Internet ad network DoubleClick is expanding its circle of clients to include Web sites it will represent on a non-exclusive basis.
In a move that increases the amount of advertising inventory the company can sell, DoubleClick will move all of its exclusive sites into a new category called DoubleClick Select. DoubleClick Select will now be a component of the overall DoubleClick Network.
For Select clients, DoubleClick will sell more complex inventory, including sponsorships and category buys.
For non-exclusive network clients, the company will sell ad space in a variety of ways, including by category and geographical area, as well as through its direct marketing arm, DoubleClick Direct.
MAKING BUYS EASIER
"The new configuration allows us to bring in the sites that media buyers want," said Beth-Ann Eason, general manager of DoubleClick Network.
"Our goal is to make it easier for them. We are creating DoubleClick Select and increasing our support of that component," she added.
"We are also expanding the DoubleClick network to include new content areas, more brands and increased reach. The new approach opens it up for other Web publishers who want to work with DoubleClick," she said.
DoubleClick's move could be considered a competitive response to the recent success of rival Web advertising networks, said Marc Johnson, senior analyst at Jupiter Communications, New York.
DoubleClick launched its Select product with a trade print campaign; online is to break shortly. The tagline in the creative by Digital Pulp, New York, its agency of record, is "Ad therapy." Ad budget was undisclosed.
DoubleClick will choose sites it brings into its network based on brand recognition within online and traditional advertising communities, Ms. Eason said.
"Although we are expanding the network, we remain focused on contracting with the best sites in a content category," she said.
STOCK PRICES CLIMB
While DoubleClick has enjoyed a steady increase in stock price since October, most recently priced at about $88 per share, stock prices for competitors WinStar New Media and 24/7 Media, both based in New York, also have risen, with shares for each now priced at around $40.
In addition to the competitive issues, DoubleClick's move also recognizes the need of inventory buyers and sellers to work through multiple channels, Mr. Johnson said. "DoubleClick wants to be in all those different spots, so it needed more flexibility. They wanted to be able to sell ad space from both the higher-end, site-specific approach as well as from the run-of-network, broad-reach approach."
One example of a new site is Court TV Online.
"Their new approach facilitates Court TV Online's being included in the network," said Tom Fitzharris, director of Court TV Online. "And DoubleClick's experience will help us grow our ad sales."
By no longer demanding exclusivity of clients, DoubleClick is giving up some of its control in the market, Mr. Johnson added. "But it's encouraging that they are willing to evolve with the needs of the marketplace."
Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.