Unicast and Microsoft Win Prestigious IAB Rising Star Award for Sidekick Ad Format

AUSTIN, Texas, and REDMOND, Wash. — March 1, 2011 — Unicast (http://www.unicast.com), a leader in online interactive rich media and video advertising solutions, was presented with an Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Rising Star Award for its Sidekick rich media ad format, developed in collaboration with Microsoft Advertising. The first annual awards were presented at the IAB Leadership meeting in La Quinta, Calif., on Feb. 28, 2011.

“Recognition from the IAB for Sidekick is a great honor,” said James Dillon, general manager of Unicast. “We share the IAB’s commitment to industry advancement and innovation, and I’m elated to receive the award with our longstanding partner Microsoft Advertising.”

The Sidekick is an expandable format that gives advertisers the flexibility to create on a large palette, but also helps maintain the integrity of the content on the publisher’s page. The Sidekick ad appears on the right side of a Web page and pushes page content/editorial to the left when activated. It also can be launched from virtually any ad format. A typical execution would begin with a banner ad with a call to action to expand Sidekick.

“We’ve been working with Unicast for two years on the Sidekick and are thrilled that the IAB has recognized the potential of this format as an industry standard,” said Jenn Creegan, senior director of brand advertising at Microsoft Advertising. “The Sidekick is just one example of the creative opportunities we’re working on with our partners, like Unicast, to bring to market for advertisers.”

The IAB Rising Stars competition was created by the IAB to encourage the development of new ad formats to enhance the existing list of IAB standard ad units, which are considered by many in the industry to be the foundation of modern digital marketing communications. The selection process was led by a cross-disciplinary group that includes agency creative directors, media executives and ad operations specialists, who judged the ad formats for their potential to drive brand equity at scale. The ad unit submissions were evaluated on criteria including branding, user experience, functionality and page integration. Each year the IAB reviews and revises its “IAB Ad Unit Guidelines”; however, this represents the first time in the organization’s history that it has asked the community to join forces to innovate new ad formats for brand marketers.

“We are excited about the number of high-caliber submissions from leaders across the marketing and advertising industries to this year’s awards,” said Peter Minnium, Consultant and Leader of Rising Stars initiative, IAB. “It further validates the unified focus on fostering creativity and improving the consumers’ experiences with interactive brand advertising.”

View examples of Sidekick on Unicast’s Online Showcase at http://www.unicast.com/Showcase.aspx#/c/richmedia/sidekick.

About Unicast

Unicast has been providing state-of-the-art rich media solutions for publishers, agencies and advertisers since 1998. Integrating creative support with campaign management and detailed analytics, Unicast technologies empower customers to manage the complex process of deploying online advertising campaigns. Unicast is a proud member of the DG (NASDAQ: DGIT) family of companies — a multichannel distribution network of thousands of advertisers and media publishers worldwide. Today, our solutions are leveraged globally by some of the world’s most esteemed brands, including AOL, Fox Interactive Media, MSN, MindShare, NBC Universal, ABC, CBS, and Initiative Media.

For more information visit www.unicast.com. Follow us at www.facebook.com/unicast and www.twitter.com/unicast, and check out our blog at http://unicast.com/blog/.

About DG

DG provides innovative technology-based solutions to the advertising, broadcast and publishing industries. The company serves more than 5,000 advertisers and agencies through a media distribution network of more than 28,000 radio, television, print and Web publishing destinations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. DG utilizes satellite and internet transmission technologies, creative and production resources, digital asset management and syndication services that enable advertisers and agencies to work faster, smarter and more competitively. Through its Unicast, SourceEcreative, Treehouse and Springbox operating units, DG extends its benchmark of excellence to a wide roster of services ranging from custom rich media solutions and interactive marketing to direct response marketing and global creative intelligence. For more information, visit www.DGit.com.

About Microsoft Advertising

Microsoft Advertising provides advertisers and publishers with media, tools and services designed to drive deep and profitable engagement with their audiences. This includes a global media network of Microsoft properties such as MSN, Windows Live, Xbox LIVE, and partner properties such as WSJ.com and Verizon. The Microsoft Advertiser and Publisher Suites simplify planning and management of campaigns and content, offering a range of services that help advertisers and publishers untangle the complexities of digital media and get more out of their marketing and content investments. Microsoft Advertising makes buying and selling media simple, smart and cost-effective across media and devices spanning 42 markets and 21 languages. Visit http://advertising.microsoft.com for more information.

About The IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 460 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit www.iab.net.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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