The initial rumblings turned out to be true, as Yahoo this week formally announced an agreement to acquire programmatic video ad platform BrightRoll for $640 million. The deal is expected to close in Q1 2015.
Real-Time Daily caught up with some experts in the programmatic ad industry to see how the industry is reacting to the news.
One commentator noted the interesting fact that large companies such as AOL, Facebook and now Yahoo -- “who have access to all kinds of engineers” -- decide to acquire video ad tech companies rather than build their own. (AOL acquired Adap.tv last year, and Facebook acquired LiveRail this summer.)
insider, who wished to remain anonymous, contends that the news “shows the clear predominance of the programmatic model for all advertising and especially video. To bolster its
standing as a top ad player, Yahoo needed to strengthen its video offering and reach. Also, BrightRoll is a solid contender with the movement of TV dollars towards digital as
well as the future of programmatic TV. Marissa Mayer has taken the lead from Tim Armstrong at AOL in trying to create a one-platform approach for the Yahoo Audience team. This move also creates the
opportunity for Yahoo’s own inventory to be distributed through BrightRoll. This acquisition is about consolidation, technology and reach, and of programmatic
advertising fully joining the mainstream.”
In a company blog post announcing the news, BrightRoll
CEO Tod Sacerdoti said the deal helps advertisers and agencies by giving them access to Yahoo’s audience data via BrightRoll’s ad platform, benefits publishers through Yahoo’s
existing relationships with advertisers and agencies, and benefits tech partners because of the anticipated increase in transaction volume and platform use.
Keith Eadie, CMO of TubeMogul, thinks Yahoo’s acquisition of BrightRoll (coupled with the other video ad tech acquisitions seen in the past 15 or so months) “really speaks to the growth of the medium and its importance to brands.”
He added: “BrightRoll's ad network business model straddles both publishers and advertisers, which is a natural fit for Yahoo, given their expanding investments in video content.”
Bill Day, CEO of Tremor Video, believes the move “makes complete sense from Yahoo’s perspective and underscores the importance of offering technology-enabled video solutions for today’s marketers as both video budgets and consumption grow in a fragmented world across all screens.”
Jayant Kadambi, CEO and co-founder of YuMe, said: “At a high level, the acquisition points to the fact that we are in a high growth industry – which we’ve always known. These kinds of deals will only continue.”
Mike Shehan, founder, CEO and president of SpotXchange, which was itself acquired earlier this year by RTL Group, believes “the transaction further confirms the importance and opportunity digital video advertising presents as consumer behavior continues to shift toward video consumption across a wide array of devices. The deal should certainly help bolster Yahoo’s capabilities in the space and allure among marketers.”
Frank Sinton, CEO of Beachfront Media, said: “Yahoo has checked the content box with the likes of Tumblr and others. Now with adding BrightRoll, they're checking the monetization box -- controlling revenues in programmatic advertising.
He continued: “The third piece is what I see missing still, and that's content syndication reach. Sure, they have attractive properties, but they're going to need to go outside their own walled garden and develop reach in every corner of the Web."
Rami Brusilovsky, director of video advertising at cross-channel ad platform dmg, said: “The acquisition of BrightRoll by Yahoo has been on the cards for a while. BrightRoll were one of the last big independent video companies after AOL bought Adap.tv and Facebook bought Liverail. Yahoo is sending a very powerful message to the market. By announcing this acquisition Yahoo is making a statement that it is much more than Alibaba and that it is sticking to its roots in online advertising.
"Even though Google is the one to beat in relation to video content views, BrightRoll is the number one for video ad reach in the U.S. By buying BrightRoll, Yahoo has in a stroke created a huge video footprint and a competitive edge over Google.
"For the wider video industry, this latest acquisition raises the bar for people trying to enter this industry. As video is almost 100% brand money, I believe the landscape will soon look a lot leaner with only the big guys and a few medium-sized players left. Medium-sized companies will need to up the ante and deliver true business and tech added value to survive and get a decent share of the market."
Chip Meyers, CEO of ReactX,called it “the first smart acquisition Marissa Mayer has done since she got there.”
He added: “It rejuvenates Yahoo's dormant ad tech and gives them a new life into competing against others for brand dollars.”
Jim Anderson, CEO of SocialFlow, said: “This acquisition provides even more validation to the importance of video to advertisers. It’s clear that video is as powerful as ever, but it goes beyond the 30-second television commercial. Just as important, though, is the fact that Yahoo continues to be a major player in technology acquisitions, and continues to add to its own audience and technology stack. If they can continue to pull the technologies together in a compelling way, they can be very competitive with the other Silicon Valley powerhouses.”