Microsoft Makes Case To Be Content Leader
"We're all back together again," said Braun, a former Yahoo entertainment head whose production company, BermanBraun Interactive, recently partnered with Microsoft to launch the celebrity news and gossip Web site Wonderwall.
With Wonderwall, the goal was to "figure out a way to have the best program/site environment, and the best possible environment for display advertisers," Braun said. In the interest of increased engagement and page views, he added: "It's all about taking users on a journey."
Without the glitz or star power of its more media-centric rivals, Microsoft sales executives did their best to wow agency types in attendance.
"We will reach consumers everywhere," said Keith Lorizio, vice president of U.S. sales for Microsoft Advertising, as he proceeded to lay out the company's ability to reach audiences via TV, PC, mobile device, and videogame console.
As an example of the broad multichannel campaigns that Microsoft hopes to provide for clients, Lorizio pointed to Discovery Channel's present campaign for the fifth season of "Deadliest Catch."
"They wanted to own a platform and an audience," he said. "We were able to own 100% of the (marketing) budget."
Overall, according to Lorizio, Microsoft presently achieves 1 billion "experiences" daily with consumers around the world -- reaching some 32 million unique daily visitors online and over 25 million mobile users monthly.
"We are still viewed nationally as a technology company," Lorizio said. But, he added, "the depth and breadth of our content is second to none."
Along those lines, Scott Moore, MSN's executive producer and general manager (formerly Yahoo's SVP of news and information), outlined the company's existing lineup, as well as various projects in development.
"We have mass scale across every category," assured Moore, adding: "Entertainment is where we're going to make a big push."
Along with a lifestyle destination for adult women, another for parents, and a venue for TV and pop culture commentary dubbed "Last Night on TV," MSN's most original project is quite literally an "untitled workplace comedy" starring actors/comedians Dave Foley and Amy Davidson.
Perhaps including the name itself, "we will handcraft our show around who the sponsor is," said Foley, who might be best known for his work on "Kids in the Hall."