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By The Drum Team, Editorial

May 9, 2016 | 3 min read

Comcast has bought French ad tech startup StickyAds for an undisclosed fee in a move that many see as the cable giant preparing a further charge into the programmatic TV, according to reports.

ReCode first reported the deal citing sources “familiar with the transaction”, adding that Paris-based StickyAds will be grouped as part of Comcast’s FreeWheel unit – an arm of the cable giant that lets TV-centric outfits deliver digital ads.

Neither Comcast, not StickyAds have yet to comment publicly on the initial report, but the initial report goes on to state that all of StickyAds staff will join Comcast’s FreeWheel outfit post the transaction, plus the deal has not been given any public valuation as of yet.

The deal represents yet another name from the traditional TV landscape buying into the ad tech sector, with European broadcasting giant RTL taking a 65 per cent stake in programmatic advertising firm SpotX back in 2014.

StickyAds helps media owners monetise their video advertising inventory by giving them technology that helps them set up their own marketplaces, and has been going about building its on suite of publisher-focused ad tech since its inception in 2009.

This included last month’s tie-up with Integral Ad Science, which saw it launch of an anti-fraud pre-bid feature that helps its media owner partners to better assess whether or not an ad impression is created by a human or bot.

With data-led marketing, and programmatic media buying in particular currently en vogue, the ad tech outfits have never been in more demand. This year in particular has been earmarked as a pivotal period in the sector, especially as many ad tech outfits are reputed to be reaching the lower echelons of their initial funding, and eager for a buyer.

Luma Partner's Terry Kawaja, an influential finance broker in the ad tech space, has mapped the majority of these companies in the ad tech ecosystem, and placed them together in a graphic he call the "Lumascape" (see image above).

Speaking at last year's Dmecxo, he told attendees he believes that few companies in the ad tech/martech milieu will sell for sums in excess of $100m, with 'only four-or-five' outfits in the sector (think Google, etc.) actually having enough liquidity to be aggressive in the field (see video below).

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