Valassis Buys Mediapassage Software

By: J.J. McGrath

Valassis Communications Inc. has purchased Mediapassage software that will be merged into its existing software tool for Internet-based newspaper ad placement, the company announced Thursday.

A Valassis representative declined to disclose the terms of the deal.

Mediapassage, the Seattle-based company that went from dot-com to dot-gone Sept. 24, was one of the first providers of Internet-based print-media ad-placement services.

The market leader in newspaper-delivered advertising inserts — customarily chock-full of coupons — Livonia, Mich.-based Valassis is calling its merged service Valassis Media Passage. It will boast the ad-placement industry’s largest newspaper database, giving its clients the capability to plan, quote, and place their newspaper ads — in either print or Web editions — using an online tool, the company said.

In terms of competition, the deal may lead to an intriguing clash of the titans, since The Associated Press last month purchased the Newspaper Industry Communication Center (NICC) from the Newspaper Association of America. AP said at that time it would mesh AdSend, its digital ad-delivery system, with conventional aspects of NICC’s operations, including phone- and fax-based ad-placement, consolidated billing, and tear-sheet services.

Other possible competitors either offering or planning to offer similar services include Mediaspace Solutions, Norwalk, Conn.; Newspaper Services of America, Downers Grove, Ill.; and The Newspaper Network, Sacramento, Calif.

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