Captivate Inks Ad, Tech Agreements with Qwest

Captivate Network, a company that makes and sells inventory on Internet-enabled monitors in office building elevators, is aiming to boost its technology through a new agreement with Qwest Communications.

The multi-year agreement, which will see Denver-based Qwest providing new technology to Captivate, also includes a marketing component, through which the backbone provider and ISP will advertise itself through the company’s network of monitors.

Financial aspects were not disclosed, though the companies said the deal is valued in the millions.

Through the arrangement, Westford, Mass.-based Captivate agreed to use a Virtual Private Network over Qwest’s Internet backbone, to connect to content that Qwest will be hosting on its servers.

In return, Captivate will deliver Qwest’s television ads and what it said were targeted marketing messages from the broadband provider. The ads and rich media presentations are designed to promote many of the same services that Captivate will use — VPN, Web hosting and managed solutions, as well as dedicated Internet access.

“During discussions with Captivate about how Qwest’s networking solutions would benefit its advertising platform, we became aware of how Captivate’s advertising opportunities could benefit Qwest, and we decided to seize the opportunity,” said John Scarborough, vice president of marketing for Qwest global business markets. “Captivate’s advertising services allow Qwest to market specific products to targeted audiences during the day. This is an ideal addition to Qwest’s ongoing corporate branding initiative and global business markets advertising campaign.”

The deal is a win for Captivate, which said it stands to benefit from Qwest’s infrastructure because it will be able to more effectively deliver ads. In recent months the company has landed campaigns for DHL and Continental Airlines, and it says it reaches about a million people daily.

“We are … eager to take advantage of Qwest’s industry-leading network products and services to upgrade our existing technology infrastructure and expedite our aggressive expansion,” said Captivate president and chief executive Michael DiFranza.

He added that the Captivate audience “represented more than $100 million of telecom consumption and that Captivate uniquely offered [Qwest] a way to reach this audience multiple times every day.”

The deal isn’t the first of its kind for Qwest. In April, the company inked an agreement with Microsoft Corp. and its MSN portal to provide broadband access to its members, in return for months of extensive promotion on the site and related properties. Three months later, the company signed a similar agreement with a major Microsoft media rival, New York-based AOL Time Warner.

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