Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

DirecTV Bets on Web Video Ad Manager FreeWheel

make it rainHere’s more money going into Web video ads — or, more accurately, to the people who bring you Web video ads: Satellite broadcaster DirecTV has led a funding round for FreeWheel, the company that serves and manages video ads for many big sites and programmers.

FreeWheel won’t spell out the funding amount for this round, but says that it’s less than the $17 million round it raised in 2010, and that it doesn’t need as much money now, because it is “closing in on profitability.”

Prior to this round, FreeWheel had raised about $30 million over the last four years.

DirecTV has also signed on as a FreeWheel customer, which means it is one of the many big broadcasters, cable networks and Web companies that use FreeWheel to manage their video ad business, like Comcast, AOL, Viacom, etc. DirecTV will use FreeWheel to manage the ads it runs on its “TV Everywhere” services.

Over time, FreeWheel has also moved into display advertising, which means it’s not only the “DoubleClick of Web video,” but is often competing with Google’s DoubleClick, as well.

Not coincidentally, FreeWheel’s founding team, lead by CEO Doug Knopper, are DoubleClick veterans.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work