Peter Kafka

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Web Ad Pioneer Dave Morgan Adapts Simulmedia To TV's Reality

The TV networks are spending the week telling advertisers to keep buying TV ads.

Great idea, says Dave Morgan.

If you pay attention to Web advertising but haven’t kept track of Morgan recently, his position might strike you as a bit odd, coming from a well-known Web entrepreneur who built and sold two big digital ad companies.

But Simulmedia, Morgan’s newest effort, has nothing to do with Web ads. Instead he’s helping TV advertisers buy the same TV ads they’ve always bought. He just says he can help them spend their money efficiently, using data from cable companies’ set-top boxes.

Simulmedia has been working on this for a couple of years, and originally focused on a relatively narrow slice of the TV ad market: TV networks advertising their own shows on other networks. But earlier this year the company changed strategies–you can go ahead and call it a pivot without being embarrassed–and is now targeting the entire $70 billion TV ad market.

Morgan raised another $10 million last week–an inside round from previous investors including Avalon Ventures, Union Square Ventures and Time Warner–which brings the company’s total funding to more than $20 million.

That’s a good reason to ask him to provide an update on his business, which he does in the video interview below. I’m particularly struck by the comments Morgan makes about adapting a go-go Web start-up mentality to accommodate the TV industry’s deliberate pace.

“I had some assumptions that there were things that had not happened in television because people didn’t understand the changes, and they were Luddites and didn’t want to change,” he says. ”The closer I’ve gotten into the marketplace, I realize they absolutely know what’s going on–they’ve made very calculated decisions.”


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus