.FOX Networks acquires majority stake in utarget

MUMBAI: Fox International Channels’ .FOX Networks has acquired a majority stake in utarget, a European ad network that specializes in high-impact formats such as online video and subsites.

The unit, which will be rebranded utarget.Fox, owns the UK’s video advertising network of 630+ top-tier UK websites. The new unit will work with the Fox Interactive Media Audience Network to pursue network advertising relationships with News Corp sites and other third parties, further bolstering News Corporation’s efforts in the online advertising space.

The acquisition will enable .FOX Networks, the year old unit which focuses on providing quality inventory to advertisers outside the U.S., to provide News Corp owned sites, third party publishers and advertisers additional opportunities for video ads of any length, targeted demographically or contextually. Specializing in high impact subsites (also referred to as a BPU or banner-pop-under), the London–based utarget, founded by CEO Phil Cooper, pioneered a self-launching video player window that starts playing an ad automatically only once the window comes into focus.

utarget’s unique video format can accommodate spots of any length in contrast to the :15 and :20 second pre-rolls usually placed on premium video; it is always brand safe as the spot does not share the browser window with any other content; it does not interrupt the user’s experience and can be followed by a call to action. It greatly expands the available video inventory by including websites that don’t necessarily have video content. In addition, utarget also offers traditional pre-roll ads, contextually-targeted subsites and mobile video ads.

"FIC’s television sales teams, which represent .FOX Networks around the world, are known for measurable brand solutions. With utarget.Fox, we can now offer innovative, brand-safe online video formats that advertisers can plan jointly with their TV buys,” said Hernan Lopez, President of .FOX Networks and COO of Fox International Channels. “At the same time, the combination will add value to publishers, by giving them access to FIC’s and .FOX’s international advertiser base even if they don’t have video content."

utarget’s video products will be offered by .FOX and Fox International Channels’ online and television sales teams in 33 offices in Europe, Latin America and Asia, on a global, regional, multi-territory or local basis. FIC will market the products in terms that are familiar to both digital and television planners, leveraging the News Corporation television property relationships.

Phil Cooper, who will stay on as CEO of utarget, said, “We are very excited about the prospect of expanding the reach of utarget’s technology worldwide by taking advantage of News Corporation’s global reach as one of the world’s preeminent media organizations. The time is right to realize the exceptional opportunities coming from the convergence of TV and the Internet.”

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