News Corp buys viral video company Unruly in $125m bid to extend its video reach

news corp unrulyNews Corp has continued to pursue its refocussed digital strategy by paying $125m for UK-based viral video outfit Unruly, as the publisher looks to improve its video advertising offering.

Unruly, which has an office in Sydney, was founded in London in 2006 and specialises in tracking and verifying audience reach for paid distribution of video content on mobile and desktop devices.

In Australia the company is set to work with News Corp subsidiary Fox Sports in a bid to help improve the shareability of its video content, as it looks to drive more paid subscriptions, whilst its ad platforms will be integrated into News Corp’s other products.

News Corp chief executive Robert Thompson described Unruly as a “feisty and creative company with a startup sensibility” adding in a statement: “Unruly complements our traditional editorial and commercial enterprise with contemporary insight into how people read, watch, buy and sell in the digital era.”

Amongst the company’s products are ShareRank which predicts and tracks the virality of video content; InFeed advertising, a mobile first platform that adapts ads to the look and feel of the feed formats; InPage advertising, video units which appear within the body of the page on desktop and mobile; Skippable In-Stream advertising, offering programatic targeting and prominent branding to advertisers.

News Corp’s Australian incoming CEO and chief operating officer Peter Tonagh said:  “The utilisation of Unruly’s technology will significantly increase our standing in the rapidly growing digital video advertising space.

“For our advertising and agency partners this means that, over the next few months, News Corp Australia will begin to offer access to Unruly products through our sales teams. This means more premium video and mobile inventory than ever before, an even stronger content marketing offering and, ultimately, improved returns for our advertisers.”

In July News unveiled a more digitally focussed strategy in Australia, including a new programmatic exchange, creative digital studio and new online and offline data offering with Quantium.

The deal is the first acquisition by News UK since Rebekah Brooks returned to the top job there a fortnight ago, and will continue to be led by its three founders who will report into Brooks.


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