REDMOND, Wash., March 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Tomorrow Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), will deliver the keynote address at the sixth annual MSN(R) Strategic Account Summit, a leading industry forum held on Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, where many of the industry's most innovative thought leaders will meet to discuss what will shape the advertising industry today and in the future. Based on feedback from marketers and customers, MSN developed a two-day agenda within the theme of "Mastering the Medium," armed to help the more than 500 attendees identify opportunities to most effectively reach their audiences. Attendees also will gain insights into MSN's vision and strategy and will have the opportunity to hear and interact with industry-leading speakers in categories such as branding, direct-response campaigns and privacy. Examples of innovative work, best results, trends and accomplishments that reach beyond the boundaries of today's advertising will be highlighted at the summit to encourage the industry to continue to move forward on the road to mastery. Speakers and panelists at the sixth annual summit include the following: -- Barry Diller, chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp. -- Mark Burnett, creator and executive producer of reality television programs such as "Survivor" and "The Apprentice" -- Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO and chairman of the executive committee of Google Inc. -- Ted Meisel, president of Yahoo! Search Marketing and senior vice president of Yahoo! Inc. -- Ann Fudge, chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands "Microsoft's Strategic Account Summit is one of the most important industry events of the year for advertisers, publishers and creative agencies," Ballmer said. "We are proud to host many of the top thought leaders from the advertising and media community, and join them in addressing how to interact and communicate with consumers in new and meaningful ways online." MSN to Preview Prototype Advertising Platform At the summit MSN also will unveil Microsoft's next-generation online advertising platform, MSN adCenter, built on Microsoft(R) technology that will help advertisers get higher returns by understanding and connecting to their desired audience throughout the MSN network. Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform division, will demonstrate the first component of MSN adCenter, a new prototype of an MSN paid-search solution for which a pilot program will begin within the next six months in Singapore and France to gather customer feedback. Within the MSN adCenter platform, the new MSN paid-search solution will be tightly integrated with other future capabilities to give advertisers a one- stop shop from which to plan, execute and adjust their online campaigns. The new MSN paid-search solution will provide keyword buyers with in-depth audience intelligence including geographic location, gender, age group, lifestyle segment and time of day. As a result, advertisers should be able to plan more strategic advertising investments and achieve higher click-to-buy conversion rates among consumers. MSN remains committed to working with Yahoo! Search Marketing (formerly Overture) and will continue to collaborate with it to offer high-quality search listings to advertisers. MSN Creates Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team During his presentation at the summit, Blake Irving, corporate vice president of the MSN Communication Services and Member Platform Group at Microsoft, will announce the evolution of the MSN Custom Solutions Team to take on an expanded charter in the United States as the new MSN Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team. "At MSN we were among the first to realize the potential of branded experiences online when we formed our Custom Solutions Team three years ago," said Joanne Bradford, vice president and chief media revenue officer for MSN. "Now with the explosion of consumer and marketer interest in branded entertainment, we believe it's the right time to expand our charter." The new MSN Branded Entertainment and Experiences Team will be a resource for brand marketers to reach the massive MSN consumer audience in new ways online via experiential marketing and entertainment that taps into consumer passions for sports, music, movies, video, instant messaging and more online experiences on MSN. Irving will cite evidence in the industry confirming that innovative, software-powered branded entertainment experiences on MSN were extremely effective for advertisers on the network. According to Dynamic Logic Inc.*, compared with more than 1,700 advertising campaigns that ran on sites across the Internet, previous custom solutions developed by the same team greatly outperformed every metric Dynamic Logic measures. These experiences performed 57 percent better than average at driving online ad awareness, 25 percent better at increasing aided brand awareness, and 53 percent better at increasing brand favorability. Purchase intent, arguably the hardest metric to lift, increased 75 percent for branded entertainment experiences. The team has a strong history of working with leading brands, and in the past three years has worked with more than 40 of the top consumer brands that have run engaging and creative branded entertainment experiences on MSN. Many key partners are incorporating MSN products and services such as MSN Video, MSN Messenger and MSN Music into their experiences to provide entertainment and interaction to online destinations, which has proven to be quite successful. "MSN's ability to create customized and innovative programs has allowed us to deliver highly impactful programs that increase consumer involvement with the brands we serve," said Sarah Fay, president of Isobar US (Carat Interactive, Freestyle, iProspect). "This group consistently forges new territory for our clients and the industry. We consider MSN a gold standard partner in the category of branded entertainment." A replay of Ballmer's keynote speech as well as Mehdi's demonstration from the MSN Strategic Account Summit will be available at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/newsroom/msn/default.asp by 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 16. About MSN MSN attracts more than 380 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 40 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com . MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx . About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. * Dynamic Logic MarketNorms for 1,705 campaigns through Dec. 31, 2004, versus 18 MSN branded entertainment experiences, comparing brand impact deltas (control - exposed scores) NOTE: Microsoft and MSN are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.
SOURCE Microsoft Corp.