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Analysis for 'Tremor Media'

  • Five More Industry Leaders Partner with ELEVATE: Tremor Media, FreeWheel, YuMe, Collective and The Fortex Group

    I'm pleased to share news this morning that five more leading companies in the online video industry have partnered with ELEVATE: Online Video Advertising Summit on Tuesday, June 7th, in NYC: Tremor Media (Title Partner), FreeWheel and YuMe (Premier Partners), Collective (Exhibitor Partner) and The Fortex Group (Marketing Partner). Each of these companies has distinguished itself in its own way, and we are delighted to have their support for ELEVATE. We are working closely with each of these companies to integrate their CEOs into appropriate sessions at ELEVATE where they will share insights and best practices.

    We are making great progress with ELEVATE and the program is continuing to take shape. Our partners - and others in the industry - are providing terrific input on the program, and we'll be announcing high-profile participants in the days and weeks ahead. Plus, keep an eye out in the coming days for the official release of the Will Richmond/Marc Sternberg ELEVATE video, sure to be a viral hit. And for a sneak peek of what to expect at ELEVATE, please join us on May 18th for our "VideoSchmooze" networking event at Gstaad in NYC in partnership with Kantar Video and The Fortex Group.

     
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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #90 - Mar. 4, 2011

    I'm pleased to present the 90th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for March 4, 2011.

    In this week's podcast, Daisy Whitney and I first discuss Tremor Media's new video ad buying platform, which I wrote about on Tuesday. Then we transition to a quick chat about Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' comment this week in the WSJ that "What used to be called 'reruns' on television is now called Netflix." It was a little bit of unexpected trash talk and Daisy and I sort through what might have motivated it.

    Click here to listen to the podcast (11 minutes, 48 seconds)


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  • Exclusive: Tremor Media Launching Video Ad Buying Platform, Hires Risicato to Run It

    Tremor Media is launching a video ad buying platform, in a bid to streamline how Fortune 1000 brands can capitalize on the explosion of online video. The move is Tremor's latest expansion, following the recent acquisitions of ScanScout and mobile video ad network Transpera. To manage the video ad buying platform, Tremor has hired Anthony Risicato, formerly CEO of mobile marketing company Mobile Commons, with previous experience at Covario, Innovation Interactive (where he led development of its platform that has facilitated billions of dollars of search advertising buys) and DoubleClick. Anthony shared some of the background of Tremor's move with me last week.

    The video ad buying platform addresses the two key marketplace issues Tremor has observed, scale and deliverability. Tremor likens the situation in online video advertising to what was happening in the search advertising market about 10 years ago. There is a lot of interest from big brands and agencies to participate, but still too much friction in buying and delivering plus measuring and optimizing their results. Too often brands are required to go to different publishers and video ad networks to assemble their buy, which makes it harder to leverage their spending and also to optimize their ads based on actual performance.

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  • Quite a Week for M&A In Online/Mobile Video

    It's been quite a week for M&A in online and mobile video. On Monday, KIT Digital announced it was acquiring Kewego, KickApps and Kyte. Then today Cisco bought Inlet Technologies to flesh out their Videoscape platform and Tremor Media reportedly acquired mobile ad manager Transpera. That's a lot of activity for just one week, and points to how key players are jockeying for bigger slices of the online and mobile video market. The trend will no doubt continue.

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

     
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  • Interview with Tremor Media's New CMO, Melinda McLaughlin

    Yesterday I had a chance to ask Melinda McLaughlin, the new Chief Marketing Officer at video ad network powerhouse Tremor Media, a few questions on her second day of work. Prior to joining Tremor, Melinda spent 10+ years at cable network group AETN and prior to that was with 2 ad agencies. An edited transcript follows:

    VideoNuze: What attracted you to the online video adverting space and to Tremor Media?

    Melinda McLaughlin: I spent the last 11 years on the traditional TV side, in many areas of AETN such as consumer insights, sales strategy and corporate strategy, always around monetizing the assets of that global platform. At a certain point, because I'm a closet geek, and am into what the future is going to look like and how media is going to evolve - plus what fundamental truths about how business models work will remain - I sort of hit a point where a company like AETN and competitors are just not on the cutting edge of where this area is going.

    And so although it was a terrific job, for good reason companies like AETN aren't going to lead in terms of changing consumer behavior or how advertisers are going to change the way they think. I see Tremor bringing together all of the benefits marketers have been saying they require in order to take the online video advertising space seriously. Tremor, together with ScanScout, is the one that can give advertisers the platform and set of tools to do targeting at scale, with real-time intelligence and content screening. Throwing myself into where the revolution is happening is an exciting next step.  

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  • Tremor Media Acquires ScanScout, Creating Video Ad Network Giant

    More consolidation among video ad networks, as market leader Tremor Media has acquired ScanScout, creating a new dominant player. comScore reported in its Sept. 2010 online video rankings that Tremor on its own was the #2 video ad network with over 525 million video ads served and reach to over 26% of the U.S. population. For its part ScanScout says it reaches 140 million unique viewers per month. Tremor most recently raised a $40 million round in April, bringing its total funding to $82 million, while ScanScout last raised another $8.5 million Oct. '09.

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  • VideoNuze Report Podcast #59 - April 30, 2010

    Daisy Whitney and I are pleased to present the 59th edition of the VideoNuze Report podcast, for April 30, 2010.

    In today's podcast Daisy and I discuss Tremor Media's new $40 million round led by DFJ Growth, announced earlier this week, and about broader investment trends in the online video and advanced advertising space. As I wrote a few weeks ago, money continues to pour into online video companies, and in today's podcast we talk about the key reasons why. Listen in to learn more!

    Click here to listen to the podcast (13 minutes, 13 seconds)


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  • Tremor Media Raises $40 Million; Biggest Recent Deal in Online Video Sector

    This morning the online video ad network and management company Tremor Media is announcing a monster $40 million financing, bringing total capital in Tremor to $82 million. I've been tracking venture capital investments in the online and mobile video sector for the past 5 quarters and I believe this is the largest recent private company deal yet (I think the only one bigger is Ustream's $75 million deal last quarter, but only $20 million was upfront). Draper Fisher Jurveston Growth Fund is leading the new round, with participation from existing investors. Last night I talked to Jason Glickman, Tremor's CEO and exchanged emails with Randy Glein, managing director at DFJ Growth to learn more.

    Jason explained that since Tremor raised $20 million last year and turned profitable, it actually didn't need the money. However, the team believes that online video advertising is at an inflection point and so the decision to really step up and "go for it" as Jason said. Primarily, that means adding more features for publishers and advertisers and enhancing the Acudeo management platform. It also means pursuing a 3 screen strategy to encompass mobile and TV platforms.

    Randy said that DFJ has known Tremor for over 2 years and is motivated by the transformation underway in the advertising industry, driven by exploding online video usage to both computers and other connected devices. The shift in ad spending from traditional TV to online video is just beginning, and Randy sees Tremor - with its huge network and ad management platform - as being positioned right in the middle of all this change.

    Jason further explained that the company now has the scale to attract 6 and 7-figure campaigns from brands that are increasingly drawn to the online video medium. Key challenges going forward include proving brands with the data that their online campaigns not only reach their intended targets, but also provide required brand lift and ROI. In particular, Jason said Tremor's ability to optimize against certain audiences or by metrics objectives is an important part of its success.

    At VideoSchmooze on Monday night there was considerable discussion around hybrid pay/ad-supported models for premium video content. Clearly, if a content provider can garner consumer payments they should. However, the new Tremor financing is further evidence to me of the innovation and excitement around online video advertising that will make it far more valuable than TV advertising ever was. As brands come to recognize online video advertising's value proposition I see monetization per viewer (or whatever other metric of advertising success that's preferred) going up over time.

    (Separate, note also that online video management provider KIT Digital yesterday also completed what is probably the largest public company financing in the online video sector - raising $55 million from the sale of over 4.2 million shares.)

    What do you think? Post a comment now (no sign-in required).

     
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  • Video Ads Become More Engaging as Industry Grows

    Making video ads more engaging has become a key initiative for many online video ad companies. They're responding to agencies and advertisers searching for additional ways to generate an ROI from their online video ad campaigns and further flexibility in how they deliver their messages. The moves come amid strong growth across the industry. Companies that have introduced enhanced interactivity include:

    YuMe - introducing today the new "Triple Play" ad unit, which allows the advertiser to insert up to 3 calls to action (e.g. sign up for more info, watch more videos, etc.) after the video ends. YuMe's co-founder and president Jayant Kadambi told me that increasing choice for advertisers and agencies is a key goal. Separately, YuMe reported delivering 2.5 billion ads in Q4 '09, its strongest quarter to date, including an average of 30 million ads/day in Dec '09.

    Jivox - introducing today custom interactivity allowing advertisers and agencies the ability to add their own Flash and HTML applets so users can interact within the player itself (example here, roll over the "Experience BMW" to see the interactive options). Diaz Nesamoney, Jivox's President, CEO and founder also explained to me last week that while the company continues operating its own ad network, its fastest-growing segment in '09 was licensing its platform to media companies (e.g. Gannett, McClatchy, Meredith, etc.) who want to sell their own video ads. Revenues were up 600% in '09 with 3,000 new advertisers.

    Tremor Media - last week Tremor rolled out six new ad formats for enhanced interaction and engagement: Pre-roll Plus Overlay, vChoice Select, vChoice Rotator, Data Feed, Sequencer and In-Stream Live. The formats, which all use the company's Acudeo ad management platform, build on last June's introduction of its vChoice format. According to comScore's most recent Nov '09 numbers, Tremor was the largest video ad network with potential reach of 85 million viewers or 49.8% of the total U.S. viewing audience and actual reach of 20% of viewers.

    Innovid - launched the iRoll, interactive pre-roll ad unit, in '09, which can embed a mini-web site in the video ad itself. Innovid originally pursued product placement through the insertion of Flash objects, but CEO and co-founder Zvika Netter told me recently that, based on agency feedback, it has decided to focus on enhancing interactivity. Innovid is still early stage, but its profile is growing. For example, Netter was recently selected as one of Time magazine's eight "Tech Pioneers Who Will Change Your Life."

    ScanScout - Last but not least, in Oct '09 ScanScout unveiled its "Super Pre-Roll" unit, which also enhances interactivity within the ad itself (the Vaseline demo for a great example). Waikit Lau, ScanScout's co-founder and president told me that advertisers are drawn to the unit's superior click-through rates, which are up to 4.5 times higher than typical pre-roll ads.

    All of these moves show that in-stream video ads are continuing to evolve to provide more value and a better ROI to advertisers, while also delivering an improved experience to users. No doubt this contributed to the strong '09 that many online video ad executives have reported to me. With the ad climate improving and further engagement opportunities inevitable, there is plenty of reason to believe that spending in the medium will continue to grow.

    Note - if there are other initiatives you're aware of that I've missed, please leave a comment.

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  • First Look At comScore's September Video Rankings Show Tremor Media Gains

    According to comScore's September Video Metrix report reflecting actual unique viewers, Tremor Media is the top-ranked video ad network, with 33.6 million unique viewers, followed by BBE with 27.4 million and BrightRoll with 25.1 million.

    comScore has not yet released it monthly top 10 results, but a sneak peek shows that Tremor places #8 on the list (I believe the first time an ad network has cracked the top 10), Jambo Media, a video syndicator (and also a VideoNuze sponsor) comes in at #9 with 32.3 million viewers and Facebook shows up at #10 with 31.1 million. All 3 companies are new to comScore's top 10 and compared to comScore's August top 10 list, they replace Turner (now #12), AOL (now #15) and Disney (now #20). All 7 other top 10 sites are back, though with a little shuffling (Google/YouTube, Fox, Yahoo, CBS, Viacom, Microsoft and Hulu).

    With respect to the video ad networks specifically, as I've written previously, there's an ongoing debate about which numbers are most relevant to focus on. comScore has been working to fully populate its actuals list, which requires cooperation from the video ad networks themselves. Another way of measuring video ad networks' size is by "potential reach," which considers the total number of viewers of all the sites in a network (so for an ad network that would mean all sites it has the right to place ads on). Looking at both provides a broader picture of video ad networks' size.

    By the potential reach measure, among video ad networks, Tremor is the top-ranked, with 72.9 million unique viewers, YuMe is #2 with 66.2 million, Ad.com is #3 with 57 million, SpotXchange is #4 with 55.7 million, ScanScout is #5 with 54.9 million and BrightRoll is #6 with 51.4 million. Oddly missing from the potential reach list is BBE, which in August was the fourth-largest video ad network with 62.7 million unique viewers. I'm trying to get an answer to that one. Tremor also announced yesterday that 60 sites have recently joined its publisher network, including A&E, Hachette Filippachi US, Thompson Reuters and SBTV.

    It's also worth mentioning that Google/YouTube continues to dominate the video landscape. In September it is up to 10.4 billion videos viewed (vs. 10 billion in August), with a 40.2% market share (vs. 39.6%) in August. As the comScore data compilation slides I offered on August 31st support, Google/YouTube's share has hovered consistently around 40% since the middle of 2008.

    Data like the above is obviously extremely important for understanding the evolving online video landscape. I'm cognizant of many people's concerns that the comScore data is incomplete or does not synch with internal logs or other measurement techniques. However, comScore is the only third-party data source that consistently releases results, providing trend data to analyze. Although I wouldn't suggest "taking the data to the bank," I do believe comScore provides great directional evidence of the market's growth and the standing of individual players.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • First Look at comScore's July '09 Video Ad Networks' Rankings

    Below is a first look at comScore's rankings for video ad networks' "potential" reach for July '09. The rankings, which have not yet been publicly shared, reveal a relatively tight clustering of 5 video ad networks - ScanScout, Tremor Media, YuMe, Broadband Enterprises and BrightRoll - with ScanScout capturing the number 1 spot in its first month being fully measured by comScore.

     

    The "potential reach" aspect of these rankings is important to understand. As I explained in June in "Unraveling comScore's Monthly Viewership Data for Online Video Ad Networks," the potential reach numbers account for the aggregate number of viewers of all the sites that the ad network has the right to place ads on. However, as I discussed with Tania Yuki, comScore's director of product management, it's not a perfect measure, though comScore is continually trying to improve it.

    The rankings are determined through a combination of the ad networks' self-reported publisher list and comScore's own tracking. If a video network reports that any one publisher accounts for 2% or more of its viewers, comScore requires a letter proving the business relationship. There is also a self-policing mechanism as comScore provides a "dictionary" of all publishers that each ad network reports. Competitors can review the dictionary and appeal to comScore if something appears amiss. Still, there's some looseness in the methodology, and having spoken to a number of industry executives, also a fair amount of concern that it is accurately portraying the industry's true performance.

    comScore recognizes the limitations of the potential reach approach and that it is just one way of understanding a video ad network's value. Actual monthly performance is equally important, and comScore has been working with ad networks to implement this reporting as well. As I wrote in June, the "hybrid" approach requires ad networks to insert a 1x1 beacon in their video players. Though this approach also has its limitations, many of the biggest video ad networks are now implementing the beacon, and soon comScore will likely begin reporting actual as well as potential reach.

    Video ad networks are a very important part of the online video ecosystem, responsible for placing millions of dollars of ads each month. Importantly they allow a level of targeting and reach that brands seek, but are often unable to attain on their own with a handful of direct site relationships. With the online video medium still relatively new, buyers require data helping them understand their options. However, the comScore data is just a first filter, diligent buyers still must dig in to understand how each network, or individual site meets their needs.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Unraveling comScore's Monthly Viewership Data for Online Video Ad Networks

    A monthly reminder that online video remains a work in progress is comScore's viewership data for online video ad networks. Even as someone who follows the industry closely, I find these reports confusing. The press releases often distributed by various online video ad networks touting their progress only adds to the confusion. I touched on this last month, and to clear away some of the fog, last week I spoke to Tania Yuki, comScore's product manager for its Video Metrix measurement service.

    comScore's traffic reports are extremely important for the online video industry's growth because they are a key source of data for advertisers, media buyers, agencies and others looking to tap into this new medium. Ad networks in particular are an important part of the online video ecosystem because they provide significant reach, targeting and delivery technology, all of which are required by prospective advertisers.

    A key part of the current confusion is that each month comScore's Video Metrix Ad Focus report - which details the total audience of unique viewers for online properties and ad networks - combines both the actual audience of destination properties with the potential reach of video ad networks. For example, here's the top 10 for April:

     

    As you can see, 5 of the top 10 listed are ad networks, whose measurement is potential, while the other 5 are actuals. "Potential" is supposed to represent the aggregate number of viewers of all the sites that the ad network has the right to place ads on. However even the validity of this number is amorphous, because networks are only required to provide comScore proof of their relationships if the site accounts for more than 2% of all streaming or web activity.

    Recognizing the need to provide more clarity, comScore has recently made available the option for networks to participate in a "hybrid" measurement approach, meant to track networks' actual viewership. To participate, networks need to place a 1x1 pixel, or "beacon" inside any video player where their ads appear. comScore takes the data reported by the beacons and combines it with its 2 million member panel of users whose behavior it tracks. It reconciles differences between the two through a "scaling" process that looks at the intensity of users' non-video behaviors.

    To give a sense of the difference between potential and actual, comScore reports BrightRoll - which along with Nabbr are the only video ad networks to have implemented the beacons by April - as having 26M actual viewers vs. the 62M potential reported.

    comScore's hybrid approach, which fits with its recently-announced "Media Metrix 360" service, is an important step forward in providing more clarity on how video ad networks are actually performing. Still, as Tania explained, even the hybrid approach has its own idiosyncrasies. For example, some publishers resist having a network's beacon incorporated into their video player, because they want to receive traffic credit themselves. Further, it is a voluntary program. Tania said that in addition to BrightRoll and Nabbr, other networks like BBE, YuMe and Tremor are all working through the implementation currently.

    The actual numbers are important for buyers, so that ad networks' viewership can be assessed on an "apple to apples" basis with online properties, as well as non-video options. Tania said that media buyers tell comScore they value both potential and actual numbers. Though that sounds right to me, I think that for the online video medium to mature, buyers are going to put increasing emphasis on actual performance, particularly as it relates to existing media. That's why recent efforts from YuMe and Tremor to translate online video's impact into TV's gross rating points (GRP) paradigm are also important.

    In short, comScore seems to be doing its part to improve reporting clarity. However, this isn't going to resolve itself overnight; the market will continue to experience reporting confusion for some time to come.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Tremor vChoice Ad Format Raises the Bar on Pre-rolls

    I was intrigued by news yesterday from Tremor Media, the ad network and management company, of their rollout of a new ad format called vChoice. Advertising continues to be the primary business model for premium online video, yet there's wide consensus that pre-roll ads, the most popular ad format today, leaves a lot to be desired. I spoke to Tremor's CEO, Jason Glickman to learn more about vChoice, and its benefits vs. pre-roll.

    With vChoice, there's still a video ad playing prior to the requested content, but at 5-15 seconds, it's shorter than typical 15 and 30 second spots. The big difference is that this short ad is meant to be a teaser; when it stops running, an explicit choice is given to the user to click for more video, or to continue on to the requested content.

    By shortening the upfront message, and presenting more options to the user, the goal is to deepen engagement. vChoice is geared to advertisers who either already have videos that could be logically clustered and offered to users (e.g. a car model which multiple promo videos) or are interested in creating new stories for non-linear consumption (like the example below from Warner Bros). Either way, as Jason notes, vChoice offers much greater creative freedom and engagement potential than a typical 15 or 30 second passive spot.

     

    Tremor just finished a beta of vChoice with Microsoft, P&G, Ubisoft and Warner Bros. The results are impressive: 200% lift in engagement, as defined by multiple metrics, and a click-through rate of 3-6% vs. sub-1% for typical pre-rolls. Tremor's also using Quantcast data to provide demographic profiling of these engaged users. The early results, plus the creative potential, is what Jason says has advertisers most excited.

    Jason also added that there are two keys to making vChoice possible: the company's Acudeo management platform, which allows multiple in-stream ads to run within a single unit, while also delivering full analytics, and the scale represented by 900+ sites in Tremor's publisher network. Importantly, there's no extra charge for additional views in a vChoice experience. That means for users who watch multiple videos, the advertiser's cost/impression keeps declining.

    Jason doesn't see vChoice obsoleting pre-rolls, but rather offering more value in the online video medium. vChoice's success depends on whether users will be sufficiently enticed by the enhanced choices the advertiser offers to divert from their original viewing intentions. Key to driving that behavior is getting media buyers and creatives to understand the new value of these units and to then to invest in them. As this happens, the full potential of online video advertising will begin to be realized.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • comScore Data Shows Tremor Media, Others Gaining in Premium Reach

    Amid the steady stream of sneak peek press releases I'm sent each day, one I received late Tuesday from Tremor Media, the video ad network and monetization platform, caught my eye.

    The release cited March data from comScore indicating that Tremor's network now had potential reach of 137M unique users and 57M unique video viewers (both unduplicated). The former number is from comScore's Media Metrix Ad Focus report and the latter from its Video Metrix Ad Focus report.

    In particular, the latter number stuck out because I recalled comScore numbers from just 2 weeks ago that revealed the viewership for the top 10 video sites. Google (YouTube) was #1 with about 100M viewers, and Fox Interactive (mainly MySpace) was #2 with about half the amount, 55M.

    comScore's new data meant that Tremor's potential reach was second only to YouTube's actual reach. And if you make the argument that much of YouTube's viewership is still UGC, while Tremor's network focuses solely on premium publishers, Tremor would be #1 in potential reach against premium video, a key point of the release. It's also worth noting that 2 other video ad networks focused on premium publishers also show up in comScore's top 10 for potential unique viewers- BrightRoll with 56M and YuMe with 41M.

    Tremor's VP of Marketing Shane Steele and market research manager Ryan Van Fleet walked me through the data further yesterday.

    First, it's important to read these numbers carefully, as there's a little bit of apples vs. oranges going on. The Video Metrix Ad Focus report combines actual viewership by the destination sites (e.g. YouTube, MySpace, Yahoo, Hulu, etc.) with potential viewership by the ad networks. The report clearly denotes what's considered "potential." If I understand it correctly then, the comScore numbers for ad networks should be read as "here's the total potential audience of viewers you have access to." However, what percentage of this accessible audience actually gets an ad served by the ad network is only known by the ad network itself.

    VideoNuze readers will recall there's been a lot of sensitivity around these comScore numbers, since last summer a minor kerfuffle broke out over comScore's ranking of YuMe's traffic. Initially it attributed MSN's full audience to YuMe, but later revised YuMe's ranking down by only included pages against which YuMe ads could be served. comScore also stated that on an ongoing basis it would report "potential" reach for ad networks based on documented agreements and "actual" reach for those networks that included certain tags. The new Tremor numbers reflect this potential reach measurement.

    It's also important to remember that comScore filters its data to arrive at unduplicated reach. As I understand it that means that if for example Tremor had USAToday.com and Fox.com in its network (note Tremor doesn't disclose its publishers except to its advertisers) and a single user watched video at both sites, the user would only be counted once in Tremor's potential reach. I don't know how exactly comScore de-duplicates viewership, but let's assume it's accurate.

    The extent of Tremor's reach (along with BrightRoll's and YuMe's), particularly against premium video is an encouraging sign. I've written in the past that key inhibitors of TV ad dollars moving over to online video are both scale and various friction points in the ad buying process. The comScore data demonstrates that a cluster of ad networks is emerging that can deliver against TV ad buyer's reach expectations, while adding new targeting and reporting capabilities unavailable in TV. There have also been recent enhancements to these companies' reporting/analytics (particularly around GRPs) to synch up with TV ad buyers' expectations.

    The online video ad model continues to grow and evolve in spite of the current recession. This is particularly important for expensively-produced premium video where effective online monetization is crucial.

    Chime in here with a comment if you think the comScore data or its implications needs further clarification.

     
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  • YuMe/Mindshare's iGRP is Another Important Building Block for Video Ads

    This week's announcement by YuMe and Mindshare to introduce an "iGRP" calculation for online video ad campaigns is another important building block in the online video industry's maturation process. Under the plan, YuMe and Mindshare will offer a reach and frequency metric for ad campaigns running across YuMe's network, which will correlate to GRPs that media planners use for TV ads. I spoke to YuMe's president and co-founder Jayant Kadambi about the iGRP plan yesterday.

    Jayant explained that as the online video medium has grown, YuMe's sales team has begun interacting with more and more TV ad buyers, in addition to online ad buyers it customarily dealt with. While a lot of the spending for online video ads is still based on number of uniques and impressions, recently virtually all of the TV ad buyers YuMe deals with have been asking for a way to correlate and compare online video ad buys with TV buys. To address this need YuMe introduced the iGRP calculation a little while back and this week took the wraps off of it publicly. For those interested in understanding GRPs better, and the iGRP calculation, YuMe also released this useful white paper.

    The white paper suggests that in addition to measuring reach and frequency, iGRPs can also capture an "interactivity factor" which would measure things like mouseovers, click-throughs and leads. YuMe and Mindshare plan to work with agencies and advertisers on various experiments testing the performance of different ad formats, durations, content types and targeting schemes.

    I've believed for a while, as have others, that while there will be experimental ad dollars flowing into online video advertising, in order for the industry to truly scale, it is going to have to draw spending away from TV advertising. This is especially true in the down economy where advertisers are paring budgets, not increasing them. The $60 billion or so that's spent per year on TV ads is a rich pot of gold for online video to tap into. And given how reliant the online video industry is on advertising (vs. the paid model), the urgency to do so is quite high.

    But actually making this happen is no easy feat. The TV ad industry is well-understood by all its participants, and despite its shortcomings and recent pressures such as surging DVR usage, many in the industry have little incentive to change. As a result, I believe online video ad executives must address and resolve all the friction points in shifting ad spending. Learning to speak in the same language - GRPs in this case - that traditional TV buyers have used in building media plans and doing post-campaign analysis is essential for the online video industry's growth.

    YuMe's and Mindshare's GRP plan comes on the heels of Tremor Media's own GRP announcement with comScore from February. No doubt others will follow with their own approaches as well. This will make for a noisy period until the industry coalesces around standard ways of calculating GRPs and other metrics. Nonetheless, this awkward adolescence should be viewed as an expected part of the maturation process for an industry seeking to convert an already massive, and still rapidly growing amount of monthly eyeballs into meaningful ad revenues.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Adap.tv Releases OneSource 2.0

    Adap.tv is announcing its upgraded OneSource 2.0 ad management platform this morning. The Adap team explained to me on Friday what's new in this release.

    OneSource 2.0 builds on the product's initial vision of improving ad optimization while reducing complexity. Adap noted that the main pain point that its customers are expressing especially given the weak economy, is the need to spend more time focused on selling ads and less time on operationalizing the ad relationships. The need to improve their ROIs through both higher ad rates and higher fill rates is driving them to source ads from multiple sources and to want to refine those sources to find the optimal mix. All of this increases implementation and reporting complexity.

    OneSource 2.0's new features are meant to address these issues. The video provider can now accept ad tags from virtually any source, and do so more efficiently. In addition, through a management dashboard, the provider's ad ops manager can specify and adjust the fill order for the ad sources on a per ad basis. That means that for a specific piece of content there can be one queue for pre-rolls and another for overlays or for two pieces of content there can be two different pre-roll queues, and so on.

    By sequencing multiple sources, OneSource creates a failover system so that an ad is likely always served, thereby increasing fill rates. Adap pointed to one provider who has been able to increase their fill rate from 20% to 70%.

    In addition, OneSource 2.0 allows reporting by revenue source, video positions and geographic regions, which, at least in the demo screens that I saw, looked quite powerful. The ad ops manager can track performance on a daily basis and re-order sources accordingly. Lastly, there are enhanced tools for managing ads when content is syndicated, along with performance reporting.

    I continue to see OneSource in a competitive set with Tremor Media's Acudeo ad management system, and also to some extent with Panache and FreeWheel. All of these systems are, in one way or another trying to improve video content providers' monetization and/or syndication efforts. Adap notes that by not also operating an ad network, it can be more agnostic about ad sources and solely focused on its technology. It now has 300+ publishers on board, helping monetize "high 100s of millions" of impressions per month, which it said is a 10x increase from OneSource's launch in May '08.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Tremor Media Raises $18 Million Further Validating Broadband Video's Impact

    Tremor Media announced this morning that it has raised a Series C round of $18 million, led by Meritech Capital Partners, with participation from existing investors Canaan Partners, Masthead Venture Partners and European Founders Fund. Tremor has now raised nearly $40 million to date. Tremor's CEO Jason Glickman gave me a short update on the company yesterday and a little more background on the financing.

    Tremor believes it is now the largest video ad network, with 1,400 publishing partners aggregating 137 million unique visitors per month. Tremor focuses exclusively on premium video (i.e. non user-generated) and Jason said the company has access to 1 billion "advertisable impressions" per month. According to Jason, this critical mass has been a big source of the company's recent success as it has been able to appeal to advertisers by segmenting its network to target certain types of users.

    Jason explained that as Tremor has grown and usage of broadband video has surged, the company has increased its efforts to shift traditional TV ad dollars over. Though it's hard to know exactly what budgets ad dollars were originally earmarked for, based on the size of the RFPs Tremor's responding to, Jason thinks this shift is indeed underway. And as he correctly points out, you don't need a lot of the $70 billion that's spent on TV annually to move over to make a big impact in broadband advertising. To help compete more effectively with TV, Tremor also recently announced that it would use comScore's Post Buy and Ad Effectiveness reports to offer GRP (gross ratings points) campaign metrics.

    To give some sense of Tremor's relative size, comScore reported 14.3 billion total U.S. video views in Dec. '08. Of that YouTube accounted for approximately 5.9 billion views. If you assume that somewhere between half and two-thirds of YouTube's views are UGC (and don't even consider UGC views at all other sites), then premium U.S. video views might be somewhere around 11.3-12.3 billion per month. According to these calculations, that would mean Tremor has access to around 8-9% of premium U.S. video views per month.

    While acknowledging the economic downturn has created new challenges, Jason said the company has met or beat all of its metrics, is still on track for profitability in '09 and had multiple financing offers. Meritech's media and advertising experience in other portfolio companies (e.g. Facebook, Quigo, Revenue Science, etc.) was a real draw. The funding will be used to build its network, enhance its Acudeo monetization platform and continue international expansion.

    There's no denying the economic pain being felt these days, but Tremor's ability to raise, coupled with other market leaders' ability to do so, is solid evidence that the broadband video market is a rare bright spot in the media landscape today. I constantly remind people that the underlying fundamentals of broadband video consumption are only increasing each month. The companies that figure out how to capitalize on these trends will still be able to raise money.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

    (Note: Tremor Media is a VideoNuze sponsor)

     
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  • Panache Lands MTV Networks; Ad Insertion Space Evolves

    The video ad insertion and management landscape continues to evolve as Panache is announcing this morning that its platform will be deployed across MTV Networks' sites. I caught up with Steve Robinson, Panache's president yesterday to learn more.

    As Steve explains it, as major media companies have grown their broadband video usage, operationalizing the business has become increasingly complex. This is no surprise and I've heard it from others as well: multiple organizations including technology development, ad operations, ad sales and programming have had to learn to work together to deploy and monetize broadband video offerings.

    This is important stuff, not just because of the potential for missed revenue, but because users can quickly notice when the organization's gears are grinding. How often have you seen the same untargeted ad play repeatedly? Or not seen any ads at all? Or have had a 30 second pre-roll ad in front of short 45 second news clips you're sequentially watching? As the broadband stakes have gotten higher, large media companies have increasingly focused on how to streamline their processes in order to scale and monetize more effectively.

    That's where Panache comes in. In the MTV example, Panache first integrates with MTV's standardized video player. Once integrated, ad operations is able to use the Panache tools to create ad programs and logic, including campaigns, flights, formats, etc. This becomes the playbook for ad sales as it interfaces with customers, and can be readily modified to suit custom requests. A key benefit is that MTV's development organization doesn't need to get involved each time some part of the ad offering is changed. Improving the back-end processes helps ramp up sales, which for major media companies like MTV Networks is handled mostly by internal teams.

    But the need for streamlining broadband video ad operations goes beyond the major media companies though, and there are other offerings with similar capabilities on the market too. For example in the past year Tremor Media has launched Acudeo, and Adap.tv has launched OneSource. Both are technology platforms for video providers that can pull ads from multiple sources (direct sales, ad networks, etc.) with an eye to maximizing fill rates and CPMs.

    One key difference is business model: Panache and Adap.tv don't have ad sales organizations, whereas Tremor, as an ad network, does. For Panache or Adap.tv that means relying on some mix of licensing/platform usage fees and/or receiving a revenue share from customers, whereas for Tremor it means obtaining a chunk of the inventory to sell itself. There are no doubt feature-for-feature differences as well, but not having worked in ad ops myself, some of this is beyond my scope and would require specific due diligence.

    For sure as the broadband video ad business becomes more integral to large and mid-sized content providers we'll continue to see more innovation and business process improvements in this area. Just as TV ad insertion has been refined to a science over the years, so too will broadband video.

    What do you think? Post a comment now.

     
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  • Tremor, Adap.tv Introduce New Ad Platforms

    The video ad management and networks space, marked by competition among a group of privately-held companies, continues to evolve. In the last few weeks two key players, Tremor Media and Adap.tv have announced new solutions giving content providers more flexibility to optimally monetize their video inventory by easily accessing multiple ad sources. Given how essential the ad business is to broadband video's ultimate success, both products are welcome.

    Ad networks play an important role for content providers which either don't have their own ad sales team or as an augment for those that do. For the latter, ad networks help monetize their unsold inventory, particularly important during unexpected spikes in viewership. Traditionally content providers had two basic choices, each of which had disadvantages:

    First, they could select one ad management/network partner. This kept things simple, but didn't necessarily optimize the inventory, because it was dependent on how well that one network's advertisers were matched to available inventory (resulting in either the inventory going unsold or users seeing the same irrelevant ad over and over again).

    The second was to go with multiple ad networks. This improved optimization, but created multiple operational challenges trying to work with different ad managers, formats and reporting.

    Both Tremor's new "Acudeo" platform, and Adap.tv's "OneSource" seek to resolve these problems by providing one management platform capable of handling multiple ad sources/ad networks across all ad inventory.

    Jason Glickman, Tremor's CEO, explained to me that he's positioning Acudeo to do for video advertising what DoubleClick's DART did for banner advertising. Content providers can easily enable all kinds of complex ad rules around their inventory - the type of ad format to be used, their frequency and contextual targeting (with partner Digitalsmiths), their cueing and lastly, standardized reporting, so that ongoing campaign adjustments can be made. Acudeo aims to support all third party ad networks. Tremor prices Acudeo flexibly depending on whether the content provider also uses Tremor's ad network.

     

    Adap.tv's recently introduced OneSource platform has the same goal of improving ad optimization with lower complexity. Amir Ashkenazi, Adap.tv's says OneSource differentiates itself by using Adap.tv's contextual advertising capabilities to optimize which third-party's ads to run. It does this by understanding the video content itself and then matching the optimal ads, factoring in the ad rules the content provider has preset. Amir believes that by doing so, it can raise the effective CPM delivered by 65%, from which OneSource's fee is deducted. OneSource has 40 third party ad networks currently integrated and also aims to support all ad sources.

     

    Acudeo's and OneSource's potential is to bring more spending into the video category, which obviously would be extremely valuable. Last week, I expressed concern that with so many video content providers relying on advertising, a short-term squeeze is a real risk. Both Acudeo and OneSource are encouraging signs that the ad management and network businesses are continuing to mature, which will benefit everyone.

    What do you think? Post a comment and let everyone know!

    (Note: Both Tremor Media and Adap.tv are VideoNuze sponsors)

     
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