Yesterday it was announced that Yahoo are to acquire BrightRoll, a programmatic video ad platform, for approximately $640 million. Yahoo’s entrance into video has been expected for some time now, and its arrival will undoubtedly have a major impact on Yahoo’s future, and on the wider industry. VAN asked some of the leading figures in European media and ad tech what they thought of the deal [updated with Henry Rivero’s contribution on 13/11/14]:
Henry Rivero, Senior Executive for Digital Technology, RTL Group
Brightroll could potentially catalyse a bit of coherence for the Yahoo ad tech stack. Yahoo has been quietly building/re-building its tech stack – with no headline-making progress as far as I can tell. For BrightRoll, it could mean easier access to know-how/capabilities/competencies as Yahoo refreshes its B2C approach. It’s also another ‘consolidation’ play – for the wider industry, the emergence of loosely coupled, yet, potentially ‘specially’ integrated stacks is taking shape … these loosely coupled ecosystems will have their own strengths/weaknesses/DNA, so let’s see how things pan out – they will be intent on communicating their USPs, I’ll be interested to hear what Yahoo/Brightroll will say when it comes to USPs.
Nigel Gilbert,Vice President of Sales, Appnexus
This has been in the pipe for some time, particularly follow Yahoo’s failed acquisition of Daily Motion, BrightRoll seemed like an obvious move. In this case, BrightRoll will bring in top line revenue and help to plug the gaps that exist in the Yahoo tech stack today. BrightRoll will bring them video hosting and ad-serving – additionally, optimisation that will certainly help with the monetisation of the Tumblr assests.
It will be interesting to see how Yahoo choose to position the offering over time. Will they try to compete with YouTube for proprietary content, or will the use BrightRoll as more of an ad-network, to deliver programmatic reach? Certainly if they can align their data assets across all their platforms, this will be an interesting offering, but will it be enough to make a walled garden play successful?
Geoff Smith, VP EMEA, VivaKi
Another interesting development in the crazy world of publisher/platform mega mergers. With serious competitor plays from the likes of AOL buying Adap.TV and Converto, and Facebook with their LiveRail and Atlas acquisitions, we’re seeing a new era of technology and data investment which will inevitably shake up and divide the increasingly fragmented digital landscape.
Their success will depend on whether they can convince both the buy side and sell side to move away from the more established players like Google, Videology et al, to make this huge investment pay off in the long run. With innovation at the top of everyone’s agenda, whatever happens it will be an exciting ride, and one that should ultimately benefit the advertiser in the long run.
Andrew Bloom, VP of Strategic Business Development, Sizmek
For Yahoo, video presents a great opportunity to combine their historical strength in display and new found focus in mobile and propel their display advertising business forward on the video and mobile train. For BrightRoll, Yahoo offers the credibility of a global demand channel and access to first party data across devices that should offer advertisers the opportunity to engage audiences at TV like scale with digital video.
Increasingly the battle will move from open auction to private deals, and the combination of Yahoo and BrightRoll together should see more premium inventory flowing into the BrightRoll stack. But let’s face it, there is lots of competition out there with newly minted behemoths like Facebook/LiveRail and more established players like AOL and Google. On the demand side it’s going to be fascinating to see if Yahoo preserves Brightroll DSP’s open access to all inventory or if Yahoo will leverage its inventory and data to create a preference for Yahoo inventory bought through the BrightRoll ad stack.
Caspar Schlickum, CEO, Xaxis EMEA
It’s an interesting move for one of the last scaled independent programmatic video companies. Effectively monetizing video including their o/o inventory has been a weak spot for Yahoo! so after a few false starts with other potential partners, this move makes sense and follows the trend of media companies investing in technology.
Jean-Pierre Fumagalli, CEO, smartclip
The evaluation of BrightRoll and its technology clearly mirrors the tremendous future growth opportunity in the combination of online video and a strong programmatic play, a trend we clearly also see here in Europe with exponential growth on our SmartX platform.
There is no question anymore about the game changing dynamics programmatic video is bringing to the overall online video market including PC, Mobile and the future of the TV market. Comparing the evaluation of Brightroll, we can clearly see the difference to video companies such as Tremor or YuMe, who did not embrace and push the programmatic topic early enough. Today their market value is only a fraction of the evaluation, which BrightRoll received.
Nick Reid, Managing Director UK, TubeMogul
This is the latest example in the wave of consolidation we are experiencing in video marketplace, which really illustrates the growth of the medium and its importance to brands. BrightRoll’s ad network business model straddles both publishers and advertisers, which is a very natural fit for Yahoo, given their expanding investments and ambitions into video content. This also reinforces the strategic importance of TubeMogul position, remaining an independent, buy-side technology, which is focused and dedicated to the advertiser.
Sorosh Tavakoli, CEO, Videoplaza
Hats off to Tod and his team for pulling off what has ended up to be one of the largest exits in the overall IP delivered TV industry. While some of their competition got distracted going public, Brightroll invested in technology and effectively rolled out a platform, a huge achievement for any ad network. The success of this pivot is clear in the multiple paid. Yahoo are back in ad tech and they have zoomed in on video and they have plenty of cash to continue make some significant moves.