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Jun 2, 2008

NEWS: Turner's Ad Net Strategy: No To 'Pork Bellies,' Yes To Premium

Turner's Ad Net Strategy: No To 'Pork Bellies,' Yes To Premium

Turner appears to be heeding the warning Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's (NYSE: MSO) Wenda Harris Millard gave to major web publishers this past spring: don't sell all your ad inventory to the lowest bidder through remnant ad networks. Instead, try to concentrate on setting up or working with vertical ad nets, which concentrate on selling premium placement for higher prices. Mediaweek details Turner's plans to package 19 sites for display and video ad sales. The ad net will include its own web properties such as TNT.com, TBS.com, CNN.com, AdultSwim.com and CartoonNetwork.com and will align them with partner sites such as NBA.com and PGA.com. Turner cites Nielsen Online data in claiming its ad net will be able to deliver an audience of 48 million monthly unique users. The move is part of Turner's new unified ad sales strategy, which calls for ending the separate silos that were previously set around news and entertainment.

-- Ad net exodus?: While every other day, a new ad network emerges, web publishers are starting to discern the notion that not all formats are created equal. And although ESPN's (NYSE: DIS)decision to pull out of remnant ad network ad sales this spring was a notable contrarian move, Paul Iaffaldano, EVP of media solutions for The Weather Channel, forecasts a deluge of large-trafficked web publishers will turn away from ad nets by the end of the year. But John Ardis, VP for corporate strategy at online ad firm ValueClick (NSDQ: VCLK), argues that remnant ad nets are here to stay—with or without the presence of large, traditional media companies. Most ad nets have "always been about non-marquee sites," he tells Mediaweek, and that this particular form ultimately allows advertisers greater reach.

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