Walmart’s Vudu Taps SpotX To Better Target Video Ads

Beginning Monday, Walmart’s streaming video service Vudu will monetize inventory programmatically through an exclusive deal with the video ad server SpotX.

Vudu’s ad-supported offering – an on-demand video library called Vudu Movies On Us – launched a year ago. Ad sales, however, were mostly handled on a reserved basis through conventional I/Os by the video ad platform Ooyala, which will still handle direct sales.

But adding SpotX will “accelerate [Vudu’s] goal of providing a fully programmatic ad experience in the living room and beyond,” said its VP and GM, Jeremy Verba.

Specifically, Vudu will be able to enrich its audience data and create first-party segments, Verba told AdExchanger. “[SpotX will] ensure the ads we’re serving are relevant to our customers and that they fuel this ad-supported engine we’re building.”

While Vudu is now recruiting talent to enhance development of its ad-supported offering, it first needed to grow its library and distribution footprint, which includes Xbox, PlayStation, iOS and Android operating systems, Roku, Android TV and Chromecast.

It launched an Apple TV app in late August. 

Once Vudu’s subscription-free digital movie service was more ubiquitous, creating a catalog of ad-supported content was the next order of business, said Verba.

Ad-supported video has grown “dramatically” in the last year, according to Mike Laband, VP of business development for SpotX, as more subscription-based and pay-TV providers create hybrid revenue streams.

In Vudu’s case, it wanted to drive incremental value for paid viewers by adding a free, ad-supported option to its existing transactional (pay-per) video service.

“We find customers have become even more engaged with the transactional service [once they tune into] our free and ad-supported content,” Verba said.

Laband cites a growing recognition among TV publishers to carve out an effective media strategy around programmatic.

“Across almost every platform, you’re seeing [publishers] taking their library of content and going out to the buy side,” he said. “They’re looking to educate digital and advanced TV teams about how to buy across their platforms, and then match the right ads [and audience] to the right content.”

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