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Ad Platform Rebrands Itself and You Saw It Coming
By: Luke Willoughby
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Two weeks after a complex acquisition with a rival ad distributor, DG has unveiled its entirely new strategy for positioning in the digital landscape. Now focused solely on its digital platform (formerly known as Mediamind), the new and improved company is called Sizmek.

As reported here prior to this rebranding, DG was formerly the world’s largest advertising distributor when on January 28 it sold its broadcast and television services to Extreme Reach for $485 million. The transaction left both groups at a crossroads competing in the evolution of video advertising, and DG has been the first to unveil its new direction.

The last article noted that DG would be challenged to maintain value as an independent distribution and reporting platform against an evolving field of competitors. Their role as advertising middleman, formerly isolated and unbothered, is now being encroached by Facebook, Twitter, and others who are heavily invested in distributing and valuating their own likes, tweets, and digital ads. DG faces this pressure, but does not have hundreds of millions of users or blue-chip software to monetize. They can only improve their current position, and must do so through an extension of their offering, as seen in the launch of Sizmek.

With the future now riding on this rebranding, the Sizmek extension casts a wide net across many new services, capabilities, and potential opportunities. The core business remains digital campaign management and distribution, and from the perspective of an agency planner, the platform manages this extensive and technical undertaking quite simply and user-friendly. The expanded offering now also integrates common industry pursuits like big data targeting and multi-screen advertising. Sizmek’s unique position as middleman, forced to adopt these new pursuits, may prove a competitive advantage as they have access to the most important form of data: Campaign results. Results that encompass many companies, properties and strategies that they are now competing against.

But the most distinguishing new feature is the Sizmek balance sheet, which is now $485 million in the black after selling the debt-plagued TV assets. In comparison, big-data purveyor Rocket Fuel raised $116 million in the largest advertising IPO of the 2013 (if you don’t count Twitter). Sizmek is clear with its intention for this financial power; buying out other tech companies to expand its offering. It is a model that the industry is quite accustomed to — both across the industry giants and VC backed start-ups.

Whether or not Sizmek can afford a bidding war with Google, Facebook, or Twitter is questionable, but there will now be one more bidding at the table.

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About the Author
Luke Willoughby works in the digital media landscape of New York across varying agencies and brands. He also has a background in video and content production, and is invested in the resurgence of the full-service advertising agency and the associated opportunities for the marketing industry. Originally from Denver, Colorado, he's a fan of most outdoor activities and otherwise enjoys reading and film.
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