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DoubleClick to Offer Media Buying Automation

New York-based DoubleClick, which runs the Web's largest media network and ad serving business, is striking out into a new area: providing online media buying tools to agencies, after purchasing the technology to do so from startup Adgile Interactive.

The agreement with San Francisco-based Adgile cedes to DoubleClick its Web-based software application, Adgility, which assists in the automation of planning and buying online media.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

It's a field already rife with established players -- Avenue A, in a deal with Spark Online, provides similar tools, as does Mediaplex's AdWare subsidiary. Web media marketplaces like MediaPassage and DigitalRoot's MediAssist also position their services as an easy way for media agencies to plan and execute buys.

Like many of those tools, Adgile's product enables media planners to query a database of Web sites, plan their campaign around their findings, and distribute requests for proposals and insertion orders. And as with the other companies' offerings, the chief benefit of such a system is to simplify the process by eliminating data entry and automatically managing contracts -- ideally, promoting the use of online media in general.

"With the purchase of this media planning technology, we are helping agencies and in-house media buyers free the time and resources spent on planning, buying, and analyzing media campaigns so that they can focus on more important tasks, like campaign strategy," said David Rosenblatt, who is president of DoubleClick's Technology, Data, and Research units.

But as the single largest player in outsourced Web media sales and ad serving, DoubleClick is poised to dominate the industry with such an offering.

Specifically, DoubleClick said it intends to combine Adgile's technology with its own DART for Advertisers ad server. In doing so, the firm said that DART would be better suited to help agencies manage their online ad campaigns -- but it would also encourage DART's ad agency and advertiser clients to trade up to the additional services, while potentially dropping competing tools.

DoubleClick also said that its plans include integrating Adgile with its @plan metrics unit -- another widely-used tool by online media planners -- and its Diameter research group, to offer services handling all aspects of the online media buy: planning, transacting, trafficking, serving and measurement.

"This acquisition forms the foundation for DoubleClick to build an end-to-end media planning solution that ties together DoubleClick's leading ad management technology with its suite of online research tools, providing marketers with a integrated solution to plan, serve, analyze and optimize their online marketing campaigns," Rosenblatt said.