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Skype ads come to SA

The Kagiso Media division of Howzit MSN has signed an exclusive deal with Microsoft to offer South African companies the opportunity to advertise through Skype for the first time.

Kagiso Media division Howzit MSN has secured an exclusive deal with Microsoft to offer South African brands the ability to advertise through the Skype Internet telephony service for the first time. Skype advertising is set to hit the South African market from 1 April 2012.

This extends the successful partnership that Kagiso Media and Microsoft have built over the past two years, starting with Microsoft’s decision in 2010 to appoint Kagiso Media to manage advertising sales for the South African versions of Windows Live and the Microsoft Network (MSN) portal. Kagiso also manages editorial operations for Howzit MSN, which has grown into one of the top Web portals in South Africa.

Skype, which Microsoft acquired in 2011, offers excellent branding and marketing opportunities for South African advertisers, with a number of mobile and desktop formats on offer including large static display, interactive and video advertisements.

Advertising with Skype gives brands a unique opportunity to be part of the Skype experience, which helps millions of people around the world to get closer to their friends, families and colleagues every day. The service is used daily by hundreds of thousands of South Africans. As such, it offers brands an opportunity to interact with a captive audience in a focused manner.

‚The international launch last month saw adverts appearing on Skype for the first time ever,‚ says Nazeer Sulliman, Advertising and Online lead at Microsoft SA. ‚Advertising on Skype gives brands a great opportunity to be part of the Skype experience, which has enabled people to do things together when they’re apart through voice and video calling, instant messaging and conferencing. We anticipate the move will affect South African advertisers in a major way.‚

Says Howzit MSN GM Marcus Stephens: “We have enjoyed an amazing relationship with Microsoft over the past two years and the partnership has achieved phenomenal success growing the South African MSN and Windows Live businesses.‚

“”We are pleased to build on our partnership by adding advertising services for Skype to our digital offering. Skype is an incredible brand that inspires staunch loyalty among its customers and offers a flexible, powerful advertising platform. Adding the Skype brand to our digital portfolio really strengthens our offering.””

By launching Skype advertising in South Africa through Kagiso, Microsoft is living up to its promise of bringing most of its international digital products to the local market, adds Stephens.

Adds Craig Corte, CEO of Kagiso New Media: “”This new offering forms part of our strategy to keep investing in the growth of our digital portfolio to offer advertisers the widest possible range of digital opportunities. It is an exciting opportunity for the South African market and yet another exciting step forward in our evolving relationship with Microsoft.””

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