New Cox Division to Mix and Match Media

Cox Cross Media, the digital sales arm of Cox Reps, has combined with Adify to create Cox Digital Solutions.

The combo is both business reorganization and a merger of technologies.

Cox Reps, a TV spot sales organization, created Cox Cross Media in 2007 to broker inventory for its local TV station Web sites, installing radio veteran Steve Shaw as senior vice president. Shaw is now president of Cox Digital Solutions.

Founded in 2006, Adify began life as an ad management provider that could fill the gap between large, opaque ad networks and direct ad sales. Early customers were niche sites and blogs, served by Adify-created vertical networks. It grew to serve major players like Forbes and Warner Bros.

Cox TMI, a division of Cox Enterprises, bought Adify in 2008.

At that time, Cox execs said that Adify could be used to create vertical ad networks for its own verticals, including AutoTrader.com, Travel Channel, and Cox’s local business listings and review service Kudzu.

The acquisition bore fruit in 2009 with the launch of Adify Media in April 2009, a meta network selling inventory across Adify’s 160 vertical ad networks and Cox Media properties.

Combining Adify and Cox Cross Media will offer advertisers a single solution for buying a greater variety of media, Shaw says.

“You’re always looking for a way to differentiate yourself in the market, and we saw a way to significantly increase our footprint and a neat opportunity to put together a…solution for advertisers with one person, one invoice and ease of solution,” he says. “Anyone can chase our fees. To be successful, you need to offer advertisers solutions. This puts us in what we think is a very competitive position in the marketplace.”

Both companies had technology to contribute. In addition to Adify’s ad-serving, campaign management and reporting, Cox Cross Media had developed Stat, a planning tool that handled TV, digital and mobile ads; Cox plans to add radio and newspaper later.

Cox tested the new model in 2010. Shaw gave as an example a cruise line that wanted a campaign with national reach but also more weight in eight local markets.

Shaw says, “Adify gave them the national content, and used our local inventory to heavy up in those eight markets, to give them a huge bang for the buck.”

The goal of the combined entity is to let advertisers mix and match broadcast and digital, taking advantage of each company’s scale, and eventually orchestrate entire campaigns, from creative to optimization. At the same time, Cox Digital Solutions will enable publishers to sell ads and then hand off all operations to it. The combined technology is being beta-tested now.

Shaw says, “From sales to ad operations to the actual ad serving through invoicing and reconciliation, we will have a seamless technology. You only have to create the proposal, and it’s never touched by human hands again.”

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