Q&A with Phil Cooper, European MD for Brightroll

Phil Cooper, Eurpean MD at BrightrollPhil Cooper is MD in Europe for Brightroll, one of the world’s leading video ad networks and ad exchanges. The company was established in 2006 and is headquarted in San Francisco, with international offices in the UK, Germany and Canada. Here Phil talks about what Brightroll have been doing in Europe, TV budgets moving online, the digital GRPs and the growth of mobile video.

Could you give a little background on what Brightroll do and explain where your video ad network sits in relation to BRX, Brightroll’s ad exchange?

BrightRoll is purely focused on online video – as such we are the world’s largest video ad network. Globally we are responsible for 160 million monthly unique viewers, and in the UK we have 11.4m unique users according to comScore’s rankings for June 2012.

We have access to billions of video impressions per month, enabling advertisers to execute smart video campaigns.  BrightRoll is a privately held, venture-backed company headquartered in San Francisco, California, with European headquarters in London, and offices in Germany and Canada.

In the US where the network business is established we also actively encourage  agency desks and competitors to access our inventory pools in BRX (BrightRoll Exchange). Recently We have added RTB access into BRX. In Europe our business is focused on our network model and we have already built an impressive pool of Publisher inventory.

In the US Brightroll recently moved into second place for ads delivered, leapfrogging Hulu into second place behind Google for reach. What has driven the sudden surge in growth at Brightroll?

BrightRoll has the largest reach because of publisher relationships and integrations are the most popular amongst publishers and advertisers alike. We are always in the top 3-5 by comScore Video Metrix ranking, but recently we are consistently positioned at no 2 behind Google, but in our own category of ‘Ad Networks’, we enjoy first position by reach in the US and UK.

Is Brightroll enjoying similar success in the European markets? Which countries are you working in and are there any markets that are growing particularly quickly when it comes to video? 

We have offices in the UK and Germany; but we also operate pan-European and multi-territory campaigns from the European offices.  We make use in Europe of proven tech but interpret our offering for local consumption.

The online video market is growing everywhere, and as this develops with technology through handsets, mobile and TV connectivity we can only see this expanding further.  The UK market is particularly exciting for innovation at the moment.

Has Brightroll been using the digital GRPs? Are TV buyers accepting them and do you think they’re a help or a hindrance when selling video?

Online video is a new medium, as consumer take up has increased demand – the advertising industry has been slower to come to the table. With all media – advertisers and agencies need to understand the metrics surrounding reach, consumer engagement etc.  GRPs are an easy language to bring TV buyers on board.  But it is an antiquated measurement for online video – which doesn’t accurately reflect video’s targeting superiority.  Or that you can control frequency much more precisely.

We do need a form of measurement, without a doubt, to enable advertisers to buy and measure all video with one common metric.  But as today’s audiences are consuming video across multiple platforms: TV, online and mobile – with all the nuances in day-parting strategy this entails.  The TV audience and online video audience are not the same, and the metric originally created for TV needs to be adjusted to fairly measure online video’s audience reach and reflect the consumer activity.

What has Brightroll been doing in mobile and what type of advertisers are using mobile video?

BrightRoll’s mobile video offering allows advertisers to execute targeted campaigns at scale, whilst remaining fully transparent so advertisers know exactly who has seen their video, at what time and on which app or mobile site. This combination enables mobile advertisers to target audiences using a variety of criteria including type of device, user geo-location and content category.

The company’s mobile network currently generates more than one billion monthly impressions, with 400 million of those in Europe and 200 million in the UK, across 6,000 mobile apps and websites. Over the past six months, BrightRoll has run mobile video campaigns for brands such as Ford, eBay, Paramount, Dell and T-Mobile.

BrightRoll launched mobile interactive pre-roll (IPR) in the UK and Germany in February 2012.  And BrightRoll has just signed a deal with Innovid announcing the adoption of interactive mobile solutions.  It means that, for the first time, advertisers in UK, Canada and Europe can create seamless, interactive pre-roll experiences delivered through BrightRoll’s network, across PC, smartphones and tablet devices.

We are working with Innovid because of their technology. BrightRoll is the first company to integrate with Innovid on interactive mobile pre-roll. As Tal Chalozin, co-founder of Innovid explained at our Mobile Video Summit two weeks ago: a key benefit is that for the first time advertisers can use one creative and tag across online, smartphones and tablet devices. This enables brands to maximise use of their creative assets.

We are able to integrate social media tags like Twitter and Facebook – and run the advertising on all digital platforms. And BrightRoll is now able to offer a seamless brand experience on interactive mobile pre-roll format.

As video grows, who do you think is losing out i.e. is video budget mainly winning budget that would have been spend on display, or are we really starting to see TV budgets moving online? 

Ultimately, buyers are utilising TV budgets online.  It’s not happening quickly.  But this is because historically, this is the largest investment most brands make.We as an industry need to ensure agencies as well as advertisers understand the benefits of the medium – and the growth of audience to take advantage of superior targeting.

It isn’t about “TV, Print, Offline/Online” anymore, it has to be where the audiences are, how this works for the brands.  It requires a different mind-set at the agencies, and advertisers need education – but it will come back to trust in the metrics.

Is there any end in sight when it comes to the shortage of premium inventory? What could be done to increase the amount of inventory available?

I don’t see there being a lack of supply in video any time soon.  There’s plenty of inventory, and as we get the message out there about superior targeting – it will draw in advertisers and make this a robust proposition for them.


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