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Wednesday, 09 November 2011 12:39

Ninemsn parachutes into Google territory

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Google might want to take careful note of the rebranding that Microsoft and Nine Entertainment announced today, which will see the joint venture renamed MI9. That was the name of the clandestine unit set up by British military intelligence during the war to aid resistance fighters in enemy territory - and today's launch of a real time bidding advertising marketplace will parachute the organisation directly into Google territory.

From 2012 Microsoft and Nine will use the new corporate umbrella brand MI9, retaining its ninemsn brand for consumers. Despite the financial woes that Nine Entertainment is currently enduring courtesy of a significant debt burden, chief executive David Gyngell said that the company would remain a 50:50 partner in both MI9 and ninemsn.

Use of the Microsoft Advertising Exchange which was launched in Australia today is initially limited to eight agencies which have signed up for the service, but according to ninemsn CEO Mark Britt, it will still deliver a 'step change' in behavioural targeting.

It's what Google has been doing for a while though - allowing advertisers to bid to have their online advertisement served up to the internet user who most closely matches their target audience. The highest bidder wins.

During a media conference following the official announcement of the service Mr Britt said that the intent was the 'Bring the cost of inventory into line with its value.' In the US he claimed that real time bidding had seen yields on some sites increase by as much as 85 per cent as a result.

According to Mr Britt; 'This is not about cheap inventory'¦but providing the tools and technology to find your audience.' Initially the service will be available for the online sites in the ninemsn stable, but Mr Britt signaled that it would be opening up access to other sites in the future.

Regarding the competitive landscape Mr Britt said; 'There will be only one or two ad platforms in Australia. Google is likely to be one'¦we want to be the other.'


Ninemsn said that the Ad Exchange will operate similarly to a stock exchange for ad impressions, allowing adverts to be bought on an individual impression basis in real time.

In a media release Mr Britt said; 'This enables advertisers to define both the type of individual they want to reach and how much they're willing to pay for individual ad impressions - this signals major change for the media industry.'

He said that in the US real time bidding had taken off strongly, and while only 3 per cent of advertisement placements was conducted using a real time exchange in March 2010, the figure had now soared to 64 per cent.

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