VideoAmp Granted Patents For Advanced Advertising

VideoAmp said it has been granted four patents covering important aspects of advanced advertising.

The patents are related to VideoAmp technology for unifying linear TV and digital marketing, including placing advertising using cross-screen data, targeting TV advertising based on consumer online behavior and sequential delivery of advertising content across media devices.

Owning patents elevates VideoAmp among the many data and analytics companies in the advanced advertising space and will increase the company’s value as it raises funds.

The TV business is in the process of changing the way it sells $70 billion in commercials from measuring how many people in broad demographic groups see them to using new data-driven metrics, such as targeting strategic audiences like car buyers or actually calculating the impact of an ad campaign on product sales.

VideoAmp chief strategy officer Jay Prasad said that these four patents--plus three more that are in process--are a sign to the industry that advanced advertising technology is real and that it’s time to increase the scale of the business.

“TV and video convergence is not theory. It’s happening. There are products that are built and we’ve got a whole ecosystem of partnerships to really power these things,” Prasad said. “These patents show the path of innovation to actually get there.”

Having patents generally enables a company to collect royalties from other players in the industry. At this point Prasad said VideoAmp will not be changing the way it does business with its partners and competitors now that it has these patents.

“We’re looking at this as educating the market overall that these things are possible,” he said. Over the next few years he expects the technology will change a large percentage of how brand advertising market will be planned, transacted and measured, using data, automation and software.

He said the company would make more money by growing as the industry expands than by forcing others to pay royalties.

Other companies in the advanced advertising space seems surprised that VideoAmp received patents for a such a broad set of advanced advertising mechanisms.

“They basically cover anything a DSP [demand side platform] or SSP [supply side platform] does,” said Denise Colella, senior VP, advanced advertising products and strategy at Comcast’s NBCUniversal unit.

Colella said NBCU didn’t think VideoAmps patent would affect its push into advanced advertising, but she added “I’d be lying if I said I didn’t worry a little bit about patent trolling.”

Trolls are patent holders who generate revenue primarily by claiming that other companies are violating their patent by threatening lawsuits.

Indeed there are already some patent disputes in the industry, with Nielsen’s Gracenote unit suing Samba TV over automated content recognition and Samba charging its ad retargeting patents were infringed upon by Alphonso. Alphonso won a summary judgement in the suit earlier this year and has countersued Samba.

But Prasad said VideoAmp does not plan to make doing advanced advertising more difficult.

“We’re a data provider. We’re a software provider. We’re a measurement provider. We’re not a walled garden,” he said. “We’re not building a monolithic, ‘only if you use VideoAmp will you be able to do x, y, or z’ business. We’re working collaboratively across the entire ecosystem,” he said

VideoAmp works with agencies including Omnicom and Mindshare, optimizing more than $10 billion in media investment. It also works with TV networks and multichannel video programming distributor,” Prasad said. “Our intellectual property strategy is to leverage our assets to continue to partners and grow scale from the middle of the ecosystem out.”

The patents make VideoAmp more valuable in the eyes of investors and the company is in the process of raising additional capital.

The four patents granted by Video Amp are:

The patents are attributed to VideoAmp executives Ross McCray, co-founder and CEO; Dave Gullo, co-founder and chief technology officer; Debajyoti Ray, former chief data officer, and Prasad.

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.