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Conde Nast Takes on Ad Sales for Delta Air Lines

Magazine Publisher Wants to Help Marketer Think of Itself, Too, as Media

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Conde Nast, the publisher of magazines including Vogue and GQ, has struck a deal to sell ads on Delta Air Lines' website, apps, kiosks at airports and even its boarding passes, the companies said.

Lou Cona
Lou Cona

Other publishers have increased their reach through partnerships with other sites, but this is the first time Conde Nast is selling ad space it does not own, according to Conde Nast CMO Lou Cona. "The ability for us to add Delta.com to our portfolio increases our footprint dramatically," Mr. Cona said.

Conde Nast also hopes the Delta deal will aid its effort, born of the ad-page plunge a few years back, to get into businesses like marketing services. "The Delta business is sort of a cornerstone to that marketing-services business, opening up our capability and expertise and know-how and portfolio of clients to a broader group of people -- and really to begin to do more work outside of our media assets," Mr. Cona said.

Marketers are increasingly thinking of themselves as media owners, meanwhile, and their websites are becoming more interesting real estate for other advertisers. Rockbridge Growth Equity said yesterday that it had acquired Triad Retail Media, a company that sells display ads on?Walmart.com, eBay, CVS.com and other retailers' sites.

Conde Nast has talked with Delta about viewing its site as a media owner would, according to Pat Connelly, VP for marketing solutions at the Conde Nast Media Group. "We contributed on a consultative basis, said 'Here's the type of ad units you might want to think about,' had conversations with them about things like the emergence of native advertising," Mr. Connelly said.

Delta is already a media company to some degree by virtue of Delta Sky, its in-flight magazine, which is published by MSP Communications. The magazine is not a focus of the pact with Conde Nast, where executives are looking first and foremost for opportunities to sell on Delta.com.

Delta's site attracted 5.9 million unique visitors in November, according to ComScore. That puts it behind Conde Nast's Wired.com, which got 6.3 million unique visitors, but well ahead of other Conde Nast web properties, including Glamour.com, which had 1.9 million uniques in November; GQ.com, with 1.8 million; BonAppetit.com, with 1.2 million; Vogue.com, with 549,000; and Style.com, with 367,000, according to ComScore.

Conde Nast and Delta declined to discuss the terms of the deal, but similar ad-sales agreements typically involve sharing the resulting revenue.

In a statement, Delta couched the ads that Conde will sell as content. "Our partnership with will enhance the Delta digital experience by providing relevant content wherever our customers choose to engage with us," said Bob Kupbens, VP-marketing and digital commerce at Delta, in an email provided by a spokesman.

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