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$2 Million for 10 month old AirMedia, YouTube killer?

Video con­tent is the future, and pub­lish­ers are try­ing to fig­ure out how to get more and more of their con­tent in front of the right eyes. Well, guess what, a start­up called Air­Me­dia might just be that com­pa­ny to find new dis­tri­b­u­tion for pre­mi­um pub­lish­ers. AirMedia’s plan is to pro­mote this con­tent in the same way com­pa­nies like Out­brain and Taboola have been doing, except in video and not with all that weak con­tent. Air­me­dia will offer video view­ers with high qual­i­ty rec­om­men­da­tions at the bot­toms of pub­lish­ers’ sites.

Video own­ers should be stoked at the prospect of a brand new plat­form ded­i­cat­ed to reach­ing and dis­trib­ut­ing their con­tent to a whole new audi­ence. It will even allow them to do all their own pro­mo­tion and ad sales. Cur­rent­ly the con­tent being served, such as the “links from around the web” that appear at the bot­tom of many pub­lish­er sites tend to point to low­brow con­tent focused on celebri­ties in biki­nis and such. This may be a mon­ey mak­er, but is a “car crash” for pub­lish­ers try­ing to main­tain integri­ty in content.

Air­Me­dia is try­ing to res­cue the day and the web for pre­mi­um video pub­lish­ers that are being under­served in today’s mar­ket. There just aren’t any tools to help find the right dis­tri­b­u­tion chan­nels, so pub­lish­ers hope and pray the views on their own web­sites is enough. What choice do they have real­ly, until now?

Air­Me­dia was found­ed by Real­Grav­i­ty execs Luke McDo­nough and Doug Neiman, along with for­mer Nex­on and Back­tick CTO Lynn Gab­bay. Real­Grav­i­ty had man­aged to get 3.5 mil­lion in fund­ing, and was then acquired by Scripps Net­work Inter­ac­tive, which is what gives Air­Me­dia the foun­da­tion for its cur­rent platform.

Investors with deep pock­ets have tak­en a big inter­est in what Air­Me­dia has going on. It’s raised $2 mil­lion in seed fund­ing that was led by Otter Media, the joint ven­ture between Chernin Group and AT&T that is focused on online video ser­vices. Otter Media has also pur­chased a con­trol­ling stake in com­pa­nies like FullScreen and Crunchy­roll, and has $500 mil­lion to com­mit to sim­i­lar media and tech­nol­o­gy companies.

Air­Me­dia will also pro­vide also a por­tal on which it will fea­ture videos from its part­ners. They are seek­ing to become a alter­na­tive to the ever pop­u­lar Youtube, which has a slew of view­ers but doesn’t real­ly give the abil­i­ty to tar­get the mon­e­ti­za­tion for pre­mi­um publishers.

Air­Me­dia is only 10 months old, but it’s already signed up some pre­mi­um pub­lish­ers in the sports are­na, includ­ing NBC Uni­ver­sal Sports and Cine­s­port. Now their video con­tent will be part of a syn­di­ca­tion that can be seen on a num­ber of dig­i­tal pub­lish­er sites that would oth­er­wise not have access to “of inter­est” videos — and get paid to fea­ture them with their own content.

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