Moffett, who was on the opening session, that many content providers are assuming Netflix/other OTT providers are not a substitute for pay-TV over time. Craig believes this is an incorrect assumption and that if content providers come to depend too heavily on digital licensing revenues from Netflix and others, they run the risk of addicting themselves, even if/when their core businesses suffer due to audiences shifting.
Next, on the mobile video session I moderated, Silvia Lovato from PBSKids Digital shared the stunning data point that 75% of its viewership from its 2-5 year-old audience now occurs on mobile devices. I believe this has incredibly profound societal implications 10, 20 and 30 years down the road, as kids learn from the earliest age to expect programming fully on-demand.
Last, we turn to Smart TVs. On the online video advertising session, John Nitti from ZenithOptimedia (who oversees $10 billion of client spending) Eric Franchi from Undertone said Smart TVs are too fragmented to be an appealing environment for advertisers for now. As more online viewing shifts to the big screen, it's imperative that advertising follow, but the separate ecosystems of each Smart TV manufacturer makes it difficult for both developers and advertisers for now. Some form of aggregation/streamlining must occur to create the scale advertising requires.
Listen in to learn more!
Click here to listen to the podcast (19 minutes, 16 seconds)