VideoAmp has gained notice in recent months for its work with various media agencies and TV networks that are trying to take on the increasingly difficult task of measuring video audiences. The company hopes its latest maneuver will help make that complex assignment more simple.
VideoAmp has acquired Elsy, a company that helps advertisers optimize the money they are spending to place commercials on various media platforms. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Ross McCray, CEO and founder of VideoAmp, believes Elsy’s technology will make the process of using his company’s technology easier and less onerous for its clients.
“It’s primarily an agency product that will help buyers be able to automate more of the steps they need to deploy” new kinds of audience-measurement technology, says McCray, in an interview. Buyers and agencies want to reduce the amount of time they spend on back-office processes, he says, and gain more time to “look across the entire ecosystem of search and video and display and manage their dollars” assigned to each category.
VideoAmp is in the midst of a giant scrum in the media business as TV networks and a host of audience-measurement upstarts try to vie with Nielsen, the company that has for decades provided independent tabulation of the audiences watching TV programs. In the current era, the job has become exponentially more challenging. Consumers are migrating away from stand-alone linear TV and have adopted streaming, on-demand video that might be watched on a service like Netflix or Paramount+, or via YouTube or a network’s own offerings. The increased activity comes as Nielsen is working to gain back its industry accreditation for its national ratings service — lost last September — while introducing a new product it says will be able to give advertisers and TV networks more granular information on what kinds of consumers are watching programs and commercials, as well as how they are doing so.
In the meantime, TV networks are teaming up with companies like VideoAmp to create so-called “alternative currencies” to the ones long devised by using Nielsen ratings. VideoAmp has struck deals with Paramount Global and units of Warner Bros. Discovery, among others, that are likely to be used to spur new kinds of ad deals in the coming “upfront,” the industry ad-sales market that typically kicks off each May. It is doing so along with other Nielsen rivals like iSpot and Comscore.
Elsy was founded in 2015, and helps advertisers, agencies and others to monitor and reallocate advertising investments across a wide range of venues. Over time, says McCray, advertisers will be able to use Elsy to spur forecasts of consumer activity and to determine if they need to move ad money from one platform to another. “We are trying to equip the players with better, smarter ways to optimize their campaigns,” says Laurent Colard, a former senior executive at WPP’s GroupM who was CEO and co-founder of Elsy and will become senior vice president of product at VideoAmp.