Comcast Corporation To Acquire Ad Tech Firm Visible World

Comcast’s acquisition of AudienceXpress would decrease the reliance of the cable giant on third party systems and push the cable giant an inch closer to the demand side of programmatic video

With an aim to bring an increasing number of advertising capabilities in-house, Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) has signed an acquisition deal with Visible World. Visible World is based in New York and responsible for manufacturing a programmatic television platform and targeting advertisement systems via its subsidiary AudienceXpress.

Visible World CEO Seth Haberman announced the possible merger in a blog post three months after The Wall Street Journal reported that the advertising company is in talks with Comcast. He wrote: “As the industry continues to evolve and expand, we’ve also looked for new opportunities to change, expand, strengthen and position our business for future success.”

He added: “So today, I am thrilled to announce that we have found the perfect partner to help us achieve our goals and help us take our business and services to the next level: Visible World has signed an agreement to be acquired by Comcast.”

Visible World has quite a number of allies, some of which are Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), Suddenlink, Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR), Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC), and Bright House Networks. The proposed merger between Comcast and Visible World also surfaces roughly after a year of the cable giant’s $360 million acquisition of FreeWheel, an online advertising specialist.

Neither of the two companies involved in the possible merger have yet disclosed the financial terms of the deal; however, Comcast aims to make Visible World operate separately as an independent business. The chief network officer and the executive vice president of Comcast Cable, John Schanz, stated that Visible World is a self-motivated ad company and it will greatly complement the current initiatives of Comcast in the realm of advanced advertising.

He further said that Visible World presents a diversified range of services, which will serve a number of requirements across the arena of TV advertising. Commenting on the possible acquisition deal, Mr. Schanz said that it stands for the corporate and technological trends that are currently emerging in the TV industry. “We look forward to helping the talented Visible World team expand and accelerate their business and create more value for distributors, advertisers, agencies, programmers and affiliates,” he said.

Comcast’s acquisition of AudienceXpress will decrease the reliance of the cable giant on third-party systems that are installed to monetize the unsold local inventory. Dave Morgan, the CEO and founder of Simulmedia, says this may serve to be the strongest driver of the proposed Comcast-Visible World deal.

Over the past year, AudienceXpress has partnered with demand-side companies, including TubeMogul and Turn, which supply access to inventory from 80 cable networks. In the event that the said acquisition deal materializes, Comcast will automatically be pushed an inch closer to the demand side of programmatic video.

Visible World, which has been established for 15 years now, drives value beyond AudienceXpress by means of its core offerings. Visible World is among the early entrants into the arena of addressable television advertising, and currently claims to have access to around 90 percent of the local cable-television households.

Mr. Morgan said: “As a company with technology that powers linear TV ad versioning, Visible World complements [Comcast’s] FreeWheel division, which powers digital video advertising for large companies. There is no question that all of the major TV players – from network groups to distribution platforms like Comcast – will gain competitive advantage over time by having their own complete TV/digital video ad technologies.”

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