French Video Platform Mediabong Snags $5 Million In Series B

MediabongMediabong has designs on the US.

The Paris-based video platform, which revealed a $5 million Series B round on Wednesday, plans to use the bulk of its funding to beef up operations out of its nascent New York office, where the headcount is slated to increase from two to around 10 sales and business development people by the end of the year. R&D and engineering will remain in Paris, where Mediabong has 20 employees.

The round, led by Entrepreneur Venture and Conegliano Venture, brings Mediabong’s total funding to $6.5 million.

Mediabong, whose clients include L’Oreal, CBS, Newsweek, Unilever, Land Rover and Elle, started life in 2011 as a player on the contextual video scene, using its algorithmic crawler to analyze publisher sites at the page level in order to match editorial content with relevant video ads.

But it soon became clear that brands were looking for something more.

“They’ve changed their KPIs,” said Mediabong CEO and co-founder Laurent Bury. “Today, advertisers want to know the viewability rate and they want to know the engagement rate.”

Mediabong’s answer is a product it calls SyncRoll, an in-line ad unit that reveals itself in the middle of an article as a user scrolls down the page. The video stops playing when it’s out of view, reappears at the bottom of the page and starts playing again where the original video left off. [Click here to see how it works.]

According to Mediabong, Kellogg’s saw a 40% increase in viewability and L’Oreal reached a 14% CTR when they tested the unit. Mediabong claims to only charge its advertisers when their KPIs are met.

But the company is also looking to appeal to publishers by helping them improve their performance and scale.

“One of the big issues facing publishers is the need for more inventory to leverage across their sites,” said Mediabong COO Priyesh Patel. “A lot of publishers are creating their own content, but they might only be able to generate a million or so video impressions in total. Our goal is to help publishers grow and monetize their video inventory and ensure that their campaigns are being delivered.”

In addition, Mediabong places scripts on publisher pages to collect data and create user profiles based on behavioral information rather than just basic demo, gender and geo.

“It’s about what you’re doing, not just about who you are,” said Bury, who named Teads as one of the company’s biggest competitors on the advertising front. “If you’re reading articles about war or the British elections, we push video content that makes sense for you when you’re in that mood. But if the next day is Saturday and you’re catching up on your celebrity news, the videos we push out to you are going to be very different.”

Mediabong has been actively pitching its products across North America since the company’s official US launch in September and several publishers, including Bloomberg and Complex Media, are already using its technology. Refinery29 is actively running tests.

The company still faces a minor challenge during the pitching process, however – what does the name Mediabong mean? Apparently, it’s a reference to the deep and resonant sound a bell makes when it’s rung, a continuous sound wave.

“But potential clients will ask me that all the time,” said Patel, chuckling. “It’s actually one of their first questions.”

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