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Changes Ahead For Millennial Media? Tech Veteran Isaac Babbs Starts As SVP

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Millennial Media is one of the larger independent mobile ad companies around, and now there are signs that it could be looking to take its business in new directions for growth: the company has recruited Isaac Babbs, a 25-year veteran of companies like Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) and Glu Mobile (NSDQ: GLUU), as its new SVP of business development.

Looking at the background of Babbs, the chief things he will be bringing to Millennial is not advertising expertise, but a focus on new mobile technology; know-how from the publisher’s perspective; and an eye to building acquisition-friendly startups.

Most recently, he was at Qualcomm — where as VP of Qualcomm Services Labs and VP of business development for the wider company, his job was to commercialize and launch mobile services developed internally.

Before that he was president of mobile gaming company Sorrent, which merged with Macrospace to become Glu Mobile. Before Glu, he co-founded at Macromedia, and then led the audio-video division that was later sold to Apple (NSDQ: AAPL). He also co-founded and led two other mobile gaming companies, Tapatap and Atlas Mobile, both also sold to bigger outfits.

Millennial serves ads — currently around 23 billion unique impressions per month — on smartphone platforms as well as those working on feature devices (eg Samsung’s bada).

The bread and butter of that business has been serving display ads to mobile web sites and apps, but you can see from the company’s latest monthly stat report that it’s trying to push different forms of engagement as well to drive its revenues per ad: that’s where new technology could fit in the future.

From last week’s Smart report:

» Millennial noted that video ads grew by 69 percent compared to the month before, now making up 30 percent of all campaigns.

» Social media “actions” in campaigns (eg, tweeting or liking a Facebook brand) went up 34 percent, and are now in 24 percent of all campaigns.

» Local market targeting was up 22 percent and now appears in 67 percent of all targeted campaigns on the network.

Babbs, who had been on Millennial’s advisory board for the last several years, will now be running Millennial’s office in San Francisco, and the company says it plans to hire another 15-20 software engineers in the coming months.