"Pure-play" companies adopting a network model, such as Tremor and YuMe, are sorting out how to meet the challenge of data-driven buying. Of the two, Tremor has moved more aggressively to adopt a "programmatic" mantle via its VideoHub unit, which this week added a more full-featured demand-side platform to what had primarily been a strict analytics business.
By contrast, YuMe has resisted the programmatic trend, contending that automated buying and selling are incompatible with the direct negotiations of lucrative branding campaigns -- despite all the discussion in recent months (and this week in particular) of "premium programmatic" involving guaranteed as well as nonguaranteed ad sales.
As Jefferies' Pitz put it, "audience is king." That means the entity with the greatest access to quality content and valuable audiences stand the best chance of thriving, instead of merely surviving the eventual consolidation of ad-tech middle men. It sounds a lot like TV, except for the targeting and measuring aspect.
With that future in mind, Jefferies deemed Google's YouTube and Tremor Video as "quality names that are well positioned in terms of focus, scale, reach and breadth of content."
YouTube has integration, reach, an enormous database of content and established advertiser relationships, while Tremor can boast of scale across "premium content with a differentiated, integrated platform." As for who else to watch, Jefferies said AOL, which held its ballyhooed "programmatic upfront" this week, may now also have one of the best collection of video assets – combining AOL On's video network that was build out of its acquisition of 5min Media three years ago, as well as rich content syndication associated with its $405 million acquisition of Adap.tv's established programmatic tools.