Brightcove (Finally) Enters Video Ad Tech Market with $49 Million Unicorn Media Acquisition

Brightcove Acquire Unicorn MediaBrightcove, a provider of video cloud services, announced today it has agreed to acquire Unicorn Media, a provider of cloud video ad insertion technology, for $49 million. The move represents a significant shift in strategy for Brightcove, who have traditionally focused on enabling publishers to use third party technologies for monetisation. Now Brightcove have taken a step into the ad tech market, something which insiders say the company has always considered but never fully committed to in the past. Unicorn Media’s ad product, ‘Unicorn Once’ (soon to be rebranded as ‘Brightcove Once’), will enable Brightcove’s publisher clients to deliver both their content and their ads using the Once technology.

Unicorn’s Unique Approach to Ad-blocking and Delivery to Multiple Platforms

Unicorn Media’s technology is an ad insertion and video stitching service that addresses some of the limitations of traditional online video ad technology. The Once service reduces or eliminates the need for platform-specific ad technology by delivering the content and the advertising as a unified stream. This also enables media owners to bypass ad-blockers as ad-blocking technology can’t differentiate between the content and the advertising.

Unicorn Media’s technology is used by ESPN, NBC News and The Weather Channel, and Brightcove say a number of leading media companies are already using both Brightcove and Unicorn Media services in ‘a complementary fashion’.

Deal Includes Patents

Unicorn Media has been awarded 14 U.S. patents, 7 of which have also been issued internationally, and has 20 patent applications pending for the technologies that are the foundation of the Once product line and other related domains.

Under the terms of the agreement, the purchase price consists of approximately 2.9 million shares of Brightcove stock and approximately $9.0 million of cash used to pay transaction and other expenses of Unicorn Media.

“We believe that online video has the potential to surpass traditional TV by offering mass personalisation, superior ad targeting, and frictionless distribution to more screens in more locations,” said David Mendels, CEO of Brightcove. “However, media companies are struggling to effectively deliver ad-supported video content to a fragmented landscape of platforms, including mobile devices, set top boxes, connected living room devices, and a growing number of PCs that have ad-blockers installed. Through the acquisition of Unicorn Media, Brightcove will empower media companies to address these challenges by offering the most comprehensive suite of cloud services for delivering and monetizing online video content to the broadest range of devices.”

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