Amazon’s mission to conquer advertising may have a new front — video ad tech.
And in this case, instead of challenging the Google/Facebook digital ad duopoly, Amazon would be looking to insert itself into a battle between Comcast and Google.
Specifically, Amazon has discussed building a proprietary video ad serving product for its own streaming business —and eventually licensing it, according to media executives familiar with the matter. Such a product would be similar to Comcast’s Freewheel or Google’s DoubleClick tools, the people said.
It’s unclear how far along Amazon is in the process of developing this ad serving product. The company is not directly taking meetings to pitch its own ad server, one person said. Instead, the potential product has come up during discussions Amazon is having with media companies about its emerging programmatic ad business via Fire TV devices.
Video ad serving software helps big media companies make sure that the right ads run at the right time and keeps competitor’s ads away from each other,so Coke ads don’t run right next to Pepsi, for instance.
Freewheel, which Comcast acquired in 2014, has been the category leader for a while. But more recently, Google has made an aggressive play with its own alternative.
The stakes are high. While getting big media companies to use their ad tech over a competitors doesn’t necessarily provide Comcast or Google’s a lock on ad budgets, it does enable these companies to get their hooks deeper into media partners.
Playing such a central role in delivering a media companies’ advertising infrastructure provides a Google or Comcast with loads of data on viewership and ad patterns. Plus, the more successful a company like Google is at helping a giant like CBS manage its video ads business, the more opportunities to deepen such a partnership. Or so the thinking goes.
In Amazon’s case, the company is now a solid number 3 when it comes to pure digital advertising. And with the growth in popularity of its Amazon Fire TV device, it’s rapidly growing its footprint in OTT advertising.
Amazon has historically built its own ad tech, first to serve its own ad business before eventually licensing it to partners. But when it comes to video ad serving, Amazon currently employs third parties when streaming events such as The Laver Cup or select Premier League Soccer events.
While media companies may view working Amazon warily (as they already do Comcast and Google), Amazon could have two clear advantages in this sector, if it were to go ahead and build and license an ad serving product.
For one, it could build its video ad server tech from scratch, for the needs of the connected TV world (products like Google’s DoubleClick, for instance, were born in a display, desktop ad era).
Plus, Amazon has a massive pool of data on its customers, including where they live and what they like to buy. It’s conceivable that this data could be used to bolster the effectiveness of its video ad tech, helping media companies better track the effectiveness of ad campaigns.
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