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MSN, Unicast ally to provide rich media advertising options

REDMOND : Microsoft has announced an alliance with Unicast Communications, a leading provider of online advertising solutions, leveraging its support for Unicast's Online Format Suite on the portal MSN. As an extension of the rich media vendor offerings on MSN, which started with Eyeblaster Inc. and PointRoll in September, the alliance solidifies the commitment MSN has made to providing advertisers with a wide and varied selection of advertising options.

An official release stated that the alliance combines the most-sought-after audience with a leading provider of standardised online ad formats.

Advertisers and advertising agencies now can place any of the rich media ads within Unicast's Online Format Suite on the high-traffic channels of MSN, capturing consumers' attention with integrated and consistent messaging across all their online and offline advertising initiatives.

MSN's global acceptance of Unicast's In-Between-Page ads (SUPERSTITIAL transitional ads), Over-Page units (TopLayer floating ads) and In-Page units (banners, skyscrapers and IMU units) also coincides with the rollout of rich media services in 34 international MSN markets.

MSN claims to have made a commitment to offer advertisers an unbeatable selection of rich media services and third-party vendors. The company says that its relationship with Unicast adds credence to that goal by offering advertisers a highly engaged audience of 300 million unique users worldwide as well as a more diverse variety of advertising options.

The release also stated that MSN differentiates itself from other Web portals by providing more control over the rich media advertising environment and its experience. Rather than relying solely on individual vendors to control the frequency of rich media ads, MSN used proprietary, network-focused technology to regulate ad frequency. This control mechanism helped to protect the consumer experience, prevent overexposure of an advertiser's brand, and multiple rich media ad experiences from appearing simultaneously while consumers are on the MSN network.

The alliance will allow advertisers to use their offline assets, including television commercials, to create In-Between-Page ads that anchor their online campaigns, then extend those messages in Over-Page and In-Page units to achieve overall consistency and message reinforcement. This single-source solution is designed to eliminate the duplicating and time-consuming process of multiple negotiations and make online advertising a more efficient medium to operate.

The international adoption of rich media services on MSN began in November and is scheduled to conclude by the middle of December. Once the rollout to all countries and subsidiaries is complete, advertisers will be able to run dynamic rich media ads essentially anywhere in the world where MSN is available.

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