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New Web Platform Links Advertisers With Online Video

21 Jun, 2011

Affine Systems, a San Francisco-based video technology company, has launched a business platform that enables advertisers to buy and place spots on premium video content delivered over the Internet.

Dubbed the “contextual targeting platform,” Affine aims to assist media buyers, content owners and publishers in purchasing online ads by scanning videos frame-by-frame, organizing the information into specific content categories so buyers can select exactly where they want their ads to appear.

Indeed, YouTube continues to dominate online video consumption as users flock to see professionally produced clips and outtakes, in addition to user-generated fare.

The Affine platform helps buyers have a better understanding about the content they are buying. Thumbnails showcase how an ad looks in the clip, and an online database allows users to create their own custom video channel.

About $70 billion is spent by advertisers on TV programming annually, with another $12 billion spent on display ads and $10 billion on ads placed on search engines such as Google, according to Affline CEO Mike Sullivan.

Sullivan said a majority of video clips consumed on YouTube and blog posts are considered “unclassified content,” which he said is a mixture of TV shows, music videos, movie trailers, instructional videos and other network fare.

“It’s really a mess, but that’s where the audience is,” he said, adding that targeting these viewers boils down to a technology problem instead of a content issue.

As an example, Sullivan cited Ford Motor Co., which is a major advertiser on “American Idol.” He said that to date there never has been an easy way to buy ads for the myriad “Idol” clips and outtakes circulating on the Web.

Working with Google and Tidal TV, among others, Affine categorizes that content, making it easier for media buyers to quantify and qualify what they’re buying.

“They can now go after TV [content] much the same way Hulu has been able to do,” Sullivan said.

Hulu, which is co-owned by Walt Disney, News Corp. and NBC Universal, leads the industry in ad revenue generated from repurposed network TV programs online.

By creating specific content channels for Google, the search behemoth has been able to more effectively monetize the content to advertisers, Sullivan said.

“Google can actually start competing for upfront [TV ad] dollars. They [now] look like a cable channel,” he said. “We’re providing that last piece [of the puzzle].”

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