News Corp. Puts Unruly To Use And Diversifies Video Inventory

DominicCarterNews Corp.’s acquisition of video ad platform Unruly last month is already bearing fruit. Unruly has rolled out a new in-article video format priced on cost-per-completed-view (CPCV).

Out of News Corp.’s roster of publications, MarketWatch, The Sun and in the UK and Australia will be first to deploy the format.

Unruly will also sell the format directly to third-party publisher clients such as IDG Tech and USA Today. The in-article format will also be available to purchase programmatically through its supply-side platform UnrulyX.

“One of the benefits to News Corp. is having access to complementary ad formats as we develop our video content strategy,” said Dominic Carter, managing director of News UK Commercial, the division of News Corp. now overseeing Unruly operations. “We drive a lot of traffic to our articles through social referrals, so this will be a mobile-first proposition for us.”

Unruly has a feature called ShareRank that predicted the “sharability” of an ad based on social data points and was built to cater to mobile video formats. 

Unruly claims its new outstream format (meaning the ad does not live within a standard video container but is embedded within article pages on a site or in a mobile stream) is friendlier than standard pre-roll, since it only plays when a consumer scrolls over it and is billed to the advertiser only after the ad has been viewed for 30 seconds.

Although the unit is most typically priced on CPCV, Kenneth Suh, Unruly’s head of global business development, said publishers can price it as they please depending on their sales structures.

While it’s debatable whether outstream formats actually interrupt the audience experience since they auto play when the user is in-range of the unit, Unruly claims its in-article format lets readers close the ad or initiate audio.

“It gives the reader the ability to control, share or close the unit, so it’s not invasive,” said Carter. “In-article really complements where we’re expanding in the next 12-18 months. Video inventory is very scarce and usually requires you to create your own content or drive traffic back to content to generate a pre-roll impression.”

Video monetization is a Catch-22 for publishers, Carter said, because while video inventory is in-demand from both consumers and advertisers, video content is expensive to produce.

Partnering with third-party distributors lessens the pressure on publishers whose direct sales businesses are oversold on premium video inventory, but they need to carefully weigh their external investments.

“You need to understand where your audience comes from end-to-end,” Carter added. “As you expand your brand, [publishers have to consider] whether [they] work with Facebook, Google and Apple to expand their reach.”


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