Mediaocean, fresh from striking a collaboration with digital video rights manager FreeWheel for handling Aol's ad inventory across TV and online, has just netted an even bigger assignment – Comcast.
The media buying workflow software company will be in charge of processing ad buys for Comcast AdDelivery, the cable operator's cloud-based tool for distributing spot TV. It's unclear how much this will add to Mediaocean's claim that it processes more than $130 billion globally across holding companies and agencies, but Comcast says its Spotlight ad sales unit generated $2.3 billion in revenue last year. Mediaocean has partnered with Comcast to develop a dedicated software for the cable operator that promises fully integrated ad management under the title Mediaocean Optica.
Mediaocean Optica goes beyond Comcast Spotlight and is designed to work with all broadcasters on the Comcast Cable network, SVP/GM of Comcast Wholesale Matt McConnell told AdExchanger through a Mediaocean representative.
Mediaocean Optica is aimed at smoothing out the usual wrinkles and points of disconnect among the disparate parts of the TV ad chain – specifically, planners, buyers, traffickers and creators. The problem of matching technical specs of agencies and broadcasters has often led to frustration between parties. Mediaocean says Optica will solve that too.
In a sense, the deal signals that Mediaocean is no longer choosing whether it wants to play in the TV world or in the online world. A few months ago, the company surprised observers with the launch of its Prisma display media buying system. At the time, a year after federal regulators gave their blessing for Mediaocean's merger with 40-year-old media buying solution Donovan Data Systems, the company's CEO Bill Wise told us that the overarching ambition was to serve as “the app store for advertising,” taking on Google, and as the only alternative in terms of ad tech plumbing.
Having the country's number one cable operator on board will make it easier for Mediaocean to strike deals with the other big-pay TV systems. And with all the talk of TV and online video ad buys being tied more closely together through greater emphasis on cross-platform sales, Mediaocean is well-positioned to challenge Google as the pipeline owner through which most advertising is pumped through.
But this kind of power also invites greater competition. As Mediaocean is seen as an alternative to Google, others who are worried about entanglements with a media buying software provider so deeply embedded with the cable industry's hegemon may start to give Comcast rivals Strata and Harris Corp. a closer inspection.