Meredith Adds Video And Native Chops With Selectable Media Acquisition

Meredith Selectable MediaWith its acquisition of Selectable Media this week, Meredith picked up two new ad products: one that requires users to choose a video to watch before viewing content, and another enabling native-style placements that link to a branded content page.

The companies did not disclose the terms but said the exit made money for Selectable Media’s investors, who had contributed $8 million in funding.

Prior to the acquisition, Meredith used Selectable Media across all its properties to good results, said Jon Werther, president of Meredith Digital.

Meredith’s acquisitions to date have mainly focused on content, like buying, and the right to sell advertising on Martha Stewart’s website.

So why buy Selectable Media, instead of continuing its partnership with the ad platform?

One answer is data.

“We’ll leverage our data to help publishers monetize their inventory,” Werther said. “We have data on 100 million customers, and the combination of that data with the platforms allows us to put the right message in front of the users. It’s a very powerful combination.”

Advertisers who want to target one of Meredith’s audience segments, like home entertainers interested in a certain kind of recipe, have the option to distribute their content not just across Meredith’s owned and operated properties but also through Selectable Media’s network of publisher partners. Meredith can sell bigger campaigns to advertisers with more reach.

Besides enabling Meredith to deploy its data off its properties, the acquisition will accelerate growth in four fast-growing areas, Werther said: video, mobile, native and engagement-based advertising.

The deal increases Meredith’s video inventory “significantly,” Werther said. Additionally, advertisers can buy video content on CPM or cost per engagement, helpful since Selectable Media’s value exchange-style ad units assure high engagement and viewability compared to regular video ads.

As for mobile, the native and video units work cross-device, giving Meredith better ability to monetize in an area where many publishers are struggling. (It’s not the only mobile move Meredith made this week: It partnered with Verve to gives its broadcasting arm better news and apps by adding location-based targeting.)

Selectable Media CEO Matt Minoff and COO Marc Rothschild will join Meredith in senior leadership roles. Their 20-person team will follow. Minoff will oversee ad products, and Rothschild will head ad sales and account management.

“We’ll be able to offer advertisers end-to-end solutions that drive the KPIs our brand partners care about most,” Rothschild said of their new roles, adding that “having a nimble, technology-based ad products team” will make sure Meredith can respond to changing advertiser demands.

It can also enable Meredith to show and monetize content in ways that benefit both the viewer and advertiser.

A fitness portal launching in the next couple of months hinges on Selectable’s technology. A user will watch one video to unlock a fitness series, instead of having to watch pre-roll after each one to two-minute video. “That’s both in the consumer interest and the brand’s interest,” Rothschild said.

The acquisition will add more items to Meredith’s menu of ad products, Rothschild summed up.

“Now we can go to the advertisers and offer them an entire content marketing stack,” he said, “with distribution in and out of owned and operated properties, data, optimization and analytics.”

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