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Simulmedia, the New York startup that makes TV ads smarter gets a big boost

Art direc­tors inter­est­ed in cre­at­ing effec­tive TV adver­tis­ing cam­paigns might do well to take a look at the activ­i­ties of Man­hat­tan-based start­up Simul­me­dia, the com­pa­ny on a mis­sion to make TV adver­tis­ing more like online adver­tis­ing. Found­ed just four years ago by its now-CEO Dave Mor­gan, this young firm is clear­ly doing some­thing seri­ous­ly right, hav­ing just raised a whop­ping $25 mil­lion in Series D fund­ing in a round led by Valiant Cap­i­tal and R&R Ven­tures.

An art director’s quandary: how to make TV ads more effec­tive? 

Simul­me­dia has now raised a total of $59 mil­lion since its launch in 2009 so there’s lit­tle doubt that investors think its busi­ness aims are high­ly viable. Mor­gan, a vet­er­an of the Big Apple’s tech scene who also found­ed the pio­neer­ing ad-tech firms Real Media and Taco­da, sums up the issue Simul­me­dia is tack­ling like this:

“TV still deliv­ers, at a macro lev­el, great results for adver­tis­ers. But it’s a real­ly blunt instru­ment that hasn’t improved in 30 years.”

So what, the intrigued art direc­tor may be won­der­ing, does Simul­me­dia pro­pose as a solu­tion? Well, most TV ad view­ing met­rics come cour­tesy of Nielsen’s 45,000-strong pan­el. But Simulmedia’s pan­el dwarfs that num­ber: thanks to the company’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with satel­lite and cable oper­a­tors and set-top box firms like TiVo, it’s grown to 55 mil­lion peo­ple. And Simul­me­dia can also iden­ti­fy which ads have been the most effec­tive through its track­ing of pur­chase data.

Frag­ments and solu­tions

Mor­gan points to a major fea­ture in today’s TV adver­tis­ing land­scape:

“Audi­ences are frag­ment­ed across a cou­ple of hun­dred cable net­works. Lega­cy mea­sure­ment can’t keep up with the needs of adver­tis­ers who have to adver­tise on all these small-rat­ed shows.”

Even so, he believes that TV adver­tis­ing is going to boom (and eMarketer’s fig­ures sug­gest he may be onto some­thing: the TV ad spend is on course to jump to $68.5bn next year, up from this year’s $66.4bn). And although he thinks that net­works will want advanced ana­lyt­ics on their prime ad inven­to­ry, he also pre­dicts that they won’t be keen on bring­ing in third par­ties like Simul­me­dia to do that for them. So, he’ll sell them the tech­nol­o­gy to do it instead.

The new invest­ment will be ploughed into boost­ing the startup’s sales, ser­vice and tech­nol­o­gy depart­ments.

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