RealTime IT News

Engage Beefs Up Software Division with New Products

Beleaguered ad network Engage rolled out four new products Monday that it's banking will put it back on the map. But it doesn't want to be known just for its ad network -- instead, the Andover, Mass. firm wants to be seen as a software provider, with an emphasis on products that manage convergent media.

Two of the company's four new products incorporate technology from MediaBridge, a print-to-Web digital asset management firm that Engage acquired last summer.

The new Multichannel Promotion software allows advertisers to organize and repurpose digital assets -- like photos or product descriptions -- for use in print, Web and e-mail ads. It also integrates with merchandising, print production, ad trafficking systems, and Engage's online ad network.

The second product, Engage's Multichannel AdManagement suite, is an asset management and workflow management system for Web and print publishers (such as newspapers with a Web component). Engage said the product should cut costs, improve ad submission deadlines, and make it easier for print publishers to upsell their Web advertising space.

Engage also rolled out two products drawing heavily on its existing Echo software, which allows Web site publishers to target ads on the ad network to people who already visited their sites.

Engage's Customer Retention package enhances Echo with more powerful targeting. Ads and promotions for a Web site can targeted through Engage's ad network to specific types of visitors: for instance, consumers that visited but didn't make a purchase.

Similarly, the company's new Interactive AdManagement suite allows publishers to sell inventory based on various profile criteria, like user behavior or geography -- and offer targeting of those profiles through Engage's ad network.

"Engage is committed to delivering software solutions that enable companies to synchronize their marketing messages across traditional and interactive channels," said Tony Nuzzo, president and chief executive at Engage. "With the integration of Engage and MediaBridge products and technologies, we are aggressively attacking the marketing software arena with new solutions and services."

Engage desperately needs to make a splash with its beefed-up software division, which provides higher margins than the media portion of its business. And that media business is proving to be less and less attractive as the online advertising slump continues, and corporate losses pile up (the company posted a loss of $55 million last quarter).

But Engage, which has seen its valuation plummet more than 98 percent since May, believes it's poised to make a comeback. Through its MediaBridge acquisition -- which provided it with on- and offline asset management technology -- Engage now counts more than 100 national papers, including the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as customers of its Multichannel AdManagement product.

"We're delivering more completely on this multichannel marketing and advertising concept," said Peter Mahoney, the firm's vice president of product marketing. "We're delivering on what we've been working on for a while, and integrating a lot of key things for us."

Shares of ENGA, which is majority owned by holding firm CMGI, were trading down 5 percent at press time, at $1.75.