Blog Post

Heavy to Spin Off Husky Ad Tools

Heavy.com, the men’s-oriented portal, has been an early leader in figuring out how to monetize online video. Today the company said it would spin out its advertising tools into a new company called Husky, for which it says it’s seeing interest from investors old and new. Husky, which awaits board and shareholder approval, would be located in the same New York office and share the same leadership.

This morning we spoke to David Carson, co-CEO of Heavy Corp., to get a better sense of what the spinoff will entail. He said Husky would provide ad insertion tools for everyone from people posting videos to YouTube and embedding them on their Blogger blogs to big guys like CBS, which today announced it would carry Heavy’s The Burly Sports Show on CBSSports.com with ad overlay supplied by Husky.

For long-tail publishers, Husky will sell ads that are priced based on how well they perform with viewers. According to Carson, prices for these ads vary widely. “If you’re looking at cost per click, it’s supply and demand,” he said. “Some are willing to pay 5 cents, some $20.”

Between long-tail publishers and premium publishers, who have much more interest from brand advertising, Carson said, “There’s definitely a gap, without a doubt.” He said premium publishers can command between $16 and $24 CPMs for Heavy’s overlaid “skin” ads, $15 to $16 for interstitials, and $30 to $35 for video commercials (Heavy/Husky doesn’t sell not pre- and post-roll, but rather shows video ads in sequence between multiple videos).

Another product Husky will launch this summer is a “video guide,” which will syndicate content from partners to the players using Husky ads. Their thinking is that you can keep a viewer on the same page watching the same player if some additional related and/or premium content shows up next. There will also be a search function for that same effect.

Carson told NewTeeVee he’s seeing “a lot of interest” in investing in Husky “from the same investors as well as new ones, and a lot of commercial interest from strategics.”

Update: As a result of the Husky spin-off, paidContent reports Heavy will lay off 25 people from its 105 person staff, with most of the layoffs coming from the advertising operations and technical side.