Game On! TubeMogul Launches PlayTime Video Ad Network

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Today, Tubemogul announced something huge… they are parlaying their expertise in online video distribution and measurement into the creation of a brand new video advertising network.

Their new video ad network dubbed, PlayTime (because their motto is ‘More Play Time’), is touted as the industry’s “First 100% Transparent Video Ad Network.” That tagline should come as no surprise given that advertisers have often complained about a lack of transparency and accountability in this space and there have been issues when it comes to obtaining accurate data from the likes of comScore.

PlayTime delivers unprecedented transparency – lets advertisers see and control exactly what they’re buying – by using TubeMogul’s industry standard InPlay analytics that allow advertisers to compare performance metrics across placements in real-time.

As one might expect, this new play has raised some questions from rivals concerned about the notion of a video analytics company crossing the line into a video advertising network.  According to MediaWeek, Molly Gallatin, director of marketing for video ad network YuMe, said,

“This feels like a church-and-state issue… Nielsen and comScore have never gone in that direction. They let agencies make their own decisions on how to connect the dots with data.”

While it is true that Neilsen and comScore have never gone in that direction, I don’t know that going in this direction is really a relevant argument.  In my opinion, Nielsen and comScore wouldn’t be able to move in this direction even if they wanted to do so.  Unlike Tubemogul’s InPlay analytics, numbers from comScore and Nielsen are widely reported and are meant to reflect overall trends in the industry.  Additionally, while current models may allow agencies to “make their own decisions,” my guess is that some agencies would be more than happy to focus more of their energy on what they do best as opposed to playing “connect the dots.”

According to David Burch, Director of Marketing for Tubemogul, the company is, at its core, a video analytics company.  This new offering is designed to leverage their video measurement capabilities so as to provide publishers and advertisers with a better accounting of where video views are occurring.

Since we are (and remain) an analytics company, we saw an opportunity to launch the first 100% transparent ad network, made possible by new targeting technology that learns from the billions of monthly streams we track.

How does it work?

PlayTime will work by serving videos as standalone content across hundreds of publisher sites and within social media websites and applications.   Advertisers will only pay for videos that are watched and will be given reporting statistics on a per-stream level, something I wouldn’t mind seeing if I were an advertiser.  Among the statistics that PlayTime will report within the advertisers’ dashboard are:

  • What sites views are coming from and in what numbers
  • Whether a video is served above or below the fold
  • Whether views are click-to-play or auto-play
  • How long viewers watched before clicking away
  • What search terms they are using to find a video
  • Whether the video is shared or embedded

In the announcement they mention a guarantee that they can target videos to viewers who will actually watch them longer – stating that 200-300% increases in viewing time were achieved through their proprietary collaborative filtering and targeting technology.  Unfortunately, there is little additional information available on their website with regard to the guarantee and the only way to get more information about the offering is to fill out a request form.  Of course they take the “if you have to ask…” approach for all of their services so unless I go and pretend to be an interested client I can’t really give you much information on pricing either.

If you ask me, I think that Tubemogul was smart to offer services that cater to both ends of the online video spectrum (producers and publishers.)   Because of this, they really put themselves in a perfect position to bridge the gap and connect those that produce video content, with those that have an audience of viewers waiting to watch that video content.


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