UK TV video news producer ITN is unifying its online ad sales platform as it expands into a burgeoning number of online destinations.
The company’s core work is producing TV bulletins for ITV (LSE: ITV), Channel 4, Channel 5 and video footage for others like CNN, NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) and PBS. But it has been launching its own branded web video channels as well as producing online video series for web-native clients, much of it through YouTube.
That diversification has meant ITN’s ad sales operation has been fragmented across each new syndication platform. So it is now taking on Rightser to manage its content and sell its ads across the whole of the footprint.
The news underscores a trend for more scale in online ad sales around video, and is also perhaps a sign that ITN’s online audience has grown big enough to merit the investment.
The new digital strategy,
called One ITN, will see Rightster become the new platform provider for ITN Productions to serve all of its online content across different portals such as Facebook and at least two YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) channels (ITN News and The 411 entertainment news channel) and its own portal, ITN.co.uk.
These are channels where ITN already gets good traffic: it says that it currently ranks as the biggest news provider in the UK on YouTube in terms of views.
Financial terms of the deal have not been released. But key to the deal is the hope that this will bring in more ad revenue for ITN, which does not have any paywalls around any of its online content at the moment.
A lack of scale in many long-tail content plays is one reason why digital advertising has continued to play second-fiddle to other advertising mediums like TV, which, for all its faults, at least has large, concurrent audience numbers that media buyers for large brands need when justifying ad investments.
We have also seen other industries, like publishing, make moves to tackle this as well: earlier this month, AOL (NYSE: AOL) announced that it would be selling ad inventory for Bonniers’ Parenting.com by putting it together with its own parenting content channels — a move that Bonnier hopes will get more big-name advertisers buying into ad space on its site.
The deal being announced today is an extension of an existing relationship between Rightster and ITN. The two were already partnering together for specific live event coverage that the broadcaster expected would get spikes of traffic: the two worked together to livestream the Royal Wedding to 20 countries via Facebook; Rightster is also providing the backbone for ITN’s streaming of the Leveson inquiry in the UK into media practices and ethics in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal.
Another aspect of the deal is that Rightster runs what it calls a “multi-cloud” system, meaning that if content delivery fails at any one point, the system will switch to taking it from another to keep the streams flowing.