New Ad Networks Service Industry Trends

Should you in any way doubt the value of ad networks, the past couple weeks’ events are surely enough to have you singing their praises.

Following in the footsteps of other newspaper publishers that have pooled their inventory for the benefit of advertisers, The New York Time Co., Gannett Co., Tribune Co., and Hearst Corp. announced last week they’re creating a new ad network called quadrantOne. The organization is expected to target premium advertisers with its audience of 50 million unique monthly users and prime newspaper site real estate.

Among quadrantOne’s selling propositions: national reach, premium ad positions, and complete inventory transparency. According to the network, it will cover 27 of the top 30 DMAs (define) with its news and broadcast sites, delivering access to such major properties as LATimes, chicagotribune.com, and Boston.com, along with smaller local publications, like Michigan’s Battle Creek Enquirer.

If this news doesn’t perk up your ears, it probably isn’t information-hungry adults you’re after. Well then, GoFish. The GoFish Network — officially launched this week — is being touted as the first to focus exclusively on the youth entertainment market, specifically 17.4 million U.S. Internet users (62 million worldwide), mostly between the ages of 6 and 17.

The network’s overall reach makes it the third largest in the kid and teen category, behind Disney Online and Nickelodeon Kids and Family. This could also make it useful in capturing some of the annual aggregate income of $80 billion associated with teen consumers and the $225 billion in parental spending that comScore Media Metrix says is influenced by kids and teens.

Meanwhile, the network’s two-year-old namesake site GoFish offers advertisers placement opportunities beside video clips on subjects that appeal to teens, like celebrity entertainment and extreme sports. A recent partnership with Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks has enhanced the site with premium broadband clips from such programs as “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “The Hills,” and “My Super Sweet 16.”

The more aggregated media options available to planners and buyers these days, the better. Ad spending continues to rise, making this a busy time for those tasked with allocating new or increased budgets. Research firm IDC reports online ad spending grew by almost 28 percent in Q4 2007 year over year, totaling $7.3 billion. Spending overall reached an impressive $25.5 billion last year.

Another reason to love ad networks is their focus on content sites, which are now a greater part of consumers’ online activity than ever before. A 2007 report from the Online Publishers Association (OPA) found Web users spend almost half their time online consuming content (47 percent), compared with 33 percent on communications such as e-mail, 15 percent on shopping-related activities, and just 5 percent on search.

Furthermore, the content category’s share of Web time has increased by 37 percent since 2003, compared with a 33 percent increase for search and a drop of 28 and 5 percent for communications and commerce, respectively.

This boost, according to the OPA, can be credited to such factors as the transition of offline activities to the Web. Many consumers now prefer to get their news, weather, and entertainment information online — at those newspaper and broadcast sites buyers and planners can easily access through quadrantOne. New features such as on-demand video are also contributing to this trend, just another reason for your marketing team to consider GoFish.

Isn’t it lovely when online media trends like increased ad spending and content consumption converge with a streamlined approach to buying media on the content sites consumers covet most?

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