New marketing specialist, Opalcove Ltd, buys niche site and agrees sponsorship with Money Extra

50connect.co.uk, the UK’s largest website for the over-45s has been purchased by financial marketing start-up, Opalcove Ltd, in a seven figure deal indicative of a wider trend in which advertisers and brands are looking to target niche sites for online marketing opportunities that generate real income.

Money Extra will also partner Opalcove in sponsoring the finance channel on the lifestyle portal, which will be promoted to 1.2 million members.

50connect is part of a stable of niche websites owned and managed by UTMedia, a division of Utarget plc. The division will continue to manage content and provide online advertising revenue for Opalcove going forward.

“Segmenting the market and focusing on niche demographics offers a greater return on investment because it allows advertisers and brands to create longer-term, more meaningful relationships with a credible audience,” says Keith Brown, Director, at Opalcove.

Brown continues: “We were particularly interested in 50connect because it has a loyal following in the mature market, in particular the net-savvy, financially informed visitors who are happy to purchase online. The niche site is the perfect place for us to promote and supply financial services to a quality buying audience.”

The mature generation now constitute 50% of internet surfers and is the fastest growing market in the country accounting for 80% of personal wealth and 40% of consumer spending, with an annual expenditure of £145 billion. Although a number of players have launched sites in this market, 50connect has captured the largest audience with almost 1.1 million unique users per month, twice that of its nearest rival.

Research conducted last year with 50connect’s 130,000 members revealed that financial service offerings, such as home insurance and pension release, were the most popularly searched products. Some 71% of members had purchased goods online and 67% were more likely to buy from a company recommended by 50connect.

Philip Cooper, Managing Director at Utarget plc, says: “Our Utarget Media division has developed highly skilled expertise in creating and managing niche community centred channels that offer valued content and real online marketing and advertising opportunities.”

He continues: “The seven figure deal allows us to invest in other niche site initiatives in several new markets including finance, travel, health and the growing youth sector. We will also continue to build our Utarget Networks division, enlarging our existing full page advertising offerings in subsite, interstitial and contextual advertising.”

Utarget manages combined networks across 500 top UK websites that reach more than 15 million unique users per month. It provides advertisers, agencies and brands with distinctive and unique online advertising propositions utilising ad technology and media to deliver targeted web advertising opportunities. The company’s extensive client portfolio includes FT.com, AOL, First Direct, Norwich Union, Dixons, Carphone warehouse, Bupa and Royal Mail, in addition to a number of other high profile FMCG companies.

50connect is the largest website of its type in the UK and was recently awarded eSuperbrands status and voted one of the UK’s top five niche sites by Marketing Week. Money Extra will promote its sponsorship of the finance channel on 50connect online to 1.2 million members via email.

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Editor’s notes

About Utarget plc
Trading for five years, with an annual turnover of £2.5m, Utarget plc is one of the UK’s largest product-led, new media sales houses.

The company provides advertisers, and their agencies, with distinctive and unique methods of advertising online. Utarget plc utilises owned and externally managed networks, ad technology and media to deliver web advertising opportunities. The premise behind its range of activities is to offer brands, media and advertising that are targeted, effective and proven to work.

The Utarget Networks division represents the company’s network of advertising products from subsites to contextual and interstitial advertising. Products are primarily based on full screen web advertising using a variety of owned, managed and proprietary networks. The combined networks are managed across 500 of the UK’s top websites, reaching more than 15million users a month (57% of the internet population).

The Utarget Media division houses online consumer-centric media owned by the company (such as Travelconnect), alongside niche media that is managed by the company (50Connect). Utarget Media also sells advertising inventory for a catalogue of carefully selected websites.

The company manages campaigns for FT.com, Dell, Dixons, BUPA, Carphone Warehouse, Norwich Union, AOL and Royal Mail through well-known agencies including Diffiniti, Initiative, Harvest, Mediavest, Quantum, MGOMD, Carat, Zed and Agency.com. Advertisers, such as Partypoker, Betfair, Mercury direct and Alertacall, are managed direct through Utarget.

Contact:
Katy Howell
0845 408 2031
pressoffice@immediatefuture.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 10th March 2006