ESPN dumps ad networks

    March 24, 2008
    WebProNews Staff

The sports network won’t use advertising networks to fill in the gaps in its remnant inventory.

DoubleClick just lost one potential customer, as did all of ESPN’s existing ad network partners. See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya, is the message coming out of the Worldwide Leader’s Bristol HQ, likely filtered from parent company Disney’s House of Mouse in Burbank.

Advertising delivered through algorithms? ESPN says no, as Mediaweek noted:

The site recently cut ties with Specific Media and several other unnamed ad networks, and is taking the bold stand that ad selling that relies heavily on arbitrage and algorithms is not for them.

“We’re heading down a path where it no longer suits our business needs to work with ad networks,” said Eric Johnson, executive vp, multimedia sales, ESPN Customer Marketing and Sales. Sources say that ESPN would like to rally support from other publishers behind this move and ultimately tamp down ad networks’ growth.

So just at the time when Google wrangled European approval for its $3.24 billion DoubleClick acquisition, one of the biggest media properties on the planet is actively rejecting relationships with that category of advertising businesses. Other content providers like Turner Entertainment could follow suit.

Nice timing Google. Hope the cafeterias have been stocked with plenty of antacids today.