Universal Music Taps Gorilla Nation Media for Ad Sales

Online ad sales representation firm Gorilla Nation Media (GNM) landed an exclusive deal with Universal Music Group (UMG) to handle media sales across all its labels, beginning with Def Jam and Island Records.

All online ads for UMG’s labels and their associated artist sites will be sold, served, and tracked by GNM. The company signs only exclusive representation agreements with vertically focused niche properties in various entertainment categories.

“We provide an alternative mix of properties advertisers wouldn’t normally get to see if they only advertised on networks,” said Brian Fitzgerald, president of GNM.

GNM represents category leaders in horror, science fiction, and comic book categories and has a strong presence in gaming, technology, and men’s and women’s interest sites. GNM says its services are well suited to film companies and music labels, since each film or artist might appeal to a different demographic, making it difficult to establish relationships with repeat advertisers.

The company doesn’t sell anything like a run-of-network ad; instead it sells ads on each site separately, based on target demographics. The result, says Fitzgerald, is a highly targeted ad that can have a strong branding effect.

“We’re about getting an advertiser in front of the right eyeballs, getting a share of voice,” he said. “Brand advertisers want to know they’re reaching their target audience.”

Pricing for UMG’s sites will be comparable to rates on other music sites, but in some cases GNM’s second-tier sites provide a way to reach a targeted demographic at a discount over larger sites.

Fitzgerald believes GNM’s exclusive relationships with publishers bring stability to the process. Advertisers know GNM will deliver on its promises, and they’ll be able to buy ads on the same sites from GNM in the future. Almost 95 percent of its business is repeat buys.

GNM expects to begin offering ads on other UMG labels in coming months. Other UMG labels include Geffen, MCA Nashville, Motown, Decca, and Verve. UMG is a unit of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

GNM is also working with UMG to develop an in-stream advertising model for its planned streaming video distribution service, expected to launch in March.

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