Mezzo, Interep To Cross-Sell Inventory

Aiming to broaden each other’s sales reach, the interactive divisions of radio ad representation giant Interep and chinadotcom’s Mezzo online marketing unit will sell the other’s sites through an exclusive agreement.

New York-based Interep Interactive oversees Winstar Interactive Media and Cybereps — which together sell ad space on more than 100 U.S. Web sites. Now, through the deal, the two divisions also will represent Hong Kong-based Mezzo’s sites to U.S. advertisers.

In addition to consumer portal hongkong.com, broadband ISP content site Gigigaga, and AltaVista Australia, Interep also will represent 24/7 Asia’s old properties. Spokespeople at Mezzo confirmed that the 24/7 Asia media network, jointly operated with New York-based 24/7 Media, had been quietly rolled under Mezzo and could be phased out once current contacts expire.

Meanwhile, Mezzo now will represent sites sold by WIM — which include Fodors.com, uBid and Kiplinger.com — and sites represented by Cybereps — such as Reuters.com, AutoWorld.com and BizReport — to pan-Asian advertisers.

“Winstar Interactive Media and Cybereps have primarily focused on U.S.-based Web properties,” said Interep Interactive president and chief executive Adam Guild. “This alliance with Mezzo gives us a substantial presence in some of the world’s hottest emerging Internet markets. Mezzo has been on the ground working these market for a long time and we expect they will be very effective representing our sites in Asia.”

The deal comes just weeks after chinadotcom spun off Mezzo to consolidate its direct, email and online marketing services, including 24/7 Asia. Such a reorganization is aimed at helping chinadotcom respond to the harsh advertising marketplace, by making it easier to craft attractive cross-media advertising deals.

Now, Mezzo officials say the agreement with Interep will help that effort.

“We are indeed very pleased to work with Interep Interactive,” said Mezzo chief operating officer Stuart Spiteri. “Their sterling track record of brand-name Web site representation and innovative media solutions will no doubt give our clients the additional booster needed to penetrate the U.S. market. The name Mezzo may still be new to the marketplace since our recent launch, but our expertise and track record of helping marketers build lasting and profitable relationships with their customers, is not.”

Last week, Interep Interactive’s chief operating officer John Durham (who is also president at WIM) made headlines when he spoke out against cost-per-acquisition ad sales deals, calling such arrangements “outright thievery.”

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