Is Ad Tech Really Media Tech?

There is a seemingly endless procession of new ad tech companies hawking their wares at the digital bazaar called Ad:Tech New York this week. 

If recent history holds however, most won’t amount to much in the way of revenue. Except, that is, for the ones in media tech. Media has always been where the money is, and that has never been truer than with ad tech. 

Look at the recent IPOs. Criteo and Rocket Fuel are billion dollar companies. And Twitter, at almost a $20 billion valuation, has seen the light and is fast becoming a media company, fueled by media ad dollars.  Sure there was Buddy Media and Radiant6, both bought by for big bucks, but there’s not much else in the non-media area. 

Shockingly, the media tech companies you’ve barely heard of are doing $30-40 million in revenue, which is more than most of the largest non-media tech firms.

Going back to the origins of the agency business in the 19th century, it was always about media. Originally, the idea was to do the copy for free in order to persuade clients to give agencies the media, so that they could collect the then 15% commissions. Not much has changed.

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