Microsoft buys TV ad company, Navic Networks

Microsoft acquired Navic Networks today, moving itself into the world of TV advertising with the purchase.

Navic Networks offers campaign-management tools that use real-time audience-measurement data for delivery and placement of targeted ads for users of digital-cable set-top boxes.

Navic Networks, based in Waltham, Mass., will become a subsidiary of Microsoft's growing Advertiser and Publisher Solutions Group, which also manages Microsoft's Internet advertising. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is a logical extension for Microsoft, contends an article by the IDG News Service. Microsoft already offers a platform for cable-service providers to deliver TV programs over IP networks through its Mediaroom software. Plus, the move allows it to compete with Google, which also is moving into TV advertising. In March, news broke that Google was hiring a team of software engineers to develop products for television while building out its sales team to grab customers for its TV ads. (Google’s plans were discovered through a series of job advertisements posted on its Web site.) The move puts Microsoft at the head of the game here, however, because Navic Networks' software is being used to deliver ads to around 35 million digital set-top boxes in North America.

TV advertising makes sense as a next frontier for both Microsoft and Google, as video entertainment merges with the Internet.

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