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In the media: Comcast to buy FreeWheel

Mon, 03/03/2014 - 1:18pm
Brian Santo

Comcast is reported to be preparing to buy FreeWheel, for about $320 million.

That such a deal is imminent was originally reported by TechCrunch, but remains unconfirmed by the two companies.

FreeWheel provides a platform for streaming ad insertion. The company specializes in what it refers to as “monetization rights management.” Where many ad insertion systems tend to focus on the delivery of ads that are appropriate for subscribers, Freewheel gives MVPDs like Comcast the ability to control who can sell ads into their content. Freewheel has associated tools for managing the financial aspects of the ad streaming business.

Clients include NBC/Universal (now part of Comcast), MLB.tv, ESPN, Fox, Sky, Turner, and Vevo. The company recently added Amazon to its roster.

Comcast already has a notable precedent with ownership of a vendor with thePlatform, which Comcast bought in 2006. thePlatform has a wide set of clients, including some erstwhile competitors of its parent. thePlatform has a series of partners including Freewheel.

Should Comcast buy FreeWheel, the vendor is expected to continue serving its full roster of clients, including DirecTV, an investor in FreeWheel. Other investors in FreeWheel include Steamboat Ventures (Disney), and Turner Broadcasting.

Also should the deal be consummated, that would leave only two big video ad companies remaining private, TechCrunch noted:  LiveRail and BrightRoll.



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