I sat down with Mike Sullivan, the CEO and Co-Founder of Affine and we talked about what they do, why it's cool, and how the integration with LiveRail will be simply awesome for pretty much everyone. The new deal with LiveRail gives Affine /afajn/ access to a ton of new content to analyze.
With Affine Toothed Comb
Well, I guess I need to tell you what it is, exactly, that they do. Affine takes videos apart frame by frame and does product recognition, facial recognition. They also track violence, pornography, etc. So it's some pretty intense curation and categorizing.
So Affine partners with ad networks which allows the ad networks to see what the actual content is in their network. That then allows for better ad sales among other things.
What they hope to do is bring more ad dollars to the 90% of content streams online that is non-premium content by getting a better glimpse into just what that content is. By creating a buyer friendly interface for the 90% of that content that is unclassified and untagged the ad networks can show what kind of content they have and then go market that content to potential advertisers, especially with the new trend to want ads placed on complementary content in specific verticals. This really helps advertisers find the content that attracts the right audience and gets their ads there meaning better targeting, higher rates for ads, etc.
What Affine allows for is custom channel creation based on content and for huge CPMs even for smaller publishers who are part of an ad network.
Mike likened what they're doing in terms of video advertising to what Google did with Adsense and display ads.
LiveRail - How stuff gets Delivered
Mike told me that LiveRail is an agency ad server (moving toward more DSP type offerings) and now allowing to sell and power a lot of the ad networks. The partnership with Affine means Affine can get access to the data for the content that then allows better targeting and sales of video advertising.
With LiveRail that gives Affine the access to much of the inventory to many ad networks because they [LiveRail] are the infrastructure for the networks and that means that Affine can then get their data to the industry with more range and accuracy.
How it Benefits Publishers
If you've got video content and using an ad network to sell inventory it allows the CPM to increase because the content channels are better targeted and impressions are more valuable as it's grouped with similar content so that a media buyer can get a bigger buy with guaranteed content.
Gives some control for publishers so that they can generate content that will perform best for CPM and also to get the content they've already got and monetize it better.
How it Benefits Advertisers
Search goes from inventory, to complementary content and can be bought in large groups with industry standard rates because online video is very hard to buy right now. There's little way to target and explain what you want to buy and how to get that. So ad networks can now show the media buyers and brands by showing exactly what kind of content the ads are showing up on and helping them find that complementary content and therefore a more targeted audience.
Affine can sell custom signatures to brands and you can get a custom channel that is specific to a brand and target content that might be undervalued and find the content you want by approaching the publishers and showing them your custom Affine channel and telling them that this is the content that you really want to target. So say you want to do an ad buy on YouTube. You can take your Affine custom channel profile to them and find the content they've got that matches what you want and then buy against just that content.
A brand advertiser has a message they want a community to pay attention to so what they can now do is find all that content, even the remixed, user-edited, alternate use content, group it into a channel, package it up and offer it to a brand advertiser they can then better hit that target market.
The Near Future
Mike and I then wandered into some talk about trends past, present and future and he agreed with me that ad budget is going to becoming from TV because there's more and more video content online that has value and that people will want to sell ads against.
I also think that targeting and tools like this deal between Affine and LiveRail are going to power that change of ad dollar placement. If a large brand buys ads against a specific show on TV, they will be able to turn to an online ad agency, find all the clips and re-used pieces of that series online and then place their ads against that as well meaning they have a more cohesive brand appearance against that content and have a better chance of reaching the exact audience they are aiming for. According to Mike, it "allows for better targeting the 13-25 demo which is harder and harder to hit these days."