Similarly, Time Warner’s AOL unit recently bought a controlling interest in German online ad company Adtech and also purchased Third Screen Media, an ad agency that targets mobile handsets. Meanwhile, WPP, a large advertising and media company, decided to buy digital marketing company 24/7 Real Media for $649 million.
AT&T didn’t buy anybody, but still managed to insert itself in the new-media ad frenzy by announcing it expects that in three years it will be making a combined $1 billion a year from advertising on its mobile phones and on its U-verse triple play service.
Microsoft has long touted the value of online advertising, but the rash of acquisitions compelled the company to try to bring some of that capability in-house. Microsoft’s spin will be that it will be able to provide the development tools for online and interactive advertising.
To wit, according to Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer: “The advertising industry is evolving and growing at an incredible pace, moving increasingly toward online and IP-served platforms, which dramatically increases the importance of software for this industry.”
aQuantive is the parent of Avenue A | Razorfish, an ad agency that specializes in interactivity; Atlas, a digital marketing company; and DRIVEpm, a reseller of online ad space.