Comcast is buying FreeWheel, a company whose service is designed to help TV networks, film studios, and other content companies sell and manage in-video ads across numerous Web sites and devices. FreeWheel’s setup automatically allocates ad inventory, keeps track of ad revenue, and accounts for revenue splits between Web sites and content owners. It’s also designed to help marketers place their ads more easily. It was founded by former executives of Internet-display-ad company DoubleClick, which was purchased by Google in 2007 for $3.1 billion.
Over the years, FreeWheel has become the go-to ad-serving platform for many TV networks that stream their content online. And it’s about to become part of one of the biggest distributors of content online and off. That’s because FreeWheel is about to be acquired by Comcast, our sources say. The deal, which should be announced soon, is rumored to be priced at around $320 million, according to one source. FreeWheel is one of the largest platforms used by TV networks and major video distributors to serve ads alongside their content online. Since being founded in 2007, the company has racked up clients that include MLB.tv, ESPN, FOX, NBC Universal, Sky, Turner, and VEVO, among others.