Following a record year for mergers and acquisitions in the digital advertising and media space, “the volume is going to continue” in 2017. That’s the forecast from LUMA Partners Founder & CEO Terry Kawaja, whose advice for startups in the artificial and virtual reality space—plus the Internet of things—is don’t be too early.
In an interview with Beet.tv, Kawaja reflects on two significant deals in the convergent television space in 2016 and explains why he feels addressable linear TV should be getting more fanfare than programmatic TV.
Adobe’s November agreement to purchase TubeMogul brought to the Adobe Marketing Cloud a one-stop shop for video advertising and represented the recognition that Adobe “needed to be in the activation space, while primarily focus on digital but moving towards linear TV,” Kawaja observes.
The second deal is one LUMA had a hand in: the acquisition of INVIDI Technologies by the consortium of AT&T, DISH and WPP Group. Kawaja says it will have “significant implications” for the way TV is changing.
“Obviously AT&T is a new entrant buyer, which is always exciting,” Kawaja says, adding that the consortium buy is “particularly smart” because it ensures “that this particular technology would be widespread. I’m sure they will have conversations with other folks in the ecosystem because INVIDI is an ecosystem wide play.”
While programmatic TV seems to spark more industry talk than addressable linear TV, Kawaja emphasizes the latter.
“The reason being you already have a linear infrastructure, a linear market,” says Kawaja. “All you are doing with addressable is bringing additional data, targeting and precision to a bulk reach channel that already exists.” With addressable, “We’re simply taking set-top box data and being able to target this massive spend category on much more of an individual basis.”
As he looks ahead to CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Kawaja sees a “wide swath of buyers” in a variety of different categories, with both foreign and domestic players in such varied areas as data, media, TV and software. “We are seeing a maturation of this space, which is very healthy,” Kawaja says. “Let’s not forget the massive amount of fragmentation that exists in this space. It’s not sustainable. That can’t last.”
At CES, his focus will be less on emerging technology than on strategic meetings and discussions based on the technological innovations on display. With regard to AR, VR and the IOT, it’s the early worm that often gets eaten.
“From a business standpoint, strategic standpoint, what I advise people is that being early has the same financial profile as being wrong. You don’t want to be too early in terms of pursing deals in some of these nascent categories,” Kawaja says.