TV ad sales platform Invision is now looking to become a “cross-platform” provider of media buying and selling and has secured an $8.5 million financing to do it. The expansion reflects the strategy brought in by ex-AOL (NYSE: AOL) exec Lynda Clarizio when she became CEO in early 2010.
Invision has previously raised $35 million in two venture capital funding rounds. This latest financing came in two parts. The bulk of the deal is in the form of $6 million from a venture debt financing from Wellington Financial. The remaining $2.5 million was a line of credit from Silicon Valley Bank. Invision executives and existing investors, who include ABS Capital Partners and Garvin Hill Capital Partners, felt that this arrangement would provide the greatest flexibility for its current moves.
The 11-year-old New York company tapped Clarizio to plot its broader shift into cross-platform sales. The company’s primary product, DealMaker, serves as a sales planning and management system for cable networks, broadcast networks, TV syndicators and others in the space. It provides a range of work flow and inventory management, as well as revenue reporting.
As Dealmaker prepares to include online ad sales into its mix, Clarizio noted that while its new tools will help existing clients manage both their offline and online ad deals, the company also expects additional, online-only clients as well.
“It’s an open platform, sellers can bring in third party data,” Clarizio said in an interview. “We’re not just concentrating on TV ad sellers. We’ve been demoing it for a broad variety of potential clients and this will be available for display, reserved and non-reserved ads. So it should have wide appeal.”
Last fall, Invision struck an agreement with Turner Broadcasting for exclusive worldwide distribution rights to the Crossroad commercial operations system. The new system will be launched in the second half of this year.
Invision’s plans are reflective of larger changes in the advertising space, most notably how the practices associated with online advertising are blending into the traditional media buying process, especially for TV. Case in point: The Rubicon Project’s announcement of a partnership with Donovan Data Systems, the company that has dominated the management of TV ad sales between agencies and networks, on a platform that will streamline media buyers’ display buying. The ultimate idea of all these companies is to get ahead of the deeper integration between the buying and selling of media, no matter the format.