Spot Runner, which lets advertisers place to local TV stations via an online service, has raised a whopping $51 million in funding

The move confirms our earlier report that Spot Runner was in the midst of a big raise with a high valuation. The company can do so in a tough economic environment because it has good technology that allows it to automate the media-buying process and has relationships with a variety of media companies.

The business works like this. A local business owner visits the Spot Runner site, selects a business category and chooses from a lot of generic, pre-taped video ads. Each comes with voice-over text that can be customized. Then it tells Spot Runner how much it wants to spend on TV air time and which media markets it wants the ads to run in.

The investors include media companies Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) and Grupo Televisa, along with investment institutions Legg Mason Capital Management and Groupe Arnault/LVMH. Existing investors have also chipped in, bringing the total funding raised to date to $111 million.

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Nick Grouf, CEO of Los Angeles-based Spot Runner, said in a statement that the company will expand into online and offline media, both domestically and abroad. Spot Runner’s previous investors include Allen & Company, Battery Ventures, Capital Research and Management, CBS, Index Ventures, The Interpublic Group, Tudor Investment Corporation and WPP.

Investors such as DMGT, with a big reach in Europe and the across the globe, and Grupo Televisa, which operates four broadcast channels in Mexico, could help the company with the overseas expansion. Groupe Arnault/LVMH is a luxury product company with 60 high-end brands, including Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Donna Karan, Sephora and TAG Heuer.

Spot Runner says it connects media companies with new categories of advertisers. The company can target ads more precisely and distribute multiple versions of ads to different audiences. It has thousands of clients and says its revenue is growing rapidly.

The startup just got some competition from search and online ad giant Google, which recently announced the general availability of its TV ad program.

Spot Runner competes with Jivox.