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Mediaocean Sets Sights On The TV Sell Side By Acquiring Invision

July 14, 2016

by Kelly Liyakasa AdExchanger

Mediaocean has acquired Invision, a software company that helps broadcasters and major media companies manage sales workflow.

The financial terms of the deal, announced Thursday, were undisclosed and Mediaocean expects to add 100-plus employees as a result of the transaction.

This deal represents Mediaocean’s first serious foray into sell-side tools, since it had previously focused on solutions to help media agencies wrangle their TV orders, plan and bill.

But buyers now operate in a world where traditional TV, video-on-demand and online video have converged, and Mediaocean recognized the need to simplify the sales process across these systems, said CEO Bill Wise.

For instance, broadcasters and publishers need a yield management tool that stretches across different types of inventory.

And lack of connectivity between buy and sell-side systems creates opacity and makes it difficult for sellers to efficiently fill demand.

“We’ve seen traditional TV buyers and their clients recognize the need to buy the right mix between programmatic TV, digital video or video on demand, but the problem is that inventory is still siloed away in disparate solutions,” Wise said. “We saw there really needed to be two-way communication between supply and demand.” 

Invision has two main platforms: a linear ad sales system and an audience-targeting tool for video and advanced TV. These are essentially the sell-side equivalent of Mediaocean’s buyer-focused Spectra and Prisma platforms.

“Our system allows broadcasters to have one campaign management system whether they’re [supporting] addressable TV, digital video or audience-based [buys] traditional on television,” said Steve Marshall, cofounder and CEO of Invision. “We saw significant opportunity for our sellers to connect with additional demand sources.”

Invision’s customer list ranges from media companies like Bloomberg and BET Networks to satellite and cable providers like DirecTV and Time Warner Cable.

Wise predicts Mediaocean will benefit at a time when some of the world’s largest sellers of media (nee: Google, Facebook and Comcast) also own the keys to the TV publishers’ ad stack.

“Many companies who’ve tackled this challenge have approached it from a marketplace or exchange standpoint, not software,” he said. “That’s a key thing about this acquisition – we’re not a data company, we’re not arbitrating. We have neutral software solutions that will serve both sides.”

While some industry spectators become suspicious when a buy-side company dives into the sell-side and vice versa, Wise said Mediaocean remains open.

It launched a Connect Partner platform several years ago to allow other ad servers, data companies and sell-side technology providers to access its APIs and build on top of its platform to hook into agency demand.

Invision is Mediaocean’s third acquisition this year. Under Vista, the company’s private equity backer, Wise said Mediaocean has obtained the capital it needs to aggressively pursue acquisitions and the operational know-how to ensure proper integration thereafter.

“We felt planning and buying needed to converge as [the time to execute] media buys between linear and programmatic/real time TV was shortening up,” Wise said. “This [deal] was very consistent with our core business and what we saw happening in the marketplace.”