TubeMogul unveils Web video tracking tool

Brightcove, DailyMotion among sites to sign on

Fast-growing analytics company TubeMogul is rolling out a free measurement tool that promises to bring more visibility to the murky world of online video by providing more accurate viewership data for 15 partner Web sites.

Several prominent video sites and streaming technology firms have signed on to allow TubeMogul to implement code on their sites to directly track their video viewership, including Brightcove, DailyMotion MetaCafe, Blip.tv and Break.com. However, the company has yet to land partnerships with the two biggest players in the space, YouTube and Hulu.

TubeMogul claims its tool can track an array of measures for Web video, such as how long users view specific clips, where the Web video traffic is derived from and how viewership patterns might differ by geography. But primarily the product should provide a consistent measure of what constitutes a view.

The hope is to get the online ad industry on the same page, according to TubeMogul CEO Brett Wilson. Previously, the three-year-old Emeryville, Calif.-based startup had to rely on many of its partners to supply their own video data on a regular basis, leading to inconsistencies, explained Wilson.

"Every single company recorded it differently," he said. "Now a view is a view is a view."

Plus, TubeMogul can provide better insight on the different audience patterns exhibited by different content and different sites. For example, said Wilson, "(We) can track which sites have a more engaging audience than others. ... This will accelerate standardization. It's good for everybody in the industry."

Because the tool is free, TubeMogul won't see any direct revenue from this new transparency, but Wilson said he believes that the product will bolster the company's core video syndication business by providing partners with more actionable insights, while also increasing demand for some of its more premium analytics offerings.

However, this begs the question: Won't some partners balk if TubeMogul's viewership data reveals that some of its video content isn't capturing as loyal an audience as others? That is something the company does hear, Wilson said. "Some sites aren't that keen to share that (kind of information) with the world," he said. "But people are demanding it. Most of them believe there is a lot of value added."

Doesn't this also put his company in direct competition with comScore and Nielsen Online? Wilson doesn't think so, since his product doesn't provide buyers with traditional planning data such as site demographics. Yet he acknowledges that there will be some crossover. "Those companies are about audience measurement," he said. "That's not our aim in the traditional sense. ... We don't look at ourselves as a metrics company. But we will have the data."
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