Vizio’s data subsidiary Inscape, which fueled recent transformations of the TV marketplace with innovations such as addressable linear advertising (Project OAR), glass-level audience insights and business-outcome measurement, has folded all resources and operations into the Vizio Platform business.
With the largest viewer opt-in base of 16+ million TVs in America, Inscape will continue to power select measurement and advertising use cases, but the engineering and technology teams will now be focused on leveraging Vizio’s glass-level detection capabilities to deliver advertising products for Vizio Ads and improved viewing experiences via the SmartCast platform.
Vizio, which added more than 130 new free ad-supported TV channels into the home screen interface in 2020 and expanded its WatchFree service, also made some critical executive moves. Among them, Michael O’Donnell was named the Chief Revenue Officer of the Vizio platform business to oversee relationships with programmers, platform partners, advertisers and data products. O’Donnell led the rapid adoption of Vizio Ads’ direct-to-device ads business since its launch in December of 2019 and expanded Vizio’s relationship with scores of top media companies including Apple, Disney and NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
“Now is the time so many in the TV and advertising industries have talked about for years,” says O’Donnell. “If we retain our focus on delivering the best possible experience in the home, everyone supporting the new entertainment ecosystem will benefit.”
As part of the changes, founder of Cognitive Networks (which became Inscape) Zeev Neumeier — widely considered one of the pioneers of the automated content recognition (ACR) industry — will now serve as Vizio’s Chief Innovation Officer; in that role he will be responsible for leading the design and development of next-generation experiences on existing and forthcoming Vizio TV and soundbar products. Charbel Makhoul will lead Inscape as a product inside of the Vizio engineering team.
Neumeier, along with Jodie McAfee, led the formation and building of Project OAR, the addressable advertising consortium created in concert with America’s largest media companies. Today McAfee has taken on the new role of SVP of Strategy and Marketing for Vizio’s platform business, where he is leading growth efforts alongside O’Donnell across all advertising and SmartCast business endeavors. Project OAR continues to gain momentum under the leadership of TV veteran Adam Gaynor, Vizio’s recently named VP of Network Relationships and Head of Addressable.
In addition to growth in the Vizio Ads business, the company is experiencing an increase in investment by content and commerce companies seeking to reach people directly via their TVs, giving Vizio an opportunity to create new experiences in the home while fostering a new entertainment dynamic between brands and content providers.
“We are entering a new golden age of television, where the technologies can now deliver on the vision we have to delight and entertain viewers,” says Vizio CEO and Founder William Wang.
“We are honured to help unlock the potential of TV with our partners and we are making every move required to usher in the next generation of entertainment for our customers.”