Using MPUs for Video Can Boost Supply and Make Video More Cost-Effective

Adam Boast, VideoflareVideoflare is a newly launched video advertising start-up based in London. The company was started by Adam Boast and John-Paul Wevers, who will be familiar faces to those who know them from their time at AOL and Smartclip. Their goal is to solve two problems for video advertisers: cost and the shortage of supply, both of which can be solved by making better use of the 300×350 MPU ad units that are found on so many web pages. Here Videoflare CEO Adam Boast discusses the business model, viewability and the opportunities for new entrants during a time of industry consolidation.

Could you explain the Videoflare model?

Videoflare syndicates video content and pre-roll globally through a proprietary autoplay player. Our aim is to complement TV and VOD schedules by offering an instant, scalable and affordable solution for advertisers worldwide.

Do you intend to have direct relationships with publishers or will you buy mostly via RTB?

We will be buying them programmatically (including RTB) as this gives us instant scale and allows us to control pricing. We also talk to publishers, as it is important to understand their needs and challenges in the video space. In many cases we can offer them a reach extension product for their both content and advertising clients.

Viewability is an ongoing concern for video advertisers when buying programmatically. What steps will you be taking to provide safeguards for advertisers?

Firstly we manually sift though thousands of sites to ensure brand safe environments and create dedicated whitelists for our demand partners. We have also joined forces with Integral to audit key safety metrics throughout the campaign lifecycle to optimise activity. We also take into consideration the IAB guidelines around video viewability (50% in-view for a minimum of 2 seconds) although we are confident we can do better.

There are two schools of thought in the industry at the moment. Some say that we’re going to see ongoing consolidation and that only the largest players will be left standing, while others believe that there will always be room for smaller companies to enter the market. As a new entrant to the video space, where do you think the opportunities lie?

Well, we come from one of the ‘larger players’ in the market AOL and were also founding employees of one of Europe’s largest VOD network – Smartclip. We have seen the nascent growth of the VOD CPM Market in Western Europe and the US and all the networks that sprung up as a result. We’ve experienced the development of the CPV metric, native video ad formats and organic distribution of video content. However we know that there is room for new players in the market, video is still only just starting out on its journey.

The market is still looking to answer key questions around supplying TV style audiences (e.g. daytime pricing) and whether it can accommodate the huge budgets set to be shifted into online video. In many countries there remains a supply issue with premium VOD that leaves advertisers with slow cover build and schedule gaps. For many clients the CPM’s are also simply out of reach.

We aim to bring new sources of inventory to the market by developing brand safe, viewable and fraud free solutions. The key to this is offering affordable rates that compliment off-line schedules, while taking advantage of the accountability the web has to offer. Some of the larger companies are bound by booking lead times, budget and format restrictions. Smaller, more nimble and flexible outfits such as Videoflare adapt quicker in the market and help clients find their target audiences.

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