CES 2014: Brightcove to buy Unicorn for $49 million

Michelle Clancy | 07-01-2014

Brightcove Inc is planning to pick up Unicorn Media, a provider of cloud video ad insertion technology, in a transaction valued at approximately $49 million. The company will rebrand the Unicorn Media product line as Brightcove Once, and will continue to develop, operate and support the service while also integrating the technology with other Brightcove services, it said.

Unicorn Media has pioneered a cloud-based ad insertion and video stitching service called Once, which addresses the limitations of traditional online video ad technology. The Once service reduces or eliminates the need for platform-specific ad technology and makes it possible for digital media companies to reliably deliver live or on-demand video with dynamically customised programming and targeted advertising, across device.

Accustream Media estimates that the online video advertising market represented $10.4 billion in worldwide spending in 2013, with spending expected to grow to $16.8 billion by 2015. However, the troubling rise of PC ad-blocking technology has become a material loss of revenue for many properties and represents a threat to future growth. Additionally, video viewership continues to shift to mobile devices and consumer electronics platforms, where traditional online video advertising technology either does not function at all, or is only partially-supported. These challenges increasingly prevent media companies from fully monetising their potential audience and negatively impact the overall video advertising industry growth.

"We believe that online video has the potential to surpass traditional TV by offering mass personalisation, superior ad targeting and frictionless distribution to more screens in more locations," said David Mendels, CEO of Brightcove. "However, media companies are struggling to effectively deliver ad-supported video content to a fragmented landscape of platforms, including mobile devices, set-top boxes, connected living room devices and a growing number of PCs that have ad-blockers installed."

Unicorn clients include ESPN, NBC News and The Weather Channel.

The purchase price consists of approximately 2.9 million shares of Brightcove stock and approximately $9 million in cash. Unicorn's headquarters in Tempe, Arizona, will become the Brightcove Southwest R&D Centre, joining similar centres in Boston, San Francisco and Seattle.