“[BrightRoll] fills a video-size hole in [Yahoo’s] stack,” said Martin Kihn, digital marketing analyst at Gartner. “However, strategically it isn’t too exciting. The…strategy seems to be, ‘What did AOL do last year? That’s what I’ll do! It’d be interesting if they moved the other way in the value chain – acquiring a content company like A+E.”
At the very least, the deal helps Yahoo “keep its ad technology relevant,” said Forrester principal analyst Jim Nail. “[Digital video] will be the dominant ad format by 2016, and larger than rich media and static banners combined by 2018.”
Yahoo and BrightRoll’s relationship dates back to 2006, when Yahoo used BrightRoll’s DSP to buy video inventory. Following the acquisition, Burke said Yahoo’s demand sources will connect with BrightRoll’s supply and vice versa.
“This will augment our owned and operated monetization because [BrightRoll] has a great DSP and advertiser relationships,” Burke said. “We want to be a better partner for Kellogg’s and P&G and all the premium advertisers and agencies. …They’re looking for fewer, larger, more strategic partnerships today and this evolves us in that position there.”
Although Burke said it was premature to discuss integration and how specifically BrightRoll will operate within the Yahoo tech ecosystem (remember – Yahoo “sunset” or, more applicably, rolled the assets of Right Media exchange and data management play Genome into the Yahoo Advertising fold last January), he said interoperability between Yahoo’s mobile, desktop, smart TV, and video assets helped spur the acquisition. Yahoo wants to drive performance in native contexts across mobile and video at “huge scale,” Burke said.
Yahoo has also piloted ways to measure the “downstream effects” of TV and video-streaming content consumption on Yahoo Screen for advertisers. Yahoo's purchase of mobile ad marketplace Flurry brings to the table app usage data, which coupled with digital video and smart TV app data, could generate more finely tuned targets for marketers who are trying to reach certain subsets and categories of people, Burke said.
Another driver in the acquisition was the intent to build its off-network reach. While Burke cited such owned-and-operated strengths as Live Nation and Yahoo Originals as Yahoo's historic "sweet spot," he acknowledged Yahoo hadn't developed a mature network and programmatic business to complement its video and music assets. "We decided the strategic fit was to plug in BrightRoll," he added.