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It’s Advertising Week in New York and at many of the conferences and workshops the big topic is the blurring of the lines between of advertising and publishing. That has led to a mixture of hope and confusion on the part of companies on both sides of that divide. In a morning session at at the IAB’s Mixx 2010 conference, Frank Bennack, Jr., Hearst’s vice chair and CEO, said that there was less to fret about, though that positive feeling has a lot to do with the company’s $325 million acquisition of e-mail marketing specialist iCrossing.
Meanwhile, Terence Kawaja, president and CEO, LUMA Partners, noted that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is the most likely winner in this changing landscape as publishing and advertising comes closer together. But there’s plenty of room for a number two company as the digital business grows. At the same time, AOL (NYSE: AOL) began talking up its own plans to capitalize on the trend of mixing ads and content in its Project Devil initiative.
In his interview with IAB president Randall Rothenberg, Bennack insisted that much of the hand-wringing about the building up of marketing services at major publishers like Hearst and Meredith (NYSE: MDP) — which has made several small investments and acquisitions in the digital marketing space over the past few years — has been overblown.
For one thing, advertisers have been altering their focus beyond publishers at the very same time. “Advertising agencies are also advising their clients to bypass traditional media outlets,” he said. “These lines have been erasing for some time.” Rothenberg also asked if that had changed the relationship between publishers and advertisers. “Have there been more tension with the GroupM