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Screenverse: Why We Invested $10.5M

Over the past decade, the out-of-home (OOH) advertising channel has undergone significant changes moving from mostly static billboards and signage to digital screens. As the medium of digital screen advertising has grown, programmatic advertising has been adopted to deliver targeted and dynamic ads to consumers outside of their homes – combining the benefits of speed as seen in other programmatic channels with the reach of OOH.  

While programmatic brings significant advantages for campaign flexibility and audience reach, there are unique complexities for an asset-heavy and fragmented market like digital-out-of-home (DOOH) advertising.

Therefore, we are excited to announce our $10.5M investment in Screenverse, a programmatic monetization partner helping screen owners and advertisers adopt and optimize pDOOH (programmatic-digital-out-of-home) advertising to solve customer challenges in the OOH advertising space.

The Rise of Programmatic DOOH

Compared to traditional DOOH, which relies on static images or videos that are scheduled to run in advance, pDOOH offers a more flexible and personalized approach to advertising. For example, a CPG brand can use programmatic to display different ads for their intended audience based on the time of day or the location of the screen. This level of personalization allows brands to deliver more relevant messaging to their target audience at scale. Marketers have started to see this value as pDOOH is expected to reach 31% of the total DOOH market by the end of 2025 from just 3.2% in 20191.

While the mechanics of pDOOH differ from its online counterpart, the inherent benefits of agility and targeted reach position it as a compelling channel for advertisers seeking to experiment and optimize their campaigns. Catalysts such as the rise of omnichannel advertising and the deprecation of third-party cookies could further propel the growth of pDOOH, solidifying its position as an integral part of the advertising ecosystem.

Complexities of pDOOH

Despite the growth of pDOOH, managing and navigating the landscape is complex and presents significant challenges. The programmatic ecosystem to begin with has many constituents that help automate the delivery of an advertisement, including supply-side-platform (SSPs) and demand-side-platform (DSPs). Compared to traditional OOH, buying inventory is also conducted and measured differently as advertisers buy on a CPM basis and measure reach through impressions. While these terms and processes are standard for the online advertising industry and publishers, it is new territory for advertisers and screen owners in DOOH. 

These challenges are further exacerbated by the fact that there are many digital screen owners whose core competency or business model is not in advertising. Therefore, they have limited experience in pricing campaigns, running auctions, and marketing their inventory to the advertiser. Without a deep understanding of how to monetize programmatically, media owners have missed out on additional revenue that can be captured from this growing market. 

Enter Screenverse

When the Volition team first connected with Screenverse, it was immediately evident that the team was domain experts and key drivers of the industry’s growth.

Screenverse’s suite of services is tailored to meet the DOOH media owners where they are, whether that be switching on or optimizing their programmatic revenue stream. Empowered by deep knowledge and connections with the relevant SSP and DSP partners, Screenverse handles ad operations, deal & pricing optimization, and sales enablement on behalf of the media owners. Specifically, by being part of the Screenverse network, media owners are able to tap into national advertisers and scale their programmatic revenue all while focusing on their core business. 

Despite being a lean team and launching during the height of the pandemic, Screenverse has built one of the largest and most diverse networks of digital screens, with ~90,000 screens across the US today. This ranges from existing DOOH assets to native digital assets that are launching into the market whose core business isn’t even advertising. Screenverse is able to cater to the full spectrum of media owners, both old and new alike. This variety of screens has also served as a benefit to advertisers as Screenverse provides a one-stop-shop to reach a wide audience.

Most importantly, we are deeply impressed with the world-class team behind Screenverse. David Weinfeld, Screenverse CEO, previously worked at Vistar as the first supply-side sales hire, growing the company’s SSP and DOOH business. David has had direct insight into the long tail of media owner partners that were looking to optimize programmatically, leading to the start of Screenverse. 

David has built the Company with Adam Malone, President of Screenverse, who has spent the majority of his career at DOMedia. Together, their commitment to driving programmatic revenue for their media partners as well as the adoption of their services from top-tier advertisers alike has impressed us since day one. We are excited to be partnering with the Screenverse team and look forward to supporting them on their journey ahead in this growing and new market.

[1] eMarketer

Volition Capital

Larry Cheng

Managing Partner

Larry Cheng

Managing Partner

“Success is 1% inspiration, 98% perspiration, and 2% attention to detail.”  – Phil Dunphy

Volition Capital

Emily Pawlak

Sr. Associate

Emily Pawlak

Sr. Associate

Volition Capital

Kevin O’Donnell

Analyst

Kevin O’Donnell

Analyst

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