Digital placement

UK-based MirriAd has developed a novel technology that allows products, logos, posters or bill boards to be digitally inserted into video streams.

Product placement currently entails placing a branded object physically into feature films and TV shows during filming. Using MirriAd’s technology, it is now possible to digitally insert virtual products into the video content after filming has been completed, making them look like they were always there.

This enables advertising to be varied according to where the content is being shown and according to who is watching it.

Faced by falling advertising revenues as a consequence of ever greater audience fragmentation and the advent of ad-skipping technologies such as Personal Video Recorders (PVR/DVR), broadcasters are currently facing a crisis which threatens to undermine the entire industry.

Using MirriAd’s technology, broadcasters and content owners now have a remedy for their ails, using ‘virtual product placement’ to generate new revenue streams. New cinema releases and TV shows can now regionalise their advertising content, whilst back catalogues of popular shows and DVDs can be monetised by retrospectively inserting new branded products and adverts into the content.

Physical product placement is already a tried and tested form of advertising, having been commonplace in the US since the 1950’s. Many major global brands have successfully undertaken product placement campaigns in leading TV series and blockbuster feature films. A typical blockbuster feature film currently contains up to 30 product placements. Globally, physical product placement is already a $6bn industry, and is set to grow to over $14bn by 2010, largely as a result of broadcaster’s needs to find new, alternative revenue streams.

In recognition of the predicament facing broadcasters, the EU has recently passed a directive legalising product placement in Europe for the first time. This deregulation is expected to lead to triple digit growth rates in countries such as the UK, Italy and Spain in forthcoming years.

MirriAd is already working with some of the leading studios, broadcasters and advertising agencies in Europe and America. Its technology has been used to insert different branded products for ten different regions on a major Hollywood cinema release as well as being used to insert virtual products into a leading reality television series.

Recently, Seraphim Capital led a £2m round of investment into the company. Seraphim is co-investing alongside existing investors that include London Seed Capital, South East Growth Fund and Oxford Technology Partners. The transaction is Seraphim’s fourth investment since the fund’s launch one year ago

The £2m investment will enable MirriAd to address the demand from around the world for its technology.