New Fronts: Microsoft Rolls out Ads for Apps

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Microsoft wants ads in Xbox LIVE apps to be the new way marketers target consumers.

Today in its New Front ad presentation Microsoft announced partners for expanding what it calls “TV-Like Advertising” on Xbox Live, its online entertainment service with nearly 40 million members worldwide.

Entertainment companies including ESPN, GameSpot, MSNBC, TMZ, “Today,” and “UFC” have all signed on to display fifteen and thirty second ads and will share the revenue with Microsoft .

The goal is to make it easy for advertisers to purchase standard 15 and 30 second spots, as they would on TV. But the fact that these ads are being distributed within apps means that they can be closely targeted, and even interactive.

As part of its presentation to marketers Microsoft is announcing that ad spending on Xbox LIVE has increased 142 percent since 2010. And the tech giant is trying to convince marketers that they need to go where consumers are, and Xbox LIVE Gold member sin the US spend an average of 84 hours a month on the platform. And Microsoft continues its push to transition Xbox from being a gaming device, to an entertainment hub. The company says that for the first time on Xbox LIVE in the US, entertainment app usage has surpassed online multiplayer gaming.

After Microsoft, the next New Front presentation comes from AOL at 6 pm ET. The company hasn’t released any details yet, but sources tell me that AOL’s big news will be about video, with a lot of original programming.

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