MLBAM Beginning Dynamic Ad Serving To Mobile Devices Later This Month
MLBAM later this month will begin its planned dynamic ad serving to mobile devices, marking the initial results of its expanded relationship with Bay Area-based technology outfit Auditude. Speaking this morning at the PaidContent Mobile conference in N.Y., MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman said a custom-built platform developed by MLBAM and Auditude will start operations by June 1, inserting ads between innings of live games to a variety of mobile devices. Inventory is already fully sold for the next month, in part due to MLB.com's mushrooming mobile traffic, which is likely to soon become the dominant share of its overall visitation. "Baseball has natural breaks, so it shouldn't be too painful," Bowman said. "The reason we're doing this from scratch is due to the fact that no one does live video ad insertion." MLBAM took a small equity stake in Auditude as part of the enlarged deal. Bowman, meanwhile, continued his support of a blended digital monetization strategy in which both paid content and advertising revenue are part of the equation, and are not mutually exclusive of each other. "Everybody would like to have a paid content strategy and a free one," he said. Bowman added it is two to three more times as expensive to build products for the Android operating system compared to the Apple iOS mobile platform due to the heavy device fragmentation on Android. And not surprisingly, tablets are currently the largest single segment of growth for MLBAM's paid content business. "It not only has a much wider audience than it did a year ago, but it's become the object of choice for people who would buy the kind of rich content we have," he said.