A month after raising $270 million in its IPO, ad verification company Integral Ad Science (IAS) is spending almost that much to buy a further step into the world of connected TV (CTV).

IAS announced it had acquired Publica, a CTV ads server platform, for $220 million in cash and stock.

Now it plans to launch “a comprehensive brand safety and suitability solution for CTV advertisers and publishers in the coming months”.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, IAS CEO Lisa Utzschneider explains why her company is following the road to connected TV ad verification.

The four reasons

Utzschneider explained four reasons IAS is acquiring Publica.

1. The M&A template works

“We have a successful formula in place when it comes to acquisitions. We’ve done this already two times while I’ve been at IAS.”

2. Leaning in to CTV

“It’s the first inning of a long game with CTV. And, given that Publica has a leading CTV classification platform, (it) is just such opportunity for IAS.”

3. Spreading to the sell-side

“They have deep strategic integrated partnerships with some of the leading video publishers. Publishers, like Samsung, Philo, Fox. The majority of our business is with advertiser-direct. The combination of bringing together a robust buy-side and sell-side, there’s just so much opportunity to innovate together.”

4. Team talent

“The exceptional talent at Publica. They have a really strong engineering organisation and a really strong leadership team.”

Publica’s stack

Publica is a five-year-old connected TV ad-serving company that has grown to have employees in LA, New York, London and Paris.

It employs server-side ad insertion, as oppose to playing out ads from client devices themselves.

It built its technology with header bidding from the start. That is the technology that lets publishers entertain bids from multiple demand sources simultaneously, rather than in a “waterfall” fashion, thereby reaping a better yield from a larger auction.

It also unifies bidding via direct sales and programmatic sources.

The CTV odyssey

Utzschneider says IAS – which helps ad buyers around ad fraud, brand safety and suitability, contextual targeting and viewability – is growing fast.

“We are seeing lots of interest in demand from global marketers to partner with IAS, and we’re signing agreements that are two to three years long with some of the major global iconic marketers like Coke, and Nestle, and GSK, Adidas,” she says.

EMarketer estimates that advertisers will invest over $13.4 billion into CTV this year, growing to surpass $24.7 billion by 2024.

Utzschneider says Publica reports publishers using its platform have seen on average a 30% lift in yield for their CTV inventory.

The buy gives IAS access to Publica’s unified auction, over-the-top (OTT) header bidding for programmatic buying, audience management, campaign management, server-side ad insertion (SSAI), ad pod automation, and advanced analytics.

IAS’ feature set already includes a verification solution for global invalid traffic (IVT) and viewability across programmatic.

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