NAB 2018

Imagine Reorganizes, Separates Ad-Tech Biz

It’s splitting its advertising technology business into a separate division, Imagine Ad Tech, to be run by SVP-GM Sarah Foss, who previously was chief product officer of Imagine Advertising Solutions. The rest of Imagine will go into Imagine Playout and Networking Solutions, to be run by President Steve Reynolds, who previously was Imagine CTO.

LAS VEGAS — Imagine Communications, one of the biggest proponents of transitioning to IP-based technology and cloud-based workflows among broadcast vendors in recent years, is reorganizing and dividing itself into two separate divisions, Imagine CEO Tom Cotney announced at the NAB Show Monday.

The company, which is owned by private equity firm Gores Group, make a range of video delivery and networking tools and also sells software to automate the selling of advertising. Like other vendors in the media technology space it has found the market challenging, with too many vendors chasing too few dollars, said Cotney

“It’s a race to zero on the margins as we compete with each other,” he said.

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Imagine, whose former CEO Charlie Vogt had pledged last year to spend $100 million or more on acquisitions to grow the business, is not seeking a consolidation strategy to deal with market pressures, added Cotney.

“We don’t think that this is our strategy,” he said. “What tends to happen to an industry that consolidates is the product set stays well the same for a long time, and financial engineering takes the place of innovation.”

Imagine sees a gradual uptick in IP-based playout sales as well as a large opportunity in optimizing broadcast advertising, particularly with the addressable capabilites of the next-generation ATSC 3.0 standard. So, it is splitting its advertising technology business into a separate division, Imagine Ad Tech, to be run by SVP and GM Sarah Foss, who previously was chief product officer of Imagine Advertising Solutions. The rest of Imagine will go into Imagine Playout and Networking Solutions, to be run by President Steve Reynolds, who previously was Imagine CTO.

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Cotney said the advertising technology and video delivery businesses need different sets of partners for future success, which was the reason to separate them now. 

“We do video [delivery] very, very well and we do [advertising] optimization very well,” said Cotney. “But just making those products and giving them to our customers is not enough.”

Cotney said that the ad-tech business will be Imagine’s “primary investment target” in 2018, and Foss unveiled a number of new ad-tech products that she described as the “next generation of advertising mangement solutions.” One that should hold the most interest for broadcasters is xG Scorecard, which Foss called an “inventory monetization system” that provides analytics and  business intelligence.

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In a single view, xG Scorecard can blend data from traditional sales and traffic systems, operational databases, ratings, clickstream and social media networks. Foss said such analytics will become more important as broadcasters use the two-way capability of the IP-based ATSC 3.0 standard to deliver targeted ads.

Read all of TVNewsCheck‘s NAB 2018 news here.


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