In heads-up competition with both Yahoo (YHOO) and Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, Microsoft just beat out its rivals to a seven-figure ad campaign with Discovery Communications for its “Deadliest Catch” series. The deal that will bring Discovery ads to MSN.com, MSNBC, inside video games like “Shaun White Snowboarding,” and via text-message, Bloomberg reports.
Microsoft may have just offered a deal that Discovery couldn’t refuse. But this is at least an early sign that Microsoft’s disparate online businesses are finally starting to work together.
- New Microsoft online boss Qi Lu has promised to bring clarity to Microsoft’s ad strategy.
- Lots of former Yahoo execs are now working for Microsoft online. They might be able to help Microsoft get an edge over Yahoo by knowing their previous company’s sales strategy. (Or at least its old sales strategy — Carol Bartz could be pushing different buttons.)
- Some clients shied away from Microsoft last year as the company negotiated takeover talks with Yahoo, saying the company seemed distracted and in flux.
- Also: More business for Massive, the in-game ad firm Microsoft bought in 2006.
But Microsoft’s improved sales strategy can only take it so far. The company still lags on ad tech. Several companies interviewed by Bloomberg note they’ve switched to Microsoft’s rivals who can do more targeted placements.
And while a nice story, this seven figure deal isn’t going to do much for Microsoft, which has to do lots of seven-figure deals to make a real mark in its business.