A Chat with Tom Dunning: CEO and Founder of Ad Signal


Ad Signal is a SaaS and bespoke development company, which started in AdTech but we quickly discovered that our products are relevant to everyone who hold video, image or audio content. Most of our SaaS products are first-of-their-kind and a number are being patented. For our Match, Compose and Harmonise products we are the only ones in the world doing what we do.

After discovering issues in broadcast and AdTech that “couldn’t be solved”, according to people inside broadcasters and agencies, I set off to create a product to meet some of these needs.

Assure was our first, it tracks content playing out on Linear (traditional) TV within 1 minute of the content finishing, allowing for near-real-time reporting; a process that currently takes 8 days in the UK. Once I had written an algorithm which met the 99.99% accuracy I aimed for, I started Ad Signal in Oct 2018.

After creating this we realised that the proprietary image and audio fingerprinting which powers Assure had a number of other applications. We then came up with our Match, Harmonise and Compose products.

Our Match product can deduplicate video content, regardless of format, codec and resolution. Duplication is a huge issue in the Media & Entertainment industry, known as “versionitis”. For example, the BBC have 127 versions of the same episode of Dad’s Army.

Match is the only product that can identify the 20 unique versions at the best quality to keep. Match also reduces AI cost and carbon by 75-80%; meaning organisations don’t have to choose between saving the planet and their bottom line. 2.3% of the world’s carbon is object storage and of that, 80% is video. If the world adopted our Match and Compose products we could reduce that to less than 0.5%.

Match isn’t limited to M&E, it has applications for policing, transit, medical imaging, science and more. When there is a major incident, the police assign up to 300 officers to scour social media footage to understand what happened. Because videos are edited, clipped and manipulated, standard checksums aren’t enough to find the unique content. Match can identify all the unique footage, down to the millisecond / frame, ensuring the police only watch things once. This would not only reduce the person-hours required but it would mean a faster response to the incident.

Since then, we’ve continued to grow to around 26 now, and our Match product is used by both Clearcast and Sky.

What Makes Ad Signal Unique?

Our products.

We’re the only people doing what we do in the case of Match, Harmonise and Compose. We’re also a fully remote company and we delivered the Clearcast Library product in 2021, during lockdown, on time and on budget; which is a pretty rare occurrence in the software world. I also think our values (honesty, loyalty, tenacity and accountability) are relatively rare, particularly as this relates to taking care of our team.

How Has The Company Evolved Over The Last Couple of Years?

In Jan 2021 we won a tender for Clearcast (who approve every ad for TV in the UK, owned by Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Warner Media), which took us from self-funded and with me as the only full-time employee, to revenue funded and at team of around 18.

During 2022 we invested heavily in our SaaS products. Match has been in production use for over a year and Compose will be ready by May 2024.

We’re now 26 people and building up our products even more whilst continuing to enhance the Clearcast Library. We also remain fully remote and intend to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

We have partnered with companies which provide complimentary services and holistic solutions. Companies such as Perifery, Amove, Storj & VALDi, amongst others.

Ad Signal has teamed up with Storj.io and VALDi.ai to form the Digital Sustainability Alliance (DSA); which aims to educate people on the size of the issue in the digital industry (1.5-2x the aviation industry) as well as highlight innovations with significant sustainability benefits.

What Can We Hope To See From Ad Signal in The Future?


Lots! We hope to develop more solutions to “unsolvable” problems and offer more products to our consumers that they will continue to rely on in years to come. We have a total of eight SaaS products planned, at different stages of development. Six are the first of their kind, four are being patented; and no doubt we will come up with more ideas as we go.

A number of these products have sustainability benefits and most of those also offer a cost saving, removing the need to choose between your bottom line and the planet. Sustainability will always be a key focus for us so expect to see more innovations in this space, for every industry with content.

We intend to remain focused on video, image and audio content. We’ll continue to team up with other companies to provide product combos that result in even better end to end solutions for our clients.