Microsoft Acquires Navic Networks For TV Push

Shaking off the sting of its collapsed deal with Yahoo!, Microsoft bought addressable TV player Navic Networks in a deal that will extend its ad platform to television.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Navic works with top cable companies to provide targeted TV advertising with a nascent ad network called Admira. It works with cable companies like Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Charter. Dish Network also uses its technology. Its technology is used to run ad campaigns targeted to viewer groups, and also offers interactive features like the ability to click through for long-form content.

“We’re clearly making a commitment to emerging media,” Brian McAndrews, svp of advertiser and publisher solutions at Microsoft, said in an interview here. “In the long run, we want to be a platform across all media.”

McAndrews painted the move as a way to “accelerate” Microsoft’s efforts to build a wide-ranging ad platform that would allow advertisers to place, target and track ads on the Web, mobile, in video games and now TV. It has added capabilities through acquisition, such as the 2006 purchase of video game ad network Massive and the 2007 buy of mobile ad network Screentonic.

Buying Navic is also a way to keep pace with Google, which is making a push to enter the estimated $80 billion TV ad market. McAndrews said Navic differs from Google’s approach by working directly with cable companies versus satellite services, allowing greater targeting and not forcing broadcasters to use an auction. Project Canoe, which recently recruited Aegis Media Americas CEO David Verklin to head it, is attempting to bring ad targeting to TV through a consortium of cable companies.

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