|Microsoft and Nine Entertainment Co. have announced a new umbrella brand called Mi9, a wholesale trade brand for commercial partners, as they officially launch the Microsoft Advertising Exchange in Australia.
The new corporate trade brand Mi9, which will officially launch in early 2012, encompasses more than 80 brands including Ninemsn, Hotmail, Messenger, Bing, Cudo, iSelect, RateCity, the Microsoft Media Network (MMN), Xbox and now the Microsoft Advertising Exchange. The Ninemsn brand will remain unchanged for consumers and advertising opportunities for Skype will be available in 2012.
Mi9 chief executive Mark Britt said: "As a group of companies, we have evolved beyond a publisher into an end-to-end advertising platform that can meet marketers' requirements right across the purchase funnel.
"We are evolving our corporate and trade brand to reflect the full scope of what we now offer, while keeping with the heritage of Microsoft and Nine. We believe the next phase of digital advertising will be defined by the marriage of two things - imagination + intelligence."
The Mi9 group will represent and sell audiences from its own branded properties along with other premium Australian and international online brands
On the same day that Mi9 was announced, the Microsoft Advertising Exchange was launched. A real-time bidding marketplace, the ad exchange enables advertisers to bid on premium online inventory on an individual impression basis in real time.
Advertisers can look at each impression along with existing data and decide if they want to buy the impression and how much they are prepared to pay for it.
Only players who have the technological relationships in place to bid on the Microsoft Advertising Exchange are able to take part in the bidding. Demand-side partner agencies joining the exchange for its Australian launch include: ATW (Ikon), OMD, PHD, Group M (Xaxis), Cadreon (MediaBrands), Vivaki, Aegis (Carat/Emitch) and Criteo.
Britt said: "This is not a product, it's an entirely new way of media buying and an entirely new way of selling. We'll be trading targeted impressions in real-time, based on real insights and data about the individual browser.
"Exchanges are changing the ad game globally and we're predicting a major shift in the way the Australian market operates as a result of this technology being introduced. In addition to buying ad placements in an 'environment' with an audience, advertisers can now buy impressions for an audience they know is actively looking for products and services like theirs."
Display inventory across all Ninemsn's 80 premium product sites, as well as MSN and Windows Live inventory, are now available in the exchange. Major third party publishers have also expressed interest in coming on board and trading their ads in this space.
Britt said: "You need only look at the results in the US to see just how rapidly Real Time Bidding is taking off."