Ad Agencies Say Streaming is for Real

Broadband content providers got a boost last week from news that advertising agencies view streaming media as a viable ad medium.

The "Advertising Agency Streaming Media Awareness Study," conducted by MeasureCast Inc. and The Yankee Group and released last week, found that 65 percent of respondents would recommend streaming-media advertising to their clients over the next year.

Some 56 percent of respondents said clients who had purchased streaming-media advertising planned to spend more in the next year. And another 47 percent said clients who had been on the sidelines plan to allocate their ad dollars to streaming over the next year.

Many content providers have high hopes for streaming media advertisements. They believe video-quality ads will drive Internet-related revenue beyond what's been generated to date.

"To become successful, Internet radio and most other streaming media content must be advertiser-supported," said MeasureCast chief executive officer Ed Hardy.

But streaming-media ads are in their infancy, in terms of both the amount of such ads placed on broadband sites and the costs per thousand (CPMs) that providers receive.

In other study highlights: 61 percent of agency executives have recommended streaming media over the past year; 69 percent said audience demographic data is critical in making ad buys; and 54 percent said the perception that streaming-media advertising is too expensive is keeping more clients from purchasing ads.

In other streaming news, Hewlett-Packard Co. said it would build intelligent caching and streaming media appliances using Inktomi Corp.'s network-infrastructure software.

HP will imbed Inktomi's "TrafficServer" and "Traffic Server Media-IX" software into its "Netservers" to create three new products for the caching and streaming markets. The new products, designed for rich media content, will be available in second-quarter 2001.

Elsewhere, the Internet-video network MeTV Network launched its "Network Entertainment" service platform last week, using its "CASTpc" software. CASTpc, free to broadband consumers, lets MeTV viewers see movies, music, sports, games and short features.

MeTV, which counts 90,000 broadband users, staged a 250-home trial of the new software. CASTpc features multiple layered memberships, parental controls on viewing and spending; previews; pay-per-view and billing options; and a personalized content-recommendation and management system.

MeTV plans to launch MeTV Channels in March. The service will feature "full-length entertainment, real-time weather reports and lifestyle programming."

Aerocast Inc. added senior vice president of sales Jeff Bixler, region vice president Marty Sabraw and vice president of programming Mike Bailey. Aerocast launches this summer.