Verve Group made a significant move this week to strengthen its ad tech platform by acquiring Nexstar’s digital video platform for an undisclosed sum.
Verve Group is a collection of mobile adtech companies consolidated last year by Media & Games Invest (MGI). Nexstar is a media company with 198 TV stations in 116 markets. It owns the WGN America cable network.
Nexstar‘s video platform connects to publishers that include Samsung, Newsy, and Viacom. It also connects with top advertisers and demand-side platforms that include The Trade Desk, Adobe, and Amobee. According to Verve Group, the acquisition broadens its portfolio of advertising services. And it offers access to growing connected TV (CTV) and over the top (OTT) inventory.
CTV just means a TV that is connected to the internet. For example via a set-top box or a device like a Roku. OTT means accessing TV via a high-speed connection that circumvents a cable provider. Netflix, for example, is an OTT service.
While CTV and OTT are growing ad categories, they have traditionally been challenging environments for serving ads. Two key reasons are that measurement and targeting are problematic on CTV. And advertisers do not know where their ads are being served. This explains why ads have not followed viewership as quickly as one might think. Yet we believe ads will inevitably follow audience over time.
Some of these challenges were discussed on a panel at Localogy 20/20 titled, “What Our Eyes and Ears are Experiencing.”
Strengthening the Feature Set
Here is what Verve Group CRO Sameer Sondhi said about the Nexstar acquisition.
“The acquisition of Nexstar Inc.’s digital video advertising platform follows several other strategic acquisitions in 2020, as Verve Group continues to add new technologies, top talent, and scale its business lines through organic means. We’re excited to provide our large global publisher base with some of the key features and products that come with this video advertising technology, including ad serving, mediation, programmatic auctions, detailed reporting, and a unique combination of internal and external quality measurement and enforcement tools.”
Verve Group emerged from several acquisitions, followed by a restructuring. In January 2020, MGI acquired Verve Mobile for an undisclosed sum. In May, following the Verve acquisition, MGI reorganized its ad tech assets into Verve Group. Other assets included in the ad tech rollup include AppLift, PubNative, adspree media, TVSmiles, and others.
Back in May, MGI CEO Remco Westermann described the new Verve Group entity as a “mothership” where “new and further acquisition can dock”.