Innovid acquires TVSquared in quest to realize cross-platform measurement

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Innovid, the ad-tech firm focused on connected TV (CTV), is acquiring measurement and attribution platform TVSquared in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $160 million, according to an announcement. The transaction is expected to close by the end of Innovid’s fiscal second quarter.
  • TVSquared founder and CEO Calum Smeaton will transition to a strategy role focused on integration with Innovid. TVSquared President Jo Kinsella will move to Innovid’s executive team and serve as the lead on its measurement business, reporting to Innovid co-founder and CEO Zvika Netter.
  • The two firms’ combined technology encompasses ad serving, creative personalization and optimization, and outcomes and audience measurement tools. The deal is another sign of maturation in the CTV space as solutions providers try to address concerns that the popular channel is riddled with fragmentation and redundancy challenges.

Dive Insight:

In acquiring TVSquared, Innovid takes another step toward building a single platform that can address client needs around CTV and the wider video ecosystem. Together, the companies represent both the buy- and sell-side of the business and expect to process billions of daily impressions.

“Joining forces establishes a cross-platform measurement solution that maps one of the largest datasets of audiences, homes, and devices, at scale, across linear, CTV, and digital video,” TVSquared’s Smeaton said in a statement about the deal.

CTV has been on the rise for several years and saw adoption accelerate under the pandemic, when more households cut traditional cable and broadcast packages in favor of more flexible streaming options. But it’s a category that’s still experiencing sharp growing pains.

Managing and analyzing campaigns across multiple device types and streaming services is complicated and carries some of the opaqueness that’s bogged down other aspects of digital marketing. Fraud and botnets are prevalent, while ad frequency has frustrated viewers who are served the same message multiple times in a viewing session.

Innovid and TVSquared aim to tackle such obstacles by introducing “a scalable, currency-grade measurement platform” that provides marketers a single view on their efforts. That sounds similar to what companies like Nielsen have long offered in the traditional TV arena. Nielsen, which has made efforts to diversify into streaming, has encountered serious setbacks of late. The company admitted that it under-counted ratings during the pandemic, which led it to be stripped of its accreditation from the Media Rating Council, an industry watchdog.

Nielsen’s troubles have created a vacuum where other services providers see an opportunity. Innovid is mostly known for its work in CTV, but TVSquared also carries linear TV expertise that could broaden its purview, hence the focus on “cross-platform” capabilities in the announcement.

Major networks are also seeking new partners as measurement priorities change. NBCUniversal is piloting new services from iSpotTV around the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics after a history of working with Nielsen.

TVSquared, whose business covers six continents, currently works with companies including NBCUniversal, Hulu and Roku. This is Innovid’s first acquisition since going public in December. The ad-tech company released its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings preview today, projecting $89 million to $90 million in revenue for 2021, a roughly 30% year-on-year increase.

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