Microsoft to Sell Ads on CNBC.com

NBC Universal signed a deal with Microsoft; the latter will provide technology and sell ad inventory on CNBC.com. The business-oriented companion site to the CNBC network is expected to extend Microsoft’s MSN Finance vertical.

Following investments in the advertising business, Microsoft is looking to grow its network beyond the family of Microsoft sites such as Microsoft.com, Live.com, Xbox Live, Office Live, and Windows Live. This year, the advertising syndication network has grown to four publishers through deals with Facebook, Digg, U.K.- based social networking site Piczo, Microsoft yesterday added CNBC.

“Microsoft and NBC Universal already have a fairly strong relationship,” said NBC Universal company spokesperson Brian Steel. “Our view of Microsoft is that they are the preeminent provider of a technology advertising solution that we did not already have.”

Display and contextual text ads are part of the deal. Microsoft’s AdCenter will handle the text-based ads on its network, and display ads will be handled by a combination of aQuantive assets and pre-acquisition units. CNBC will manage multi-media sales in-house, some of which span the broadcast and Web properties.

Special advertising packages are expected.. “I think we’re going to try to get as creative as we can for packaged deals for advertisers buying across both sides. We are looking at all the creative opportunities that we can, and in turn to more relevant advertising for the consumer,” said Whitney Burk, public relations director, advertiser and publisher solutions, at Microsoft.

From Microsoft’s perspective, the addition of CNBC to the financial vertical is a boon for the network. “We have a great asset in MSN Finance with a great vertical,” said Burk. “And to be able to aggregate that with the audience that CNBC.com brings to the finance vertical.” She also said growing the network is one way to get better return on Microsoft’s investments, and “it’s adding high quality inventory to our network.”

Microsoft’s relationship appears to be on again after it cooled off two years ago. Microsoft exited a 10 year-long joint venture, MSNBC, it had established with NBC Universal when the network assumed an 82 percent stake in December 2005.

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