Microsoft Consolidates Ad Sales

Aiming to streamline its ad sales, Microsoft Corp. is launching a new division, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions, that will allow marketers to purchase ad inventory across all of the company's various properties--including MSN, the adCenter paid search platform, PCs, Xbox Live, and Web-enabled mobile phones--from one sales rep.

The company is aiming to help advertisers save time and effort when buying across multiple media in an increasingly fragmented marketplace, according to Joanne Bradford, corporate vice president of global sales and marketing. "We're addressing the reality of media fragmentation and enabling advertisers to get back to what they do best: creating engaging and creative ads," she said in a statement.

The group also will handle sales into Windows Live, Office Online, and Windows Mobile, as well as through Massive Incorporated, a video game ad network that Microsoft purchased in April. Microsoft says its MSN properties garner 465 million visitors worldwide.

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The consolidation should make it easier for media planners to make their buys across any Microsoft property, a spokesman for the software giant said. "It's pulling all the assets together, so that instead of having one account executive that sells Massive, and one that sells MSN and one that sells adCenter, you'll have a single AE [account executive] that sells everything," he said.

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