Time Inc. — the owner of Time, Fortune, and People magazines — has acquired Viant, the parent company of MySpace.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
For Time Inc., this acquisition is all about the data.
Ad network Specific Media, another Viant-owned company, scooped up MySpace for $35 million in 2011. Its previous owner before that was News Corp, which bought MySpace for $580 million back in 2005.
In buying MySpace, Viant amassed a database of more than 1 billion registered users. While not all of those people may have kept the same email address from their MySpace days, it still has an enviable treasure trove of first-party data.
First-party data is considered the holy grail when it comes to advertising online because it means marketers know they are serving ads to the actual consumer they want to be targeting, rather than making probabilistic bets based on browsing behavior.
It's that registration data that led to Viant launching its Advertising Cloud in 2014, which contains an "identity management platform." This platform allows marketers to connect their own databases with Viant's data and it also contains a demand-side ad platform, an ad server, and a data analytics platform.
Tim Vanderhook, Viant CEO, told Business Insider last year that the company's revenue was in the "hundreds of millions," having grown 20% year-on-year.
What Time plans to do with Viant (and MySpace)
In the press release, Time says the acquisition will help the company: "Targeting ad delivery to the optimal audiences; linking devices back to real people; converting ad spending to actual sales and closing the ROI loop."
Viant gives Time an immediate leg-up compared to its competitors when it comes to ad tech and provides a first-party data set that, in Time's own words, "rivals industry leaders Facebook and Google."
What it plans to do with MySpace, which still attracts tens of millions of visitors each month and counts pop star Justin Timberlake among its investors, remains to be seen.
Time Inc. reported its quarterly earnings on Thursday. Revenue fell 2% year-on-year to $877 million in the three months to December 31. Net income fell to $17 million, down from $145 million in the year-ago quarter. Meanwhile, digital advertising revenue grew 17% to $102 million.
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