WideOrbit acquires Castfire for monetizing on-demand content

wideorbit and castfire 200wMedia management company WideOrbit has acquired the audio/video publishing platform Castfire, adding a new dimension to WideOrbit’s ad-insertion solutions.

Castfire was founded in 2004 as a video Content Management System (CMS), offering sophisticated cross-platform distribution and consumption metrics. The company was prescient about the growth and importance of video in Internet publishing. Castfire grew to be a combined audio/video management system, with an emphasis on intelligent real-time ad insertion. The platform “stitches in” advertisements to on-demand audio (think podcasts), based on the user’s location and time of access.

WideOrbit plans to position Castfire with its Abacast Clarity product, which it obtained with the Abacast acquisition in June. The combination of Castfire and Clarity “will create the first digital on-demand content solution with the capability to dynamically target and insert advertisements based on parameters like device type, geography, day-parting and others,” according to the press release.

We spoke with Jim Kott, VP of Products and Marketing at WideOrbit/Abacast. Kott, noted that an Abacast/Castfire relationship has existed for years.

“Castfire and Clarity have been integrated for a number of years. Castfire is great platform for ingesting on-demand content, tagging it, creating templates for how the content is formatted (intros, ads, etc.), creating feeds for all the devices, platforms, and portals out there, and delivering it dynamically when requested. Abacast Clarity contributes the monetization part. When a file is requested, Castfire calls Clarity for ad decisioning and insertion. We’ve done the monetization part of Castfire for a couple of years. We wanted to own the whole infrastructure.”

It is on-demand audio which comes into focus with Castfire.”We see that consumer want content in many different ways,” Jim Kott told us. “They want to do it on their favorite sites, at their favorite timess. We’re enabling broadcasters to easily offer on-demand content. Castfire extends the delivery and monetization story of Clarity.”

Ad technology, and smart marketing informed by audience intelligence, represent a trend toward programmatic ad sales. Programmatic is a broad and slippery term surrounded by a fog of misunderstanding, but it is really about three key values:

  1. Precision (getting each marketing message to the most receptive listener)
  2. Immediacy (real-time execution of ad-insertion calculations)
  3. Automation (using software platforms to accomplish smartly targeted ad impressions)

WideOrbit’s mission is marketed as, “helping media companies manage their advertising business more efficiently and profitably […] via any sales method, from direct sold to programmatic.” The addition of Castfire to its digital arsenal leans toward the programmatic side.

Brad Hill