Discovery Buys Ad-Tech Startup In Lead-Up To 2021 Streamer Launch

Discovery Inc. has acquired the assets of AdSparx, an ad-tech startup, as it prepares to launch its own streaming video service next year.

AdSparx’s cloud-based platform provides server-side in-stream dynamic ad insertion and on-demand streaming.

The acquisition will enable Discovery to deliver personalized and contextual ads across its global D2C offerings.

“This acquisition is part of a larger strategy to develop a robust portfolio of digital products, as we continue to scale up our [direct-to-consumer] proposition with locally relevant video experiences in key international markets,” said Avi Saxena, CTO, global digital, Discovery. 

Discovery also plans to use AdSparx’s DAI solution to deliver viewer-personalized virtual linear channels.

As part of the acquisition, Discovery will add the employees of India-based Novix Media Technologies, which works with AdSparx on its DAI platform. Those employees include software engineers, quality assurance, DevOps and support engineers.

At last week’s Goldman Sachs investor conference, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that the company’s streaming service will be launched “very soon,” adding that it is ramping up original content for the launch.

Late last year, Discovery confirmed that it was working on entering the streaming sector internationally and domestically. Since then, it has said that the new platform -- reportedly to be dubbed Discovery+ -- will aggregate content from all of the company’s brands, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Food Network and HGTV. 

The AdSparx acquisition would seem to indicate that Discovery intends to offer an ad-supported or hybrid streaming model. But to date, the company has not publicly commented on that or other specifics, including the streamer's name. (See column on some of the competitive challenges the new service will face.)

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