Microsoft joins forces with publishing giants for future ads platform

24 Feb 2009

Microsoft has entered into an alliance with major global web publishers including Dow Jones Online, the New York Times and Time Inc to work together on its next-generation ads platform for digital publishers, Microsoft PubCenter.

It has formed the Publisher Leadership Council, which comprises digital-media executives and discipline-leading practitioners, including charter members from IAC, Dow Jones Online, The New York Times Co, Time Inc and Viacom Inc.

This group will provide firsthand perspectives and insights to inform PubCenter features and functionality, including enhanced targeting, measurement and reporting functionality.

Partner company executives will form a steering committee, focused on framing the key challenges and opportunities facing the digital-media industry — and the role of technology in solving them. To help Microsoft gain greater insights and perspectives, representatives will have the unique opportunity to inform platform design and feature prioritisation.

“Digital-media publishers have diverse needs and face many challenges,” said Scott Howe, corporate vice-president of the Advertiser & Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft, the platform and monetisation engine for Microsoft Advertising.

“This initiative is validation of our commitment to partnering with the industry to meet those challenges together. Some key features of PubCenter are still on the whiteboard, and we’re giving our partners a pen.”

PubCenter will be built on the existing adCenter Publisher architecture that is currently in beta, and will include the convergence of technologies and tools provided by the former Atlas and Rapt solutions, as well as a self-serve offering.

The new platform will provide innovative forecasting and order management solutions, advanced analytics tools and enhanced targeting functionality to enable all digital-media publishers to have access to the tools and technology they need to provide valuable and relevant ad content to their advertising partners.

“As an industry, we’re forced to rely on many disjointed tools and systems, and the quality of the data we receive can suffer as a result,” said Nada Stirratt, executive vice-president of Digital Advertising at MTV Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom.

“Data is critical to managing, measuring and meeting the needs of our advertisers and audience, and enhancing the overall value we deliver. By collaborating with Microsoft, we’re in a strong position to help address these needs and, together, chart the industry’s future.”

By John Kennedy