Firm once known strictly for browsers continues expansion into mobile and ads.
Yesterday, Opera Software said it had acquired Mobile Theory and 4th Screen Advertising, two demand-side advertising platforms, rounding out its offerings for mobile publishers and advertisers.
The acquisitions will let Opera expand its offering to advertisers and mobile publishers via the mobile web and applications, with advertising solutions for platforms including iOS, Android, Blackberry, Java and Symbian, while better monetizing the traffic flowing through the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers. The company says it serves more than 160 million monthly active users and generates more than 100 billion page views as of December 2011.
"We have been more focused on supply side, this enables us to provide a complete solution for a publisher. Before the acquisition, we had over 7,000 sites and applications powered by our ad platform. These acquisitions enable us to bring demand-side advertising to those publishers," says Mahi de Silva, executive vice president, consumer mobile for Opera Software.
De Silva notes that while Opera's heritage is a provider of browser software, it's now a horizontal company providing many services associated with the mobile internet, including advertising.
Founded in 1994 as an alternative to the dominant Netscape web browser, Opera moved into mobile in 2001 as part of the Symbian Alliance, providing the operating system for an Asian PDA in 2002.
Opera began selling ads to support its web browser in 2002, using Advertising.com's ACE Serve technology as its primary ad serving and management platform to schedule and serve banner ads to users of its free desktop browser.
In 2005, it removed the advertising banners and eliminated the licensing fee after inking compensation deals for sending traffic to search providers including Google.
Continuing its evolution as an advertising platform, in 2010, Opera bought AdMarvel, providing the browser maker with monetization and analytics capabilities for the supply side, as well as its Open Mobile Ad Exchange.
The Wall Street Journal, News Corp, Pandora, Shazam and Zynga are among the high-profile publishers using Opera's advertising services. Opera takes either a revenue share or a transaction fee for enabling ad sales.
The acquisitions also increase Opera's global footprint. Mobile Theory is based in San Francisco, with offices in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, while 4th Screen Advertising is based in London to serve European markets.
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Susan Kuchinskas has covered interactive advertising since its invention. The former staff writer for Adweek, Business 2.0, and M-Business covers technology, business and culture from Berkeley, CA.
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