RealTime IT News

Commonwealth Bank Seeks Portal to Customers

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has committed to an online branding deal worth AUS$5 million (US$3.3 million) over two years with local Internet portal ninemsn.

The partnership will position the CBA as the preferred financial services provider across the ninemsn network, which is a joint venture between Microsoft and ecorp, the online media arm of Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd.

The strategic alliance is non-exclusive, so ninemsn can host advertising from other financial institutions and the CBA can continue advertising on other sites.

ninemsn will position banner ads and hyperlinked 'preferred partner buttons' so that its users can directly access CBA sites such as ShareDirect, FundsDirect, NetBank, and online broker service Commonwealth Securities.

The bank will have this branding on ninemsn's money, travel, automotive, and shopping sites, to take advantage of the financial decisions that underpin the 'lifestyle events' these sites promote. The alliance also allows for scope for the partners to expand into marketing opportunities, such as a co-branded credit card.

The deal has drawn attention particularly because both partners are popular Australian sites. Many local partnerships to date have involved popular sites and companies seeking to take advantage of that exposure. According to July figures from Internet measurement company www.consult, ninemsn reaches more than 56 per cent of Web users.

The CBA's online brokering service, Commonwealth Securities meanwhile ranked as the number two most commonly visited site according to Internet measurement site Where Did We Go?. ninemsn was ranked third on the same list.

While it may be an unusual pairing, CBA managing director David Murray said that it still promised to be an excellent branding opportunity.

"The objectives of a portal relationship such as this one with ninemsn are about distribution, that is, placing the Commonwealth Bank brand, products and services in front of as many people as possible," he said.