KSL media, fresh from its acquisition by True North Communications, is opening a division dedicated to buying online and offline media for Internet clients.
Drive-To-Site Media, which will be announced today, opens with a handful of clients and $60 million in billings, with a majority of that in traditional media intended to drive traffic to clients' sites.
KSL established Drive-To-Site as a separate division in New York because media buying for Internet clients "is really a specialty unto its own," said KSL President Kal Liebowitz.
Though Drive-To-Site will buy online media for clients, offline will play a bigger role.
"We will help our clients provide viewers [with incentives] to come visit their sites," Mr. Liebowitz said. "All these e-commerce accounts are realizing that online advertising [alone] doesn't work and now they want someone with an expertise to use traditional advertising in non-traditional ways."
$500 MILLION BILLINGS
True North in April acquired KSL, now an independent operating unit of True North Diversified Cos. KSL, founded 18 years ago, had billings last year of $500 million from such companies as Revlon via its in-house agency Tarlow Advertising, Bradlees stores, Columbia TriStar, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Lea & Perrins worchestershire sauce.
True North also operates TN Media, its networkwide media services division. True North acquired KSL to broaden its media capabilities and "to do the new kind of stuff--to take on the e-commerce business, the e-tailing business," Mr. Liebowitz said. "We are a little more youth-oriented, a little more nimble [than TN Media.]"
Heading Drive-To-Site is President Jamie Korsen, who had been marketing director at KSL. Mr. Korsen has a staff of eight, three of which are new hires for KSL.
Initial clients also include Ugo Networks and interactive shops Digital Pulp, New York, and Monsoon Microstudios, Philadelphia. Digital Pulp had been a KSL client. Monsoon and Ugo Networks, which operates entertainment site Ugo.com and videogame commerce site GameDealer.com, are new clients.
Mr. Liebowitz said clients of TN Media and of True North ad agencies Bozell Worldwide and Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide can use Drive-To-Site's services.
Drive-To-Site will not compete directly with FCB Digital, formed in January and housed within FCB Direct, because the interactive division focuses more on creative execution, Mr. Liebowitz said.
"We are really just a media division," he said, that does no advertising creative.
It's unclear how and to what extent Drive-To-Site will collaborate with Modem Media-Poppe Tyson, Norwalk, Conn., to do online media buying for clients. True North has a 51% stake in the interactive shop.
"We haven't met with [Modem] yet," Mr. Liebowitz said. "They don't do offline buying, so maybe their clients would also like to tap [into our services]."
KSL has company in courting online media-buying work. For example, MediaCom Worldwide, Grey Advertising's independent media services company, in April launched MediaCom Digital, a division aimed at advertisers seeking to integrate traditional and interactive media campaigns.
Copyright August 1999, Crain Communications Inc.