Snapchat Gets $486M; Chat Apps Good For Brands

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Snapchat closed a hefty $486 million investment round, auspiciously announced in a regulatory filing on New Year’s Eve. The 23 investors are so far unnamed, though the Financial Times says Yahoo and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers are rumored backers. “Despite the huge valuation and new funding, the company’s advertising business remains in its nascent stages,” writes Financial Times reporter Tim Bradshaw at, “with only a handful of brands paying to promote themselves on Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging app so far.” But the funding vindicates Snapchat’s refusal to sell to Facebook for $3 billion last year. More.

Optimizing The Brand Chats

Speaking of chat apps, TechCrunch reports says the genre is creating value for brands. Line, WeChat and Kik are among the big purveyors. (As AdExchanger reported, Kik opened the door to branded chats this year.) TechCrunch’s Jon Russell sees Asia leading the chat charge. “Asia’s messaging apps have been around longer, and thus most have more mature business models that generate income by connecting brands with consumers, in addition to other non-marketing revenue streams such as games and stickers,” writes Russell.

Yahoo’s Jingling Pockets

Yahoo chief Marissa Mayer is rumored to be eying cable networks, sources tell Business Insider. The company has eyed Scripps Networks Interactive and CNN. The Information’s Tom Dolan chimes in on the CNN rumor with a speculative piece, calling a merger between a tech and cable company “preordained.” Read it. And Yahoo is also reportedly sniffing around demand-side players including Mediamath and Turn. Re/code from November.

Stream Nation

TV everywhere is…really everywhere. According to data from Leichtman Research Group, more than three-quarters of US households own a DVR, subscribe to Netflix or use video on demand from cable or telco providers. “While VOD and DVRs were relatively nascent when this series of studies began, they are now core components of pay-TV packages,” says Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. “Along with Netflix and other over-the-top offerings, these on-Demand [sic] TV services have permanently changed the options of how people may choose to watch TV.” And, where there’s smoke in the form of end-user behavioral shifts, there’s bound to be fire in the form of new paid-media inventory. Multichannel has more.

Stay Tuned

Speaking to Beet.TV, Xaxis CEO Brian Lesser said 2014 was a milestone year for Xaxis’ TV biz. “When we started Xaxis in 2011, about 80% of what we did was display and we had a small video business,” he said. “Now it’s the majority of what we do.” Lesser claims Xaxis growth into television will give it a leg up once programmatic for linear TV becomes technologically feasible. “Our ambition is to convert what is now a very big video business to eventually dovetail that with a TV business that we buy programmatically,” Lesser said. More.

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