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Comcast gobbles up web-video start-up FreeWheel

MUMBAI: US-based cable giant Comcast Corporation has gobbled up FreeWheel Media Inc., a web-video company, for a total consideration of $375 million.

Comcast will cough out $360 million for the seven-year-old start-up. If employee retention bonuses and other compositions are included, the deal adds up to $375 million.

FreeWheel helps media companies deliver ads in Web video. The company’s technology is used by traditional TV networks’ websites and online-only outlets. The technology ensures that ads are viewed by target visitors, taking into account variables as a person’s location and recent viewing history.

FreeWheel has become an important tool of summarising data to the burgeoning online video sector. The company has joined with comScore to help the researcher better track online ratings for web content.

The acquisition of FreeWheel is part of Comcast’s strategy to expand in online video. Recently, Comcast invested in creating online video portals and applications to give its cable-TV subscribers ways to stream TV programming on devices such as computers, tablets and smartphones.

FreeWheel, which reported revenue of $22 million last year, will continue to operate as a stand-alone unit within Comcast.

Recently, Comcast signed an agreement to buy out US’ No 2 cable operator Time Warner Cable Inc.