NEW YORK: News Corporation's Fox Audience Network (FAN) and WPP Group have forged an alliance that will see the two companies share key consumer insights from the digital space, it has been announced.

Under the terms of the deal, WPP will be entitled to tap FAN's audience segmentation service to bolster planning and measurement projects.

The data-sharing tie-up will also pave the way for the world's leading marketing communications firm to use a new “real-time” bidding system to buy up inventory from Fox.

Speaking at Ad:tech New York 2009 - Warc's coverage of which is available here - Jonathan Miller, chairman and chief executive News Corp's digital media group, argued that the “socialisation” of the internet, the rise of mobile media, and the move towards “real time” communications were among the key trends that would shape the digital arena of the future.

“We believe that by adding audience insights to what would otherwise be not differentiated inventory, you make it more valuable,” Miller said.

“Starting from the social networking environment … people tell you a lot about themselves in unstructured data. Once you structure it and make it useful as a seller, you make it useful to a buyer.”

He added that the more targeted approach to display advertising, and the quest to provide marketers with the type of precision typically delivered by online search, would entail a change in emphasis among agencies.

The role of researchers and media specialists would inevitably increase in importance and their work would become more essential to creative teams, he predicted.

Data sourced from WARC