Microsoft Reports Fiscal Q3 2010 Earnings; AppNexus Gathers Partners For Summit; Google To Begin Display Ad Certification Program

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Microsoft Reports Q1 Earnings

The Wall Street Journal’s Nick Wingfield reports that Microsoft’s “revenue from its cash cow Windows division rose 28% from a year earlier to $4.42 billion.” (Read about it.) The company was easily profitable (<- understatement) in Q1 2010 earning over $4 billion in profit. On the earnings call with Microsoft executives, there was little mention of internet advertising technology other than efforts around Bing. Investor Relations GM Bill Koefoed of Microsoft: “Online advertising revenue grew 19%, primarily driven by search, which outperforms the market. We continue to be enthused with Bing’s momentum, which includes 10 consecutive months of share gains in the U.S.” Read the entire transcript on Seeking Alpha. And, read the Investor Relations release.

AppNexus Summits SF Crowd

With ad:tech San Francisco completed the day before, real-time ad platform AppNexus produced the “AppNexus What Works Summit 2010” yesterday – a half day event targeting its platform partners. The highlights of the event included three panels chock full of representatives from the ad network, aggregator and exchange world. The opening panel titled a “Fireside Chat” perhaps proved the most entertaining with Aaron Easterly, General Manager, Advertising Strategy and Monetization at Microsoft, and Jonathan Hsu, CEO of 24/7 Real Media, chatting while AppNexus’ CEO Brian O’Kelley, who stirred the fire. Hsu emphasized that his company is determined to capture the value it deserved as leading aggregator of online display advertising demand. Conversely, Easterly stated that sell-side platform (SSP) opportunity was something Microsoft specifically wanted to address. See the event agenda. Video will be available soon.

As Marv Albert Would Say, “NY Times Showing Signs”

PaidContent’s Staci Kramer covers the NY Times Q1 earnings report and suggests – with caveats about the declining print business – that things are getting better as not only has the bleeding slowed but the profit has returned: The company “reported a revenue drop of 3.2 percent for Q1, which truly is an improvement over Q409’s 11.5 percent decline. It’s also a sign that cutting costs isn’t the only factor in the company’s swing to $12.8 million profit after a $74.4 million loss in the same quarter last year.” knocked it out of the park with a 30 percent increase in revenue. Read more.

Ron Conway Fund

Venture capitalist Ron Conway has started a new fund called SV Angel that will seek to invest its $20 million hoard in 2-3 startups per month. The popular VC everyone wants associated with their early-stage start-up is seeking up to “5 qualified deals a day [which] are referred to them through their network.” See Mike Arrington’s interview with Conway on TechCrunch.

Margin Obfuscation

kbs+p Chief Digital Officer, Darren Herman, identifies what he calls “pricing obfuscation” in a marketplace and thinks more efficiency, sooner, is best but media companies need to hang on to fat, short term margins may prevent that. He writes, “If/when major media buyers (marketers, agencies grouped together) have the ability to buy on value, not price en mass, this will be a major market shift. Some of us are here today but when even more of us are here tomorrow, the sell side will become much more comfortable as more dollars move into the industry to satiate cash flow statements.” Read more and the comments.

Google Display Ad Certification Coming

Magnus Nilsson gives search marketers a list of display advertising tips on The eConsultancy blog, and then notes that Google is on the verge of certifying search marketers, and likely others, for display advertising through AdWords. Google says they’ll have the display exam ready sometime in 2010 – see the AdWords Display Certification section about the exam. Among the study sections, “Communicate Value.”

The Trade Desk Gets Mo’

The Trade Desk, started by former AdECN-er Jeff Green, now has another half a million dollars courtesy of Wider Wake Networks as part of The Trade Desk’s recent $2.5M early-stage, investment round. Wider Wake Networks is headed by Paul Olliver according Socal Tech. Read it.

Publicis Grows

The agency holding company reported its Q1 2010 earnings yesterday and according to Ruth Bender of The Wall Street Journal, Publicis has returned to growth mode. Bender writes that Publicis enjoyed “a 3.1% rise in first-quarter organic revenue and said the second quarter should be ‘at least’ in line with the first, in a sign that the advertising industry is recovering faster than expected.” Read more for the WSJ. And, see the Investor Relations release.

Omnicom and Havas Looking Up

Though the year-over-year comparables may have embellished the growth this year given the cratering of ad revenue in early 2009, ad holding company Omnicom showed strength as it beat Wall Street expectations with its Q1 2010 earnings report. According to MediaBuyerPlanner, “Omnicom executives say, business is improving, with sports marketing and public relations, in particular, performing well.” As for Havas, it “reported organic revenue growth of 1.5% in the first quarter, compared to the same quarter last year, to $441 million.” Read more.

Travel Meets Spa

Travel Ad Network continues to move forward in the vertical ad network space as they announced the addition of SpaFinder. In the release, the vertical ad network offers ways in which advertisers can work with its new network partner including “display ads and integrated programs such as custom mini-sites and custom content, sponsorships/sweepstakes.” Agency-like. Read more.

Making The Online Video Ad Case

Online video ad network BrightRoll has issued results from a new study that shows agencies perceive a greater ROI from online video given recent factors: “Lower rates, better targeting, more access to quality inventory and the emergence of performance-based metrics like cost per engagement (CPE) and cost per video view (CPV) all contributed to the perception of increased value.” Read the release.

More Dapper Panels

Dapper continues its traveling roadshow of panels related to “Fixing Advertising” with a just-added panel in Seattle on May 13. See this one, Chicago and NYC’s Fixing Advertising panel info and registration here.

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