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Telstra Subsidiary Ooyala Agrees To Acquire Video SSP Videoplaza

VideoplazaThe turf war for programmatic video technologies wages on.

Video distribution and analytics platform Ooyala, acquired by Australian telco Telstra in August, revealed Monday it would purchase London-based video supply-side platform Videoplaza for an undisclosed sum. Read the release.

This is a critical move for Ooyala, which focuses on helping publishers run and operate their video business by managing content, metatags, encoding, content recommendation and analytics, while Videoplaza is a publisher ad server and programmatic marketplace.

Ooyala is typically used by broadcasters like ESPN and Univision to stream, analyze and monetize video content. Traditionally, however, Ooyala partnered - rather than owned - exchange-based capabilities.

"The most interesting intersection point is the kind of data we both respectively bring into this relationship," said Belsasar Lepe, Ooyala's cofounder and director of solutions. "Ooyala has always had a very good view into content, engagement and performance and Videoplaza brings the advertising component. When we look at the real benefit here, it's creating a complete, 360-degree view of the end user based on ad and content insights."

Through Videoplaza, Ooyala inherits the sell-side ad-serving platform "Karbon" (see AdExchanger coverage) as well as trading platform Konnect, which was released in early October. Videoplaza also rolled out Aunia, a private video marketplace offering for premium broadcasters to deliver and monetize IP-based content with additional controls over pricing and inventory quality.


FreeWheel Tests Premium Programmatic Reserve With TubeMogul

jamesrookeFreeWheel, a video ad server owned by Comcast and used by broadcasters like ABC and Discovery Communications, has teamed up with digital demand-side platform (DSP) TubeMogul to make premium digital video inventory accessible on a programmatic reserved basis.

FreeWheel is arranging several data escrows with TubeMogul and providing access to agencies and marketers like Allstate, IPG Mediabrands and retailer Target’s agency Haworth Marketing + Media.

After a brand compiles audience profiles and personas in their data-management platform, TubeMogul ingests the information and applies it on an impression-by-impression basis.

FreeWheel uses this first-party data to determine the best time and place to serve the ad. Depending on inventory availability, “they will reserve those premium impressions up front and then target those impressions as the campaign runs,” said Keith Eadie, TubeMogul’s CMO. “Programmatic reserve will be one component of a programmatic TV offering [that] makes sense both from an advertiser planning/budget perspective and the publisher perspective.”

This effort is the latest installation in FreeWheel’s FourFronts program, a year-old initiative designed to let advertisers use workflow tools from Mediaocean and Strata to access FreeWheel’s premium digital video supply. (more…)

AOL Snags Viacom’s Connected Content Chief To Lead Video Charge

DermotMAOL on Tuesday appointed Dermot McCormack president of AOL Video and AOL Studios, its original content production arm.

McCormack, formerly Viacom’s head of connected content, will replace Ran Harnevo, a key player in the development of premium online video content network AOL On, who is pursuing “other opportunities.”

McCormack’s appointment comes at a pivotal period in time for AOL, which revealed during last week’s Programmatic Upfront its plan to push further into programmatic video and TV targeting.

AOL’s development of a programmatic marketing stack “ONE” appears to be in lockstep with its efforts in video and original content. During its star-studded newfront in April, AOL claimed all AOL On Original and reserve inventory would be available for sale programmatically through

“That’s the vision over time,” McCormack told AdExchanger when asked if AOL had executed on that promise. He called the process of enabling programmatic insertions in all video inventory a “several-prong approach” that requires an aggregation of premium content, distributing it to different devices like connected TVs and iPads “and peppering it with new original formats that will help grow audience.”


Teads Wants To Fix The Video Viewability Problem

JDThe promise of “always in-view” ad formats sounds like panacea, but Parisian video supply-side platform Teads, which merged with European video platform Ebuzzing in the spring, is aggressively expanding into the US to tackle that very issue in video.

The merged companies, which as of Monday will take the name Teads, had $100 million in revenue in 2014 and are eyeing a 2015 IPO. It differentiates via a video ad format called inRead, used by Forbes (which it white labels for a product called “In-Read”), Slate and Reuters.

The unit is designed to let publishers dynamically embed advertiser messages into related editorial content like articles or slideshows. Teads performs semantic analysis around editorial content to determine ad relevance. If at least 50% of the unit isn’t viewable or if the reader is scrolling around screen or leaves the page, the video stops playing.

Thus, Teads claims an advertiser is charged only for completed views and says it’s much less intrusive for the reader since sound is only activated when you scroll over the placement. Jeff Perkins, an account director for Reuters, said the format “has expanded our inventory and allows us more space for brands,” since the publisher isn’t tapping previously produced content.

Teads intended to develop a format that goes beyond the technical parameters of pre-roll, where agency buyers typically use repurposed 15- or 30-second television spots to fill their online video ad buys, according to Jim Daily, managing director, North America, Teads.


Advertisers Need Measurement Before They’ll Invest In Connected TV And Mobile Video

MeasureThisConsumers may spend a lot of time watching video on over-the-top devices and mobile, but advertisers still haven’t invested heavily in those areas.

While panelists throughout Advertising Week in New York City agreed that the development of measurement techniques will help close that gap, device fragmentation complicates these initiatives.

Still, connected TV makers and distributors are looking at how consumers are digesting content and bringing those learnings into discussions with brands and advertisers, said Scott Burke, Yahoo’s SVP of advertising and data platforms, who spoke at Alphonso Summit: Extending TV Media Buys to Mobile on Wednesday.

“Mobile is certainly the point of consumption, but publishers are creating this linkage to connect experiences in digital to TV,” he said. Yahoo’s 2011 acquisition of social TV and content recognition app IntoNow helped establish its Smart TV platform strategy and its July purchase of mobile ad marketplace and analytics platform Flurry provides app usage data.

Linking these capabilities interests marketers targeting specific audience segments, particularly when trying to understand how smart TV app use and digital video will ultimately affect brand goals, Burke said.


Mondelēz Hopes To Enhance Video Expertise With Google Deal

boninCPG giant Mondelēz International, which made waves in the ad industry earlier this year by owning its deal with video demand-side platform TubeMogul, has entered another agreement designed to enhance its online video investments: a partnership with Google covering markets in North America, Europe and emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

The agreement includes an “advertising commitment,” according to a press release, as well as an initiative to create video content through YouTube’s Brand Partner Program.

As with its TubeMogul deal, Mondelēz is again taking ownership of the contract, which was brokered with an assist by agency Starcom MediaVest.

While Mondelēz has worked with Google in the past, this deal “solidifies [the] partnership,” said B. Bonin Bough, Mondelēz’s VP of global media and consumer engagement.

A Google spokesperson said the deal “is really focused on helping Mondelēz be successful on Google on YouTube."

CPG Challenger Brand Hello Products Brings Digital Video Buys In-House

HelloAs a CPG newbie that launched last March, Hello Products competes with household brands like Crest and Colgate.

In order to break into a $30 billion oral care market, the company first partnered with BMW Group’s agency DesignworksUSA to craft a visual identity around green living and innovative design.

But as Hello ramps up, it deployed video demand-side platform TubeMogul in August to begin programmatic video campaigns; the company liked the fact that TubeMogul had a unified dashboard where it could monitor completion rates and click throughs cross- platform.

“Our audience is anyone with a mouth, but we can send a message to this person who’s this age and fits this psychographic profile or set of interests,” said Craig Dubitsky, founder and CEO of Hello Products. He also cofounded natural lip balm brand EOS. The ability to identify its audience without involving multiple platforms or agency partners is "game changing," Dubitsky said.

Instead of hiring an agency of record, Hello appointed an in-house creative director and head of marketing, Christi Botello, a former P&G brand manager and marketing director for Revlon.


Roku: Bringing Brands, Publishers Onboard In a Cookieless, Connected TV Environment

ScottRosenbergRoku, the first streaming player to translate Netflix to TV, has reached the 10 million-device mark. With 1,000-plus channels ranging from free to subscription (Hulu Plus, Netflix) and on-demand services (HBOGo and WatchESPN), Roku is scaling up its ad-supported vertical.

Bringing publishers and brand partners onboard in a cookieless, connected TV environment comes with its own unique challenges, but as streaming content moves mainstream, buy- and sell-side conversations are increasing.

Programmatic media platform Xaxis, for instance, is actively building a connected TV marketplace that includes early inventory partners such as Roku and Xbox. Broadcast network A&E, too, is building private marketplaces that span desktop, mobile and connected TV supply sources like Roku, Amazon Fire, Xbox and Apple TV.

Scott Rosenberg, VP of business development, content and services at Roku, said it's early days in connecting ad sales with audience data in CTV, but the ecosystem is growing up.

He spoke with AdExchanger.

AdExchanger: Describe your role at Roku.

SCOTT ROSENBERG: I run ad sales and partner promotions at Roku. One of our big focuses is how to make publishers successful on our platform. My team stewards a partner once they’re on the platform and we run all the promotional tools to help the partner get downloads, subscriptions, transactions, stream counts and one vertical we’ve really started to lean in on is the ad-supported vertical.


Connected TV Players Turn On The Programmatic Pipes

ConnectedLinear TV may not exactly “lean in” to programmatic (yet), but the connected device constituency is proving programmatic TV is more than just futurespeak.

In a series of buy and sell-side discussions at LiveRail’s Video Publisher Forum Tuesday in New York, a number of industry execs agreed connected TV apps, publishers, ad servers and measurement have to come together to further the cause.

“The order goes: connected TV, addressable, then linear,” said Christina Beaumier, VP of product development for Xaxis of the succession of programmatic TV adoption. “We’re actively building a connected TV marketplace that’s not just limited to smart TV, but also includes Roku, Xbox and other over the top devices.”

On the programmer side, A&E Networks 18 months ago approached programmatic “with a great deal of uncertainty,” according to Jason DeMarco, director of yield optimization for A&E. But following a series of early tests to remove sales channel conflict and ensure large-ticket buys still passed through its direct business, A&E is now live with a programmatic private marketplace across desktop, mobile and connected TV apps including Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AppleTV and Xbox.

“If we look back to the lessons learned from display, I think we can solve the problem [of] overexposure [as] premium publishers by using first party data to find real value,” he said.


British Sky Media Brings Custom Audience-Like Targeting To TV

JamieWestWhen will buying a linear TV ad be as simple as executing a Facebook ad buy? Sky Media, the ad sales arm of one European broadcast and telecom giant, says it’s already happening.

British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB) dominates the pay-TV market in the UK, counting some 10.7 million paid subscribers a month and banking nearly £800 million (US$1.3 billion) a year in advertising revenue.

BSkyB features a cross-section of content from sports to movies and premium entertainment, which it pipes via satellite to nearly 11 million household set-top boxes. Its other distribution points include an on-demand service called Sky Go, enabling viewers to tune in to linear or on-demand channels via mobile or PC.

“Sky is fortunate, in many respects, to operate at scale across all of the platforms we [are] on,” said Jamie West, deputy managing director of Sky Media. “By way of reference, we’re the biggest commercial sports website in the UK and we have on our Sky Go product 60 million streams on a monthly basis. Sky Media’s role, as the commercial division of Sky, is to help monetize those assets.”