Real-Time With Amir Ashkenazi, CEO Of, On Being Purchased By AOL

Yesterday's big news in the advertising world - and especially in the programmatic advertising world - was AOL's $405 million acquisition of online video ad platform Rumors had been swirling around about a potential IPO for before new rumors about a potential AOL buyout (which ended up being true) surfaced.

RTM Daily had the chance to ask's CEO Amir Ashkenazi a couple of questions about the deal, including why went the acquisition route rather than the public route, what will change at the company as a result of the deal, and what it means for the ad tech industry at large.

RTM Daily:
I read that AOL's CEO Tim Armstrong said that he purchased because of its people. What is it about's people that makes them special? Does hire with "type of person" in mind as much as talent?

Amir Ashkenazi: We have always been of the mindset of hiring the best possible people to work with our publisher and advertiser customers. It's not so much the "type of person" that we look for, but someone who shares the passion and drive that our team has for our industry. As Tim Armstrong alluded to and what is indicative of the news [yesterday], we have achieved that. Even more telling is operating independently within AOL, further evidence of Tim and his team's confidence in our extremely talented employees.

RTM Daily: The purchase price puts's value higher than Tremor Video's, which went public about a month ago. Why go the acquisition route rather than the public route? Why even change anything at all?

Ashkenazi: We decided to join AOL first and foremost because of the vision of the industry that we share. They have invested and continue to do so very heavily in the huge potential that the $240 billion TV industry moving to linear TV presents. To that end, this partnership empowers our publishers and advertisers with an even better platform.

Advertisers will have one place to go to handle all of their premium video activities – for both reserved and non-reserved inventory. They also have one place to go for all of their display, mobile, and video needs. And of course working with one company will allow for easier management, efficiencies, more transparency, etc. For publishers, this provides them a complete solution – everything from the player to monetization and private marketplaces.

RTM Daily: What changes at The focus is still programmatic video, but there has to be some new paths and goals in mind. What are they?

Ashkenazi: will operate independently as part of AOL’s video organization and be included as part of the overall solution offered by AOL Networks to its publishers and advertiser partners. As such, joining AOL allows us to use additional resources to accelerate our momentum. Down the road we will look at all that we have and determine what is important to integrate, without disrupting the businesses.

RTM Daily: This acquisition doesn't just impact and AOL. It shows that "strategic" buyers truly are interested in ad tech companies, even bigger ones. In as humble of an opinion as possible, what does the news mean for the industry at large? 

Ashkenazi: It validates two very important inevitable trends happening in the video space right now that and AOL are positioning for – the movement from linear television to online video and the shift from manual transactions to programmatic media buying. By acquiring, AOL has now rounded out their suite of technology solutions for both publishers and advertisers.

RTM Daily: Thank you for your time. Any other thoughts or comments?

Ashkenazi: Obviously, we are very excited about joining the AOL family and providing publishers and advertisers everything they need to succeed in the rapidly changing video industry.



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