Who Are the Top Video Ad Networks?

As video advertising networks grow in reach and importance, and start to play a bigger role in distributing content online, we wanted to get a better sense of how they measure up. We checked with comScore, which coincidentally just prepared its first report on the subject.

videoadnetworksIn March, Tremor Media was the biggest U.S. video ad network, with a potential reach of 57.3 million viewers. BrightRoll was a very close second with a potential reach of 56.5 million. “Potential reach” is a measure that’s based on collaboration between the company and comScore to evaluate all the inventory the ad network could possibly access. comScore product manager Tania Yuki says that’s the preferred metric because advertisers prefer to use capacity to evaluate one network vs. another.

But I would think actual reach is a more telling way to see who’s bigger, or at least a necessary companion measure — and Yuki said comScore is working to nail that down as well. However, measuring actual reach also requires participation by ad networks to incorporate a comScore beacon monitor to all the streams they serve. Some networks have trouble with this because they “daisy chain” into other ad serving systems.

One network that probably should be on this list, and seems likely to be in coming months, is Nabbr. comScore didn’t provide me with a potential reach for Nabbr, which distributes promotional videos for music labels and TV and movie networks and studios. However, the video ad networks’ actual reach (measured using the beacon system) was 22 million unique viewers in March, so its potential reach was definitely more, and may indeed have brought it into the top five. When asked about the discrepancy, Nabbr CEO Mike More sent us comScore-prepared potential reach numbers for April, so we’re expecting the company to be included on future lists.

Nabbr had actually popped up on comScore’s initial March overall video rankings, but the measurement firm said that was because it was incorrectly included in the video portal category.

Disclosure: BrightRoll is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, Giga Omni Media. Om Malik, founder of Giga Omni Media, is also a venture partner at True.