Google will buy TV ad company, Blodget predicts

HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--Google should and probably will buy Spot Runner, a company that automates the creation and buying of television commercials, former securities analyst and blogger Henry Blodget predicted Tuesday at the Online Media, Marketing and Advertising conference here.

"I imagine Google will run down here with truckloads of cash to buy Spot Runner because it's right up their alley," he said during a panel presentation. "And if they don't, Microsoft or Yahoo should."

In a session earlier, Spot Runner Chief Executive Nick Grouf showed off his company's automated TV ad system, which identifies unsold TV spots on cable networks and sells them to local businesses through an online system. Advertisers choose from a range of templates based on the product type and then customize it with their information.

"Spot Runner fits much better than (radio ad company) dMarc," which Google bought last year, Blodget said in an interview after the panel session. "It's what Google is doing--allowing small companies to buy advertising and automating the process. It's a democratic TV model and would allow Google to take a step into TV."

Google needs to push into other advertising markets like it has been doing with print and radio, said Jordan Rohan, managing director of RBC Capital Markets and moderator of the panel. "Google needs an Act II," he said. "They can't think, 'Hey this (online ad) growth is going to continue forever.'"

Regarding Viacom's copyright lawsuit last week against Google and YouTube, Blodget predicted it would be settled before going to trial.

"There is no question it's a negotiating tactic. Viacom stormed out of the negotiations and filed this headline-grabbing lawsuit," he said. "My assumption is the law will get changed if this is allowed to go forwardÂ… I think we will see an agreement, either a big revenue share or an upfront payment" on the part of Google. It could take three or four years for the suit to go to trial and before then the landscape will change, he added.

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