Third Screen Teases Like Van Halen

So, “insiders” “familiar with the situation” say AOL is “in talks” with mobile ad platform outfit Third Screen Media, according to the Wall Street Journal. The story’s already been picked up all over the place. Anybody remember the extremely prominent and in-depth piece the Journal had in May saying that “insiders” “familiar with the situation” said Microsoft was “in talks” with Third Screen?

According to Monday’s WSJ story, “AOL and Third Screen have been negotiating since early this year, and discussions are fairly advanced, people familiar with them say.”

Hmmm…I wonder if they’ve advanced to THIRD base….

It’s not that I’m suggesting the sources on this aren’t reliable, but the fact is one supposedly done deal died, so does it warrant floating the news of yet another nearly done deal before it’s confirmed?

The May Microsoft Journal story noted, “The talks between Microsoft and Third Screen Media could still break down without the two reaching a deal, people familiar with the matter say. And there could be other potential suitors for Third Screen, including large advertising agencies looking for a way into the wireless market, they say.”

Of course countless firms in this space could potentially be interested. From the three big portals to big ad networks to (duh) Google. Such an acquisition could give a huge leg up in the still-burgeoning mobile ad industry to any buyer.

Still, there are sooooo many things still up in the air when it comes to mobile ads, it makes sense that companies are entertaining the notion of making big moves but not quite ready to go all the way.

I’m taking the same approach to all these would-be acquisitions as I am to the on-again/off-again Van Halen reunion tour: I’ll believe it when I see it.

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