7 Big Ad-Tech Players and the Bigger Media Giants They’re Now Owned By

/ Mar 28, 2015

which platform is best for your online video?

The MCN world isn’t the only one that’s been the target of investments and acquisitions. Digital advertising technology providers, which in some ways share similarities with MCNs (many of which are YouTube ad networks, after all), have also been ripe for the picking.

In the past couple of years, nearly all of the biggest US-based ad-tech companies have been acquired — often by some of the biggest media companies on the planet. Here are seven:

1.Facebook and Liverail

Facebook bought up LiveRail in summer 2014 for somewhere between $400 and $500 million. Founded in 2007, the company is one of the biggest in the US—in February 2015, comScore ranked it first in the US with more than 3.7 billion impressions on desktops alone. The measurement firm said LiveRail reached more than 46.5% of the US population in that time.

2. Yahoo and BrightRoll

Not long after Facebook’s purchase of LiveRail, Yahoo shelled out $640 million for video advertising platform BrightRoll. Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer said the purchase “will accelerate the growth of both companies,” as BrightRoll would reach more global advertisers through Yahoo. BrightRoll has worked with a number of brands like Comcast, Ford, Verizon, and Google, among many others, and some major ad agencies.

3. AOL and Adap.tv

Setting a precedent for the above acquisitions, AOL bought programmatic video ad platform Adap.tv for $405 million in August 2013. At the time, Adap.tv serviced 83 of AdAge’s top 100 advertisers and 70 of comScore’s top 100 digital publishers. This was an important move for AOL back then, because it made the company more of a viable YouTube competitor. Over one and a half years later, AOL has built an entire video ecosystem around its AOL On network and the Adap.TV technology, pulling everything into a complete offering called One by AOL.

4. RTL Group and SpotXChange

RTL Group acquired a majority stake, 65%, in SpotXChange for $144 million in summer 2014, part of the major wave of ad tech company acquisitions with Yahoo and Facebook. The European broadcaster had been pouring some serious money into digital video, having put $36 million into MCN BroadbandTV the year before and continually financing the production and distribution of digital video via its subsidiary, FremantleMedia. The next step, of course, was monetizing all that content with ads. SpotXChange’s clients include publishers The Atlantic, Meredith, and NDN.

5. Google and Adometry

adometry google

adometry google

In May 2014, Google acquired Adometry for an undisclosed sum. The company focuses on attribution, or customers’ internet behavior, as it tracks their digital paths to purchases. This makes sense for the YouTube owner, which focuses its ad strategy pretty heavily on a user’s searches and assumed interests.

6. Comcast and FreeWheel

At the time of the acquisition, which cost Comcast somewhere in the neighborhood of $360 million, FreeWheel served some of the biggest online video providers — including TV networks — in the US, with clients ranging from AOL to Vevo. The company is also well-known for providing one of the most robust quarterly reports on the state of the digital advertising market, with data supported by billions of streams across the company’s client network.

7. Nexstar and Yashi

Most recent of all these acquisitions, media company Nexstar bought up ad tech company Yashi for a mere (in comparison) $33 million. Yashi offers programmatic tech and analytics serves on its digital video ad platform, letting advertisers keep track of their ad campaigns and optimize them accordingly. Nexstar counts a number of TV stations in its media portfolio, but it’s working to up its digital media portfolio, adding ad tech on top of its March 2014 purchase of Internet Broadcasting Systems, a digital publishing platform for video and other editorial content.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • Aaron Mahl

    It’s almost difficult to imagine now, but I can foresee a time when Google isn’t on this list. When it comes to innovation in the mobile ad space, Google/Admob are now, in my opinion, in a position to play catch up with Facebook, Airpush, Yahoo and others. Just a few weeks ago Google said they are launching a native mobile ad product — and it’s STILL in beta! This is 2 years after other more forward-thinking companies delved into this space. At every step these days, Google seems a day late and a dollar short.


Pioneering Hip Hop Exec Lyor Cohen Joins YouTube as Global Head...


Legendary Digital Reveals Alpha Subscription Service Launch...


Time Inc. Teams with Digital Comedy Producers Jash for Branded Content

Amazon Logo

Amazon Greenlights Three Comedy Pilots as Series

Industry Tickets Selling Fast!
Click above to lock in your registration for VidCon 2015!

How the Cartoon Network Combined the Best of VOD and Linear TV...


Jukin Media Goes Viral for Brands with Ethos Division Launch

Streamy Awards

Streamy Awards Trade In VH1 for YouTube, Again


Matching Ads to Videos Not So Simple, According to Zefr’s...


Plug Pulled on Canadian SVOD Service Shomi


What’s Trending on the Twitter Sale

Machinima Logo

Machinima Teams with SiriusXM for Daily Esports Radio Show


AwesomenessTV, Vice, Complex to Power New HearstLive...


VIDEO: ‘Dirty 30’ Confessions with Stars Hart,...


Facebook Says It’s Sorry It Vastly Overestimated Video...


Pilgrim Media Group CEO Craig Piligian (‘The...


Heroes or Rats?: YouTube Unveils New Program for Creators Who...

Vessel says it's doing well in its first month

Why Verizon is Pursuing Vessel, the...


How Canvs Media is Harvesting Emotional Insights on YouTube,...


Marlon Wayans Getting ‘Naked’ for Netflix with Regina Hall


HuffPost RYOT Launching Virtual Reality Comedy Series and News...


YouTube Launches #voteIRL Campaign Targeting Digital-First Generation


How Top YouTubers (incl. Tyler Oakley & Meghan Rienks)...


Charlie Sheen to Star in Crackle Feature ‘Mad Families’


Gunpowder & Sky Buys Distributor FilmBuff As Vision for...


Toy Freaks Top Viewed YouTube Channel in August According to...


Emmy Wrap-Up 2016: Jeffrey Tambor (‘Transparent’)...


Twitter Scores 2.1 Million Viewers for Thursday Night Footall Kickoff


Vloggers Not Unique Snowflakes: 90 Million Flag YouTube Videos...

Mode Media

‘Billion Dollar Startup’ Mode Media Shuts Down


Who Is Winning The Marketing Revolution And Why?


Netflix Orders ‘She’s Gotta Have It’ Series...


What Is ‘Swedish Dicks’ and Who Is Selling It?


How GMC is Using the AOL Series ‘Seamlessly She’...


Liberty Global to Put Netflix on Set-Top Boxes in 30 Countries


Getting to the Spine of VR’s Monetization Challenges with...


Meredith Hosted Its Own “Front” Stacked with 20 New Series


Verizon and Hearst Move RatedRed.com and Seriously.TV Under...


Twitter Launches Live Streaming Apps for Amazon Fire, Apple TV...

YouTube Community

YouTube Fights Back Against Social Media Rivals with Community Feature

Casual Hulu

Vimeo Opening Television Store with Lionsgate Content, Launching...