Univision Taps FreeWheel To Make It Digital Player
Univision Communications' digital division Univision Interactive Media has tapped video monetization technology company FreeWheel to manage its advertising business and monetize its digital video content.
Kevin Conroy, president of Univision Interactive Media, said the partnership was crucial to realizing the division's ambition in video plans. "We are working to significantly expand our video presence on the Web," he said.
San Mateo, Calif.-based FreeWheel was founded in early 2008 by three DoubleClick alums and digital media veterans. The company offers content owners, carriers and distributors end-to-end video ad management technology, which simplifies the task of managing video ad sales, ad serving and ad sales rights across widely syndicated distribution channels.
Other existing media clients include Turner, VEVO, CBS and MLB.com.
By his own estimate, Doug Knopper, co-founder and co-CEO of FreeWheel, said Univision Interactive has the necessary content to become a major player in the video space. "Univision Interactive Media is in a fantastic position to grow its video offering," he said.
Indeed, Univision Interactive already boasts a library of over 50,000 videos across its owned and operated properties, as well as across Web, mobile, and tablet devices.
Today, more than two-thirds of Hispanic adults are online, with Internet penetration among Hispanics growing every year for the past five years.
In the third quarter of this year, there were 9 million global visits to the home pages of Univision.com's social media properties, including Mi Página, forums, and chat.
To date, FreeWheel has raised about $29 million. In April, the company closed another round of financing worth $16.8 million. New investor Steamboat Ventures -- a firm affiliated with The Walt Disney Company -- joined existing investors Turner Broadcasting System, Battery Ventures and Foundation Capital.
Last year, FreeWheel signed more than 15 content providers, added 15 ad networks and distribution partners, and grew to 70 employees in San Mateo, New York and Beijing.
In one instance, it established a partnership with Attributor Corp., a provider of content monitoring and monetization platforms. The alliance created a mechanism by which content owners and distributors could identify and monetize their user-generated video content.
Attributor delivers content identification and an automated policy infrastructure that scales Web-wide for content owners. FreeWheel selects high-yielding packages of ads from the sales forces and ad networks that it knows are allowed to sell into a given piece of Attributor-identified content.