Sony Pictures TV Buys $100M Stake In IMS, Ad Partner To Apple, Twitter And More In LatAm

Some more consolidation in the world of digital advertising and specifically how emerging markets are being targeted. Sony Pictures Television is buying a majority stake in Miami-based Internet Media Services (IMS), a company that has built out a digital advertising business in Latin America based on working as the exclusive partner to sell ads from large advertisers for platforms like Apple’s iAd, Twitter, Spotify, LinkedIn, SPT’s video website Crackle and more as these companies build out their ad businesses in the region.

The exact terms of the deal have not been disclosed except to note that the deal around $100 million for a 51% stake and that the current management team will continue to run IMS. This gives IMS a valuation of around $200 million.

“Gaston and his team are experts in the digital space and they have created a fantastic business across Latin America,” said Andy Kaplan, president of Sony Pictures Television, in a statement.  “With the sector growing exponentially and evolving quickly, we’re looking forward to working together to grow our collective businesses.”

IMS itself has been going for 10 years and claims to be the largest digital ad sales company in Latin America and the largest digital media buyer in the region. It has a CAGR of 40%, and currently works with 2,100 large advertisers in 16 countries. Gaston Taratuta, the CEO and founder, tells TechCrunch that he started the business with $5,000 and it has been profitable since year one, with no outside funding.

The decision to sell to Sony, he says, culminated “several years” of talks, which finally resulted in a sale because of the “great opportunity to work together in the future.”

While IMS will continue to work with its current list of clients — where it will basically be business as usual — the acquisition opens two other doors. The first is for Sony Pictures Television to build up its ad business in Latin America.

The second is more cross-platform advertising services in Latin America, where existing clients of IMS or Sony, which may already be buying ads against TV inventory, or on platforms like mobile or online to buy ads on the other platforms.

Extended globally, this is no small footprint: In addition to Crackle, SPT says it has 19 wholly-owned or joint venture production companies across 13 countries. SPT’s worldwide television networks portfolio includes 150 channel feeds in 178 countries, reaching 1.3 billion households.

“We will integrate practices and intelligence with our networks and ad sales teams in the region and globally, making this an excellent extension of our current business,” said Kaplan.

This is something that existing IMS clients support, too, says Taratuta.

“All our partners see the opportunity here,” he says.

The price and growth of IMS underscores some of the fast growth that emerging markets are offering to businesses out of the U.S. where ad growth may be slowing down. In Latin America, IMS says digital ad sales will see double-digit growth over the next five years, and a lot of that will be on platforms like mobile, with smartphones already seeing penetration of 120%.