Given the advanced stage of cloud technology and the race for digital video ad dollars, constantly retooling an existing cloud system, or building a new one from scratch, can be prohibitively expensive and time-consuming. That's the reasoning behind this week's $49 million acquisition of digital ad insertion provider Unicorn Media by online video player and distributor Brightcove.
Unicorn, which calls its primary cloud suite Once, brings with it 14 US patents, something that will give Brightcove's existing tools a shot in the arm, in terms of a broader range of real-time analytics and ad delivery – things the company used to rely on from various vendor partners and its own ad hoc tools. Jeff Whatcott, CMO of Boston-based Brightcove spoke to us about the additional value.
AdExchanger: Why did Brightcove buy Unicorn?
JEFF WHATCOTT: There is an emerging advertising paradigm we call the "Digital First" age, where cloud software technology will make it possible for broadcasters and TV programmers to connect directly with their consumers and deliver personalized content and advertising in a one-to-one fashion. The addition of Unicorn to the Brightcove portfolio positions us to directly address the large and growing market for online video advertising.
What made Unicorn the right fit to better position Brightcove for the continued expansion of online video ad spending?
Unicorn is a pioneer in developing a cloud-centric approach to video ad insertion with their "Once" technology, which is a fundamentally different approach as compared to the traditional video player-centric model. Unicorn has proven to be successful in reducing or eliminating the need for platform-specific client technology, which enables customers to deliver live or on-demand video streams with customized programming and full loads of targeted advertising that is comparable to a traditional television experience.
Does the deal add new capabilities or complement existing ones?
The Once product line will continue as standalone products that complements the Brightcove Video Cloud and Brightcove Zencoder. We plan to integrate Once technologies with future versions of Video Cloud and Zencoder. Over time, Video.js and other Brightcove Web players and native player SDKs will integrate with OnceUX technologies to support playback of Once streams. Video Cloud will also eventually integrate with Once for video on-demand streaming, and Video Cloud Live and Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding will integrate with OnceLIVE for fully-monetized live event streaming.
How do the two brands fit together and how does the deal reflect Brightcove's wider goals this year?
The acquisition is part of a larger strategic initiative to increase our focus on delivering unbeatable value for television broadcasters, programmers and distributors worldwide.
Together, Brightcove and Unicorn will be able to offer the most comprehensive suite of cloud services for delivering and monetizing online video content to the broadest range of devices. We will continue to lead the market with the most powerful and flexible technology for cross-platform, customizable video players. And now we have the best technology for reaching hard-to-monetize devices. Being able to reach these screens with live and on-demand video with highly targeted advertising is a real game changer.
What happens to the Unicorn brand? Does it remain? Or does it become folded in to Brightcove's existing products?
Brightcove will rebrand the Unicorn Media product line as Brightcove Once and will continue to develop, operate and support the service while also integrating the technology with other Brightcove services.
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