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24/7 Shifts Europe HQ to Holland, Snags Swedish Deal

AMSTERDAM – 24/7 Europe moved its headquarters from London to Amsterdam this month, while the German operation shifted its base from Hamburg to Duesseldorf. Both moves are seen within the context of European Internet advertising growth.

On Nov. 30 the company announced it had won a five-way pitch to represent Torget, the biggest shopping portal in Sweden. Launched by Swedish Post in 1996 the site was reconfigured as a shopping mall last March.

Last summer it had attracted 760 shops and 200,000 visitors a day. It now attracts 955,000 unique users and generates more than 6 million ad impressions monthly.

“The deal,” said 24/7 Europe spokeswoman Suzanna Collis, “gives 24/7 the largest portfolio of Swedish ad impressions for any sales house, with more than 140 million Swedish impressions available for sale each month.”

It also gives the Swedish arm of the company representation of six of the top ten commercial sites in the country – Hotmail. Com. MSN.se, MSN.com, Passagen.se, Evreka.com and Torget.se.

“We will be working together with Torget’s inhouse sales department to offer banners, sponsorships, buttons, text links and shopping space on an exclusive, global basis,” Collis said.

The move to Amsterdam, she noted, was designed to give the company wider and more proximate reach within Europe.

“Amsterdam is the center of what’s happening in the Internet world and geographically it is positioned very centrally for the rest of Europe,” Collis said.

“Communications are excellent and everybody from taxi drivers to shop keepers speak very good English.” Offices are located on the prestigious Herrngracht overlooking one of the city’s canals. The phone number, Collis laughed, is 247 247.

Gordon Simpson, the European subsidiary’s CEO, will move to Amsterdam along with his deputy, Xavier Jane and COO John Barbera. He is the former president of Turner Broadcasting Worldwide and will oversee day-to-day operations.

“We are expanding and consolidating our operations through Europe and beyond and are also diversifying the actual business services we offer. Recently we did the world’s first WAP advertising campaign in Finland.”

The shift to Duesseldorf was part of an expansion within the German market that saw the company open a third office in Frankfurt.

Unlike other European countries, Germany doesn’t have one center but “a lot of different media and business centers so it made sense for us to have local people in place in as many of these centers as possible.”

Three months ago the company hired Lars Kirschke to run its German operations. Since he was located in Duesseldorf the headquarters shift was considered more sensible than moving him to Hamburg, Germany’s acknowledged media center.

“During the last few months we have been laying the foundation for a solid and comprehensive German sales operation to work alongside 24/7’s European network,” Kirschke said.

The company’s focus is on Europe’s three largest markets – the UK, France and Germany – and on highly wired Scandinavia. But it has offices in 12 European countries including Spain and Portugal. All told the company has about 150 people scattered across Europe.

“We have agreements with international sites and represent more than 200 of them in Europe. We just opened the French voila in Germany as voila.de.”

And late last month 24/7 Europe signed an exclusive contract with Belgacom Skynet to provide global sales representation for Belcast – Belgium’s largest portal.

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