Magnite Buys SpringServe For $31M In Push For CTV Ad Dollars

Sell-side platform Magnite acquired connected TV ad server SpringServe Thursday for $31 million, in a deal that will improve its access to all of a publisher’s CTV inventory.

SpringServe’s video clients include Vizio, Univision, Tastemade and Pluto TV. SpringServe and Magnite work with many of the same clients, the company said.

While SpotX (the video SSP Magnite bought in February for $1.17 billion) works only with publishers’ programmatic inventory, SpringServe encompasses both direct-sold and programmatic inventory. And publishers can set up the video ad server to allow programmatic and direct-sold demand to compete equally.

The “tight integration” between direct-sold and programmatic inventory is only getting more important for media companies and buyers, Sean Buckley, Magnite’s CRO for CTV, told AdExchanger.

SpotX invested $2 million in SpringServe last year. The deal included an option to buy, which Magnite exercised after it bought SpotX.

Having an option to buy SpringServe was welcome: Magnite had eyed SpringServe prior to its acquisition of SpotX. Investors sent the stock up to nearly $36 on Thursday morning after the deal was announced, before leveling off to a 3% increase later in the day.

SpringServe was attractive to Magnite because it had started to gain “meaningful traction in the market,” Buckley said. SpringServe is a rival to video ad server to Publica, which also allows publishers to enable a header bidding-like setup for video.

“The breadth of our customer base, partnerships and footprint in the market really speaks for itself,” Buckley said of how this deal positions SpringServe relative to rivals. “We are working with virtually all of the major media companies, streaming services and device manufacturers, and you know we built that over a long period of time.”

Because most CTV inventory is purchased through direct buys, unlike digital media channels mobile and desktop, having access to tech that controls both direct-sold and programmatic inventory could improve Magnite’s access to programmatic inventory, Buckley said.

The integration between Magnite’s video ad server (SpringServe) and video SSP (SpotX) could also improve the user experience in CTV around ad pod delivery and commercial breaks, Buckley said. Viewers won’t see the same ads over and over, and two competing brands won’t be included in the same ad pod. Magnite will continue to invest to tighten the existing integration between the two companies.

Magnite’s growth strategy includes a mix of M&A and building its technology in house, Buckley said. He declined to say whether the company was eyeing additional acquisition deals, but said Magnite is bullish about its current CTV product suite.

“We don’t feel that you can necessarily just take technology from anywhere in digital media and just apply it to CTV,” he said. “CTV is extremely unique.”

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