Disney dumps FreeWheel for Google Ad Manager

It's a win for Google as it looks to take a bigger stake in TV advertising

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Walt Disney Co. signage on view during the D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, California.
Walt Disney Co. signage on view during the D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, California. Credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Walt Disney is dumping Comcast's FreeWheel in favor of Google Ad Manager to handle its digital advertising.

The Mouse House will use Google's ad tech, formerly known as DoubleClick, to serve ads across its digital portfolio.

This is a big win for Google in its battle with FreeWheel to become a dominant player in TV advertising as it migrates to the internet. And it comes as more streaming content is viewed on ad-supported services.

Rita Ferro, president of ad sales and partnerships at Disney, says Google Ad Manager is "the best potential solution available to us and a company we feel is aligned with us in terms of ad innovation," adding that it was an involved decision that took some time. Ferro says Google Ad Manager will allow Disney to utilize one solution across both video and display advertising across its entire portfolio, which includes ABC, ESPN, Freeform and Marvel, among others, and improve ad targeting and user experience.

As part of the deal, Disney and Google also plan to collaborate to develop new advertising solutions across video, mobile, apps and display. Ferro declined to provide specifics on such potential solutions.

This is the latest win by Google in the TV space, after partnering with CBS last year to deliver ads for its digital properties including CBS All Access. A&E Networks and AMC are among the other TV networks currently using Google Ad Manager.

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