When big name publishers like The New York Times and Wall Street Journal are looking to create the rich media ads for their new tablet apps, they turn to Medialets. Now the startup, which raised $8.4 million back in November, is hoping to parlay its relationships with top publishers and blue chip brands into a private marketplace that will connect the two.
“This is really something we’ve been building towards since we launched the company,” CEO Eric Litman told Betabeat. “Premium publishers want 100 percent control of who appears next to their content and big brands want to make absolutely sure they don’t put their name next to something that doesn’t fit their image.”
Offline, in the world of glossy magazines and TV spots, the money being spent is enough to cover the chain of human beings who handle these relationships. But online, where fewer advertising dollars are being spent, and especially across multiple channels like the web, mobile, in-app, iOS and android, the margins get very thin.
“We’re creating a private marketplace that takes the friction out of buying online, but ensures that publishers and brands only work with the kind of premium partners they feel comfortable with,” explains Mr. Litman. The marketplace will offer inventory from 40 publishers. Medialets won’t say exactly who, only that they come from the roster of more than 200 big names like Conde Nast and Hearst they already work with. Brands can see how much is being offered at what price and easily spread their buys over multiple platforms.
“It creates value for both advertisers and publishers by not only addressing challenges that exist in the mobile advertising ecosystem, but also resolving operational issues that still exist online,” Paul Gelb, a VP of mobile at Razorfish explained.
For Medialets, this is a power play. Real time bidding is a big complicated business with massive players like Google branching out in every direction. But if they can establish an exclusive marketplace for tier 1 advertising, away from the long tail and remnants that dominate other purchasing platforms, they can add a big revenue stream to their current business. And while they are playing matchmaker, Medialet’s won’t get in between existing relationships. “This is a compliment to the direct sales that is going on,” Mr. Litman said, “A way to optimize across the complexity of digital media.”