Digital ad management provider DG is pouring the disparate technologies and products it has bought and built over the last few years into a single receptacle called "VideoFusion." While having a clearer marketing message is the over-arching reason for the "brand unification," the company also wants to emphasize its proposition to be the connective tissue between online and TV ad delivery, said Andrew Bloom, DG's senior VP-strategic business development.
"Rather than going out after each new product addition or acquisition, we wanted to be sure we had the plumbing and integration settled first, and that's what VideoFusion represents," Bloom said. "And so instead of thinking of this as a rebranding, we're calling it a unification."
DG has a lot of parts to unify. Last year, the Irving, Texas-based company made the somewhat surprising acquisition of semantic/contextual ad provider Peer39, for $15.5 million. Two years ago it made two big purchases, paying $66 million for EyeWonder and $414 million for MediaMind. Since then MediaMind has added sales offices and expanded its global reach.
But Before that, DG bought rich media vendor Enliven Marketing Technologies, which among other things included the supply-side facing marketing unit, Unicast. Going back further, DG merged with Fastchannel in 2006, which helped the company move beyond its core business of offline ad serving for TV ads and radio ads in the U.S. and Canada and added deeper digital capabilities.
One of the problems that growing ad tech companies have had to deal with in the past few years is how to meld acquired properties together in a way that's mutually reinforcing at best, and not confusing, at least. Another recent example of this was AOL's repackaging of its ad services in a more simplified way, by bundling Advertising.com, along with its demand-side platform AdLearn, retargeting unit Buysight, early acquisition ADTECH and other pieces it has picked up over the years, into AOL Networks.
DG needs to be able to explain itself and what it can do quickly and accessibly. The underlying message: It can be an independent alternative to Google's DoubleClick, Bloom said.
"This company has put together a stellar group of assets covering online and offline delivery platforms, resource management, and direct response," Bloom said. "And that message can be lost when you have a variety of products and services and brands. DG is a company that connects 5,000 agencies, 12,000 advertisers; we are responsible for 10% of the world's ads. We deliver ads to 128 million households. What we're beginning to do is concentrate all that reach within two product lines."
The first product line is the continuation of the MediaMind brand as a global campaign management tool. Highlighting that brand, instead of merely burying it under a single, new name, can help demonstrate the product's independence, Bloom said. "We think the value of a third-party, buy-side stack is to provide agencies with verifiable [measurement], independent of media sales. It's the source of truth. It's not just a theory. It's hard to be an on-ramp for advertisers, which is what DFA is for Google. And we'll see what Atlas' stack is for Facebook."
The VideoFusion product, meanwhile, will incorporate all of DG’s TV and video products and services such as TV ad delivery, SpotCentral, PathFire, TreeHouse, and online video. Ultimately, VideoFusion will handle asset management and creative production to planning, analysis, and delivery of converged video campaigns.
Even with the big push around VideoFusion as DG's main go-to-market offering, the MediaMind addition will still loom large; however, it will stand singularly as an online ad platform, unburdened by non-core offerings such as DG SourceEcreative, a creative resource library, and DG Mijo, which manages post-production for content customization.
"Why did we buy MediaMind? Because the future of delivery was going to make the targeting of an ad server even more important," Bloom said. "We can help advertisers break through TV ads and online video. Our message is, 'If you want to find video viewers online, we can deliver your TV ad to the right audience.' We expect that message will resonate now more than ever, because consumers and advertisers have caught up."
Over the next quarter or two, DG also plans to beef up its cross-channel analytics product. The timing of all this is designed to coincide with the TV upfront negotiations, which are increasingly about integrating cross-platform ad sales for the networks and their related digital businesses. But even as the company brings all its services closer together, both online and offline, Bloom says real-time bidding methods are a long way off from playing a role in TV media buying.
"We took a run at the RTB TV market when I was at SpotRunner a few years ago, and I believe we will get there in the future, but not right now," Bloom said. "It's inevitable. But I also believe that the people who manage TV ad sales, RTB is still a confusing term. The business model of TV is a beautiful model with great control of inventory and supply. Everything that's bad about online is beautiful on TV. We're not there yet. The ability to target with data will happen faster than the move to RTB, so we want to be ready for that first."