The way that people watch television is changing. With the rise of IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) and OTT (Over the Top Technology), consumers are becoming accustomed to being able to view entertainment at their leisure through services like video on demand services and time-shifted television. It’s predicted that revenues from the North American OTT market alone will double between now and 2019 to $18 billion.
With on-demand viewing and DVRs, consumers are becoming increasingly adept at tuning out advertising messages, literally and figuratively. Online ads are tuned out electronically with browser plug-ins or cognitively by the consumer. This shift in behavior is forcing advertisers and marketers to find new ways to connect with consumers, spurring new media strategies and advertising technologies.
Investors and the public market alike are starting to pay attention as the numbers scale up. Globally this year, digital advertising revenue is expected to reach $163 billion or 30 percent of total ad spending according to Magna Global, a media research unit of Interpublic Group of Cos. Adtech platform Rubicon Project Inc. enjoyed a successful public offering last year with its share price rising 50 percent on the first day of trading. Digital ad trading platform AppNexus saw its valuation rise to $1.2 billion after reaching profitability and raising a Series C round last August. Checkd.in, which plays at the intersection of big data, branded entertainment and digital ad marketplace, hopes to leverage this new-found interest.
“Because of the nature of our business, we compete (at an investment level) with many players in the data and advertising space,” says Andre Moore, marketing coordinator at Checkd.in. “Data is extremely popular right now, and for good reason. It’s our application of data at a critical time in the entertainment industry that sets us apart.”
Launched in 2010 by Christopher Parks, Nick Yaeger, and Chris McIntyre, Nashville’s Checkd.in offers an internet platform that captures consumer data and allows its clients to design digital marketing campaigns tailored to their customers’ interests. Their marketing strategy is to integrate marketing campaigns with the sponsored entertainment content in a natural and seamless way, making it more relevant to viewers and more valuable to brands.
“We believe that data will be increasingly important in the pursuit of making digital marketing and advertising more relevant to individuals,” Moore says. “Consumers should enjoy seeing ads by brands that speak to them and they should be rewarded with the incredible entertainment content they love. It’s about taking what’s good about ads and getting rid of the bad that we are all familiar with.”
The company’s initial agency model saw limited success with investors. The company raised a total of $1.8 million in seed funding over four rounds from early stage private equity firm Solidus. It counts Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group, Lady Antebellum and Viacom among its clients but as of July 2014 was not yet profitable.
It pivoted to its current technology platform approach last summer launching it Affinity product. The company won a $100,000 investment from AOL Founder Steve Case at the Rise of the Rest pitch competition based on this data-driven approach. In a media interview after the competition, CEO Nick Yaeger shared that the company was gearing up “to do the Big-Boy raise.”
The big question now is will Checkd.in be able to leverage the momentum among investors for adtech plays and execute on it plans toward scale and profitability. Moore says the key will be growing the right team and building the right products.
“Our vision is to simplify and innovate the way brands and entertainment companies connect to achieve each other’s goals—monetizing amazing content and acquiring new customers and fans.”
Photo Credit: Yasuhiko Ito via Flickr