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CBS Launches Its Own Internet Ad Network

22 Dec, 2009 Response This Week

NEW YORK – CBS Interactive announced that it would launch its own Internet ad network, would no longer do business with any independent ad networks and will sell its inventory exclusively in-house. The new proprietary network is called Madison.

CBS’s Web site gets 60 million unique visitors per month, so while it’s not the only publisher to give up ad network money from outside sources, it’s one of the largest. ESPN, Turner, Gawker and Forbes are also publishers that refuse business from other ad networks.

Traditionally, many TV operations have a big supply of avails that they can’t always sell, so they let others handle some of the selling. This also goes for online inventory. But CBS has been trying to avoid any involvement with Hulu. It’s also trying to decrease its dependency on third-party ad networks such as, ValueClick or 24/7 Real Media. The new platform will offer audiences based on demographics or online behaviors within CBS properties.

CBS will also pull its inventory from some online ad exchanges. But it will continue to offer inventory to Yahoo’s Right Media Exchange, Google’s DoubleClick and demand-side exchanges such as Publicis Groupe unit Vivaki’s Audience on Demand. This means no general ad networks, vertical networks or other third-party reps will get a piece of CBS Interactive’s ad space.

According to comScore, in October, CBS Interactive reached 59.1 million users in the United States, ranking it No. 12 among Internet properties. Worldwide, CBS reaches more than 200 million people.

“What we’re saying is, we’ve got the audience, sales force, technical capabilities in-house,” says Neil Ashe, president of CBS Interactive. “We have no need for third parties. We are prepared to take a step back on revenue if we have to, but over time we will monetize at a much better rate than ad networks do.”

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