January 20, 2012 – 5:41 pm
Tremor Video's acquisition of TubeMogul's InPlay ad analytics tool helps both companies respectively sharpen their value to a fast-evolving video marketplace. The deal, terms of which were undisclosed, gives Tremor yet another layer of insight into publishers' ad management programs. At the same time, TubeMogul can be seen as more fully ensconced on the demand end of the digital video ad sales equation and is no longer trying to play both sides of the fence.
Analytics is the difference: Tremor plans to integrate InPlay, which TubeMogul created about three years ago to attract more publisher business, with VideoHub, its end-to-end video ad sales platform. While VideoHub serves both ad sellers and buyers, Tremor is largely aimed at working with publishers. At a time when video ad spending remains the fastest growing category of ad spending -- eMarketer said last month that video ad dollars will rise 40 percent in 2012 to $3.1 billion -- the providers of video ad services are primarily differentiated by their analytics and tech stack.
Given its client roster, it's clear that Tremor has been able to develop its appeal. While Tremor wouldn't identify its video partners, the company has struck exclusive video ad deals with Viacom, The New York Times, The NFL, A+E Networks (includes A&E, History, Lifetime, etc.), , Bonnier (including Popular Science, SKI) National Geographic, TMZ and TVGuide.
Another step: InPlay is mostly used by publishers to see how well their content is performing. Considering that most media buyers complain about the lack of premium video inventory, a publisher who can more clearly and convincingly show agencies how well their views are doing is at a natural advantage.
Furthermore, with video now running across other sites other than the publisher's own destination, being able to track who's watching, as well as where and when, is an important ability as well. InPlay doesn't give Tremor and VideoHub extensive reach in order to track views across other sites, be they PC, mobile, tablet or, increasing, connected TV, Tremor CEO Bill Day tells TVExchanger that the addition does represent a significant step in offering that kind of comprehensive service.
"Everything we do has an eye towards mobile, tablets and TVs, as well as traditional online," Day says. "We have 200 people right now and one-third of our staff is devoted to product and technology -- it's as large as our sales force. So while InPlay doesn't mean we're done building, it does bring us closer to realizing a range of analytics goals we have, particularly in the area of premium publishers."
Acquisition roadmap: That continued building of its system will come from a mix of in-house development and outside dealmaking. As such, Day says Tremor plans to use the proceeds from its $37 million funding last September to support additional acquisitions.
"The pattern of strategy involves finding holistic solutions to the issues that publishers want to solve with respect to their video inventory," Day says. "Right now, we're looking more broadly than just analytics in terms of purchases, and we are looking at prospects from both the buy side and the publisher side."
While Day wouldn't provide anything more specific about the deals' roadmap he has, we asked if Tremor might consider something along the lines of buying creative tools to round out the analytics products. Day said that Tremor does have some creative development offerings, but it remains an area the company might look to further build upon.
"We believe that video ad campaigns succeed because of great technology and great creative, so that's a natural area for us to explore," he said. "We're open to looking at creative services."
TubeMogul's choice: For TubeMogul, the decision to part with the publisher-facing piece of its analytics arsenal says a lot about where the ad tech space stands in terms of value. Since the direction of marketers' ad dollars are increasingly being funneled to their agencies with the directive towards more audience buying, as opposed to direct publisher sales, it makes sense for a tech company like TubeMogul to choose the demand side over the sell side.
"It's hard to serve both the publishers and buyers, and in order to have a supply-side tool, it has to be massive in order to do it right, since there are so many publishers with so many different needs," Jason Lopatecki, TubeMogul's Chief Strategy Officer, tells TVExchanger. "Google seems to be the only one who can do that, with a DSP on one side in the form of Invite Media, and an SSP on the other, with AdMeld. We made the decision: we want to be on the advertising side." More details in the release.
By David Kaplan
January 20, 2012 – 5:41 pm