Razorfish Takes Stake in Avalanche Systems

Digital agencies Razorfish and Avalanche Systems said they have formed a new partnership, and Razorfish, part of Omnicom’s Communicade Network, has taken a substantial stake in Avalanche.

“We intend to field the best team in the business,” said Jeff Dachis, CEO of Razorfish. “Together we will harness our collective strategy, design, and technology expertise to continue to deliver the highest caliber of service to our clients, all the way from concept development through execution.”

Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.

Under the new partnership, Peter Seidler will continue to lead Avalanche as chief creative officer. Dachis will assume the additional position of chief executive officer of Avalanche. Troy Tyler, formerly the director of operations at Avalanche, has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer. Michael Block, formerly Avalanche’s chief executive officer, is leaving the company.

Said the New York Times of the move: “The deal comes as Madison Avenue’s initial rosy view of the prospects for online advertising gives way to a more realistic perspective of the field as competitive and costly.”

Avalanche is a creator of interactive marketing, communications, and business solutions that combine strategy, design and information technology. Clients include KPMG, Carnegie Hall, Cosmopolitan Magazine, The Guardian, and the Warner Music Group.

Razorfish is a digital communications firm known for its branding and dynamically generated publishing systems. Razorfish clients include CBS, IBM, Charles Schwab & Co., America Online, Time Warner, and Sony.

Separately, CBS New Media, the CBS Corp. division that is launching the CBS Network on the Web, announced a partnership with Razorfish to design and produce the interface for CBS.com and CBSnow, its affiliate template system. Financials were not disclosed.

The interface for CBSnow is a template-based system that allows affiliates to produce branded content from a variety of editorial perspectives. Through a co-branded, online presence, viewers of local affiliate content will gain access to the national content of CBS News, CBS MarketWatch, and CBS SportsLine.

One hundred and fifty-five CBS affiliates nationwide are ready to launch with their own URLs using the CBSnow interface on February 1.

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