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The advertising revolution on streaming platforms speaks Sicilian

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The advertising revolution on streaming platforms speaks Sicilian

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The advertising revolution on the large video streaming platforms speaks (also) Sicilian. With extensive use, obviously, of artificial intelligence. All thanks to contextual advertising in videos (films, documentaries and so on), transferring to streaming platforms a technique, so to speak, already used on the web with the declared aim of competing with the big advertising players: adverts Contextual products are automated, published paused in every frame of every video.

The revolution of contextual advertising

At the center of it all is Contxtual.tv, a New York-based startup founded by Gregory Casalino, a 57-year-old entrepreneur from New Jersey, with the goal of launching a “platform that allows streaming providers to sell a virtually inexhaustible inventory of contextual pause ads seamlessly and at scale, generating new revenue and engagement with viewers.” The idea is simple: when the user watches a TV series or a film on a streaming platform and pauses, non-invasive advertisements appear on the screen (he is not forced to watch them for a certain amount of time). What do these advertisements contain? They contain products that match what’s in the scene at that moment (apparel, beauty, home products, etc.). It is Gregory who involves two brilliant former Sicilian students in this initiative: Gaetano Coppoletta, from Grammichele in the province of Catania, and Giuseppe Concialdi from Santo Stefono Quisquina in the province of Agrigento. Both have degrees (with honors) in Computer Science from the Polytechnic of Turin and in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago, where they met.

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Two young Sicilians in New York

In July last year Giuseppe met, thanks to Linkedin, Gregory Casalino who at that moment was looking for a technician, someone who would dedicate himself to applying artificial intelligence to the system he had in mind. And so the collaboration was born, first with Giuseppe who was involved as co-founder and CTO of the startup (who found himself managing a team of 15 developers and a startup that a year earlier was
was valued at 3 million dollars) and then by Gaetano also co-founder: «Since Giuseppe and I became co-founders, artificial intelligence has improved a lot and today we are having conversations with large companies that offer streaming services ( whose name we cannot name for now) – says Gaetano –. Anyone in the sector who sees our product is impressed, the model of paused ads already exists, but no one has ever thought of putting ads relating to the context of the scene, and therefore creating user engagement and purchase intent. We believe that this technology is not only in favor of streaming companies to generate revenue but that it is also an additional function for the user, who will know that by pausing he can see and like the products that the actors are wearing”.

Artificial intelligence and platform balance sheets

The startup was born on the basis of some considerations on the market and the needs of the platforms and focuses on artificial intelligence: «Streamers need revenue now to face consolidation – we read in a presentation -. The “growth model” that previously supported streamers is gone – now they are struggling to find a business model that makes money. Contxtual.tv offers streamers a vast inventory of contextual product ad content that can increase Arpu. Cookies are on the way out and so advertisers need large-scale alternatives that allow them to chase consumer purchase intent. Contxtual – they say – offers an alternative that can be equally high performing without privacy problems.”

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Quite a gamble, if you will. Landing in Contxtual for the two Sicilian boys (both in their twenties) is the fulfillment of a dream: «During their free time, I propose to Giuseppe and the other two roommates to brainstorm to find problems and then work to find a solution and found like a company – says Gaetano –. We had the most disparate ideas and we even implemented some of them, without ever managing to do business. One thing must be said about failure: in Italy if you fail you are a failure, in America if you fail it means you take a gamble, you are smart and sooner or later you will make it.”

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