GumGum Brings Image-Overlay Ads to Time Inc. Sites

Exclusive Partnership Expected to Generate Millions, GumGum Says

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A Fitbit advertisement is overlaid on an image on Sports Illustrated's website.
A Fitbit advertisement is overlaid on an image on Sports Illustrated's website. Credit: Time Inc.

Time Inc. and GumGum, a digital marketing and ad-tech company that claims to have pioneered the concept of overlaying advertisements on images, have linked up to provide the ad format to Time Inc.'s slate of advertisers.

Terms were not disclosed, but GumGum expects the deal to net multi-million dollar ad revenue for Time Inc.

It's GumGum's "first formally exclusive partnership" with a major media company, according to a spokeswoman.

GumGum, which was formed in 2007 and recently raised $26 million in a Series C funding round, carefully selects the publishers it works with, Chief Operating Officer Phil Schraeder told Ad Age. "We view Time as a key publisher to continue to unlock the value of our product for advertisers," Mr. Schraeder said.

GumGum has built "powerful technology solutions" that will help Time Inc. make money from the images it publishes online, said Andy Blau, senior VP-advertising, Time Inc., in a statement.

It's not clear how frequently consumers visiting Time Inc. websites such as People.com, Fortune.com and SI.com will encounter ads on the photos. "The percentage varies based on our philosophy that an ad will serve only when we see it has relevancy to the image and/or to the user," Mr. Schraeder said in an email.

GumGum is reportedly preparing for an initial public offering in 2017, and will benefit from an association with a publisher of Time Inc.'s status.

For Time Inc., the GumGum partnership is another revenue source for a company that has been looking beyond its traditional print magazine publishing business to pad its bottom line.

According to the company, GumGum-served ads appear on images published by more than 2,000 digital publishers, and it works with Hearst Newspapers, the New York Daily News, and Men's Journal, among other outlets.

In September 2014, GumGum and Xaxis, part of WPP, created a programmatic system for in-image advertising.

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