Correction: The agreement between Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and CNBC does not include content syndication. We regret the error.
CNBC.com is handing over most of the display and contextual ad serving duties previously handled by DoubleClick to Microsoft. While both companies position the move as a continuation of a long relationship – centered mainly on Microsoft’s and NBC Universal’s (NYSE: GE) equal ownership of MSNBC.com – it also signals Microsoft’s attempt to improve its lagging Online Services business since buying online ad firm aQuantive for $6 billion earlier this year. In particular, Microsoft gets a shot at increasing the audience for its content on MSN Money and offering the first real test of aQuantive’s ad sales system.
The two are starting to work together immediately, with contextual ads slated to begin appearing later this month and display ads beginning in March 2008. Financial terms and length of contract were not disclosed. Also, the content is syndicated only one way: from MSN Money to CNBC.com, though the companies said they expect this partnership to evolve over time. The deal comes as Microsoft looks to ramp up its digital ad efforts elsewhere: for example, Microsoft has started selling ads on MSN Mobile (more details on our sister site MocoNews.net). I spoke with Jon Tinter, Microsoft’s GM for strategy and business development, who discussed the benefits he expects to realize from the deal:
— Finance central to Microsoft’s ad strategy: Tinter compared the CNBC.com deal to similar agreements recently worked out with Facebook and Digg. Aside from building on the existing relationship with NBCU, Tinter added that financial news represents a particular focus for Microsoft’s ad business. “Microsoft’s been evolving its advertising strategy and making investments in that business over the last several months. The benefits [of this deal] to Microsoft are two-fold: one, finance is a strategically important vertical for us. We’ve been very focused on building out our suite of solutions for advertisers in the finance market. Secondly, and more broadly, as part of Microsoft’s advertising strategy, the best way we can realize a return from our investments in the advertising area is by partnering with quality, third-party web publishers like CNBC.com.” Release