Viewability Data Drives Upfront Deal Between Crackle and GroupM

Agency Ups Investment In Online Service In Exchange For Promise of Viewability

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'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.'
'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.' Credit: Crackle

Crackle is experiencing a boost in upfront dollars by promising to provide viewability data to advertisers.

GroupM is "substantially" growing its current business with Sony's online video service, and in turn, its clients will receive real-time, multiscreen viewability metrics from Crackle.

The agency declined to reveal how big of an increase in ad dollars GroupM is committing year-over-year or the size of the investment.

The topic of viewability -- if ads are actually being seen on web and mobile sites -- has become an increasingly pressing concern for advertisers and agencies. After several years of advertisers seeking out sexy digital video opportunities during the upfronts, many took a step back to evaluate if their money was going to ads that ultimately no one could actually see.

GroupM, in particular, has been vocal about only working with digital publishers that meet its standard. The agency requires that 100% of an ad must be visible, video ads must be initiated by users rather than auto-played, and at least 50% of the ad is played with the volume on. All of these standards must be verified by an independent third party and the agency says its clients will only pay for those ads that meet these standards.

"While our position on viewability was an industry-wide challenge some deemed unattainable, we now see progress and have the ability to prioritize media investment with brands like Crackle who deliver both desired audiences and accountability commensurate to the multi-million dollar investments we make," Irwin Gotlieb, global chairman, GroupM, said in a statement.

Crackle is utilizing analytics company Moat to provide advertisers with data on how and when digital commercials are seen via connected TV.

Crackle, which streams original shows like Jerry Seinfeld's "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" and movies, has been on a mission to prove to advertisers that not only is its content comparable to TV, but so is its viewing experience.

In April, Crackle unveiled a new look for its connected TV apps that mimics more of a traditional TV experience by streaming video constantly in a linear fashion and allowing users to "change channels."

The company also decided to ditch the NewFronts this year in favor of presenting its slate of programming during the same week as some major cable networks, in order to prove its content should be valued at a premium.

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