POPcast Intros Streaming Ad Network

Webcaster POPcast Communications Tuesday announced the launch of a streaming media advertising network, created in conjunction with ad network Engage and media monitoring service AdTraffickers.com.

POPcast’s network, which is part of the company’s enterprise Webcasting services, will allow its clients to insert targeted, rich media ads into its network of streamed audio and video Webcasts based on Microsoft Windows Media technology.

“These developments represent a key step in the progress of our company, and allow us to offer a new level of support for the marketing initiatives of major global brands,” said POPcast chairman and founder William Mutual. “The growing popularity and quality of Windows Media Technologies maximizes our network’s reach and the impact of each ad.”

POPcast said it would employ Engage’s AdManager software for targeting, through a separate deal the companies inked Tuesday.

“Considering their track record and their success in allowing Internet users to personally use and experience streaming media, we are very excited to be working with POPcast,” said Mike Baker, executive vice president of corporate development at Engage.

The first companies online to begin inserting video and audio ads inside POPcast video streams will be British Telecom, Intel, Microsoft and JVC.

“POPcast’s expanding global network combined with Engage’s ad management solution offers our customers the ability to efficiently reach their target audience from a growing, diverse segment of computer and wireless device users,” said Mark Laing, POPcast senior vice president of ad sales.

Under the terms of an additional deal with POPcast, AdTraffickers will offer its outsourced ad monitoring and management services to POPcast customers.

“Trafficking online ads is a complex and costly process,” said AdTraffickers president and co-founder Mike Walker. “AdTraffickers simplifies the ad management process by offering an alternative to the in-house staffing of ad operations. This partnership gives POPcast customers access to world class ad operations services.”

POPcast’s rich media ad network comes as the latest news from major players in the field, who have been striking alliances for more than a year to capture the emerging broadband streaming ad market.

For its part, Engage has been working with Microsoft’s Windows Media unit to handle in-Webcast streaming ad targeting and delivery since late 1999 — an alliance announced just days after rival ad network DoubleClick said that it would handle ad insertion for RealNetworks’ rich media Webcast technology.

In September, Engage teamed with Activate and ad insertion technology firm RCS to debut live ad insertion into Activate’s audio Webcasts.

And in October, RealNetworks inked a deal with KOZ, Coollink Broadcast Network and Citadel Communications. Under that agreement, KOZ said it would building Web sites with e-commerce and community capabilities for 108 of Citadel’s radio stations, with Real Media selling streaming ads across the network of Webcast streams from the radio stations. Coollink would serve and sell ads on some streaming media feeds of stations’ programming. Local advertising reps will also be able to sell packages that include on-air spots and Internet advertising.

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