Orange buying Unanimis, forms multimedia ad network

A month after saying it will form a joint mobile ads sales team with Blyk, Orange is buying itself a place at the web ads top table, acquiring Unanimis, the largest UK digital ad agency, for an undisclosed sum.

The announcement doesn’t say exactly how Orange will use Unanimis, whose advertisers include Asos, and Ticketmaster, but it says advertising is one of the key, “new growth” areas in which Orange wants to grow its income from nine percent of revenue to 20 percent. It will make the agency part of its new Orange Group Advertising Network, which it says will offer ads against PC, mobile and IPTV.

The combination will let advertisers reach over 75.1 percent of the UK’s online population, the pair said, based on comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures. If the telco opportunity is exploited, this could actually be the year that mobile advertising began to happen in earnest. But the pair say they will have “particular strength in the area of online advertising”, which they say will grow to account for 27 percent of UK ad spent by 2011, from 19 percent today, according to ZenithOptimedia.