Exclusive: ITV Joins European TV Giants in Bid to Buy Videology

The deadline for the auction for Videology’s assets is 13th of July, which also happens to be Friday the 13th. However, the day’s association with bad luck hasn’t deterred bidders and a number of players have entered the race to buy what is left of Videology. When the news of Videology’s bankruptcy officially broke back in May, Singtel-owned Amobee were mentioned as one of the companies interested in an acquisition. However, VAN has since learned that other players have entered the bidding war. Perhaps the most interesting bid has been a proposed management buy-out that would be financially backed by a consortium of European broadcasters.

Sources told VAN that the UK’s ITV has joined other broadcasting giants, all of whom are participating in the European Broadcaster Exchange (EBX) — i.e. ProSiebenSat.1, Mediaset, TF1 and Channel 4 — to financially back a management buy-out that would be led by two Videology executives, CRO Ryan Jamboretz and Rhys McLachlan who acts as SVP of Global TV Strategy. However, this move is believed to be independent and unrelated to EBX at this time.

New Video Frontiers 2018
London, 2nd-3rd of October
Early bird tickets now on sale

ITV’s involvement will come as a surprise to many as the company has been relatively conservative when it comes to investing in ad technology. However, it is believed that Carolyn McCall, who joined as CEO earlier this year, is considerably more technology-focused that her predecessor Adam Crozier, whose transformation strategy focused mostly on content.

Should the bid be successful, the company would relocate the headquarters to London and continue to exist as an independent entity, albeit one that is co-owned by a number of major media companies. Various sources confirmed that Videology’s stack would be attractive to the broadcasters for a number of reasons.

Made for TV

Videology’s stack is particularly effective at dealing with “fixed price, fixed volume” transactions and effectively forms a DSP to SSP pipeline for TV trading between agencies and broadcasters. Other TV-friendly features help with regulatory compliance, including clash management and category separation, a Clearcast API for clearance in the UK and for ensuring HFSS products (those high in fat, sugar and salt) aren’t run against content for children.

At a strategic level, it’s no secret that broadcasters have been finding common cause over the last 18 months or so when it comes to pooling their inventory via initiatives like EBX. However, some VAN have spoke to have said they’re about the way in which successive ad tech companies have fallen into the hands of direct competitors. Having some sort of stake in proprietary technology would help ease concerns about data security, privacy and reduce the sense that they are strengthening the hands of competitors.

Another bidder for Videology was Miroma Ventures, a privately held company that invests in media and tech companies, although sources say the most likely winner is to be either Singtel or the TV consortium. Whilst the deadline for bids is Friday the 13th, the final decision won’t be made until 17th or possibly the 18th of July.

Before Christmas of last year, Videology was being courted by AT&T and conversations were at an advanced stage, but the deal was scuppered at the final hurdle, partly by AT&T’s struggles with getting regulatory approval for its Time Warner acquisition and partly by the telco giant’s desire to buy AppNexus, which it acquired in late June.

Subscribe to Weekly VAN Newsletter

Ad TechEuropeProgrammaticTV