Local.com Buys Rovion To Better Monetize Net

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Deeming dynamic and video advertising too vital to be left to a third party, Local.com has agreed to buy rich media provider Rovion for $1.5 million. Heath Clarke, Local.com CEO, is clear about the deal's intent: "Rovion is expected to increase monetization across the current Local.com network."

According to Clarke, rich media is no longer the sole domain of national campaigns. "National brands with local points of presence increasingly use display advertising, and rich media in particular, to more effectively target local consumers."

Effective upon the closing of the transaction, Rovion's Michael Sawtell will assume the role of senior vice president/GM of Local.com's sales and advertiser services business unit. He reports to Bruce Crair, Local.com president/COO.

A wholly owned subsidiary of DigitalPost Interactive, Rovion sells, creates, delivers and tracks rich media -- including animated and video-based ads -- for local and national advertisers, including CBS Radio, Cisco and LendingTree.

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Under the terms of the agreement, Local.com will acquire the assets of Rovion for $1.5 million in cash -- with an earn-out of up to $7 million in cash and stock if future performance criteria is met.

For its part, Local.com is getting a rich media ad management and serving platform, a suite of ad products and services and contacts with Rovion's existing clients.

To date, publishers have had success investing in rich media providers. The shining example is Gannett's acquisition of PointRoll in 2005. While not without its hiccups, PointRoll has recently been credited with driving digital revenue for the publisher.

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