Comcast Corp. is closing in on a deal to acquire the video ad platform FreeWheel for around $320 million.
FreeWheel’s platform facilitates the cross-platform insertion of advertising in on-demand programming and live streaming feeds, making it easier for content companies and distributors to squeeze more advertising revenue from their content offerings over time. FreeWheel is known for its ability to offer highly targeted advertising insertion based on a range of user-specific factors that are attractive to advertisers.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, FreeWheel has worked with a host of blue-chip clients since its formation in 2007 — including Amazon, Fox and NBCUniversal, Turner Broadcasting and AT&T.
Owning FreeWheel would be a benefit to Comcast as it looks to expand its digital content offerings after it absorbs Time Warner Cable, as planned through the $45.2 billion merger agreement set last month.
If that deal is completed, Comcast will have the size and scale with its broadband and video subscribers to drive the development of new templates for advertising deals — so long as it has the technological capacity to make it easy for buyers and sellers.
Sources close to the situation said the plan is for FreeWheel to remain an autonomous unit within Comcast and maintain its business relationships with outside digital and TV clients. The hope is that FreeWheel’s monetization-focused technology will encourage content providers to make more programming available on-demand, something Comcast has pushed for years.
Comcast reps declined comment on the matter late Saturday. News of the FreeWheel acquisition was reported by TechCrunch and other digital news outlets.