Ad company Genesis Media is announcing that it has raised $6 million in Series B funding.
When I discussed the funding with CEO Mark Yackanich, he described the company as “a data-driven decisioning platform that intercepts users with media” — which even he admitted was a bit of a mouthful. Put more simply, online publishers use the company’s ContentUnlock product to show ads (usually video ads) to their readers on a timed, targeted basis.
And yes, you have to watch those ads if you want to continue reading the article (or otherwise access the content). Yackanich pitched it as an alternative type of pay wall, where the reader doesn’t actually have to pay. He also said Genesis tries to “contextualize” the ad so that it’s clear that once you watch it, you won’t have to see another one for a while (the gap period may be “seven articles or 24 hours or 48 hours or one week”, depending on the publisher and the reader).
The real advantage to ContentUnlock, Yackanich said, is its recognition that “different consumers have different values to different publishers.” In other words, the type and number of ads will vary from reader to reader. For example, he suggested that a “loyal and engaged reader” who visits the site directly probably shouldn’t see an ad initially, while someone who comes to an article after from a link on Twitter probably won’t stick around very long, so publishers can pursue “more aggressive monetization.”
Genesis says that its publishers include American Media, Bonnier, USA Today Sports, and The Smithsonian. Yackanich added that the business model has evolved: “Our publisher partners are dragging us very happily — and this was always the plan — into more of a platform model.” In other words, instead of selling the ads, in some cases Genesis is just providing the technology to publishers, and it’s used by their sales teams.
The new funding was led by Blue Chip Venture Capital, with participation from Crown Predator Holdings. Including credit (and not just the $6 million in equity), the round totaled $10 million. Yackanich said.