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ExtendTV Delivers Programmatic Reach to Local Sales Reps

ExtendTV is a relatively new video distribution platform that has raised about $2.5 million to date. Its mission is simple: help (mostly local) advertisers reach video audiences across digital screens. Most of those advertisers are larger-spending SMBs (e.g., car dealers) currently buying local TV spots.

Here’s the company’s fundraising pitch:

ExtendTV is developing a platform to disrupt the marketplace for local online video advertising by making it accessible to more than 5 million small and mid-size businesses. We connect a large and well-established local ad salesforce to online sources of geo-targeted video inventory and provide customized tools that enable them to execute ad campaigns on behalf of their clients.

ExtendTV is now operating in about 10 US markets, including Alabama, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Washington and Wisconsin. It partners with local TV stations selling traditional TV at the local level. It currently works with five major local TV ownership groups.

ExtendTV enables these local sales teams to “extend” TV ads to PCs, smartphones and tablets through ad exchanges. Typically a traditional TV spot is cut from 30 seconds down to 15 for the PC and mobile distribution across a range of ad exchanges and platforms including DoubleClick, InMobi, MoPub, Nexage, Smaato, SpotXchange and TapSense among others.

Roughly a week and a half ago I spoke with CEO Mark Goldman. In some ways it’s the fulfillment of the vision that SpotRunner articulated in the pre-programmatic era now quite a few years ago.

Among a few others, PaperG is also helping deliver programmatic distribution of display ads for some of its publisher-clients on behalf of their SMB advertisers. Another startup (and Ad to Action winner) Sightly enables locally targeted video ads for SMBs and localizes video for national brands and franchises.

However ExtendTV is the first to position itself as a programmatic video platform for the local market, and as a way for SMBs to access programmatic video distribution. Asked about cannibalization, Goldman told me that ExtendTV is helping increase the advertiser by 10% to 30% on average for these local TV stations. Many of the clients are new or new to digital for the TV affiliates.

ExtendTV charges partners a CPM, depending on the desired targeting, and the TV station then marks that up. Goldman said that video completion rates he’s seeing exceed 80%, which is a pretty striking figure given general online ad avoidance.

Goldman argued that “Programmatic is more important on a local level than a national level because it’s harder to reach local audiences” given all the media fragmentation today. Accordingly programmatic can aggregate local audiences for video across sites and platforms. However programmatic is far from perfected and still suffers from issues around impression quality.

I asked Goldman about potentially working with newspapers or directory publishers as a way to extend his local reach. He responded that the local TV stations were “the top of food chain in local advertising.” He added that this is not a new sale; these reps are already dealing with TV advertisers and it’s more of a question of extending the reach of those existing creative assets — rather than educating advertisers and creating something new.

Nonetheless, Goldman said ExtendTV was certainly open to working with others over time.

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