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Sensis Digital Media will create a new ad business by joining forces with the Telstra and BigPond classifieds in the Media Application and User Expreience Group (MAX). Starting July 1, the merged businesses will have access to more than 9 million consumers online and 10.5 million mobile customers each month.

Michael Padden, head of media classifieds for Telstra, will run the new venture. Padden will also work with Mark Shaw, the general manager of SDM, to integrate and grow business. The new division will control sales and innovation across online, mobile and IPTV. “We are aligning the teams from across Sensis and Telstra that are responsible for creating the digital advertising content with those responsible for selling it,” Padden said in an interview with The Australian.

Telecom analysts in the Australian market said the move was a long time coming, given the growth of BigPond as an advertising platform and the declining value of Sensis’ directory business. 

In a SDM press release, Shaw said, “This is an exciting move which will provide a strong opportunity for business growth and will result in a consolidated leadership position in the digital media industry.” Sensis first launched its digital advertising arm under the MediaSmart®brand in 2002, before rebranding to Sensis Digital Media in 2010.

It is unclear from these announcements whether all Sensis online revenues will reside under the new SDM umbrella. For example, what happens to online Yellow and White revenues under the new arrangement? We will update this post once we have clarity on this point.

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