FreeWheel Shoots for Ad Unity

Looking to unify advertising across screens and devices, FreeWheel, the online ad tech firm acquired by Comcast last year, said it has kicked off a video-on-demand pilot that enables programmers to manage ads delivered via IP/digital and set-top boxes via the same platform.

The initiative, delivered within FreeWheel’s FourFronts Premium Marketplace, is being conducted with Comcast; programmers such as ABC and A+E Networks; and Canoe, the MSO-backed advanced joint ad venture. FreeWheel said other MVPDs will be joining the pilot. In addition to Comcast, Canoe’s other MSO partners include Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications.

FreeWheel said the pilot marks a “critical step” toward the unification of digital, VOD and linear.

In addition to managing their own direct sold unified campaigns on digital and cable VOD ad impressions, FreeWheel said pilot participants will also have the ability to grant sales rights on unified digital and cable VOD ad impressions via the FourFronts Premium Marketplace.

"Since we launched ABC Unified three years ago, our goal has been to make it easy for advertisers to engage with ABC audiences across screens," Geri Wang, president of ABC Sales, said in a statement. "VOD viewers are a highly valuable audience and core part of that initiative, and our ability to include VOD inventory as part of ABC Unified via Freewheel’s solution is a great next step."

“As television viewing fragments, it is increasingly important for publishers to be able to deliver ads across multiple screens and devices using a single strategy and platform,” added Jon Heller, co-founder and co-CEO, FreeWheel. “The VOD pilot fully unifies VOD ad inventory with digital, including OTT, avails into a single fully dynamic audience while also bringing inventory unification within the FourFronts Premium Marketplace.”

“This partnership is a great step forward for our programmers and MSOs as VOD becomes an increasingly significant component of a marketer’s media mix,” said Joel Hassell, CEO of Canoe. “Canoe is committed to making it easier to include VOD in media plans looking to get premium video content at scale.”