Imagine buys RGB Networks, adding dynamic ad insertion to OTT, TV Everywhere offerings

Imagine Communications is adding a dynamic ad insertion component to its online video infrastructure portfolio, acquiring RGB Networks for an undisclosed amount.

The purchase was announced at Imagine's Global Sales Summit on Monday.

Imagine and RGB Networks

Lou Mastrocola, VP of Global Sales at RGB Networks, on stage with Charlie Vogt, CEO of Imagine, as the acquisition of RGB is announced. (Source: Imagine)

While terms of the private transaction weren't disclosed, Imagine said the deal would include not just the multiscreen delivery provider's assets but "the majority of RGB Networks' employees." Chief Technology Officer Steve Reynolds told FierceOnlineVideo that the company expects the deal to close in a couple of weeks.

This is the former Harris Broadcast's fourth acquisition in 12 months. Before splitting into two entities in March 2014, the company acquired a much smaller Imagine Communications, taking on its name while separating its over-the-air technology unit into Gates Air.  With Charlie Vogt at the reins, Imagine purchased Digital Rapids in April, gaining its software-based workflow management system; in October, it purchased assets from OpenTV's advanced advertising business unit. 

RGB Networks' dynamic ad insertion (DAI) capabilities are a key factor in Imagine's deal, Reynolds told FierceOnlineVideo.

"Imagine has been working on building an end-to-end platform for video distribution that incorporates linear & unicast," he said. "Our customers are the large MVPDs … (that are) all interested in finding ways to get content down to consumers." Imagine has been working on its platform for more than a year, he said, and RGB "had the technology and products to accelerate that vision."

The DAI market segment is a barely-tapped opportunity at this point. Even though DAI is one possible way for pay-TV providers to better monetize their multiscreen assets, dynamic ads make up a very small percentage of video advertising inventory. It's a segment that could be helped along by the still-small programmatic ad market, Reynolds said.

"They are enormously complementary. When we enable the programming side of the buy-sell interface and start to give advertisers and agencies a way to put in (inventory) in a programmatic fashion it enables ads as close to real time as possible. It drives the value of the inventory," he said, because now advertisers can make their ad placement decisions as quickly as they need to catch the right audience.

In addition to its ad insertion capabilities, RGB Networks brings to the table more cloud-based video delivery solutions like cloud DVR, as well as video packaging services. Its capabilities can be used by TV Everywhere and over-the-top providers alike to reach a multitude of different devices. Imagine will be integrating those solutions into its current offerings.

For more:
- see the press release

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