Reuters is reporting that Fox Interactive Media President Peter Levinsohn said Monday that his company is in the discussion stages of creating an ad network, internally dubbed "FIM Serve," that would service all of News Corp.'s online properties. Eventually, the ad network would be opened to non-News Corp. properties.
"We're well down the path in terms of discussions with some of the other News Corp properties to do ad serving," Levinsohn said at the Reuters Media Summit today. "Ultimately we'll take the company off network and become an ad network for assets outside of the News Corporation empire."
Earlier this month, FIM's MySpace unit announced its so-called 'HyperTargeting' ads, which use MySpace user profile data to target ads across 100 categories (with plans to expand to 1000). Could HyperTargeting eventually find its way outside of the social network and on to other Fox Interactive Media or News Corp. properties and beyond?
FIM controls a number of media sites likely popular with the MySpace demographic, such as Photobucket, Flecktor, AskMen.com, IGN, AmericanIdol.com, and FOXSports.com. Their sites reach the fifth largest audience in the US, according to comScore, with 84.2 million unique visits in October. Targeting to users visiting from MySpace based on their profile data could be very helpful for increasing advertiser ROI, and using internal social networking data to target ads on external sites was something that many people speculated Facebook was up to prior to the announcement of SocialAds and Beacon.
FIM Serve could launch "as early as the first half of next year," according to Levinsohn, and if it includes HyperTargeting, would it cause the same sort of backlash that Facebook is seeing from privacy rights groups over its Project Beacon?