ESPN’s Display Play; Video RTB Set To Surge

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ESPN’s Display Play

With all the talk about “native ads” that resemble a site’s editorial content, ESPN is suggesting that maybe making better looking display units is the answer. In a look at its new wallpaper ads, paidContent’s Jeff John Roberts talks to Marc Horine, VP of Revenue & Operations for ESPN, about the sports media company’s “creative renaissance.” The point is to “break through the clutter of the traditional ad experience.” Horine also points to ESPN’s investment in technology that lets the site display elegant TV-like ads behind a story. Read more.

Changing The Channel

After more than a year of struggle between Hulu CEO Jason Kilar and the video site’s joint venture parents, the chief has decided to step down. CTO Tom Rich is also headed for the exit. In a statement on Hulu’s blog, Kilar says he’s going out on a high note, claiming, “We have proudly generated over $1 Billion for our content partners since we excitedly entered private beta in October 2007.” No word on what’s next for Kilar, a former Amazon executive, but the NYT’s Brian Stelter and Amy Chozick note that he’s already been considered candidate for a number of high profile Silicon Valley posts. Read more.

Ad Block #Fail

Major French ISP Free began blocking ads at the router level last week… possibly inadvertently. GigaOm notes,  “The update got pushed out on Wednesday, with one of its new features being a beta ad-blocker. And, according to multiple apoplectic sources, the ad-blocker is turned on by default, once the user resets their set-top box.” Tempest in a teapot? Some say the ad block feature doesn’t work so well. More.

Database Matching to Facebook

Using Facebook’s “Custom Audiences,” a marketer can match its own customers to the social network’s audience for ad targeting. How powerful is this when combined with mobile? Very, writes Optimal CEO Rob Leathern in a Huffington Post column. “The advertiser can upload their hashed email list and create an ad campaign to show to Facebook’s mobile newsfeed only, likely in less than an hour. Mobile newsfeed ads have very high response rates, and no longer need to be Sponsored Stories only, as they were initially.” More.

Video RTB Set To Surge

Predictions for a strong rise in spending on real-time bidding for video have been coming for much of the past year. TechNavio’s analysts have released a particularly bullish forecast the video RTB spending, calling for grow at a CAGR of 55.05% between last year and 2016. The company essentially believes that the large audience for digital video will finally make an impression on marketers, while the efficiency promised by RTB will result in a shift in terms of how their money is spent. Read the release.

More Content In Your Search

On his personal blog, Yieldbot CEO Jonathan Mendez reviews the increasing collection of information (or content) appearing on Google search engine result pages (SERPs). You won’t need to go to to get the weather, you’ll just put “NYC weather” in Google.  He thinks this will mean less search engine referral traffic for websites, “Fewer searchers leaving Google and going to other sites mean more people clicking on ads on Google O&O. It means Google takes even more share of digital ad spend – now approaching the value of all of print and half of television.” Given his premise, read Mendez’ thoughts on succeeding if you’re not Google.

More Developers Designers Needed

A new case study from Flite makes the case for its platform with client Forbes.  The study claims that Forbes SVP of Ad Sales Mark Howard “saw the need for a flexible solution that could empower a team of designers, not developers, to create truly differentiated ad products that command premium ad prices.”  Read more.  Flite isn’t alone in this area, but it’s an interesting trend toward empowering the creatives where tech is their canvas.

Rev Check

DataXu co-founder Bruce Journey tells Boston Business Journal that his demand-side platform company had doubled revenue in 2012 to more than $60 million in comparison to 2011.  Read more (subscription).  Even if this is mostly media revenue, it’s revenue that is no longer going through a traditional ad network and is using exchange-like inventory sources instead.

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