Inadvia's Ryan Afshar on S4Capital, Taboola-Outbrain, and Streaming Wars

The MadTech Podcast

On this week’s episode of The MadTech Podcast, ExchangeWire’s Ciaran O’Kane and Lindsay Rowntree are joined by Ryan Afshar, co-founder and commercial director at Inadvia, to discuss the latest news in ad tech and martech.

On this week’s episode:

– Sir Martin Sorell expands S4Capital’s digital capabilities by acquiring the Silicon Valley based agency for USD$150m (£123m). Firewood has several high profile clients, including Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Salesforce. The acquisition adds significantly to S4Capital’s headcount, specifically since they are merging Firewood with MediaMonks, and falls in line with Sorell’s stated plans of growing S4Capital rapidly over the coming 18 months and going all in on digital and programmatic. Sorell also specified that he’s looking to make further acquisitions in the area of first-party consumer data and wants to make sure he’s not building a fragmented model, but instead two specific offerings – content & programmatic advertising. Does this underscore the importance of data and data ownership in programmatic advertising? Will this unified approach feel unique for clients, since holding groups probably claim to offer the same albeit in a more fragmented way? And where will SMS look next in his acquisition quest?

– Taboola buys Outbrain for USD$250m (£204.6m) in cash plus equity stake. Previously considered fierce rivals, both privately listed companies are thought to have valuations of around USD$1bn (£820m) and both are reportedly profitable. Taboola CEO, Adam Singolda will be the CEO of the new entity, or new ‘Taboola’ with Outbrain’s CEO moving to an advisory role during transition. The new Taboola is thought to be an alternative for publishers, to Facebook, Google & Amazon, for content recommendation and revenue generation – therefore considered an independent solution outside dominant walled gardens. It’s thought the new company’s offerings will expand into video, data & mobile in-app ads for app installs. What does this merger mean for the industry, will is be beneficial for publishers and can it be a credible scaled competitor to walled gardens? What will the impact be for advertisers? Will it potentially offer the same in terms of targeting opportunities at scale, outside walled gardens? Will we see an IPO from the new Taboola in 2020?

– Disney bans Netflix ads in an effort to compete directly with other streaming providers as it launches its Disney+ service in the US. Initially it was thought it would ban ads from all other streaming providers, including Apple+ and Amazon Prime (it already owns Hulu), but those two have managed to avoid the ban with the message very clearly aimed at Netflix. Will this move from Disney pay off? Is this creating a blueprint for other content owners and providers and to consider entering the streaming wars with their own offerings? Not yet profitable, can Netflix afford to keep creating original and/or exclusive content to keep and continue to grow audiences?

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