Consolidation is in the air...
A lot has happened since my last post. Instead on trying to retread all of it, I will just make a single (potentially obvious) observation. Consolidation is in the air in the advertising, media and ad tech business. The big are getting bigger.
Despite activist Elliott Management agitating within the halls of AT&T, Xandr was able to successfully acquire Clypd a leading television sales management platform. The Clypd platform offers workflow automation, data-driven decisioning and yield optimization tools for media organizations to manage their sales efforts. Clypd reports that they work with over 100 national cable and broadcast networks, and it will be interesting to see what their new ownership structure does to their subscriber base. I have heard that a few of the major networks have pressed “pause” as they work out their new financial arrangements. Needless to say, Clypd will be an important element in growing Xandr Monetize, (their sell-side platform) which was introduced earlier this year.
Xandr issued a statement at the time of the acquisition (of which the financial details were not disclosed): “As part of the Xandr family, Clypd will accelerate converged buying and selling across addressable TV, data-driven linear TV, mobile, and over-the-top channels on streaming video services. This provides the ultimate viewership experience as people seek content that’s relevant to them – regardless of the screen. Equally, content owners and TV programmers need simplified solutions to streamline relevant advertising, which in turn helps fund the premium content consumers know and love."
If that was not enough excitement, Roku acquired DataXu last week for $150MM in cash and stock. DataXu was one of the last significant independent DSP’s and the acquisition suggests that the future growth of OTT may be driven by a page out of the programmatic playbook. A data-driven, self-service model both on and off platform could be super interesting at Roku in the future. “TV advertising is shifting toward OTT and a data-driven model focused on business outcomes for brands,” said Roku CEO Anthony Wood in a statement. “The acquisition of DataXu will accelerate our ad platform while also helping our content partners monetize their inventory even more effectively.”
One thing is pretty clear. The unfettered growth in ad tech over the past decade has given rise to an ecosystem that is being crushed by its own weight. The big media players are all gathering their war chests and building their futures to take on the digital behemoths and an ad-free future. It will be fascinating to see who gets acquired next.