Veteran Tremor Video CEO Bill Day has resigned, effective immediately, and will serve as a special adviser to the company through June.
Paul Caine, the non-executive board chairman for Tremor since 2014 and former Bloomberg Media CRO, will step in as interim CEO and lead the search for a permanent replacement, the company said Thursday.
“After long consideration, I’ve decided to leave my role as CEO,” Day said during the company’s Q4 2016 earnings call Thursday. “I’ve had the honor and privilege of serving as serving as CEO since 2008. I’m pleased to say Tremor is operating from a position of strength and the company is on a positive trajectory toward combined growth and profitability.”
Tremor did not detail why Day resigned.
In terms of Tremor’s business, its programmatic platforms business saw spend increase 96% YoY from publishers, trade desks and advertisers. Its sell-side platform did particularly well, though Tremor did not break out exact splits between buy- and sell-side platforms.
For instance, Tremor said it had signed an exclusive, two-year contract with streaming video service Hulu, which will use its seller platform. Hulu previously used Facebook’s LiveRail to construct a private exchange, but Facebook has since sunsetted LiveRail's publisher offerings.
Programmatic spend for 2016 was $138.6 million, compared to $70.4 million in 2015. Total spend for the year came in at the high end of Tremor’s expectations at $254.4 million.
But Tremor’s total 2016 revenue declined 4% to $166.8 million as its overall business shifted toward the sell side and as it transitioned over the past year from primarily a managed service ad network to a self-serve video marketplace.
Tremor’s strategic road map emphasizes programmatic and “higher-function” (cross-screen) formats now, with a dedicated focus on over-the-top TV.
But the company has had to weather an unforgiving public market, and its struggles are most evident in its buy-side business.
“The DSP space is more fragmented now and it’s hard for anyone to claim they’re the global leader right now,” Day acknowledged. Clients, he said, are increasingly “self-activating” their DSPs.
Metrics and pricing models are also diversifying. Clients want broader cross-screen activations priced on emerging metrics, such as cost per viewable impression instead of CPMs.
And some publishers price on subscriptions – not ads.
“We have a strong belief that both [ad-supported] and [subscription] video businesses will exist and do well,” Day said. “People have a willingness to pay for only so many products, and an entirely ad-supported [model] is not realistic either. Our belief about advertising has always been that it’s got to be really great to work.”