Real-time trading firm Brandscreen goes into administration

Brandscreen logoMedia trading technology company Brandscreen has entered administration.

The company, founded by Australians Julian Tol and Seth Yates, applied for administration on December 31.

Established in Australia in 2006, Brandscreen developed the algorithms and systems to enable real-time bidding and programmatic media buying to media agencies.

It has offices in Singapore and China, and hired a new MD to run the Chinese office in October. The China office was wound up this week, according to sources.

Administrators Sule Arnautovic and Roderick Mackay told Mumbrella’s Australian site that they are “implementing restructuring initiatives” around the business and are looking to sell the business quickly.

Arnautovic, managing partner of Jirsch Sutherland said in a statement:

It is very unfortunate that a long standing and well regarded business, established in 2006, has been placed into administration. We are of the opinion that Brandscreen’s position in the Asia-Pacific programmatic space is a valuable asset and we are engaging now with all parties who may be interested to incorporate the numerous assets of Brandscreen into their business.

We appreciate the support already offered by many customers and partners of Brandscreen, and we will endeavour to work to a positive outcome.

Brandscreen launched into Asia in 2011, and last April made a series of high-profile appointments including former News Limited chief operations officer Stuart Spiteri as president and chief revenue officer, and former CBS general manager Jo Gaines as chief revenue officer for Australia.

A year after launching in Asia, the company raised US$11m in funds to support its expansion, with Macquarie Capital Group and SingTel Innov8 joining existing backer Southern Cross Venture Partners.

However it is believed Google’s launch of a rival offering in the market substantially lowered the company’s market share.

Other sources suggest that an internal dispute between the company’s founders led to the move into administration.

The administrator has said that “administration occurred because the management team were working on a trade sale late last year and bridge financing didn’t complete.”

Seth Yates and the management team will stay on at the company to assist with the sale of business, the administrator added.

The company employed 47 staff, with a number having been made redundant.

In October last year, Brandscreen announced that internet media buying in Asia on its platform was moving away from a dependence on Google. The volume of Google ads bought through Brandscreen fell from 86 per cent of all impressions in 2011 to 40 per cent in the third quarter of 2013, the company reported.

One month later, Brandscreen struck a deal with Baidu to make the Chinese search engine’s inventory available on Brandscreen’s media buying platform.

Programatic trading of online media space has exploded in recent years, with Brandscreen providing both software and data to media agencies and linking with publishers’ platforms.

Executives at the company could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.


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