TechInk: AOL Completes its Purchase While Facebook Is Still Trying to Figure Out Video Ads

/ Sep 6, 2013 logo_vert_CS3

TechInk is a weekly series that rounds up the important and interesting things you need to know when it comes to digital video tech, from new product launches to product updates; the latest happenings in ad tech, analytics, and measurement; and, of course, research. At the end of the day, we just want you to be informed if some crazy guy walks up to you and says: “Hey! What’s going on with Aereokiller?” Enjoy.

Ad Tech

Facebook is delaying the launch of its highly anticipated (and semi-controversial) video ad product, according to a report from Michael Learmonth at Ad Age. Intended to launch sometime in October, after being pushed back twice from a spring and then a summer debut, there is no longer a timeframe for when Facebook will unveil the product. Facebook’s video ad play, which it has been pitching to top advertisers for over a year, is designed to go after TV ad dollars. Advertisers will be able to deliver and target 15-second spots to different large demographics. Users will at most see three videos each day — the ads will appear in the newsfeed and automatically start playing without audio when a user scrolls past them. If they click on the ad, the audio will start playing and the ad will expand to take up more of the screen. In other words, Facebook video ads would offer the guaranteed reach and frequency that most digital video ad platforms struggle with. The controversy comes in Facebook’s decision to autoplay the ads.



AOL today completed its $405 million acquisition of video ad tech provider, which joins the AOL umbrella as an independent company within AOL’s video organization. In the announcement, AOL said will be included as part of the “overall solution” offered by AOL Networks to advertisers, agencies, and publishers. will also participate in AOL’s first Programmatic Upfront, which is scheduled to take place the first night of Advertising Week in New York City (September 23).

Going forward, video-search on the Xbox 360 will be powered by Jinni, a video discovery solution that offers recommendations based on taste and mood. The company says its proprietary technology uses “content genetics” and a “nuanced understanding of user tastes” to personalize content recommendations for users. In less flashy terms, Jinni’s technology assigns “thousands” of tags to each film or TV title to describe things like mood, style, plot, and setting. So instead of searching for things by traditional genre terms, users can search based on moods/tastes like “sexy mind games” or “heroes fighting the system.” Financial terms of the multi-year deal were not disclosed. Jinni, which is based in Tel Aviv, has received a lot of recognition for its technology, including winning “Best Product Idea” from CableLabs, being honored by the Webby Awards, and being selected as the best movie recommendation engine by CNET and Lifehacker.

Mobile ad company Amobee, which was bought by Singapore telecommunications giant SingTel for $321 million last year, has acquired Gradient X, a mobile ad RTB platform. It’s a tech-and-talent acquisition as Gradient X CEO Brian Baumgart, CTO Michael Lum, and CIO Julie Mattern will all join Amobee. TechCrunch reports that the purchase price is in the “tens of millions of dollars.”



FilmOn X, a live-TV streaming service in the vein of Aereo (and also formerly known as Aereokiller), lost a major court battle this week. A US District Court in Washington, DC, granted broadcasters a preliminary injunction against the service, which retransmits broadcast signals over the web. FilmOn X CEO Alki David says this battle isn’t over as he plans to appeal the decision. It’ll be fun to see how this affects broadcasters’ ongoing battle with Aereo, which many would argue is the real threat to the traditional cable model (many view Film On X and Alki David as a joke, and rightfully so). For its part, Aereo has actually won every court battle it has been involved in.



There will be 204.6 million “US digital video viewers” in 2017, according to eMarketer. This would represent 78.1% of all internet users and 62.7% of the general population, and would be an increase from 182.5 million viewers in 2013 (75% of internet users and 57.7% of US residents).

Unruly’s new “Social Video Consumer Tech Spotlight” report finds that while Apple may be beating companies like Nokia and Samsung in terms of mobile device sales and shipments, its ads are faring worse when it comes to social video advertising and marketing. Ads for Samsung’s Galaxy S4 generated eight times more shares (across Facebook, Twitter, and blogs) than ads for the iPhone 5. In fact, 52.4% of shares in the smartphone category belong to Samsung, according to Unruly (not that surprising considering the kind of ads Samsung has put out for their smartphones — for example the one from the Super Bowl starring Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, and LeBron James). Interestingly, it might just be an issue with the quality of ads for the iPhone 5, as ads for the 4S generated 2.5 times more shares than ads for the iPhone 5. No wonder the 5 might be discontinued once the 5S and 5C (or whatever they will be called) come out.

A new report released by TubeMogul this week found that tablet video viewing peaks during traditional primetime hours (8pm to midnight), and represents 25.7% of total video views on such devices. iPad viewing peaks at 10pm, slightly later than viewing on Android-powered tablets. In addition, TubeMogul reports that while iPhone viewership “tends to decline” during primetime hours, 33.9% of all video-viewing on Android phones take place between 8pm and midnight. When measuring across the week, TubeMogul found more mobile video consumption later in the week, with 49% of mobile video ads being watched between Thursday and Saturday. Weekends bring in the highest ad completion rates. And in news that should in no way be surprising to you, click-through rates on mobile video ads (4.9%) are higher than non-mobile devices (0.6%).

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