Engage Disengages From Media Businesses

After selling its AdKnowledge service to Bluestreak, Engage said that it would pull the plug on its ad network and other remaining media operations, enabling the company to focus on creating software products for marketing.

“With today’s announcement, we have completed our exit from the advertising network business and are now focused solely on the fast-growing market for content and advertising management software,” said Tony Nuzzo, chief executive of Andover, Mass.-based Engage. “This marks the beginning of what we expect will be an exciting period for Engage, as we solidify our leadership in content management solutions for multi-channel marketing and seize an expanding market opportunity.”

Like many players in the ad network and serving technology space, the company has been signaling for some time its intent to focus on its technology business, in an effort to minimize losses from the weak online advertising services market.

But last month, the company gave formal word that it planned to sell or exit the sector entirely, after announcing that parent CMGI had declined to renew its $50 million financial commitment to the firm.

Now, with Bluestreak evidently the only buyer to step forward, Engage said it would terminate the rest of its media operations next week, beginning with its ad network on Sept. 23. (The firm said it would offer special rates on outsourced ad serving to Web publishers affected by the network closure. )

Engage’s remaining 125 media-related positions will either move to Bluestreak or be terminated, it added.

Following the changes, the company will focus on making content management software for print, direct mail and online marketing, such as its Multichannel Ad Management Suite — which combines digital asset management, ad proofing, trafficking and serving tools.

The company didn’t disclose how much the business changes would affect its bottom-line, but it said it would provide additional financial guidance during its fourth-quarter financial announcement, later this month.

The news is the latest word of major organizational changes among the largest ad networks. Last week, Real Media said it would focus on ad serving, with an affiliated, traditional ad sales company taking over the representation portion of its business.

Similarly, 24/7 Media is trending down its international operations, closing its European network earlier this month. That decision, officials said, would cut the company’s expenditures as it struggles to cope with continued softness in the domestic media market. The company also is making efforts to beef up its technology business, to lessen its dependence on media.

Industry leader DoubleClick, meanwhile, had been making similar moves far earlier, and revenues from technology currently account for a majority of its income.

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