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Trade-mag publisher absorbs AdCritic

Ad Age Group, publisher of Advertising Age, buys the defunct Web site once popular for its vast library of advertising video clips. It plans to turn it into an industry-insider tool.

Ad Age Group, publisher of trade magazine Advertising Age, on Wednesday bought, a defunct Web site whose vast library of advertising video clips once made it a favorite among the media-obsessed.

As part of the acquisition, New York-based Ad Age will revamp the recently closed Web site and fold it into its online network sometime in early summer. It also plans to charge viewers for access to the service, which includes a video library of about 2,500 commercials.

Subscription fees have yet to be determined, and terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

"Ad Age officials stressed that the new online service will be targeted specifically at ad-industry professionals and was not meant for the broad consumer market," a company statement said.

Ad Age, a division of Crain Communications, bought the AdCritic site after it had been shuttered for more than three months. Once a hot spot for nearly 2 million monthly visitors, the site died out after advertising dollars grew scarce. Before its demise, the site's founder, Peter Beckman, tried to transform it into a venue for advertising-industry research, to no avail.

Still, the 3-year-old site drew a diverse crowd of ad junkies to its video library, delivering anywhere from 10 million to 30 million commercial video streams per month. It also pulled in regular visits from advertising executives, although they made up only a fraction of the site's audience.

"The site will be different," Beckman said. "Whereas I was an outsider to the ad industry, Ad Age are insiders. They'll have more in-depth reporting, and they'll get their hands on a lot of different and more recent work."

Beckman plans to consult with Ad Age for several months before making his next move.