AP Partners With Winstar to Sell Ad Inventory

The Associated Press has tapped Winstar Interactive Media, a division of Interep Interactive, to sell ad inventory within its syndicated news and multimedia feature stories in the U.S.

The partnership offers Winstar the opportunity to sell ads on a network of over 450 syndicated newspapers and broadcast Web sites with over 6 million unique users per month, many of which have well-established regional audiences, said Tim Mahlman, Winstar Interactive’s SVP of sales.

“We decided to go down this road with the AP because of the strong ad interest commanded by its brand and the unique geotargeting opportunities available through its network,” Mahlman said.

Prominent news outlets participating in AP’s so-called Custom News network include the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Washington Times, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Detroit News, The Tampa Tribune, Gannett Wisconsin Newspapers, 1010 WINS radio in New York, the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, and The Columbus Dispatch, among others.

When users click on AP headlines on a Custom News site, they’re brought to a hosted page delivered by AP that appears to be part of the local publication. Under the arrangement’s terms, ads appearing on these pages will be sold by Winstar.

Primarily, Winstar will seek out national advertisers, such as wireless companies looking to drill down deeply into local markets, Mahlman said. Winstar will also aggregate AP sites so advertisers can target larger regional audiences as well.

“Winstar will help us expand access to the advertising opportunities that Custom News offers,” Jane Seagrave, director of AP Digital, said in a statement. “This arrangement makes it easier for advertisers to reach the wide and dispersed readership of our online news network.”

Because of the idiosyncrasies of the Custom News network’s various sites, available ad units will be limited to 468 x 60 and 728 x 90 banners, 160 x 600 skyscrapers, 300 x 250 rectangles, 180 x 150 half rectangles, 88 x 31 micro bars, and 720 x 300 units. Although rich media is not yet available, Winstar plans to roll out rich ad formats sometime this year, Mahlman said. Text-based advertising is currently not offered.

All ads will be priced by CPM (define) and targeted regionally by market area as well as by editorial verticals such as business, sports, and arts and entertainment. Winstar will also offer behavioral targeting options. The company has an ongoing partnership with Tacoda Systems.

AP joins Winstar’s already substantial stable of clients, including Nasdaq.com, Zagat.com, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, among others.

The arrangement signals something of a comeback for Winstar, which was acquired by Interep as an ad representation unit from Winstar Communications months after the broadband firm declared bankruptcy in 2001.

“With the industry coming back, it’s nice to see that not every company is looking to build its own in-house staff,” Mahlman said. “Having a major media brand like the AP partnering with Winstar is certainly a feather in our cap.”

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