Engage Strikes Asia Distribution Deal

CMGI ad serving, marketing and technology company Engage said Friday in an interview with internetnews.com that has inked a licensing deal with Asian telecom and Internet services giant Pacific Century CyberWorks.

The deal gives Hong Kong-based PCCW rights to distribute Engage’s Profile Server and Ad Manager throughout Asia.

Engage already has a sizable presence in Asia and Japan — which the company groups separately — and has been working in recent months to expand in the region.

In June, the company purchased a Japanese ad network and controlling interest in a Japanese joint venture it had with Sumitomo Corp. The two companies had operated the venture since 1998, when Sumimoto made a $10 million investment in Engage’s parent, CMGI.

In late August, Engage acquired onetime rival ad network Space Asia Media. At the time, Space was considered the chief obstacle to U.S.-based ad networks’ expansion into mainland Asia, reporting about 270 publishers and more than 140 million monthly impressions. The network became Engage Asia through the deal.

“Asia represents one of the world’s fastest-growing and most sophisticated markets for Internet services, and as a result, we are constantly striving to become involved with new projects in this region,” said Engage president and chief executive officer Paul Schaut.

The PCCW agreement also enables PCCW to use Profile Server and Ad Manager on its “Network of the World” broadband streaming video portal, which it launched recently and is attempting to parlay into a convergent TV-Web platform. The companies said NOW will use the technology to target personalized content and ads via anonymous profiles on the site, which aggregates business, entertainment, sports and world news on its site.

Like the Sumitomo pact, the PCCW deal grew out of a previous CMGI relationship. PCCW has a minority stake in CMGI, and the two companies have been dealing together in several capacities for several years.

In January, PCCW said it would support the expansion of CMGI’s operating companies into the Asian market. Accordingly, several CMGI companies, most recently NaviSite and AltaVista, have announced working alliances with the company to roll out products and services in Asia.

PCCW is one of the world’s biggest Internet companies, and valued at more than US$23 billion, is the largest Internet company in Asia by market cap. In August, it merged with Cable & Wireless HKT.

“This relationship is a perfect example of how CMGI strategic partners and enterprises are working together to deliver the best of the Web to consumers,” said CMGI chief executive David Wetherell.

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