.Fox Networks Launches Its First Vertical Ad Network

photo of Hernan Lopez Pres of .Fox NetworksNews Corp. is betting on an emerging class of consumers and companies globally to power its latest online ad network: Worthnet.Fox.

The new vertical network will sell financial advertising on the international versions of key properties acquired in the $5.2 billion buyout of Dow Jones & Co., including The Wall Street Journal Online, Barron's Online and MarketWatch.

The initiative will target two types of advertisers: Luxury goods makers aiming to reach the global nouveau riche and companies in emerging regions trying to get on the radar of institutional investors in world financial capitals.

Newly affluent individuals in countries such as India, China and Turkey "are more spread out than they used to be and harder to reach, and that's where Worthnet will be able to fine-tune this audience and find it wherever it is," said Hernán López, president of .Fox Networks, the unit formed a year ago to focus on advertisers outside the U.S.

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López would not name any advertisers that might participate in Worthnet, but said luxury product makers such as Luis Vuitton have come to appreciate consumers' growing purchasing power in the world's rising economies.

News Corp. also expects that the 20,000 of 46,000 public companies located in emerging markets will prove to be a rich source of advertising. "These companies may have listings in local markets, but they're not known to fund managers or money managers in New York or London where many investment decisions get made," López said. "We will enable them to reach that qualified audience."

The overall goal is for Worthnet to contribute 20% of .Fox Networks revenue by year's end. It will start by adding 10 salespeople in countries including Brazil, Spain, Mexico, Argentina and the UK before rolling out operations to the remainder of its 17 offices worldwide.

Within the next three months, a total of 20 of .Fox Networks staff of 200 will be dedicated to Worthnet, said López. While the new venture will not represent The Wall Street Digital Network in countries where it already has sales offices, Latin America in particular is seen as a key growth region for the Journal sites.

"That is a market where they don't have their own sales offices today and where we have a lot of strength both on the Internet side and in the wider advertising space," said López, noting that .Fox Networks started in Latin America.

Worthnet reflects the broader proliferation of niche ad networks focusing on specific content categories spanning travel, entertainment, automotive and women's sites, among others. Earlier this year, Forbes.com launched a network composed of more than 400 business and financial blogs, including those from about 30 different countries.

As the online division of Fox International Channels, .Fox Networks encompasses some 650 sites and delivers more than 10 billion page impressions to 50 million unique users each month.

Last week, the unit tapped AOL's global ad-serving unit AdTech for the delivery of all premium inventory across multiple channels. López said AdTech would also be used for ad-serving on Worthnet.

In addition to its own properties, News Corp. has signed up 25 outside sites for the network, including the finance sections of Web portals and those of non-U.S. newspapers.

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