Mobile Firm Builds Ad Management Suite for Publishers

Third Screen Media, which makes mobile ad technology and runs an ad network, is releasing a set of tools Monday to help publishers monetize their mobile content.

The software, called MADX Publisher, combines the features of a mobile ad server with trafficking capabilities. It’s already in use by the Weather Channel and Gannett’s USA Today.

Eventually, the company says, MADX will enable publishers to accept and respond to RFPs from agencies and advertisers, once Third Screen builds the second module of the software. At that point , expected to be in March, publishers will also be able to make their available inventory visible to advertisers and agencies, easing the planning and buying process, according to Third Screen.

“They [agencies] are just beginning to wrap their arms around mobile,” said Heidi Lehmann, VP of content acquisition and strategy at Third Screen Media. “The ability for agencies that are actively planning and buying to be able to view publishers’ inventory, that’s going to be a huge win.”

Lehmann says Third Screen is beginning to see significant interest in mobile, both on the advertiser and publisher side. The company now serves over 50 million monthly impressions on its own ad network and recently finalized its first million-dollar ad buy. A year ago, Lehmann said, campaigns averaged $15,000 to $20,000; now they average $100,000 to $200,000.

While the company hopes to build a mobile advertising “ecosystem” to enable the growth of the medium, it’s starting with its publisher solution. The tool enables delivery of ads into the WAP environment, supporting targeting and optimization based upon criteria such as device type, geography, daypart, browser and carrier.

“The more carefully it’s targeted, the less annoying and the more valuable it’s going to be,” said Lehmann.

The company says it’s adding functionality that will deliver ads to video, MMS and downloadable applications. It focused on WAP initially because “that’s simply because that’s where the most reach and frequency is,” Lehmann said.

Besides serving ads and generating reports, MADX is also designed to help publishers with inventory management, sales management and accounting, including calculating revenue splits with carriers.

The company charges a one-time set-up fee, a subscription fee for access to the platform, and CPM rates for ad delivery.

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