News Corp Logs On with Unruly to Grow Digital Business

News Corp is set to acquire global ad platform, Unruly Holdings, in line with its aim to further develop its own digital base to enhance advertiser and partner offerings

International media and information services company, News Corp, has set in motion its plans to acquire Unruly Holdings, a global ad platform specialised in digital and social video advertising solutions for clients worldwide.

To be led by the latter’s three co-founders, the said entity is poised to operate as a separate business unit with the aforementioned heads reporting to Rebekah Brooks, Chief Executive of News UK. Meanwhile, Unruly will continue to work with its existing roster of global advertisers and publishers as it collaborates with News Corp businesses around the world.

“Unruly is a feisty and creative company with a start-up sensibility that fits perfectly with our own approach to developing businesses in the digital age. The acquisition will serve as a catalyst for our brands, helping to extend our expertise in the digital and mobile video area, whether through the fast-growing in the United States, Fox Sports in Australia, News America Marketing, HarperCollins Publishers or our market-leading mastheads around the world,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp.

Founded in 2006, Unruly is a video distribution platform and pioneer in tracking video sharing and delivering verifiable video views via paid media across mobile, desktop, and tablet devices. With its data set of 2 trillion video views and sophisticated targeting capabilities, the company uses historical sharing behaviour to predict the potential for video ads to go viral across all digital touch points.

Its suite of products includes ShareRank, proprietary technology able to predict the virality of videos across social and digital media; In-Feed advertising, a mobile-first video ad format which  adapts to the unique look and feel of news feed formats; In-Page advertising, video advertising that appears as video player units within the body of article pages across desktop and mobile; and Skippable In-Stream Advertising which offers programmatic targeting and prominent branding within the player.

In the coming months, News Corp business units will begin to offer Unruly products to their advertising and agency partners. This will mean a significant increase in premium video and mobile inventory, a stronger content marketing offering, and improved returns for News Corp’s advertisers. Unruly’s platform has attracted top tier advertisers, including brands such as adidas, Dove, T-Mobile, Evian, and Renault.

The expected purchase price for the acquisition consists of a cash payment at closing of £58 million (approximately $90 million), subject to certain adjustments, and up to £56 million (approximately $86 million) in future consideration primarily related to payments contingent upon the achievement of certain performance objectives. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be completed by the end of September.

“We are absolutely delighted to join the News Corp family and connect our scaled distribution, social data, and content optimisation tools with the premium ad inventory of News Corp businesses and their highly-engaged audiences,” said Scott Button, Co-founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Unruly.

Other significant acquisitions made by News Corp in the technology field include Storyful, the world’s first video news agency, which authenticates and widely distributes video content for partners like Facebook, Vice and YouTube, and Checkout 51, a mobile savings app acquired by News America Marketing. News Corp also has a stake in the Rubicon Project, a technology company that automates the buying and selling of advertising through use of real-time cloud and big data computing systems.