Ryff has raised $5 million for an advertising business where it places virtual objects in a scene of a movie, TV commercial, or TV show so that they seem like a natural part of the environment.
Hollywood-based Ryff hopes to use this technology, which mixes the virtual and the real, to turn the $23 billion product placement market upside down. Product placement is the advertising tactic of placing a branded object, like a bottle of Coca-Cola, in a scene in a movie or a TV show. But Ryff can put a branded object into a scene after the fact, depending on whether an advertiser wants to become a sponsor.
Valor Siren Ventures led the round, and MaC Venture Capital, Moneta Ventures, and Vulcan Capital also participated. Clients include Perfectomundo Tequila and CyberPowerPC, with others undisclosed.
Ryff said that dramatic growth in streaming services that do not support traditional advertising, together with a boom in traditional product placement, have created an opportunity to digitize and automate brand integration into both film and TV content.
Ryff embeds product placement imagery into the content that is not only contextual, but also drives positive emotions from audiences, the company said. The imagery embedded can take the form of simple branded objects or signage all the way through to sophisticated interactive and dynamic ads.
Brand references appear as if they were filmed in the original production and can be tailored for audience specificity according to a range of variables including individual viewer, platform (e.g., traditional broadcast, web, or mobile), geography, date, and demographic profile.
Ryff’s solutions have been adopted for Hollywood’s newest content as well as “longtail” existing entertainment. Agreements are also in place with a range of key partners in the TV and online content owner community worldwide, including Endemol Shine, the world’s leading provider of entertainment-focused TV content.
“Ryff successfully takes the concept of product placement, the only advertising format that can’t be skipped by the viewer, and delivers a scalable and adaptable advertising solution that can be applied to any content, at any time and in any market,” said Roy Taylor, founder and CEO of Ryff, in a statement. “The result benefits all — content free from annoying distractions, audience-specific brand placement, and delivering a new means towards monetizing video assets.”
“The infusion of SVOD/streaming platforms into the market, combined with platforms like Netflix that are unsuccessfully trying to grow their subscriber base, will force those same platforms to explore and embrace alternative revenue streams,” said Marlon Nichols, managing general partner at MaC Venture Capital and new Ryff board member, in a statement. “In addition, consumers on paid platforms do not want their content consumption interrupted by ads. As such, product placement will be an important growth channel and Ryff’s new marketplace and unique technology set it up to be the unequivocal growth market leader.”
The capital infusion allows the company to power its intellectual property and technology development and support sales activity in both New York and London. Ryff has 18 employees.
Earlier this year, Ryff announced that Tech Mahindra, an Indian tech consulting company, invested $3.6 million into Ryff. But Taylor said in an email that the companies decided to part ways and Ryff is handling its engineering in-house, rather than using the in-kind engineering resources from Tech Mahindra. To date, Ryff has raised $1.5 million.