Microsoft Partners With CNBC On Mobile Ads

screenshot of CNBC home pageMicrosoft will be the exclusive third-party display ad provider for the mobile Web site of CNBC, the companies announced Monday. The deal expands an online ad agreement that Microsoft and the cable network reached last December, and marks the software giant's first mobile ad syndication deal in the U.S.

The latest ad initiative will let marketers run banner or contextual ads on the CNBC mobile site according to Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) standards.

Ford Motor Co. will be among the first companies to launch a mobile campaign on the CNBC site, with Microsoft serving the ads.

Offering real-time quotes and breaking news alerts, CNBC's mobile site draws 1.1 million monthly visitors and has generated 10 million page views in the last month, according to the company. Fueled by news surrounding the financial meltdown, the site had 4 million page views just in the last week--a record for CNBC's mobile offering.

But the upheaval could prove a mixed blessing. While Wall Street's woes may help boost CNBC audiences across media, the downturn is already weakening financial services advertising online. A 27% drop in Internet display ad spending in the sector during the first half of 2008 contributed to a 6% dip in overall online display ad dollars, according to data released last week by Nielsen Online.

To the extent that CNBC depends on financial services ad spending, the financial crisis could prove costly in the long term. CNBC spokesman Brian Steel, however, said the network has felt no impact from declining economic conditions so far this year.

"We have found advertisers are always going to want to reach the most affluent and educated audience, and that's exactly the audience that watches CNBC and goes to and to the mobile site as well," Steel said. He declined to say what proportion of CNBC advertising is derived from the financial services sector.

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