Disney sells TrueX to mobile and location ad firm Gimbal
Walt Disney sold TrueX, the ad tech firm it acquired along with Fox last year, to Gimbal, which specializes in mobile and location data-powered advertising.
TrueX, which was co-founded by Fox’s former ad sales chief Joe Marchese, positioned itself as an answer to the commercial clutter that long plagued the TV industry and made digital competitors more attractive to both consumers and advertisers. Its engagement ads, which prompt viewers to watch a commercial in exchange for an ad-free experience, became attractive at a time when ad-skipping had become the norm and commercial-free competitors like Netflix were rapidly gaining market share, leading Fox to buy the company for $200 million in February 2015.
It then became part of the Mouse House when Fox assets were acquired in March 2019. But Disney had done little with TrueX in that time. A Disney spokeswoman did not return a request to comment.
As part of Gimbal, TrueX will now look to create an addressable network of premium connected TV inventory powered by Gimbal’s data sets, as well as a full-funnel ad measurement and intelligence suite, says Pooja Midha, president, TrueX.
TrueX will continue to operate as an independent business unit within Gimbal, says Matthew Russo, chief marketing and chief operating officer at Gimbal. Terms of the deal, which closed on Sept. 17, were not disclosed.
Gimbal’s origins are in mobile advertising, having started out in 2011 as The Mobile Majority. It acquired Gimbal, which was incubated out of Qualcomm and focused on location intelligence, in 2016.
The Mobile Majority originally focused on engagement opportunities for brands and advertisers in mobile games before pivoting to a more programmatic route. “This is going full circle,” Russo says, adding that changes in operating systems have created new opportunities for non-interruptive experiences for brands to engage with consumers using location signals.
The company currently sits at the intersection of mobile advertising and location intelligence, serving brands with location-based needs like retail, hospitality and entertainment. With TrueX, it will look to other devices to reach consumers, and sees opportunities in following people who watched TrueX’s engagement ads through their TV screens at home to their mobile devices later on, Russo says.