Microsoft’s Latest Ad Buy: Navic Networks

In another move to solidify its overall advertising business strategy, Microsoft Wednesday said it bought privately held Navic Networks, which specializes in providing tools for managing advertising inventory for interactive television.

Additionally, the company gains Navic’s Admira media placement platform, Microsoft said in a statement.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has been on a buying spree in the advertising space for more than a year. Last summer, for instance, Microsoft bought out online advertising giant aQuantive for $6 billion.

This latest buy provides the company with an entrée to another source of advertising revenue – interactive television, which is becoming more and more popular — and an advertising market that hasn’t already been dominated by Google (NASDAQ: GOOG). When all broadcast television becomes digital next year, the buyout may prove to be timely as well.

The buyout may also assuage a little of the anguish Microsoft executives may feel over the demise of their bid for Yahoo (NASDAQ: YHOO).

After all, the majority of the money in the advertising industry still comes from non-online sources — including TV. Indeed, in blowing off the Yahoo fiasco, several executives pointed out that there are other huge advertising markets that are not linked to search.

“Television media represents the largest percentage of advertisers and agencies’ media budget today,” Brian McAndrews, senior vice president of the Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group at Microsoft, said in a statement. McAndrews’ joining Microsoft came as result of the earlier acquisition of aQuantive, where he had been CEO.

Neither Microsoft, nor Google, are entirely new to the market, of course. Both companies have efforts underway to make headway in those markets, even if they’re sometimes peripheral.

For example, Microsoft in December announced a $500 million deal with Viacom through which the software company will serve ads for the cable company’s U.S. Web sites.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

News Around the Web