Skype Launches New Ad Program

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Communications platform provider Skype has announced the introduction of advertising in its software, which will appear in the Home tab of Skype for Windows starting this week.

The move represents the first time that ads may appear in Skype’s voice and video calling platforms, and among the first advertisers to sign up are Groupon, Nokia and Visa. Skype has been considering a move of this kind for some time now, and it has been estimated that advertising could bring the company $200 million in annual revenues.

Skype has partnered with Meebo in the U.S., Ad2One in the U.K. and Ströer Interactive in Germany to sell ads in each of their respective markets.

With 145 million average monthly connected users for the fourth quarter of 2010 and 29 million concurrent users at peak times, Skype’s reach and engaged user base makes it an attractive platform for advertisers. Skype Home will provide a sponsored large masthead space at 650 x 170 pixels expandable to 650 x 340 pixels for advertisers to display ads that can include audio or video.

Advertisers can add a Click & Call button in the ads as another call to action, and users can share ads to their Facebook or Twitter accounts and also close ads with one click.

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