FreeWheel’s Trillion Milestone Marks Growth of On-Demand Ad Impressions
March 13, 2017, Broadcasting & Cable
By Jon Lafayette
FreeWheel, the technology company that helped enable the growth of premium video on demand, has reached two important milestones. It recently turned 10 years old and it served up its 1 trillionth ad impression.
Even in the TV work, a trillion is a big number—almost big enough for FreeWheel to stop and take notice.
“We’re always sort of nose to the grindstone,” co-CEO Jon Heller, who cofounded FreeWheel along with Dian Yu and Doug Knopper, told B&C. “The only reason I knew it was imminent was we had a betting pool. And it happened right on the company’s birthday. It was amusingly fortuitous.”
The founders admit that ad tech by itself isn’t all that sexy. But without a system like FreeWheel’s, it might be impossible for consumers to access all the content that’s now available to them or for advertisers to reach the kind of mass audiences they need.
“People still want to watch TV and they want to watch more and more of it, so we’d always been positioned as the champions of empowerment of the traditional television industry,” Heller said.
Heller said he knew there was a need for FreeWheel when, years ago, he was watching an unauthorized stream of Star Wars: The Clone Wars on a big TV hooked up to a Macintosh. The pirate feed contained ads from three different ad networks, something that had to alarm the rightful owners of the show.
Being able to safely manage and distribute content was “a really thorny and painful problem,” he said. Getting to 1 trillion impressions is a testament to FreeWheel’s solution. “Without these things being automated, you can’t put your library up, you can’t put it in front of people and nobody could watch it.”
Yu said the “significant milestone of achieving 1 trillion impressions on our 10th anniversary is a testament to marketers’ increased adoption of premium video as a channel for the delivery of their advertising messages to highly engaged audiences across all screens and to FreeWheel’s position at the center of the new TV economy.”