BrightRoll Launches DIY Video Ad Network

Video ad network BrightRoll relaunched this morning with a name change from PostRoller and now offers direct access to the ad insertion process for consumer video producers. The company’s technology serves up ads in multiple formats, monitors click throughs to determine which format is most effective and switches ad formats dynamically for the best results. Video publishers can choose to insert the most lucrative format, preroll ads, or allow BrightRoll to switch between video, banner or text post roll ads.

The primary implementation of BrightRoll is to help publishers monetize content that they were unable to sell ads against. The company says that there is far more video content online than there is ad coverage available. I went through the company’s ad insertion process and can confirm that it is very easy to do.

BrightRoll is also announcing that it has closed a series A round of funding, raising a total of $1 million from 9 angel investors and one institution, True Ventures. The angels include Jeff Clavier of SoftTechVC, Michael Tanne from Wink and Auren Hoffman, CEO of Rapleaf. The full list is available on the BrightRoll site.

BrightRoll’s technology is used to serve all of the pre and post roll ads on Metacafe and the company recently entered into a partnership with VideoEgg. The company launched in March and they are now live on 35 different sites.

BrightRoll is part of what seems to be a growing trend, web 2.0 service providers starting in the B2B space and branching out to serve consumers directly. See also our coverage of BrightCove and Rightmedia (disclosure: TC8 party sponsor), two companies that are similar in some ways.

BirghtRoll CEO Tod Sacerdoti previously worked at Plaxo where he was responsible for the company’s monetization strategy and was part of the deal that sent the Plaxo mailing widget to YouTube.

Today’s new direct to consumer offering from BrightRoll is largely targeting niche video sites around the web. When I asked whether online video wasn’t entirely dominated by a few large sites, CEO Tod Sacerdoti told me that there is a surprising number of niche video sites that see large amounts of traffic. He said that based on his observations of the space he believes there are hundreds of sites currently serving millions of video streams per day. Those niche sites can be particularly valuable to advertisers who want to “own a channel” for a short period of time before a product launch.

Sacerdoti says that there’s an industry belief that post roll ads are worthless because of abysmal conversion rates, but he says that on a large scale there is money to be made in post roll. He also believes it’s a good introduction to video publishers that may subsequently decide to use more lucrative preroll ads.

Automating the optimization of ad serving in remainder and consumer published video content sounds like a good strategy to me. Will the technology work well over time? Apparently it has so far, though that’s hard for me to judge directly. None the less, I think the ideas at work are smart. This sector is likely to become quite interesting as competition and innovation increase.