Taboola, a large content recommendation platform, has acquired ConvertMedia, an outstream video ad provider with $50 million in annual run rate revenue and roots in display advertising. Taboola’s thumbnail recommendations at the end of text articles are found widely on major online publishers’ sites. The company provides 14-15 billion of these recommendations on a daily basis to over 1 billion unique users per month.
As I wrote last week and previously, the TV industry is in a race to data enable its ad inventory to retain its value relative to online video alternatives and platforms like Facebook and Google that provide audience data at huge scale. Many technology providers are innovating to provide the software tools necessary for the TV industry to make this transition and the latest example is from clypd, which yesterday introduced Optimize Private Marketplace (PMP), which adds to existing features in clypd’s linear TV PMP offering.
Founded on the belief that video should be as interactive as web sites and apps, startup Verse formally unveiled its interactive video player today. Verse is intended for any video creator who wants to add interactive elements that create immersive, non-linear experiences for viewers.
In a briefing last week Verse co-founders Antonio Bolfo and Michael Lanza, plus publisher Dan Bigman explained that they started the company because as filmmakers and journalists themselves they were looking for tools to help them tell their stories more creatively, and couldn’t find the required technology.
Apple made an important announcement at its recent Worldwide Developers Conference that marks a significant step toward simplifying online video delivery thereby reducing the cost of content preparation. By announcing support for fragmented MP4 (fMP4) within HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Apple is bringing the industry closer to the realization of a single format for OTT medial delivery. This could save the OTT industry millions in revenue lost from processing their content across the plethora of formats that exist today.
JW Player announced yesterday that it has added Univision as a new enterprise customer in the first quarter, a significant win for the company. JW Player’s platform is being used in part to support Univision’s streaming of the high-profile Copa America Centenario matches this month, including on its mobile apps.
Video ad tech provider Genesis Media has introduced Trending Topics, enabling advertisers to capitalize on temporary traffic spikes in particular web content. As Genesis Media’s CEO Mark Yackanich explained to me in a briefing, Trending Topics provides unique opportunities to advertisers to hop onto surges in web content triggered by hot cultural events, even before they’ve been detected by Google, Facebook or other sources.
Trending Topics leverages Genesis Media’s core competencies in web content monitoring and analysis. The company is scanning for web content that has the highest velocity, or rapid movement, in page views. Genesis Media then marries this data to its proprietary Page Attention Rank (PAR) which measures users’ attention, retention and time spent to create an index revealing which trending pages represent unusually high value for advertisers based on their objectives.
Topics: Genesis Media
Video ad tech provider Cedato has launched CedatoX, a private video ad marketplace, connecting supply and demand on the Cedato platform at the server level. In a briefing, Cedato’s CMO Dvir Doron told me that the key benefits are simple setup and transactions along with proven revenue lift for participating publishers.
Dvir highlighted that CedatoX addresses the pain point of video transactions being complicated for both sides to configure and maintain. With CedatoX, private transaction terms are set and managed on the platform. The result is more effective yield and fill rates.
IBM Cloud Video has announced Comic-Con HQ and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. as new customers. A partnership of Comic-Con International and Lionsgate, Comic-Con HQ will launch on May 7th with both SVOD and ad-supported options. IBM will provide subscriber and content management, billing, and live streaming across devices. For CBC, IBM will power the ad-supported service that includes 600 different series, online and on mobile devices.
Seeking to simplify and cost reduce the process of launching new OTT services, Brightcove and Accedo have partnered to introduce Brightcove OTT Flow, powered by Accedo, a turnkey OTT solution for media companies.
The solution was developed in response to the companies’ recognition that the OTT launch process typically involves numerous technology providers and custom development which in turn lead to steep development and maintenance costs plus long timelines. In the fast-moving OTT world, these obstacles hinder innovation and competitiveness.
Ooyala has released a new HTML5 player aimed at delivering faster video load times on desktop and mobile devices for both on-demand and live streaming with HLS and DASH.
Jonas Flodh, Ooyala’s senior director, global product management, told me that the guiding vision for the new player was flexibility. Ooyala wanted the player to not only load fast, but also offer quick customization, seamless monetization and analytics plug-ins.
Online video advertising is booming but the vast majority of what we all see are still repurposed TV ads. That has created a huge new problem of monitoring and complying with the ads’ commercial usage rights. Non-compliance can result in significant fines from unions such as SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA and others that represent talent who appear in ads.
To address this growing problem, video ad tech provider Extreme Reach launched TRUST Tags (Talent and Rights Usage Safety Tracking) last August. Extreme Reach’s CEO John Roland told me in a recent briefing that over 180 agencies and advertisers are now using the TRUST tag, which is free, and that the company has just launched its first ad campaign to raise awareness for TRUST.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Verizon Digital Media Services announced it plans to acquire Volicon, a private Boston-area company that provides monitoring and archiving solutions for 1,200+ TV broadcasters and video operators globally. Volicon’s Observer Media Intelligence Platform allows video to be captured and logged for the purpose of compliance, media analysis, competitive intelligence, ratings monitoring, loudness, quality of experience and more.
Demand-side video ad platform TubeMogul reported record Q4 2015 and full year 2015 financial results yesterday, once again beating its own forecasts, as investments in programmatic TV (PTV) and cross-screen planning paid off.
For 2015, total ad spending through TubeMogul was $414.2 million, up 63% vs. 2014 (above the most recent forecast of $406-$408 million), revenue was $180.7 million, up 58% vs. 2014 (above the forecast of $173-$175 million), gross profit was $122.5 million, up 53% vs. 2014 (above the forecast of $117-$119 million) and adjusted EBITDA was $3.4 million, up 31% vs. 2014 (above the forecast of a loss of $1-$3 million).
Extreme Reach has operated under the radar for many years, but this Boston-area company has become a powerhouse in the delivery of both TV and video advertising. Now it’s poised for a much higher profile, following the recent hiring of industry veteran Melinda McLaughlin as Chief Marketing Officer, who most recently had the same role at Tremor Video. Melinda’s an old friend and I recently discussed her move, plus what’s ahead for Extreme Reach and the industry. Following is the transcript.
Topics: Extreme Reach
Video ad tech provider Pixability has unveiled v4 of its platform, enabling unified video ad buying across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. With v4, agencies and advertisers can plan, execute, measure and optimize video ad campaigns through one dashboard, greatly streamlining the workflow. With v4, Pixability is expanding beyond its traditional focus on YouTube ad buying.
Video ad tech provider Genesis Media has launched “Adaptive Formats,” which dynamically delivers video ad units that are optimized to an individual web page’s editorial and to the user’s behavior. The goal is to enable content publishers to best monetize each individual piece of their content while providing an outstanding user experience and full value to advertisers.
Genesis Media’s CEO Mark Yackanich explained to me that Adaptive Formats automates a previously manual process. He added that Adaptive Formats directly addresses key publisher pain points of how to select from the myriad video ad units which are now available and then how to scale the ones that are selected.
Topics: Genesis Media
Meredith Digital has tapped Ooyala IQ for unified video engagement and performance analytics across multiple video players on properties including Parents, Allrecipes, Better Homes & Gardens and others. The deal builds on an existing relationship between the companies with Meredith using Ooyala for its Martha Stewart Living property.
With Ooyala IQ, Meredith will be able to see video performance by device, operating system, DMA, player and specific location. Ooyala IQ also gives insight into video ad performance such as drop-out rates in various formats.
Wochit, whose technology allows publishers to quickly create short-form, shareable videos from a rights-cleared library, has reported strong 2015 momentum, along with new features. Wochit said it grew revenues 300% in 2015 while doubling the number of customers. The US grew 200% and Europe 450%, with similar growth rates expected in 2016.
Wochit is benefiting from the larger industry trend of publishers’ desire to inexpensively create engaging video that often accompanies traditional text-based stories. With users’ insatiable appetite to watch short-form video on social/mobile, Wochit-created videos give publishers the ability to greatly increase their footprint, as well as tap into video advertising.
Sky Q, which is Sky’s next-generation video service launching in 2016, will incorporate AirTies mesh technology to facilitate whole home pay-TV service on multiple devices. With AirTies mesh technology in Sky Q’s set-top boxes, routers and accessory devices, each is turned into a hot spot, so that linear, OTT and recorded video can be accessed on screens even in harder-to-reach locations in the home.
Online video platform JW Player announced a $20 million Series D round today from existing investors Greycroft Growth, Greenspring Associates, Cueball Capital and e.ventures. JW Player’s CEO and co-founder Dave Otten told me that with the new round the company has raised a total of $46 million, though approximately $11 million of the Series C round was used to buy out prior shareholders.
Topics: JW Player