News Corp gets Unruly with online video advertising


Joseph O'Halloran

| 17 September 2015

London-based digital and social video advertising company Unruly has been snapped up by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp as it seeks to expand its online video capabilities.

Founded in 2006, video distribution platform Unruly claims to be a pioneer in tracking video sharing and delivering verifiable video views via paid media across mobile, desktop and tablet devices.

With a data set of two trillion video views and targeting capabilities, the company uses historical sharing behaviour to predict the potential for video ads to go viral across all digital touch points.

Unruly's suite of advertising products includes proprietary technology that is able to predict the virality of videos across social and digital media. It can also inform the changes that need to be made to video content in order to improve the number of times a video is viewed, liked and shared. It also has a mobile-first, video ad format that dynamically adapts to the unique look and feel of news feed formats. Online video advertising appears as video player units within the body of article pages, across desktop and mobile, while skippable in-stream advertising offers programmatic targeting and prominent branding within the player.

The expected purchase price for the acquisition consists of a cash payment at closing of 58 million (approximately US$90 million), subject to certain adjustments, and up to 56 million (approximately US$86 million) in future consideration primarily related to payments contingent upon the achievement of certain performance objectives.

News Corp business units will begin to offer Unruly products to their advertising and agency partners over the coming months. The company expects to gain a 'significant' increase in premium video and mobile inventory, a stronger content marketing offering and, ultimately, improved returns for advertisers.

"Unruly is a feisty and creative company with a start-up sensibility that fits perfectly with our own approach to developing businesses in the digital age," said News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson. "The acquisition will serve as a catalyst for our brands, helping to extend our expertise in the digital and mobile video area [such as] Fox Sports."

"We are incredibly grateful for the passion and dedication of the whole Unruly team that has today resulted in this phenomenal opportunity for the business," added Unruly co-founder and co-CEO Sarah Wood. "Unruly's enthusiasm for transforming video advertising and our agile development culture will continue to drive our innovative approach towards digital marketing as we help advertisers reconnect with consumers and future-proof their video strategy."