DirecTV Taps FreeWheel to Power Ads In 'TV Everywhere' Service

Satellite Company Will Also Make Equity Investment In FreeWheel

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DirecTV is tapping FreeWheel to power advertising on its TV Everywhere platform.

Doug Knopper
Doug Knopper

Later this year, FreeWheel's video ad server will allow DirecTV to insert commercial breaks, like those on traditional TV, anywhere video lives. The technology will allow DirecTV to insert ads into its TV streams on the web, much like it does for linear satellite TV.

DirecTV also took an undisclosed equity position in FreeWheel, allowing it to leverage FreeWheel's findings and be closer to the development process.

"Monetization is impeding [TV Everywhere] progress," said Tony Goncalves, SVP, Digital Entertainment at DirecTV. "Inserting video ads and tracking usage is essential."

While marketers currently value TV and mobile differently, FreeWheel, is betting the day will come where there will be little distinction between video delivered via the living room screen and tablets and mobile devices. To this end, FreeWheel's technology allows ad to follow the video wherever it lives and allows marketers to be more targeted and data-driven.

"It's not online video anymore, it's all TV," said FreeWheel CEO Doug Knopper.

FreeWheel, which was founded by former DoubleClick execs in 2007, estimates it serves up digital video ads for 70% of cable networks, with clients including Walt Disney's ABC and ESPN, A&E Networks, Turner Broadcasting and NBCUniversal.

FreeWheel has traditionally worked predominantly with programmers, but in the past year Mr. Knopper said the market has matured and cable and satellite operators have been looking to become part of the ecosystem. FreeWheel currently works with AT&T U-verse and is in discussions with other players.

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