MSN to target local online advertising base

1 Oct 2004

Microsoft has signed a number key content partnerships with well-known Irish brands RTÉ, Esat BT, IFG, VHI and Golden Pages as part of its launch of dedicated Irish MSN portal on Monday and aims to target local advertising for Irish MSN and Hotmail users, has learned. The company would not comment on specific financial targets for the new portal.

It is understood that MSN has forged a partnership with local online marketing and customer acquisition player Red Sky to boost local advertising for the new portal. East Wall Road-based Red Sky recently signed a similar deal with AIB recently to enable the bank’s business banking division to more effectively attract and keep customers through the online medium, using a melding of online advertising, analysis, business intelligence and customer relationship management technologies.

Microsoft Ireland general manager Joe Macri today told journalists that the decision to introduce the local portal was driven by the large number of Irish online users who flock to as well as the fact that a significant majority of Irish web surfers – some 500,000 people – have Hotmail accounts.

In terms of the content partnerships, Microsoft has signed up Esat BT as its home phone and internet channel partner while Eirborne Text Promotions will provide mobile phone and entertainment services.

Financial services organisation IFG will act as MSN’s money and finance partner while VHI will provide detailed health and lifestyle content. RTÉ will provide a constant news stream to the site providing up to the minute sports and entertainment news.

Access to an online business finder will be provided by Golden Pages, while MSN’s international partner will introduce a dating channel for Irish users.

Macri revealed that the new Irish portal, which goes live on Monday, will also represent the first new look version for MSN portals worldwide in terms of a more simple layout and access to information.

MSN Europe general manager Geoff Sutton told journalists: “Some 96pc of MSN’s global revenues come from our content partners.

“In terms of online advertising, we estimated that the net will take 15pc of global media minutes by 2007. The internet advertising market will triple over the next three years and will be worth €4bn by 2008,” Sutton said.

Sutton added that Microsoft’s imminent online music store for Europe is nearing completion following the signing of a strategic partnership with UK online music firm OB2.

By John Kennedy