In 2013, AOL purchased Adap.tv, a video-advertising start-up that specializes in automating the connections between advertisers and media companies, a process known as programmatic ad buying. Publishers provide videos they want to have advertising on, marketers hand over ads that they'd like people to see before watching whatever it is they actually want to watch, and AOL's computers play matchmaker. This year, 28% of all video ads will be purchased through a system like this, according to eMarketer. By next year it will be 40%.
Verizon needs something like this. "The principal interest was around the ad tech platform that [AOL has] done a really terrific job building. We really like the technology a lot," said John Stratton, Verizon's exec VP-operations, at an investor conference Tuesday. "We've talked a lot about our over-the-top video ambitions, and this is, for us, a very important cornerstone enabler as part of that broader strategy."So that leaves us wondering what will happen to the piece of AOL with which most of us are familiar – the popular lefty content provider Huffington Post (the 30th most popular site on the web)?
But there's a fair deal of skepticism that Verizon actually wants to run a network of online publications. James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, immediately speculated that Verizon would sell off the Huffington Post.Shall we pass the hat and see about buying it? I'm good for upwards of twenty bucks, if pressed.