Big Media Invests in Niche Ad Network Player

adify_logo.gifGE-owned NBC Universal, GE Media, Communications and Entertainment and Time Warner Investments are among investors that just coughed up a total of $19 million in funding for niche ad network and management platform Adify.

It’s not unusual for large media firms to invest in small ad-related firms. The New York Times Company, for instance, invests in video/ad platform Brightcove, which powers video on the NYTimes.com site and its About.com site.

Then there’s the Gannett, McClatchy and Tribune triad, which are co-owners of CareerBuilder, Apartments.com and other online classifieds services.

What would NBC or Time Warner want through a relationship with Adify? Well, Adify powers ads on a blog network run by Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive. Media outfits like AOL (Time Warner) and NBC are recognizing the need to distribute and monetize their content in places outside their own properties. I suppose they’d be interested in a firm like Adify, which allows small and large sites to create custom networks and aggregate ad-supported content.

Some more insight comes via a comment in the Adify press release by NBC Universal President, Integrated Media Beth Comstock: “We recognize that vertical networks – networks that combine content from or across a complementary group of web properties – are the next logical evolution for publishers seeking to expand their advertising solutions for customers….They are quickly becoming an important way to develop scale for our marketing clients.”

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