AOL Acquires Pictela, Complements Project Devil

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AOL announced today the acquisition of Pictela, Inc. Pictela is “the provider of an award-winning global technology platform for serving and distributing high- definition brand content across online advertising and social media.” This is the latest high profile acquisition for AOL, who has already in 2010 acquired “StudioNow, 5min Media, TechCrunch, and Thing Labs.”

According to Kate Burns, Head of AOL Europe, “The addition of the Pictela team will further allow us to lead the way in providing our advertisers with beautiful, content rich, media display formats that meet Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Online Publishers Association (OPA) standards.” This all appears to help fortify AOL’s Project Devil, a new advertising format campaign launched last September.

For more information on this, check out the full press release below.[spoiler][NYSE: AOL] today announced it has acquired Pictela, Inc., the provider of an award-winning global technology platform for serving and distributing high- definition brand content across online advertising and social media. The transaction brings further scale to AOL’s suite of premium advertising tools for advertisers, agencies and publishers, including the company’s innovative new Project Devil display advertising format which AOL intends to roll out further in the UK during Q1 in 2011. Pictela will remain a separate group within AOL Advertising, based in New York, and will continue to provide its products and services to outside partners. Deal terms were not disclosed. Pictela joins other strategic acquisitions made by AOL in 2010 including StudioNow, 5min Media, TechCrunch and Thing Labs.
“We believe that joining AOL is an outstanding opportunity to combine with a company that is as committed to redefining brand advertising on the Web as we are”
“AOL is committed to providing unique and rich experiences to consumers,” said Kate Burns, Head of AOL Europe. “The addition of the Pictela team will further allow us to lead the way in providing our advertisers with beautiful, content rich, media display formats that meet Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and Online Publishers Association (OPA) standards. As we continue evolve the intersection between content and advertising and expand our reach on a global scale, we’re excited to welcome Pictela to our AOL Advertising family.”
Formed in 2009, the Pictela platform delivers videos, photos and applications in real time across the Web in a range of formats that meet IAB and OPA standards. Pictela is certified by some of the world’s largest publishers and is distributed by AOL, Glam Media and Hearst, among others.
“We believe that joining AOL is an outstanding opportunity to combine with a company that is as committed to redefining brand advertising on the Web as we are,” said Greg Rogers, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Pictela. “As one of the world’s premium global publishers, AOL will not only be one of our biggest customers, it will also be our greatest resource with the scale, technology and commitment to world-class content to help realize the true potential of the online environment.”
High-Definition Content with Flexibility for Leading Brands
Pictela has experienced rapid growth with clients across retail, consumer packaged goods, automotive, entertainment and travel sectors. Every high-definition asset in a Pictela unit can be navigated without the user leaving the page. Content can be updated instantly during a campaign, based on data from advanced analytics that measure impressions, interactions and time spent across both paid and shared placements. Pictela data shows that the solution can drive engagement metrics that are three times higher than traditional online advertising.*
Transaction Complements Project Devil
Today’s acquisition is the first for AOL Advertising since AOL became an independent, public company in December 2009. It follows the U.S. launch of AOL’s Project Devil display advertising format last September. Project Devil ads debuted on MyDaily in September 2010 and AOL intends to fully roll out Project Devil ads across UK properties starting in Q1 2011.
Early indication from consumer interaction with Project Devil ads in the U.S., according to AOL internal data, show that Devil ads greatly outperform standard online ads, engaging users to interact with brand advertising at much deeper levels. By uncluttering the page, ensuring 100% advertiser share of voice and providing a large, multi-functional advertising canvas, early Devil ad campaigns have achieved significantly better Interaction Rates (ITR) than the industry average for rich media banners.
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