FreeWheel Adds Programmatic Depth By Acquiring Beeswax

Dave Clark FreeWheel
FreeWheel's Dave Clark (Image credit: FreeWheel)

Comcast’s FreeWheel ad tech company agreed to acquire Beeswax, which offers programmatic advertising capabilities through a customizable bidding stack.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

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By incorporating Beeswax's bidder-as-a-service technology, FreeWheel said it will be better able to serve the growing programmatic market by helping its publisher clients sell in more flexible and customizable ways.

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“Together, FreeWheel and Beeswax can further enhance how television operates. As the ecosystem becomes increasingly complex, sellers and buyers of media want similar capabilities: great automation, simplicity, and the ability to manage data-driven campaigns across hundreds of endpoints,” said FreeWheel general manager Dave Clark. “By incorporating Beeswax’s technology into FreeWheel’s offering, we can deliver even more value to clients of both companies, helping them better navigate and succeed in this new landscape.”

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Beeswax’s bidding technology will allow for FreeWheel users to access broader pools of inventory to fulfill complex campaign requirements. At the same time  Beeswax's customers will benefit from the scale and expertise of FreeWheel within the video and CTV advertising sectors, and gaining the support, product investment, and technology Freewheel provides.

“We’re looking forward to integrating our BaaS platform into FreeWheel’s global infrastructure to accelerate our vision of giving our customers greater flexibility, transparency, and control over their media buying,” said Beeswax CEO Ari Paparo.  “Now, together with Freewheel, we can deliver scale across all programmatic channels, including advanced TV advertising.” 

Paparo told Broadcasting & Cable that he was “looking forward to being a member of the senior team” at FreeWheel, but couldn’t provide details of his role until the acquisition cleared regulatory scrutiny.

Clark praised the Beeswax engineering and product teams, indicating they're likely to  join FreeWheel as well.

FreeWheel and Beeswax were able to negotiate the agreement amid a pandemic because the two companies already knew each other and have worked together. Several FreeWheel customers already use Beeswax’s software. Plus, Beeswax’s New York offices are in space FreeWheel moved out of and subletted to Beaswax. 

Pararo said Beeswax allows sophisticated customers to really control exactly how theyre using programmatic tools 

In addition to providing flexibility, the Beeswax technology allows publishers to package their own inventory with inventory from other publishers in order to fulfill the requirements of an advertiser’s campaign,” Paparo said. 

That capability is important as TV transforms into a platform where marketers can execute campaigns across all different sources of content and inventory in a unified way, Clark said.  It’s possible in some forms of digital media, but it is much harder to find in the premium video market.

“We are seeing a lot of the players on the publisher side who have been formidable competitors working together, trading between each other, to solve some of the operational complexity that has long existed in TV,” Clark said.

The capabilities enabled by Beeswax’s technology “fit neatly with FreeWheel’s core philosophy, which has always been to leave control in the hads of our clients,” Cark said.  “No matter what role you play in the ecosystem, I think you’re going to look at this deal as a good thing because it’s going to help advance the ball for everyone.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.