Follow the money.
Launched today, Wurl's new AdSpring platform gives pay-TV companies a way to add streaming services to their programming bundles and profit from embedded advertising. The cloud-based offering combines video delivery to connected devices with ad sales and ad management. That means that not only can operators satisfy demand for online content, but they can also monetize streaming services without any of the headaches inherent in coordinating ad inventory. Wurl provides the web programming (services like Crackle and Funny or Die), and partners with Operative and SpotXchange on the ad side.
As one spokesperson described it, "Pay-TV operators don't have to deal with ad inventory but they DO get paid for the ads when the [Wurl-provided] web-based programming is viewed."
Other partners for the AdSpring platform include Brightcove Inc. , Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN). Wurl says there are no fixed charges for the service, which integrates streaming content into the operator-provided programming guide, but the company collects a per-view fee for each ad served.
Cloud-based platforms like Wurl's AdSpring are emblematic of the shift taking place in the TV industry. The New IP world of virtualized services means that content providers are willing to experiment with new business models as a way to stay competitive. Wurl notes that over the last three years, pay-TV operators have shipped more than 150 million hybrid set-tops, allowing them to deliver both traditional TV and new streaming services. The jury's still out on whether pay-TV companies will evolve fast enough to stem subscriber losses, but the promise of new revenue streams could help accelerate the process.
Wurl announced a partnership last year that brings its app delivery platform to Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) set-tops through the Arris Market service. The company has also partnered with SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) around that company's SeaChange Cloud multiscreen video product. (See Arris Taps Wurl for New OTT Platform.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading