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Facebook snaps up LiveRail in push for better video ads

Current customers of LiveRail's website and app services include, ABC, Gannett, and Dailymotion.

A 'like' sign stands at the entrance of Facebook headquarters on May 18, 2012 in Menlo Park, Calif

The video aspect of Facebook's online and mobile ad schemes looks poised for a boost with the acquisition of LiveRail, a monetization platform for online video.

LiveRail offers services aimed toward marketers and video ad networks with the intent of helping premium publishers sell digital video inventory in a smarter way. Some of these services include real-time biddable private and public video ad exchanges as well as a one-stop dashboard for managing and optimizing ad networks.

Headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, London, and Romania, LiveRail has grown to deliver more than 7 billion impressions through its platform each month since launching in 2007.

Current customers of LiveRail's website and app services include Major League Baseball (, ABC, A&E Networks, Gannett, and Dailymotion.

A Facebook spokeswoman declined to disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Facebook's purchase marks the latest in a growing trend of advertising related acquisitions throughout the social media. Twitter in particular last year bought MoPub, an advertising technology firm that attempts to connect advertisers with app developers; it has since purchased other firms, including TapCommerce earlier this week. Pinterest, meanwhile, has been beefing up its advertising efforts in recent months.

For Facebook, video ads offer an opportunity to pull in more revenue as it attempts to expand past its recent successes with mobile devices. Currently, Facebook's ads are mostly made up of images and text.

Brian Boland, vice president of ads product marketing and atlas at Facebook, described the merger in a blog post on Wednesday as a "partnership" with mutual goals of presenting video ads that are more relevant and engaging.

"We believe that LiveRail's excellent product -- known in the industry as a video supply-side platform or SSP -- and Facebook's expertise with relevancy, delivery and measurement will help us make video advertising much better for everyone," he wrote.

LiveRail co-founder and CEO Mark Trefgarne followed up in a separate statement that the deal offers his team of more than 170 employees worldwide "the opportunity to redefine the ad tech landscape and set a new standard in technology for publishers."

"When we started talking to the team at Facebook about how we could work together, it quickly became clear that we shared a vision for the future of digital advertising. They believed, as we do, that publishers deserve a new generation of audience-aware advertising technology," he said. "We realized that by joining forces we'd be able to draw upon our respective strengths to move even faster towards our shared vision of creating the advertising platform of the future."

CNET's Ian Sherr contributed to this report.

Update, 12:25 p.m. PT: Adds context and Facebook's response to request for comment on price.

This story originally appeared as "Facebook buying online video ad platform LiveRail" on ZDNet.