World Wrestling Entertainment is pitching a new vertical ad network reaching U.S. males with… simple tastes. The offering consists of WWE.com and sites like Professional Bull Riding, Weekly World News, Maxim, and Major League Gaming. Taken together the sites reach 18 million unique visitors - most of them young and male.
At first only the WWE sales team will sell into the network, which has been dubbed WWE Digital Properties. Andrew Judelson, EVP at Stamford, CT-based WWE, said other publishers may bring ad opportunities on a case-by-case basis, "so as long as they do not conflict with our efforts."
WWE began selling the network to advertisers in late Q4 2011, beginning with Weekly World News. WWN CEO Neil McGinness says the arrangement has already delivered a boost to the tabloid news brand, which ceased print publication in 2007. It's now online only.
"It's great to be working with the seasoned ad professionals at WWE who have deep relationships within the advertising universe. We are already seeing great progress since launch and expect a great year," McGinness said in a statement.
WWE has seen a steady rise in traffic and revenue from its digital initiatives, including social media, e-commerce, and display ad sales. It says the number of "likes" on its 103 Facebook pages is close to 50 million. And its flagship Facebook page, WWE, has 7.3 million fans, making it the No. 3 most liked sports brand page (behind the NBA and Ultimate Fighting Championship), according to Fanpagelist.com.
WWE aims to rep more sites in the coming year.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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