Comcast To Buy Digital Ad Company Freewheel

Comcast has finalized a deal to buy digital advertising company Freewheel for $360 million, according to reports.

Freewheel provides digital advertising insertion for online and video-on-demand programming for major TV content providers, including 21st Century Fox, Viacom, Dish Network, DirecTV, Comcast’s NBCUniversal, Discovery Communications, Univision Communications, Amazon.com, Turner Broadcasting and AT&T.

Freewheel's investors include Steamboat Ventures, Turner Broadcasting System, DirecTV, Battery Ventures and Foundation Capital.

Comcast could use Freewheel for other traditionally delivered TV screens -- including addressable advertising -- according to analysts.

"FreeWheel's mission has always been to unify television advertising wherever content is viewed," company cofounders Doug Knopper, Jon Heller and Diane Yu said in a blog post announcing the deal. "To make this a reality, the industry needs an enterprise advertising platform that works on all screens, across the entire ecosystem, at scale.”

Previously, Comcast bought Strata Marketing, a provider of media-buying and selling software in 2005, and thePlatform, a white-label online-video publisher and management platform, in 2006.

FreeWheel executives said: “We have developed a strong and productive relationship with Comcast and know that they will be a solid partner for FreeWheel in the future, just like they have for thePlatform and Strata.”

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