NBC Goes Mobile With Investment
NBC understands that the future of television may have less to do with TV’s. As a result, the company has made a move into the mobile ad space by investing in the mobile ad network Greystripe. The funding is said to have been made to assist the sales team headquartered in New York in selling more ads across the 1,000 mobile apps and games on over 1,400 devices that Greystripe can provide.
Greystripe, a mobile advertising network that distributes ad-supported games and applications, said it secured $2 million in funding from the Peacock Equity Fund, a joint venture fund co-founded by GE and its NBC Universal unit, ending a Series C funding round. The funding and a new strategic partnership with NBC Universal give Greystripe an edge in the hyper-competitive mobile ad world.
This ‘hyper-competitive’ market is projected by some to reach $2 billion per year in 2014 so there is certainly a lot at stake and getting in now rather than after the ship has sailed shows that at least NBC is paying attention. That can’t be said for all traditional media that has traditionally been slow on the uptake of the most current ways to reach consumers
As more evidence of just how the advertising world has changed one needs to look no further than other investors in Greystripe up to this point
Today’s funding news marks the second time a major media corporation-backed fund has invested in Greystripe. Steamboat Ventures, Walt Disney’s venture capital arm, led Greystripe’s Series B funding round in 2007, injecting $8.9 million into the ad network. In addition to receiving capital from NBC Universal, Greystripe will partner with the media corporation’s big-name properties, such as the Sci-Fi (sic) Channel, Bravo and MSNBC, to provide ads on its mobile applications. At the same time, NBC Universal can now sell ad space within its mobile apps to advertisers through Greystripe’s mobile ad network.
Yup, that’s Walt Disney Co., owner of ABC and ESPN among others. While this type of ‘partnership’ is less and less unusual it still shows just how much the advertising world has changed over the past several years as a result of the Internet and mobile computing / browsing.
One major competitive differentiator for Greystripe, notes their CEO Michael Chang, is that the network can serve ‘flash-like’ ads on the iPhone. The iPhone does not support flash yet but Greystripe apparently has some kind of workaround / variation on the flash theme that was attractive to a broadcast company like NBC.
Maybe mobile is finally here. If the networks are on board that means there can’t be too many adopters left out there.