AOL Buys Stake in Taboola and Closes Strategic Partnership
What: AOL and Taboola announced that they closed a strategic partnership with discovery platform Taboola to deliver better content and advertising experiences for AOL’s and Taboola’s global users. As part of the agreement AOL is also buying a stake in Taboola. The size of the stake and the amount of the investment have not been publicized.
Why it matters: Part of the rationale of the deal, according to AOL and Taboola, is to offer audiences an alternative to social media platforms who have an increasingly "closed ecosystem." Taboola’s discovery platform will be integrated across all brands under the AOL umbrella including AOL.com, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, AutoBlog, AOL Mail and MapQuest in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
AOL has announced a strategic partnership with Taboola with the aim of delivering better content and advertising experiences for AOL’s more than 500 million and Taboola’s more than 750 million global users*. AOL expects to take an equity stake in Taboola, evidencing the desire of the parties for close collaboration on this long-term strategy.
Taboola’s leading discovery platform will be integrated across all premium brands under the AOL umbrella including AOL.com, The Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, AutoBlog, AOL Mail and MapQuest in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. This will enable major brands and content marketers to reach consumers across AOL properties through high-impact sponsored content recommendations. The partnership includes desktop, tablet, mobile web, and mobile apps.
"The AOL partnership will be rolled out at first in US, UK and CA, which should include the hispanic US traffic, but no concrete LATAM editions are currently planned. There will be many opportunities to expand our partnership globally and into strategic market such as LATAM, but that's not something that's currently rolled out," sources from Taboola told Portada.
AOL and Taboola plan to advance the partnership through new data initiatives, which will offer greater insight into user-intent, as well as collaborate on mobile-first content experiences that leverage the publisher network of AOL and Taboola. Additionally, AOL expects to take an equity stake in Taboola, evidencing the desire of the parties for close collaboration on this long-term strategy.
We’re entering a new era where social platforms are growing to become very powerful, asking users to consume content within their closed ecosystems and never leave. This is a long-term risk to journalism as we know it and publishers’ underlying business.
Taboola raised US$117 million in venture funding almost a year ago and another US$3 million from DailyMail.com in June, according to the WSJ. The company brought its total fund raising to about US$160 million. The investment valued the company at about US$700 million, says the WSJ.
“We’re entering a new era where social platforms are growing to become very powerful, asking users to consume content within their closed ecosystems and never leave. This is a long-term risk to journalism as we know it and publishers’ underlying business,” said Adam Singolda Founder and CEO at Taboola. “In 2016 and the years ahead, building audience and gathering better data will become key to enabling publishers to defend their future, and we’re excited to embark on new initiatives in this area, leveraging the combined global scale of AOL, Verizon, and Taboola.”
“Beyond the traditional native advertising business, this is a strategic partnership with a big and long term vision to solve together some of the publisher issues around off-network consumption of content,” said Jimmy Maymann, EVP and President, AOL Content and Consumer Brands at AOL. "To fully be able to collaborate on that for the long term, we have the opportunity to take a stake in Taboola, which we're excited about.”
* Source: comScore Multi-Platform Worldwide Audience Custom Entity Report, Nov’15
** Source: Taboola
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