Video Advertising Network Smartclip Breaks Into U.S. Market
Smartclip, the German interactive video network backed by Endemol founder Joop van den Ende, has launched a New York office to break into the North American market. It has been in stealth mode for a month.
The network is less than two years old and has grown rapidly, starting out in Germany launching into the UK in April and grabbing the European sales for Sony PlayStation's on-demand music video service, VidZone, in October. It claims an 82% reach in Germany and around 40% in Spain and the UK.
"We will be a significant player," Roland Schaber, COO of Smartclip told Streaming Media. "There is no dominant player in the U.S. If you ask publishers whether there’s one network they are really happy with that fulfills all their needs with good inventory and CPM you realise there is a business for us."
He expects the U.S. division of Smartclip LLC (where Jay Drago is COO) to make quick inroads into the competitive local market for in-stream video ad sales and has plans to open additional offices providing services to both coasts as well as the Chicago/Midwest market during the year.
"We’ve noticed a huge increase in online video ad budgets this last year which has helped us grow our business by 200%," he says. "Initially budgets were retained with the online catch-up sites of well known broadcasters but now agencies are beginning to realise that if they want scale and therefore if they want to make money in this medium for clients the reach of a handful of broadcast brands is too limited.
"Professional content such as news and music videos is on the rise and no longer confined to catch-up services."
Smartclip is solely focused on offering in-stream ads and claims to be the European market leader offering advertisers an inventory of high quality branded content. It has deals in place with Viacom, Last.fm and online search engine blinkx.
"The U.S. is a crowded market where multiple networks bid for the same content," adds Schaber, the former head of Lycos UK. "It’s crowded but there’s no dominant player so we have a chance to find unique content and publishers which we can sell on an exclusive basis. We’ve managed that very successfully in Europe, and with Viacom, Sony and other key relationships we begin with a nice portfolio rather than being a start-up from scratch."
Schaber also points to smartclip’s multi-screen strategy which he believes is a unique. "We work closely with content owners to serve ads over mobile handsets and the TV as well as online," he says.