GSN boosts online network with CPMStar buy, AOL snaps up TechCrunch

The current deal frenzy we’re seeing in sectors from personal care to food appears to be spreading to the internet’s more valuable publishing assets.

Game Show Network (GSN), owned by US cable firm Directv and Sony Pictures, has bought CPMStar, one of the biggest online content marketing networks, to add to its existing 74 million TV games channel and website subscribers. It says CPMStar adds more than five billion ad impressions per month and a worldwide monthly user base of more than 300 million unique users and will create targeted marketing opportunities for games companies around the world, including publishers of video and online games.

“Our acquisition of CPMStar has made GSN the largest online ad network for games,” claims John Zaccario, senior vice-president of advertising sales for GSN. “We’re able to offer our advertising partners access to a large but highly targeted audience.”

At the same time AOL, the ISP that is trying to re-invent itself as an online content company since de-merging from Time Warner, has acquired leading tech website TechCrunch for a reported $25m.

This is a bold move by AOL which is fighting hard to stay in the game against much bigger competitors like Google and Microsoft. TechCrunch, founded by Californian Mike Arrington five years ago, has built its reputation on breaking news stories and outspoken comment, which might not fit too easily within a tech-based corporation.

But the deal (and the price), engineered by former Google advertising head Tim Armstrong, shows that AOL is serious about being a content player. Arrington says he’ll stay on for three years or so.

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