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AOL Adds More Video Help by Buying Content Syndicator Vidible for Around $50 Million

Last year AOL spent $405 million on Now it's writing checks again.
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has spent a lot of time building out his video business. Now he is buying Vidible, a startup that’s supposed to make it easier for publishers to get their video on other people’s websites.

People familiar with the transaction say that AOL paid around $50 million for Vidible, which had raised less than $5 million in the last two years. Most of that came via a $3.5 million round led by Greycroft a year ago. An AOL rep declined to comment.

Vidible describes itself as a “video management and exchange platform.” In English, that means that the company has an automated system that lets video owners sell their stuff to websites that want video inventory.

Another way of thinking about it: It’s an update on 5Min, the video syndication startup AOL bought for $65 million in 2010, then used to jumpstart its video business.

The success of that deal helped push Armstrong to spend $405 million on video ad exchange in 2013. That deal — the biggest AOL has made during Armstrong’s tenure — gave the company a platform to get into the market for automated video ads.

So it’s easy to see how Vidible could sync up with the stuff Armstrong already owns. Right now, Vidible helps people buy and sell video content and doesn’t deal with ads, but AOL already has the sales angle covered.

Vidible was co-founded by two ad tech veterans: CEO Michael Hyman built interactive ad startup Oggifinogi and sold it to Collective; President Tim Mahlman was chief revenue officer at ad network BlueLithium, then stayed on for several years after Yahoo acquired that company. Vidible says it has deals with 150 publishers, and generates more than two billion video views a month.

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