Google Is In Love With TV Again

TV hug

If Google‘s interest in selling TV ads waned with US sales boss Tim Armstrong’s departure in the Spring of 2009, it’s now back in a big way, sources say.

This interest could translate into an acquisition (or two).

One likely target is a New York-based startup, Visible World.

In the summer of 2009, Google partnered with Visible World to allow advertisers to buy and optimise TV commercials online.

Google’s TV ad business contributed $200 million to Google’s 2009 revenues, and while that’s not much when stacked against Google’s ~$25 billion search revenues, Google is happy with the partnership.

A source close to Google and Visible World tells us acquisition talks haven’t quite heated up yet, but that there’s plenty of kindling.

One Google employee told us Visible World CEO Seth Haberman is a “real certifiable genius,” who puts on “the most impressive demo you’re ever going to see.”

This Googler recalled a demonstration in which Visible World aired two separate ads for one advertiser — one for a wealthy, older zipcode, and one for a younger zipcode.

Another source close to Google said the company might want Visible World client relationships with several large cable companies. Those MSOs, or multiple systems operators like Comcast and Time Warner Cable, have been reluctant to let Google into their hen house.

But despite those relationships and its “wow”technology, the perception is that Visible World is a startup Google could get cheap. 

Since its founding at the beginning of the last decade, the company has raised a ton of money and gone through several management teams. People would be surprised to see a price outside the $50 million to $250 million range. (The high end of that range is possible due to Visible World’s complicated capital structure.)

Still, even $250 million is nothing for Google. In December, it almost bought Yelp for $550 million. Remember, Google is the midst of a wild acquisition spree.

Another name we’ve heard mentioned as a possible acquisition target is New Jersey-based startup INVIDI.

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on market rumour and speculation. Visible World also refused to comment.

Photo: silver marquis

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