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27/08/2008

Supponor Secures Six Million Euros In New Funding For Sports Advertising Technology

Supponor, a provider of digital billboard replacement (DBR) solutions, has announced the successful closing of its Series A funding round.
The funds will be used for international sales and marketing of Supponor DBRLive, a novel system for precise masking and replacement of on-event advertising content in live sports broadcasts. The system opens up a wide range of opportunities for targeted and localised sports marketing.
The funding round was led by Northzone Ventures, a European early stage venture capital firm, and Conor Venture Partners, a Finnish early-stage technology venture capital firm and an existing investor in Supponor.
The funding of six million euros, a significant investment for a pre-revenue company, will be used to leverage the business opportunities that Supponor DBRLive brings to digital advertising agencies and television right holders. With the new funding, Supponor will launch DBRLive in Europe and the United States.
Juha Ruohonen, Supponor CEO, said: "Television broadcasts of the world's most popular sports events are watched in exactly the same format in highly different markets, whereas advertisers are looking for segmented audiences.
"Billboard ads visible throughout the sporting events create attention values that are manifold compared with ads on commercial breaks. The ability to digitally change the billboard content to best suit different audiences has achieved great interest from both TV rights holders and advertisers."
Björn Stray, General Partner at Northzone Ventures said: "TV rights and advertising slots in sporting events are bought and sold for huge sums of money around the globe.
"DBRLive gives organisers, sports clubs, sports federations and television right holders as opportunity to multiple the value of their events by enabling advertisers to target their messages. We are impressed by Supponor's system and are true believers in its success."
Billboard content digitally changed with DBRLive looks very similar to real physical billboards. Patented software technology calculates the position of the billboards in real time which allows for smooth and exact placing of digital content in live broadcasts.
The system works in both indoor and outdoor events, regardless of weather and lighting conditions, and irrespective of people or objects moving in front of the billboards. The result is a natural-looking billboard that is relevant to viewers in different markets.
Ruohonen said: "There are already several players in the market that produce digital content and place it on top of the television picture. Their offerings typically range from graphics that help viewers follow the event to digital ads that appear on screen independently of physical billboards.
"The unique advantage of DBRLive is that digital ads are placed exactly on top of real-world billboards, which allows advertisers to reach their desired target groups without a risk of being blamed invasive or intrusive."
Supponor, based in Finland, is currently negotiating with several sports event organisers and television right holders in Europe and the United States.
Further information is available at: www.northzone.com and www.conor.vc.
(KMcA/JM)
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