Lightningcast Tries Video Ad Network Spin-off

Video ad serving technology player Lightingcast is forming an ad network, hoping to leverage its publisher relationships and help advertisers get more reach.

Called Instream, the network is aimed at making it easier for smaller publisher sites to sell and serve in-stream video ads, according to Lightningcast CEO Tom MacIsaac. He declined to name specific publisher clients, but said Instream has about a dozen publishers on board for the beta period.

“Advertisers can’t get enough impressions,” said MacIsaac. “One of the goals of Instream is to alleviate the problem by aggregating smaller publishers.”

While agencies seem to be interested in snapping up video ads, the market has so far been dominated by television players with online arms — such as CNN, ESPN and the E.W. Scripps Company — along with a handful of large pure-play Internet media companies.

Lightningcast has spun-off a separate corporate entity to run its beta offering, which will officially launch later this year.

Instream will offer 15-second pre-roll video spots with a synchronized Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) standard banner. Initial tests consist exclusively of non-paid ads from the Ad Council, but Instream is in talks with agencies and expects to have paid ads in place soon.

“We have been talking to all the major ad agencies and are engaged with respect to fourth quarter budgets, so in the fall we will be going full speed ahead,” MacIsaac told ClickZ News.

MacIsaac said resources would be shared between the two companies, but a few Instream-only employees have already been hired.

Lightningcast currently supplies video ad serving to clients like America Online and Microsoft.

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