Fox Interactive Bolsters Tech Assets

Buys Optimization Firm to Help Squeeze More Dollars From MySpace

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Fox Interactive Media has made its first acquisition since its buying spree of summer 2005, which included MySpace, Scout.com and IGN.
The idea is to bring in-house more of the advertising that is sold through the many ad networks Fox Interactive uses.
The idea is to bring in-house more of the advertising that is sold through the many ad networks Fox Interactive uses.

The purchase of SDC is decidedly more back office than the earlier consumer-facing buys, but it will help Fox Interactive with one of its biggest challenges: Squeezing more dollars out of the massive, data-rich MySpace network.

Better-targeted advertising
Santa Monica, Calif.-based SDC was founded in 2000 as a display-ad-serving and yield-optimization company, working with ad networks and publishers. The acquisition will help Fox Interactive offer better-targeted, graphical, performance-based advertising, and improve how the News Corp. unit uses the information it gets from its consumers, said Marco Ilardi, senior VP-performance marketing, Fox Interactive.

The idea is to bring in-house more of the advertising that is sold through the many ad networks Fox Interactive uses and to make what was formerly thought of as remnant ad inventory -- pages that aren't naturally commercial -- into more premium inventory for direct-response advertisers.

Fox Interactive has almost 75 million unique monthly U.S. visitors in network and serves up 40 billion page views a month, according to comScore. Fox Interactive currently uses a roster of 17 different ad networks across its sites.

Outsourcing remnant ads
"Previous to this, we've outsourced most of our remnant advertising to a series of partners," said Mr. Ilardi. "We plan to continue to work with them but this lets us get a little closer to the end advertiser." It also allows the company to monetize those page views better, because if Fox Interactive can serve better targeted ads it can reap higher conversion rates.

"In the past a lot of advertisers haven't been able to come to us and say I want to run on your property, because they're used to buying on cost-per-click or cost-per-action basis," said Mr. Ilardi. "We can now open this up and say, 'Come work with us in any type of fashion,' and we'll help service them better than the past."
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