Media behemoth Grupo Televisa has placed its chips in the corner of online and TV ad-firm Spot Runner by participating in a $51 million round of funding for the growing company, which plans to leverage the cash-injection to fuel its European and Latin American expansion efforts. According to Spot Runner’s CEO Nick Grouf, this expansion may well involve making further acquisitions, as it has already done twice this year.
It is with the expansion into Latin America where Grupo Televisa can be of most assistance, as the media giant is already very well-established in the region. Other investors include hedge fund Legg Mason Capital Management and French luxury group Groupe Arnault/LVMH.
The UK-based media group Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) also participated in the round of funding and is expected to aid in Spot Runner’s European expansion.
While Spot Runner began by focusing on TV placements, it has expanded into the online arena, and is planning on placing into all vehicles. This cross-platform expansion strategy has caused many to view Spot Runner as challenging Google for position in the increasingly contested Ad-placement terrain.
There is, however, one major difference—apart from the companies’ respective footprints: Spot Runner does not own any inventory, whereas Google does. Some believe that this distinguishing feature gives Spot Runner an edge on Google, as it precludes the potential for any channel conflicts. This edge has also given rise to rumors that Spot Runner’s bid to take Google on might itself be precluded by a Google buyout of the growing company.