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Video Ads Platform Coull Says Data Can Solve Pre-Roll Relevance Problems

RichardNunnDespite a surge in mobile video consumption, inventory is still constrained. A number of technology companies are looking to diversify pre- or post-roll inventory by adding contextual layers or new formats altogether. One such player is video advertising technology company Coull.

Richard Nunn was recently named chief commercial officer for Coull. He was a digital media and technology equity analyst for Charles Stanley Securities, and managing director, London, for WPP agency Wunderman, prior.

He spoke with AdExchanger about scaling Coull’s UK-based business in the US and APAC, where he anticipates a flood of ad tech M&A.

AdExchanger: What problem do you solve?

RICHARD NUNN:  We are an ad technology platform focused on the context of content. We are also looking at audio and images and how do we monetize those rather than being just a pure video monetization play. Our trajectory as a business is, ultimately, about data. We can provide value-add for the advertiser and therefore can serve up more relevant pre-roll because we have data. Our media format is Vidlinkr, a branded, in-video overlay, which adds context fused out with other first and third party data, which will help drive more contextual pre-roll advertising.

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As Digital Video And TV Converge, Measurement Questions Loom

AmitSethIndustry insiders worry that as digital video and television converge, one will cannibalize the other in terms of media allocation.

Not necessarily so, said Scott Ferber, founder and CEO of video ad platform Videology, during a panel the company hosted Wednesday. Ferber shared research commissioned by Videology and conducted by Forrester Research revealing that 70% of media decision-makers (from a sample size of 150) believe advertisers and agencies will begin to manage TV and video campaigns holistically and will ultimately be bought in similar fashions.

The biggest question is how one should measure these converged buys.

Andrew Feigenson, SVP of digital client service at Nielsen, said during the panel that taking one independent, third-party metric, such as Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings (OCR), and applying it cross-platform is still in the early adoption stage among marketers, “although we are starting to get there.”

Feigenson alluded to early traction in Nielsen’s ongoing rollout of a software development kit (SDK) designed to link cross-platform ad views with OCR through digital watermarking technology. It basically translates ratings around video or display content to Nielsen’s standard TV-viewing measurement C3. This could represent an additional technical advancement in bridging the gap in measurement between digitally executed and standard TV buys.

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For Kellogg, Measuring 'In View' Video Is A Complex Business

kelloggs-viewable-videoWhen the Media Rating Council (MRC) recently lifted its advisory against factoring viewability measurement into display ad transactions, one crucial format did not get the green light.

The accreditation vendor has urged advertisers to avoid trading on video viewability metrics – at least until the end of June. Question is, will that be enough time?

Currently, in-browser video can be considered viewable if it is 50% in view for a minimum of two seconds. That definition has existed for about three months, and according to David Gunzerath, associate director at MRC, "It needs another three months to be socialized."

Not everyone agrees that's a good working definition, however.

"The brand doesn't usually show up in the first two seconds of an ad," said Aaron Fetters, the Kellogg Co.'s director of its insights and analytics solutions center, during a presentation last week at the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Media Leadership Conference.

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‘In-House’ Media Progression Underpins Comcast AdDelivery, Adstream Alliance

ToddPorchComcast AdDelivery on Tuesday struck a deal with digital ad-distribution company Adstream to expand global video ad delivery efforts. The deal essentially fulfills each companies’ geographic delivery needs.

While Comcast historically had a strong domestic delivery network, Adstream, an Australian-founded, $65 million-a-year business that’s headquartered in London, gives Comcast pertinent global reach.

A trend in which marketers are taking media buying in-house also spurred the alliance. While this trend is already underway in programmatic display, both Comcast and Adstream are betting it won’t be long before video catches up.

“Historically, the business has been more focused on the agency and production house, but increasingly we’re finding the brand taking more direct ownership of their assets,” said Gerry Sutton, CEO of Adstream. “We’re not only doing ad delivery, but we’re also doing asset management now to account for that shift.”

Global brands seek broader asset-management capabilities and a vast distribution network for their ad units, he said. He believes the delivery and distribution deal with Comcast AdDelivery will better enable both partners to meet in-house marketer needs.

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Brightcove Extends Support For Twitter ‘Amplify,’ Preps For ‘Alternate’ Devices

BrightcoveArtOnline video player and distributor Brightcove has extended short-form video support for Twitter’s growing slew of video-monetization tools, Twitter Amplify and Twitter Video Cards.

Underpinned by tech from its recent acquisition of digital ad-insertion platform Unicorn Media, the Brightcove Once cloud platform is designed to enable publishers and media companies to ease the playback of short-form broadcast content, coupled with dynamic ad insertion through Twitter Amplify.

Brightcove CTO AJ McGowan (formerly Unicorn Media’s CTO) spoke with AdExchanger about the integration process and Twitter tie-in.

AdExchanger: What is Once?

AJ MCGOWAN: Unicorn’s Once lets us create video content on the fly in the cloud. Brightcove had really created a best-in-class client-side software and I think they realized a client-side approach wasn’t going to get them all the way there in and of itself. At the same time, on the Unicorn side, even if you’re handling all of the heavy lifting in the cloud, you still need to have some really lightweight client software that’s available on the device to manage those interactive experiences.

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Yahoo And Amazon Try To Make Waves In Video Content Pool

VideoWarAs the digital video ecosystem gets more crowded, players that plan for cross-device content delivery and who can partner with multiple platforms will win.

Both Amazon and Yahoo have been working toward this by mastering their respective delivery methods, increasing audience scale and developing premium inventory.

Consider Amazon’s Wednesday launch of its Fire TV set-top box, designed to enable HDTV streaming from content providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu Plus. The release comes following last week’s rumors that Amazon would roll out a free, ad-supported streaming TV service, a potential competitor to Google and Comcast.

The release of Fire TV indicates Amazon wants more control over digital content.

“[Amazon isn’t] trying to sell the devices for profit itself, but to promote media consumption on their hardware and devices as incentive to buy more content through their platform,” said Aravindh Vanchesan, director of the digital media practice at research firm Frost and Sullivan. “They don’t necessarily have to work with Roku or Apple to stream their own content and keep it in their own ecosystem.”

Similarly, Yahoo is looking to bolster its video content delivery and production initiatives. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday rumors Yahoo is in talks to acquire News Distribution Network (NDN), an online video service that connects 4,500 publishers to premium inventory and access to 146 million viewers monthly through a Digital Media Exchange.

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Amazon's Potential Streaming Media Play Could Strengthen FreeWheel Relationship

StreamingAmazon’s rumored development of an ad-supported, free streaming media service, reported first by the Wall Street Journal Thursday, but subsequently denied by a company spokesperson, could solidify its relationship with FreeWheel.

FreeWheel is a video ad platform used by Comcast and Amazon among others. When Comcast announced its intent to acquire FreeWheel earlier this month, analysts and industry insiders wondered whether Amazon would continue using it.

After all, Comcast as parent company of the video ad server ultimately changes who controls data ownership around digital content management. With more players developing unique devices and set-top boxes (including Amazon's potential entry to that area as early as next week), owning the entire content distribution chain, ad serve and inventory is becoming increasingly viable.

Although a FreeWheel spokesperson said its relationship with current partners wouldn’t change, the possibility that Amazon is beefing up its streaming TV initiative could make FreeWheel a more integral partner.

Even before rumors broke of Amazon’s possible streaming TV service, the company was certainly looking to monetize video on the site. Lisa Utzschneider, VP of global advertising for Amazon Media Group, had confirmed to AdExchanger that Amazon was looking to place pre-roll ads or overlays on ecommerce ads. She also confirmed Amazon was integrating advertising into short-form content such as game or movie trailers and how-to videos.

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Can Real-Time TV Data Bridge Divide Between Online and Broadcast Ads?

TVTYTelevision remains the world's most powerful medium both in terms of time spent and ad investment, but the way people use it has changed. Writing recently in an article for the Atlantic, Derek Thompson noted, “The trouble with the TV business is that even though more people than ever are paying for TV—whether it's on cable, satellite/telco, Netflix, Hulu Plus, or Amazon Prime Video—fewer people are watching it live. Broadcast TV ads are sold against live audiences. Without live audiences, advertisers go away.”

One company that seeks to bridge the growing gap between online, mobile and broadcast advertising is TVTY. Founded in 2008 by Eliott Reilhac and Pierre Marechal, and backed by VC firm Partech Ventures, TVTY syncs online campaigns with TV advertising in real time.

CEO Reilhac explained TVTY’s approach saying, “The problem that we solve is double-sided. For TV buyers, we allow them to increase their reach with the online inventory. For trading desks and ad networks, we allow them to reach branding budgets which are higher and with higher CPMs. We increase their turnover with better margins and with new budgets.”

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Blazing New Trails For Connected TV

ShirleneShirlene Chandrapal, former director of Yahoo! Connected TV (CTV) in Europe, says connected television will connect advertisers with a highly engaged audience whose medium of choice is the Internet.

Chandrapal now works for cross-channel advertising technology company Adconion Direct, where she’s tasked with driving CTV’s US expansion. She’s taking on a market where an estimated 63% of US broadband households have at least one Internet-connected device, according to TDG Research. Adconion Direct offers what it calls “brand-safe” CTV inventory for 30-some devices like Smart Blue-ray players and game consoles.

Adconion owns 85% of the connected TV market in Europe, Chandrapal said. Part of this reach comes from the company’s acquisition of the video ad network Smartclip, where Chandrapal worked after leaving Yahoo. But despite her roots working in Europe, Chandrapal’s focus is in the US. “It’s a very hot space and there are a lot of players involved,” she said.

Chandrapal spoke with AdExchanger about the opportunities and challenges of connected TV data and content.

AdExchanger: Where’s the most opportunity for connected TV?

SHIRLENE CHANDRAPAL: We work with a lot of premium brands that are buying video campaigns at scale. When we’re talking about connected TV, we’re talking about a more educated, more affluent demographic. For them, the Internet is really their medium of choice. Form and function is important to them. That’s not to say they’re not TV users, but they invest in quality products and are more likely to be a certain type of consumer. They have a higher propensity to buy cars and they like media.

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TubeMogul Files S-1, Seeks To Raise $75M In IPO

tubemogulVideo demand-side platform TubeMogul on Wednesday filed its S-1 registration document with the US Securities Exchange Commission, signaling its intention to raise $75 million in an initial public offering. Read the S-1.

In the filing, TubeMogul stated, "For 2011, 2012 and 2013, our total revenue was $15.7 million, $34.2 million and $57.2 million, respectively, representing a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 91%, and Total Spend through our platform was $17.8 million, $53.8 million, and $111.9 million, respectively, representing a CAGR of 151%."

Its gross margins have grown similarly in each of the last three years. Those margins were 48% in 2011, 52% in 2012 and 66% in  2013. Net loss was $4.1 million, $3.6 million and $7.4 million, respectively.

TubeMogul offers both self-serve and managed services models, and in 2013 it supported campaigns for 2,000 individual brands – mostly through agencies but in a handful of cases directly with  marketers.

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