Say Media Buys Ad Shop Sideshow; Deal Shows Sythesis Of Paid/Earned Media

Social media marketer Say Media has acquired interactive advertising agency Sideshow as the company looks to offer more customized services to marketers. The deal comes three months after the acquisition of pet site network Dogster and the launch of Jane Pratt’s xoJane women’s lifestyle destination.

Like a lot of new media companies that have emerged in the past few years, Say Media is trying to balance the traditional “paid” advertising model with the “earned” model associated with social media. In a sense, Say Media’s acquisition of Sideshow is similar to Halogen Media Group’s recent purchase of social media ad tech firm YouCast.

After all, earned media may not necessarily require paid placements in the usual sense, relying on fans to promote a brand through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) and personal blog, but advertisers are still willing to spend to make the relationships that underpin that activity happen. The moves come as eMarketer says that Facebook is set to dominate display. The amount of display ad spending on Facebook is set to grow 80.9 percent this year to $2.19 billion, demonstrating the value of sythesizing paid and earned media.

Terms of the Say Media/Sideshow deal weren’t disclosed. Say Media, which was formed last year through the merger of ad network Videoegg and blog organizer Six Apart, has been trying to bring the two sides of the company together to compete with established lifestyle verticals like Glam Media and Federated Media.

The Sideshow’s operations will be connected to Say Media’s “creative and technical group, the Media Lab. In addition to coming up with bespoke ad products for its various sites, Sideshow will also aid in developing research to support Say Media’s marketers.

Speaking of the Media Lab, the group is currently working on creating new sites like the one Say Media did for Pratt.