TV advertising in the U.S. is a $60 billion a year business, but despite the market size — or maybe because of it — brands and agencies have a difficult time keeping tabs on where their spots appear, and especially where their competitors are placing campaigns. iSpot.tv hopes to change that, and it’s raised a new, $5 million round of funding from Madrona Venture Group and TL Ventures to do so.
iSpot.tv wants to provide brands, agencies, and networks with real-time data about ad campaigns that are running on TV. The company tracks all ads that appear across more than 80 networks in the U.S., and can provide detailed information about which brands are appearing on which stations and which shows are getting the most love from individual campaigns.
To do so, iSpot.tv uses proprietary audio and video fingerprinting technology to monitor networks and keep tabs on all the ads that appear on them. It then adds that information into an easy-to-read dashboard that allows its customers to drill down and get detailed information about the ad campaigns that are currently on TV.
Last summer, the company had raised $575,000 from iSpot.tv founder (and former Demand Media CTO) Sean Muller, along with some other Demand Media alums, to get things off the ground. At that point, it was building the technology to extract those campaigns in HD video, at which point it catalogued them by category and brand. Those videos were then uploaded to the company’s consumer-facing website, which provided an IMDb-like collection of ads.
With its analytics platform, iSpot.tv is now taking that to the next level. Customers can not only get data about the ads, the agency that produced them, and the actors that are involved, but they can also dig down and see how often those ads appear and where.
The iSpot.tv dashboard gives an incredibly detailed look at various campaigns, as users can see which networks and shows different spots appear against. They can also get a feel for just how much is being spent on each campaign, as it estimates ad spend by comparing appearances versus ratings and average cost for each show.
Brands and agencies use it to track what the competition is doing and to counter with their own campaigns. And network sales forces use it to determine which advertisers it should go after.
iSpot.tv is already pulling in cash, with more than 40 customers paying between $1,000 and tens of thousands of dollars a month, depending on the number of categories they’re following and the number of seats each organization has on the platform. But it wanted to accelerate growth. Hence, the $5 million raise.
iSpot.tv is based in Bellevue, Wash., and has about 15 employees today, but it’s looking to expand rapidly, according to Muller. As part of that expansion, the company also plans to open a New York City-based sales office to be closer to the ad industry.