- Disney sold video advertising technology company TrueX to Gimbal, a provider of consumer location data for mobile ad targeting, according to multiple press reports. The value of the acquisition was less than $100 million, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the deal.
- TrueX plans to form a network with addressable ad inventory on premium connected TV (CTV) outlets and pair it with Gimbal's location data, along with measurement and analytics. The company will operate as an independent business inside Gimbal, Ad Age reported.
- The offering's combination of CTV ad inventory and location data could help mobile marketers increase their targeting capabilities, increase ad effectiveness and improve viewer experience.
Gimbal's acquisition of TrueX promises to develop a service that helps mobile marketers reach target audiences on CTV platforms that have surged in popularity, especially among viewers stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic. TrueX claims it can improve campaign effectiveness and the user experience (UX) with addressable advertising that doesn't show the same ad repeatedly during multiple commercial breaks, wasting media spending. Gimbal can use TrueX's technology to help marketers discern when to show ad to someone who viewed their products online, and to track subsequent consumer responses like store visits.
TrueX's technology also can help marketers to place ads on streaming video services and addressable TV, a method that shows individualized commercials to different households while they watch the same shows on traditional outlets like cable TV. Spending on addressable TV ads in the U.S. will rise to more than $2 billion this year, and surpass $3.6 billion in 2022, per eMarketer data cited by the Wall Street Journal.
The cord-cutting trend and unwillingness of households to pay for more than a few ad-free streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ also have supported the growth of free, advertising video on demand (AVOD) services like The Roku Channel on the CTV provider's platform, ViacomCBS's recently acquired Pluto TV and NBCUniversal's new Peacock network, among others. Revenue among the five most popular ad-supported platforms jumped 31% to $849 million in Q2 from a year earlier, per MoffettNathanson Research data cited by eMarketer, making the services a major bright spot for the media industry.
Disney last year became the owner of TrueX, whose technology asks people to interact with a commercial in exchange for seeing fewer or no commercials during TV shows, with its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox's assets including movie and TV studios.
Gimbal's acquisition of TrueX comes a month after the company bought the assets of Instadium, a fan engagement platform, for an undisclosed sum. Gimbal plans to use its location data with Instadium's technology to help marketers reach sports fans, most of whom haven't been able to attend live games during the pandemic.
The acquisition was another sign of consolidation in the ad tech and location data industries. In April, PlaceIQ acquired a rival location tracking business from Canadian company Freckle, with plans to integrate its technology with data about mobile users. That deal followed Foursquare's merger with rival Factual to combine their expertise in using smartphone data for targeted advertising and measurement of foot traffic.