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Last Updated: Monday, 15 March, 2004, 12:42 GMT
Boost for TV-style internet ads
Still from video commercial
This is the sort of ad that you expect on your computer screen
You could soon be seeing a lot more TV-style video ads appearing on the web.

Advertisers have been encouraged by the results of initial trials of technology which offers broadcast quality video, regardless of connection speed.

The company behind the trials said that people found the commercials much less irritating than other ads on the web.

The video commercials are the result of a collaboration between online ad developers, Unicast, and software giant, Microsoft.

"These results further indicate that given the opportunity to use video, advertisers can shift consumer attitudes and accelerate favourability and purchase intent for their brands," said Allie Savarino, senior vice president of Unicast.

Online impact

It tested a number of video ads over six weeks on leading sites such as About.com, CBS Sportsline, Gamespot, iVillage and Lycos.

Consumers are positively affected by the television-like characteristics of the video commercial and are more open to these ads than other forms of advertising
Allie Savarino,Unicast
Results from the test showed that web surfers found the commercials much less aggravating than other forms of net advertising.

An online survey of more than 3,500 users who saw the ads found that just 28% said they were annoying.

It also found that the video commercials had a much bigger impact than other forms of net advertising.

"Consumers are positively affected by the television-like characteristics of the video commercial and are more open to these ads than other forms of advertising," said Ms Savarino of Unicast.

Last week the company said that several leading web publishers, among them Forbes.com and weather.com, had signed up for the video commercials.

Readers' response

When BBC News Online first reported on the trials last month, response from readers was less than positive.

"If I would encounter sites who use this kind of advertisement I would probably avoid visiting them again," said Marijn De Ruysscher from Belgium.

"There are plenty of very good websites on the internet that don't use either pop-ups or advertising to survive," said Sam Yeaman from Colombia

And Phil from the UK said; "I respect peoples right and need to make money off their sites but I personally won't be visiting any sites that force 30 second adverts on me."

The video commercial is a full screen online ad format that plays a 2MB, 30 second, broadcast quality video, regardless of connection speed.

The ad is downloaded in the background while people browse through a site. Surfers can choose to close the ad.

The format is based on Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series and uses Unicast proprietary pre-cached technology.




SEE ALSO:
TV-style adverts arrive on web
03 Feb 04  |  Technology
Online advertising 'to click again'
22 Oct 03  |  Business
Adverts on the net 'pay off'
11 Mar 03  |  Technology
Why online ads do not work
11 Jul 03  |  Technology
Pop-ups chase eyeballs
24 Jul 02  |  Technology


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