• Mediaocean Acquires Flashtalking as CTV-Focused Dealmaking Remains White Hot

    Mediaocean is acquiring Flashtalking, an independent ad-serving and analytics provider. Deal terms were not disclosed but the Wall Street Journal reported the valuation at $500 million. Although Flashtalking offers open web ad serving and dynamic creative optimization (DCO) for the buy side, its fastest-growing business is connected TV ad serving and analytics, Mediaocean’s CMO Aaron Goldman told me in a briefing about the deal.

    Aaron noted that CTV is also the fastest-growing part of Mediaocean’s business as well, and that the combined companies will be able to do “ad serving and creative optimization along with audience planning and other workflow for both the buy side and the sell side.” A year ago Mediaocean acquired 4C, giving the company a key role in walled garden ad serving and optimization. Aaron said Flashtalking fills a big remaining gap in its portfolio focused on CTV on the open web for the buy side.

    Mediaocean itself has been majority-owned by Vista Equity Partners since 2015.

    The Mediaocean-Flashtalking deal is further evidence of how white hot CTV-focused dealmaking and financings continue to be (e.g. Magnite-SpotX, Magnite-SpringServe, The Trade Desk’s new venture arm TD7, Innovid’s SPAC, JW Player’s $100 million financing, etc.). In fact, I’d argue that ALL dealmaking and financings in media these days are rooted in CTV and streaming, up through Discovery-WarnerMedia and Amazon-MGM. The world is realizing that CTV and streaming are completely upending traditional viewership and business models, and therefore everyone is working hard to position themselves properly.

    That’s what’s happening with Mediaocean-Flashtalking of course. In CTV, Flashtalking is a player in ad serving and analytics behind Innovid (see podcast two weeks ago with CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter for more on Innovid and the structure of the industry) and Google and others. Flashtalking works with  agencies and brands, including giants like P&G’s international arm. Like Innovid, Flashtalking is an independent an ad server - it doesn’t buy media like a DSP (e.g. The Trade Desk) which is among Mediaocean’s partners. In this respect Flashtalking fits very well with Mediaocean’s neutral role as a media processor for traditional TV.

    The deal also underscores the determination major adtech providers have to providing choice to brands and agencies, in order to avoid a replication of the Google-Facebook duopoly in the emerging areas of CTV and omnichannel. This was a recurring theme on sessions at VideoNuze’s Connected TV Advertising Summit last month (session videos here and here) and one which comes up often in conversations I have with industry leaders. In that spirit, there’s no question Mediaocean-Flashtalking will be far from the last CTV-focused deal.