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Mirrad Advertising: Foundations in place for strong growth

We were delighted to welcome Stephan Beringer, CEO of Mirriad Advertising and Mark Melvin, EVP of Sales and Brand Partnerships with responsibility for North & South America, to the latest Yellowstone Advisory webinar.

Mirriad technology enables products and innovative signage to be dynamically inserted into content after the content is produced. Research indicates it dramatically improves the viewer experience by limiting commercial interruptions. Whilst in its infancy management believe its advertising solution will establish in-content advertising as a new standard in the industry. Mirriad Advertising plc is listed on the LSE AIM market and has a market cap of c£50m.

Stephan started with the latest showreel which is a great visual way to see the advertising possibilities of the Mirriad in-video advertising platform. He then went through a number of slides which illustrated the huge size of the market. The total advertising spend in TV and video in the five largest markets is estimated to be $145bn and within this the spend on VOD/digital is growing and is expected to exceed traditional TV spend in the next 5 years. The US is by far the biggest advertising market and on its own is larger than the five next biggest markets of China, Japan, UK, Germany and France. Mirriad is active in all of these markets now having signed up Fuji TV in Japan at the end of February but the focus is clearly on the US market given its importance.

Mirriad has put in place the building blocks to create a sizeable revenue business and these include: Working with 80 partners across TV, VOD, Influencer, Music and Sport; working with brand category leaders across Automotive, Telco, Food & Beverages, Luxury and FMCG; delivering independently verified improvements in reach and campaign impact; and all protected by 35 granted patents.

Stephan then handed over to Mark to talk about the US market and the progress made there. The opening slide talked about the necessary steps required to build a scalable business in the US starting with onboarding the supply partners. These are the streaming platforms, TV stations, Music video and influencers required to create the inventory. Mark highlighted that this is a difficult process at the start as both supply and demand need to move together but they have now established a wide array of content partners and a growing number of blue chip advertisers looking to future proof their advertising strategies. The next stage is to take the platform into the media buying ecosystem and the ultimate goal of being a line-item purchase for media planners.

Going into more detail the last two years have seen the business development team and the sales team expanded. Major content partners have been signed including Disney and A&E networks. In 2021 a strategic partnership was signed with a major Food & Beverage company and the first ad agency was also signed who are now pitching Mirriad to their clients. Mirriad has also expanded into new categories like music and influencer that are better able to target younger audiences. This makes the offer much more compelling and attractive to brands. They have also recently tested the “live” product which will open up the sports market. In terms of progress towards integrating into the advertising ecosystem they now have an AdServing partner that enables the ads to be more seamlessly delivered.

Translating this progress into numbers illustrates the huge steps that have been made during the last year.

- US sales revenues grew 180%

- 800% growth in holiday campaign spending

- 230% increase in active agencies

- Content growth 125% in the first half and 530% growth in the second half

All together the US offer is much more compelling for content suppliers, advertising agencies and brands. Mark then shared two slides that illustrated the growth in content partners in the US from only 4 in 2019 to 40+ in 2021 including names like Disney, Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers, ABC, Hallmark and Bell Media, the No.1 media company in Canada. In music they are working with every one of the majors in the space.

This has translated into content hours increased by 2.5x to 2500 hours in 2021. This in turn has enabled them to convert more RFP’s and win more deals. Mark also talked about how they have expanded into all forms of entertainment. He highlighted the growth in black and minority owned content and the success they are having in the multi-cultural space. The creative possibilities have also expanding and Mirriad enables products, screens, posters, signage, store front and custom creative to be added to video content.

The names of the blue-chip companies using Mirriad are impressive: PepsiCo, P&G, Lexus, Mastercard, Fidelity and AT&T were mentioned. The pipeline and momentum has continued to grow in 2022 from both repeat purchases and new brands using Mirriad. In another example of increased relevance to the advertising industry all of the major advertising agencies are working with Mirriad.

Mark then shared some date on the effectiveness of the Mirriad solution. Compared to traditional TV ad spots Mirriad drives 23% incremental reach. Beyond reach there is also better results from awareness, brand affinity, purchase intent, consumption and spend. This data is fundamental to the appeal and success of the Mirriad advertising solutions.

Another appeal to advertisers is the ability of the AI to scan content to categorise the context, emotions, characters, genre and locale and match that to advertiser requirements. There is nothing out there in the market similar to this at the moment.

Mark finished his section with some comments on dynamic ad insertion which is the “lynchpin to fully integrate into the ad ecosystem”. It will enable buyers to look at the Mirriad inventory on a platform and allocate their advertising spend across different opportunities to suit their campaign requirements.

Stephan picked up on the path to scale and the target to be a line-item purchase for media buyers as we came towards the end of the presentation. Current conversations are ongoing with the likes of Google, Trade Desk and Media Ocean, all companies who facilitate the advertising market place.

In 2022 the focus is to drive further growth in North America with additional supply partners and more brand and agency clients to build a more recurring revenue pipeline. In the other international markets the focus is on converting more specific opportunities. Tencent video was mentioned as being disappointing for a number of reasons last year but is now picking up in 2022 with campaigns being bought across multiple content and Tencent continues to be very supportive of Mirriad in China. They are also hoping to sign their first contract with a major agency group in China. At France Television they have launched Mirriad as a product after 8pm when traditional advertising is not allowed to run.

Integration into the ad ecosystem is another key focus for the company. They are initiating with dynamic insertion which is the starting point for programmatic buying. When this is achieved it will really put Mirriad on the map. In response to a question Stephan stated the opportunity is there for very high revenues when they are integrated with these platforms and the reason he joined the company was the potential to create a unicorn. The Mirriad solution solves real business problems by enabling brands to reach audiences more effectively and grow. Timing, of course, is difficult but it feels like 2022 could be a transformational year for the company. As ever, with any business, successful execution will be key.

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