FreeWheel, a Comcast-owned video ad tech company, announced today that it has acquired StickyADS.tv, a video supply-side platform (SSP). The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but reports suggest the sales was for approximately $100 million in cash. FreeWheel say the acquisition will enable them to create an end-to-end video advertising solution that will be aimed primarily at the premium end of the video market.
“We are very excited to make this announcement. We are bringing together two companies who deeply understand the opportunities for the ‘New TV’ ecosystem on both sides of the Atlantic,” said Doug Knopper, co-Founder and co-CEO, FreeWheel. “StickyADS.tv has been a preferred SSP partner since September 2015 and in that short time we have been thoroughly impressed by both the quality of their platform and the knowledge of their team.”
Historically speaking, FreeWheel have focused mainly on the premium end of the market, providing services to broadcasters, networks and operators, as well as to what they call ‘digital pure-plays’. For the most part FreeWheel’s tech has focused mainly on solving problems unique to the TV industry. So, for example, as well as being an ad server, FreeWheel’s tech can manage things like digital rights management (DRM), or it can manage video ads across multiple ad breaks or ‘pods’ as they’re commonly known.
The acquisition of StickyADS.tv will provide FreeWheel with an SSP which has won the respect of many of the key players in the European market, where they are known for solid technology and good service (that’s not PR and is something we’ve been told directly from clients on a number of occasions). The company has been particularly successful in their native France, where clients include TF1, France Télévisions and Le Monde. The deal will also have interesting implications for the UK market, where FreeWheel have a number of major TV clients including Sky and Channel 4.
One thing that may emerge is a platform that not only manages and monetises video ads, but conten streaming too. Comcast also owns ThePlatform, a video management platform that focuses on streaming video across multiple streams. It seems highly likely that ThePlatform, FreeWheel and StickyADS.tv will all become more closely integrated over time as Comcast seek to offer a more cohesive offering.
*Disclosure: Video Ad News is a partner with StickyADS.tv for their 1to1 Roadshow and they are a platinum sponsor for this year’s New Video Frontiers conference (London, October 19th-20th, 2016).