YouTube is poised to be the next major content provider to join the great subscription VOD land grab for consumers' video spending. Per a Bloomberg report yesterday, YouTube has sent a letter to its content creators sharing its intention to launch an ad-free subscription service, though neither the price nor launch date was specified. Content creators would keep 55% of subscription revenue based on their pro rata viewership.
Plans for a YouTube subscription service were initially mentioned by its CEO Susan Wojcicki last October at the Code Mobile conference.
Boston-based YouTube ad buying platform Pixability has raised an $18 million Series C round, led by new investors Jump Capital and Edison Partners, with participation from existing investors. The new funds will be used for product development and international expansion. The company has raised $28 million to date.
Pixability's core capability is enabling brands and agencies to create and manage data-driven video ad campaigns targeting specific audiences within YouTube channels. This is extremely valuable because while YouTube's massive user base is very attractive to brands and agencies, the site's diverse content makes it virtually impossible to understand how to optimize YouTube ad spending.
Innovid has raised $10 million in additional capital from Cisco Investments and existing investors, bringing total capital raised to date to $37.6 million. The new funds will be used for product development. Cisco and Innovid announced a partnership back in September, 2013, to deliver interactive, contextual video ads to second screens.
Aside from the financing, the big news from Innovid is the huge growth in its Innovid Atom video ad serving platform for brands and agencies. According to CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter, who I caught up with on Friday, Innovid has gone from 20 brands using its platform last July, to 110 now. This is expected to rise to 145 by the end of Q2 '15. Included among these are Kraft, Disney, Toyota, Chrysler and dozens of others.
At Facebook's F8 developer conference yesterday, the company announced a series of initiatives that, taken together, demonstrate it is positioned to be a very big player in video and YouTube's biggest competitor long-term. Following are the most important announcements and my take on their implications. I also note the key missing pieces that are almost certainly on Facebook's video roadmap.
TubeMogul and Videoplaza, an Ooyala company, have announced a partnership to build a premium programmatic ad marketplace, which will enable brands, agencies and trading desks that use TubeMogul's buying platform to access inventory from international broadcasters and publishers that use Videoplaza's sell-side programmatic solutions Karbon and Konnect.
A reminder that early bird discounted registration is open for the 5th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 16th in NYC. All early bird registrants will be entered to win a 55-inch TCL Roku TV, graciously provided by Roku.
There is a ton going on in online video advertising, and the Ad Summit will dive deeply into all of the hottest topics such as programmatic, viewability, convergence, mobile, branded entertainment, innovation and much more. The Ad Summit will once again be a must-attend day of learning and networking with industry leaders from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and others in the ecosystem. Last year's Ad Summit drew over 420 attendees, featuring 40+ speakers.
There are 10 terrific industry-leading companies on board so far as sponsors, including Premier Partners DashBid, FreeWheel and Pixability, Headline Partners Altitude Digital, LiveRail/Facebook, Ooyala, Teads.tv and TubeMogul plus Branding Partners Brightcove and Roku. I'm grateful for their generous support!
Learn more and register now!
Go to nearly any online media conference these days, and it feels like half of the sessions inevitably touch on programmatic ad buying and selling. Programmatic ad buying technology has existed for nearly half a decade, but still, the term gets a lot of attention as if it’s the new idea. And despite all the hype and conversation, it's pretty clear that the term itself, "programmatic," still scares away certain folks, especially those at the ultra-premium end of our industry.
Topics: Altitude Digital
Looking to benefit from the rising tide of mobile device usage, video ad tech provider Teads.tv has extended its inRead video ad format (also called "outstream") to mobile via a new SDK. With the new SDK, content providers can place inRead video ads within their mobile apps. The format's big differentiator is that it runs against text articles, slideshows and news feeds, essentially unlocking tons of new high-quality inventory for lucrative video ads.
Ooyala has released its Q4 '14 Global Video Index, once again showing the powerful rise in mobile as a preferred viewing platform for online video. A record 38% of video views in December, 2014 occurred on mobile devices, up from less than 18% in December, 2013. For the full fourth quarter of '14, mobile accounted for 34% of video views.
When it released its Q3 Global Video Index in December, '14, Ooyala forecasted that mobile video's share will cross 50% industry-wide by Q3 '15. Since 2011, mobile's share of video plays has increased 16-fold.
Adobe Primetime has added two important features that help content providers better monetize their video ad inventory and improve the user's experience.Primetime now allows content providers to import first, second and third-party audience data into Audience Manager, the company's data management platform. The result is better targeting to specific audience segments.
And second, Primetime has enabled cross-device frequency capping for ads in authenticated content. This means that a viewer who switches from using, say, an Android tablet, to an iPhone, to watch TV Everywhere programming won't be served the same ad (note the capping is still at the household-level for now).
Early bird discounted registration is now open for the 5th annual VideoNuze Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 16th in NYC. As an extra incentive, one early bird registrant will win a 55-inch TCL Roku TV, graciously provided by Roku.
The Ad Summit will once again be a premier day of learning and networking with industry leaders from brands, agencies, content providers, technology companies and others in the ecosystem. Last year's Ad Summit drew over 420 attendees, featuring 40+ speakers. This year's event will be at a new venue, the Time-Life Building's spacious 8th floor conference center. Detailed program info will be posted soon.
I'm thrilled to have 9 fantastic companies on board as initial sponsors, including Premier Partners FreeWheel and Pixability, Headline Partners Altitude Digital, LiveRail/Facebook, Ooyala, Teads.tv and TubeMogul plus Branding Partners Brightcove and Roku. All of these companies are key players in the online video advertising ecosystem and I'm honored they've decided to be a part of the Ad Summit.
If you'd like to learn more about speaking and sponsorship opportunities, please contact me.
Learn more and register now!
Integral Ad Science, which specializes in evaluating media quality for online advertisers, has acquired Veenome, a highly complimentary startup that measures specific contextual attributes of video ads. Veenome looks at web pages to determine things like whether ads are played in-banner or in-stream, how many players are on a page, what kinds of content is displayed, where the player was positioned, and more. Veenome builds on Integral's existing video ad evaluation technologies.
Mobile lifestyles are becoming more prevalent, mobile devices are getting better and mobile video content choices are exploding. No surprise then, that with lots more mobile video viewing happening, mobile video advertising is booming. A recent check-in call with Frank Sinton, CEO of Beachfront Media, confirmed this, and he also shared insights on key challenges that remain.
Topics: Beachfront Media
With the ongoing dialogue surrounding measurement, brands are eager to embrace any metric that can help evaluate video content in today’s digital world.
However, most marketers are still using the number of video views as a key performance indicator to assess video initiatives – a method of measurement that is severely flawed. Video views in a vacuum – or alone – are not only misleading but also potentially damaging when it conceals poorly performing content and drives wrong investment decisions.
More evidence of TV Everywhere's momentum today, as FreeWheel's Q4 2014 Video Monetization Report found that 56% of long-form and live ads were viewed via authentication. That's more than 4x greater than the 13% authentication rate for long-form content in Q4 '13. Total long-form viewing was up 43% in Q4 '14 vs. the prior year.
The new data follows Comcast's news last week that 30% of its Xfinity TV subscribers use TV Everywhere monthly. (Note Comcast owns FreeWheel).
I'm pleased to present the 261st edition of the VideoNuze podcast with my weekly partner Colin Dixon of nScreenMedia. This week we return to the topic of TV Everywhere, which we've discussed on previous episodes. While TV Everywhere's challenges are well-understood, this week Comcast released encouraging adoption data, which we dig into.
Comcast also announced it now offers over 70 linear networks via TVE, in addition to on-demand choices. Related, NBC said this week that it will offer authenticated access to its linear feed via its app, but only in its O&O markets. Colin notes that's a very different approach than CBS is using for linear, which is only available via its All-Access service that costs $5.99/month.
Aside from improved content for TVE, Colin and I also observe that monetization is also improving, with technology providers BlackArrow and This Technology, as examples, recently sharing product updates on dynamic ad insertion (here and here).
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Varick Media Management, which specializes in programmatic ad buying, has chosen Tremor Video's demand side platform, powered by VideoHub, as its preferred partner for premium programmatic campaigns. Neeraj Kochhar, Managing Director of Buy-side Platforms at Tremor Video, told me that it's the first big agency that's been announced as a VideoHub DSP customer, though others are using the platform as well.
BrightRoll has released findings from its 3rd annual U.S. ad agency survey, including among other things, that agencies believe targeting is by far the most valuable benefit of online video advertising. Cited by 56% of respondents, targeting alone exceeded all other benefits combined: reach (20%), price relative to TV (8%), other (8%), ad unit format (7%) and ability to reuse creative (2%).
Ad tech provider This Technology has been awarded a patent covering key dynamic ad insertion (DAI) functionality, the company has announced. The patent relates to "identifying dynamic ad inventory and defining attributes like ownership, length and interactivity, which are all critical requirements for targeted advertising delivery."
That's a mouthful, and fortunately I spoke to This Technology's CEO Jeff Sherwin last week, who provided a plain-English explanation of why this is important.
Topics: This Technology
Once again demonstrating the rapidly blurring lines between online video and TV on-demand, ad tech provider BlackArrow has announced that it will be powering dynamic ad insertion (DAI) in on demand content viewed on connected and mobile devices by Time Warner Cable subscribers. BlackArrow has already supporting DAI for TWC in traditional set-top box VOD and linear streams over IP.