Internet ad sales firm Real Media is repositioning itself to move away from selling ad banners, the primary advertising form online.
"It's a high-cost, low-margin business," explained David Morgan, chief executive of New York-based Real Media. Instead, the company, founded last year to sell banner space on the Web sites of strong local brands--primarily newspapers--will instead focus on creating sponsorship packages, which Morgan believes the company will be able to sell at a premium. In so doing, it may be the first ad sales firm to concentrate on online sponsorships, which have become an increasingly popular form of Net advertising. Real Media hopes to have a number of different pre-packaged sponsorship opportunities available, which can then be tweaked to fit individual sponsors' needs.
Morgan cites sports events as ideal online sponsorship packages, since the events themselves typically have sponsors already committed and because marketers' messages in these instances often transcend geographical borders.
For example, Real Media recently launched a package called World Cup Dream League that is affiliated with the upcoming soccer championship. An online fantasy soccer competition, the Dream League is being sold to advertisers around the world. Real Media plans to stock up on such packages.
Real Media will continue to recruit sites as "affiliates," but its properties will be encouraged to turn their banner inventory over to New Century Network, the association of newspaper companies that manages some 140 local news sites. --LR