How Videology Connects the Dots within the New Video Landscape

In our latest Comcast Ventures Q&A, we put Videology CEO Scott Ferber in the spotlight to discuss the rapidly changing landscape of video advertising.

What's the problem you were trying to solve for with founding Videology?

We knew that marketers viewed television as the best form of advertising to sell products.  But the very definition of TV was changing.  The digitization of television meant that viewing was spreading across devices, and this posed new challenges for both advertisers and media companies. We saw the need to bring the two worlds of linear TV and digital media together to leverage the best of both.  This meant building a single platform that married the certainty of TV, with the precision of digital, with the ability to drive and measure offline ROI.

At its core, our technology is about connecting the dots within the new video landscape.  As we developed our solution, our thinking was shaped by four key truths: 1.) consumers were consuming more content on more screens, 2.) data was becoming the gold that everyone wanted to use for targeting and measurement, 3.) video was different than display advertising and spreading rapidly across screens, 4.) technology was truly the only scalable way to connect targeted audiences across devices.   

We also knew that both buyers and sellers of media would be similarly affected by these changes, and that our technology must be designed for both sides of the ecosystem.  The functionality of building a Demand-side Platform (DMP) for demand, versus an Supply-side Platform (SSP) for supply, would quickly become unsufficient in the converged, constrained video space, as sellers are sometimes audience aggregators, and buyers also need to manage inventory portfolios.  It’s all connected. 

What's a real-world example of how Videology works?

Simply said, we put the right ad in front of the right person at the right time in the right content across digitally-enabled screens. If you had to sum it up, we are a media management solution for media companies, advertisers and agencies. 

As an example of a practical application for advertisers, say an automotive brand wants to reach consumers in-market to buy a car.  The advertiser wants to use video across all screens to reach those consumers a given number of times over the course of one month.  A media planner can log into our platform, choose in-market car buyers as the targeted audience segment, create the plan in terms of budget, time period, etc., and set it to optimally allocate impressions across all screens to achieve the desired brand objective.  On the backend, we can use our Sales Impact tool to measure actual purchases from those exposed to the video campaign.  The data is used to inform future campaigns by identifying how various factors such as exposure frequency, media choice and targeting criteria affected sales performance, and then adjusting for those factors. 

In an example using media companies, we help connect audiences and inventory in a way that allows publishers to forecast and execute against their generally limited video inventory to maximize value of their content and audiences.  Our technology helps publishers match all the campaigns running against all the available inventory to determine what and how much to sell, as well as which video ad to serve to maximize both advertiser satisfaction and revenue opportunity.  Of course, this decisioning all happens in nanoseconds.

What’s item one on your agenda right now?

Client success is always our top priority.  But after that, our focus for the last year has been developing the technology to unify TV and digital video in terms of planning and buying.  From a consumer perspective, viewing across devices is now seamless.  It’s all video. It’s all television. It doesn’t matter. The goal of our technology is to enable advertisers and media companies to plan and buy video advertising in the same way that consumers are viewing video content.  Globally, marketers spend $200 billion annually on television advertising.  There is a huge opportunity to help optimally allocate this spending across screens.

What advice would you give to fellow startups/entrepreneurs?

I would stress the importance of focus and flexibility.  You need to have the discipline to stay the course, and never lose sight of what you and your investors are trying to achieve.  Yet, the path to that goal in terms of strategies and tactics will likely change.  It’s a balance.  You have to be sure to course correct enough to allow for unforeseen opportunities, yet not be distracted by the next shiny object that might ultimately lead you off course.  This is particularly important in the technology sector where there are so many interesting and exciting new ideas that we come across every day.

What do you do when you’re not at your day job?

I travel a lot for business, so spending time with my family is absolutely my number one priority when I’m not working.  With four kids, that keeps me pretty busy, but I also like to squeeze in some cycling when I have the time.  A long bike ride is a great way to clear my mind.  

What differentiates Videology from the competition?

There are a lot of companies out there claiming to offer similar services, so it’s easy to get confused, but here’s how we’re different. We started the company with a focus on how to leverage math, data and technology to solve the complexities of the digitization of TV. Taking that "TV first" approach meant developing a platform that followed the rules and guidelines for TV advertising, while executing through digitally-enabled mechanisms. The result was a technology platform that is used by brand advertisers, agencies and media companies to ensure guarantees of audiences, marketing objectives, rates and volumes in real time, and up to 18 months out, with equal precision.  We also understood that TV advertising is ultimately about selling goods, so we created market-leading ROI tools to provide our clients with clear understanding and insight into the real world outcome of their media investments.  

In short, I believe we differentiate ourselves from the competition with a platform that combines simplicity of use, powered with unsurpassed sophistication in engineering.

What has surprised you the most about this space?

There are many things that stand out.  If I had to pick one, I would say the speed at which the sector is moving globally from the perspective of both consumer adoption of video, and advertisers and media companies embrace of programmatic video. What took 10 years to achieve in display happened in half that time in video.