MIRI) CEO Stephan Beringer On AI-Powered Ad Business

Last week we were fortunate enough to speak to Stephan Beringer, CEO of Mirriad Advertising plc (LON: MIRI), which is an interesting business at the forefront of the advertising revolution. Mirriad Advertising is a video technology company which provides in-video advertising solutions to advertisers, content creators, broadcasters, and brand owners. Mr. Beringer has served as the CEO since 2018.

We appreciate the time taken out by Mr. Beringer to answer our questions.

Simply Wall St: You are a video technology company which provides in-video advertising solutions to advertisers. How do your services work in a world where people want to skip ads? How do you reach your audience?

Stephen Beringer: We often say the ‘skip ad’ button must be the most pressed on the internet. The Mirriad solution allows advertising to be seamlessly inserted into video content in a way that feels natural and non-disruptive. Kantar research has shown adding advertising in this unique way actually enhances the viewer experience and improves realism. The growing issue of ad skipping simply doesn’t apply here.

In terms of reaching audiences, we work with leading content creators, advertising agencies and broadcasters to develop campaigns that reflect their objectives. Our patented technology then uses AI to find opportunities for ad insertions in content, opening up new inventory. The ability to carefully tailor our inserts for different markets or to go back and identify inventory in catalogue content means Mirriad is so much more than just product placement for the 21st century. Sometimes, the easiest way to understand the scope of what we do is by watching us in action.

SWS: Has the COVID situation been advantageous to the company with people going in a lockdown and seemingly consuming more digital content? How has business been impacted?

SB: At this point, there are particularly encouraging signals from our Chinese business. Tencent has been highly engaged and active in bringing Mirriad’s unique technology to the market in China through its 700 million active users and 120 million paying subscribers. The country is slightly ahead in terms of the progress of the pandemic response and, amidst signs of returning consumer confidence, demand for demonstrations in April alone is already above levels seen throughout 2019. We are seeing a continuation of the overall trend towards streaming and in-home, but most importantly people’s appetite for uninterrupted ‘quality’ entertainment seems to be increasing. This aligns perfectly what we have to offer in terms of enhancing the viewing experience.

Overall, we are confident the business is in a good position thanks to our global reach and as a result of the decisive action we took in key areas last year. I’m also pleased to say our teams have responded well to the various lockdown restrictions in all of the countries we operate in, working effectively from remote locations if required to do so.

SWS: Your share price has increased by almost 150% over the last year. What progress within your company could have led to such a strong positive sentiment?

LON:MIRI share price over the last 12 months. (source: Simply Wall St)

SB: In 2019 we embarked on a significant strategic reset to resolve some of the issues that had beset the company post-IPO. The simplification of our go to market strategy to focus on the developed advertising markets in China, the UK, France, Germany and the US drove improved growth and underpinned the landmark deal with Tencent. The strategy was further endorsed by the successful £16.2 million fundraise in July last year. Now that strategy is embedded, we are moving quickly towards increased adoption by top tier broadcasters and distributors, content producers and advertising agencies.

For investors a degree of share price fluctuation is almost inevitable at this point in the company’s development, but our emphasis in 2020 will be driving shareholder value by increasing adoption in our target markets with existing and new partnerships, leveraging the impressive scale of high-level relationships we have built.

SWS: The company’s annual revenue growth is forecast to outpace the industry by a huge margin. What gives you the edge over competitors that is driving these forecasts?

SB: Independent research shows that Mirriad technology can exponentially drive awareness, brand consideration and even consumption. At a time when budgets are under renewed pressure, and where audiences’ attention is even harder to get, this is a significant differentiator. Mirriad also unlocks brand new revenue streams in existing and new content. This is simply not something traditional ad formats, or other companies attempting to innovate in this space, can do.

Even though ad spend is falling overall, many broadcasters and distributors are now saying the demand for inventory post Covid-19 cannot be met by existing supply. Mirriad’s ability to create vital new advertising inventory in content could be a key solution if this challenge emerges as expected.

LON:MIRI earnings forecasts according to the analysts we track. (source: Simply Wall St)

SWS: Why do you enjoy your work?

SB: At Mirriad I work with incredibly talented people every day, and even though most of us have to be physically distant at the moment, the ambition and scale of the work being produced by our teams around the world is truly inspiring. Good advertising should enhance the content it supports, not interrupt it. Our paradigm-shifting approach can be key in the continued delivery of the experiences we all enjoy, equally benefitting content owners, brands and viewers. I am energised by the creative and visually striking ways we help partners deploy our technology to this end, always drawing on Mirriad’s award-winning cinematic heritage to ensure the highest quality output.

SWS: Thank you for your time. It was great to learn more about your business and gather your insights. We’re sure our readers will appreciate it too.

The SWS editorial team had a great time putting together these questions for Mr. Beringer. Readers who would like to know more about the company can visit LON: MIRI.

P.S: We are trialling company interviews for a limited time to gauge reader interest. If you are an executive or company representative and would like to organise an interview similar to this one, please contact us at [email protected]

Our interview was conducted via email on May 19, 2020. Very minor grammatical corrections might have been made to the text. Simply Wall St was not compensated for the production of this interview, and has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Company representatives are responsible for the answers provided to our questions.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at [email protected]simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation.

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