Los Angeles Business Journal

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INTERNET: Website publishers picture themselves breaking from YouTube and pulling in more money from online video ads. By Omar Shamout Monday, May 5, 2014

Woven Digital, publisher of websites for young men that feature bikini models and stories like “12 Things You Didn’t Know Were Illegal,” and Evolve Media, whose CraveOnline site offers dating advice and video game reviews, are chasing more than the same online demographic.

What they really want are ad dollars, and both companies have struck deals in the last few weeks that position them to take advantage of a significant uptick in online video advertising. It is a shift that has led them to join the rush to control their own advertising destiny – and away from the YouTube ecosystem in which companies share ad revenue with Google, the video platform’s parent.

Multichannel networks typically split about 50 percent of their ad revenue with YouTube via Google’s AdSense technology. The networks then strike individual deals with content creators to share the balance.

The splits have started to rankle some producers, who see a spike in online advertising and want a larger piece of the pie.

San Francisco’s BrightRoll, the nation’s largest video ad platform, placed 3.1 billion video ads in March for 85 of the nation’s top 100 advertisers, according to statistics released by analytics firm ComScore. That’s a 41 percent increase from the 2.2 billion ads every month BrightRoll placed the same month a year ago.

“We continue to see huge growth in the digital video category in general,” said Dan Mosher, BrightRoll’s senior vice president of business operations, adding that mobile ad placement is increasing because businesses are able to get better demographic information about mobile customers.

Shifting dynamic

That growth, and the desire for a greater share of ad revenue, was part of the motivation behind the two recent deals.

Woven, a Culver City Web publisher that operates Guyism, BroBible and Brotips, recently acquired Miami entertainment and news website Uproxx in order to expand its video library.

In late April, Web publisher Evolve signed a deal with Nielsen Corp. to be the first company to use technology developed by the New York consumer information firm to track the age range and gender of every person that clicks “play” on a video.

That deal reflects Mosher’s observation: “The ability to validate a consumer within a certain age or gender is going to drive a lot more dollars into mobile video.”

The deals follow two larger transactions: multichannel networks Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV were snapped up by Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation, respectively.

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