Brightcove is acquiring Unicorn Media, a leading provider of cloud video ad insertion technology, in a deal worth an estimated $49 million.
Unicorn Media has pioneered an innovative cloud-based ad insertion and video stitching service called Once—engineered to address the limitations of traditional online video ad technology.
The service reduces or eliminates the need for platform-specific ad technology, making it possible for digital media companies to reliably deliver live or on-demand video with dynamically customised programming and targeted advertising to a wide variety of devices.
Leading digital media organisations, including ESPN, NBC News and The Weather Channel, already use Once to take advantage of monetisation opportunities across a wide range of devices and screens.
Following the purchase, the Unicorn Media product line will be rebranded as Brightcove Once, with Unicorn Media’s headquarters in Arizona set to become the Brightcove Southwest research and development centre in the USA.
“We believe that online video has the potential to surpass traditional TV by offering mass personalization, superior ad targeting, and frictionless distribution to more screens in more locations,” said David Mendels, Chief Executive Officer of Brightcove. “However, media companies are struggling to effectively deliver ad-supported video content to a fragmented landscape of platforms, including mobile devices, set top boxes, connected living room devices, and a growing number of PCs that have ad-blockers installed. Through the acquisition of Unicorn Media, Brightcove will empower media companies to address these challenges by offering the most comprehensive suite of cloud services for delivering and monetizing online video content to the broadest range of devices.”
Accustream Media estimates that the online video advertising market represented $10.4 billion U.S. dollars in worldwide spending in 2013, with spending expected to grow to $16.8 billion by 2015. However, the troubling rise of PC ad-blocking technology has become a material loss of revenue for many properties and represents a threat to future growth. Additionally, video viewership continues to shift to mobile devices and consumer electronics platforms where traditional online video advertising technology either does not function at all, or is only partially-supported. These challenges increasingly prevent media companies from fully monetizing their potential audience and negatively impact the overall video advertising industry growth.
ESPN, NBC News and The Weather Channel use on Once to take advantage of monetization opportunities across a wide range of devices and screens and deliver a smooth end user experience that rivals or surpasses traditional television.
In addition, a number of media companies are already using both Brightcove and Unicorn Media services in a complementary fashion. The combined company will be able to offer top media properties unmatched audience reach, monetization potential, and consumer experience for their online video initiatives.
Unicorn Media has been awarded 14 U.S. patents, 7 of which have also been issued internationally, and has 20 patent applications pending for the technologies that are the foundation of the Once product line and other related domains. These patents and inventions will become part of the Brightcove intellectual property portfolio following the closing of the transaction.
Brightcove will rebrand the Unicorn Media product line as Brightcove Once and will continue to develop, operate and support the service while also integrating the technology with other Brightcove services. Unicorn Media’s headquarters in Tempe, Arizona will become the Brightcove Southwest R&D Center, joining similar centers in Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.