MSN, Microsoft's global online network, is launching an internet resource for online advertisers and media buyers called the MSN Media Centre.
The service, which the media owner launches as scepticism for online advertising grows (see Spotlight-I, p15), will enable online media agencies and clients to plan their campaigns via the web.
Microsoft is planning to charge subscribers to access the MSN internet service after failing to make enough revenue from its online advertising, according to press reports last week. Insiders say the network is currently running a large number of house ads, which suggests its supply of inventory surpasses demand for ads.
Matt Whittingham, the business and marketing manager for MSN UK, denied recent reports that MSN plans to charge for its services in the near future.
However, he said: 'Being realistic, portals will start looking for additional revenue streams at some point.'
Paul Longhurst, the managing director of the online media agency Quantum New Media, said MSN's launch is an attempt to boost its online ad revenues.
The MSN Media Centre plans to eventually facilitate the entire online buying process for media planners and buyers, from research through to evaluation. The business-to-business service launches in France this week and will roll out as a network into 16 markets and 11 languages over the next two months.
Whittingham said: 'We are still very bullish about the online advertising industry. There has been speculation about its downfall, but our revenues are still increasing.'