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TV-Ad Tracker iSpot.tv Raises $5 Mil in Funding

Startup plans to use funds to expand advertising-measurement system to TV reach on social networks

Startup iSpot.tv, which tracks TV ad impressions across 80 national broadcast and cable networks in the U.S. in real time, has raised $5 million in financing led by Madrona Venture Group, with participation by TL Ventures.

The 15-employee firm has signed up 40 paying clients, including cable and broadcast networks and WPP’s Mindshare, since launching its service in June, according to iSpot.tv founder and CEO Sean Muller.

The iSpot analytics service tracks and displays more than 36,000 national TV ads, movie trailers and show promos and more than 5,000 brands. The startup’s ad-tracking service also has gained a consumer-facing audience with more than 1.3 million unique monthly users who can watch, rate, share and get information about TV commercials.

“There is a gap between what information advertisers and TV networks need and what is currently being offered,” Muller said. Existing ad-tracking services from Nielsen and Kantar Media provide similar metrics, but with a delay of three weeks or more.

Prior to founding iSpot.tv, Muller was chief operating officer of MediaNet Digital, a digital music platform company, and before that was chief technology officer at Demand Media.

Bellvue, Wash.-based iSpot.tv uses proprietary audio and video fingerprinting and tagging technologies to identify ads on TV, recording metadata about channel, time and creative. The company estimates ad impressions using Nielsen-sourced data. Its service provides a dashboard to provide views in ad impressions by category, brand or network, and provides playback of ads in HD.

The startup expects to use the funding to expand the service into social media, to provide advertisers a relative gauge of how often their TV spots are viewed online and discussed on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

Madrona, an early investor in Amazon.com, has invested in other digital and mobile advertising companies including Yieldex, Mixpo, Mobilewalla, Bizible, Maxpoint Interactive, and Placed.com.

“In a very short amount of time, iSpot.tv has built and delivered a real-time view into a $60-plus billion advertising market that is primarily reliant on data that can be three to 12 weeks old and unusable for brands and agencies that demand near-real-time flighting and placement optimization,” Len Jordan, managing director at Madrona Venture Group, said in a statement.

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