May 6, 2015
Gaming and advertising company RockYou has acquired mobile ad network PlayHaven from startup studio Science Inc.
PlayHaven actually changed hands last fall, when Science bought it from Upsight, the company created from the merger of PlayHaven and Kontagent. By acquiring a mobile ad network, CEO Lisa Marino said RockYou can do a better job of making money from mobile games like Kitchen Scramble and Words of Wonder, and it’s also laying the “foundation” for further expansion into mobile.
“We need a way to augment our mobile ad monetization — the solutions we have today didn’t get us where we needed to be,” Marino said.
She also said PlayHaven’s “brand-centric” approach is a good fit with the work that RockYou has already been doing with video advertising. The PlayHaven network already serves ads to 18,000 games and 250 million users each month.
RockYou has actually been around since 2005, but in recent years, its focus has shifted toward buying and monetizing existing games, rather than developing new ones. So the company is usually looking to buy new titles, but Marino said these kinds of “strategic” deals, which are supposed to “bend the curve more aggressively,” will be more rare.
The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The entire PlayHaven team has joined RockYou, Marino said.
As for why Science CEO Mike Jones was willing to part with PlayHaven so soon after buying it, he said that as his team explored ways to grow the company, it decided that PlayHaven works best when “paired with a great network of games.” Jones suggested that just as content business started buying up ad networks in the early days of the web, “The mobile space is going to be very similar.”