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fox-operative.jpgFox Interactive Media, the parent company of MySpace, Fox.com, AskMen, IGN and a host of other websites, has hired a firm called Operative to help it streamline its ad operations.

MySpace ad only turned a profit of $10 million in a year, we reported in August, despite receiving 4.3 billion page views per day. More recently, Silicon Alley Insider speculates FIM may have missed its $1 billion revenue target, putting it under pressure to increase ad sales.

Bringing on Operative may help FIM grapple with the problem of monetizing its stable of properties.

Operative will assist FIM with building a business system that can sell ads across all its brands at once, rather than selling through dozens of fragmented networks. It will also build a centralized interface that pulls together the various software used by its ad salespeople.

When we asked Michael Leo, the CEO of Operative, whether the aim was to pare down FIM’s advertising workforce, he told us: “Cost savings is probably not on the top of anyone’s mind right now.”

The idea is not to lay salespeople off after becoming more efficient, rather to let those salespeople spend more time doing sales. Right now, many publishers and their sales team are overwhelmed with the technical challenges of advertising, managing things like behavioral targeting — and need to get back to selling, Leo said.

Operative has several irons in the fire, often serving competitors at the same time. It works for big companies, but it also provides consulting services to start-ups with advertising as their business model. It has served older companies, such as the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, WPP, MediaCom, Omnicom and MSN.

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