Arbitron Says Web Users Likely to Interact With Streamed Ads

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NEW YORK -- Arbitron NewMedia/Northstar revealed a new study yesterday that demonstrates online consumers are very willing to interact with advertisers who appear in streamed content.


Initial results of the study were made public at Streaming Media East '99, a two-day Webcasting conference here with 56 exhibitors, 3,000 expo attendees and 850 seminar attendees. The expo, which was not prepared to handle the large media interest in streaming, includes demonstrations of the latest technology and applications for streaming, which describes a technology to send on-demand multimedia through the Internet.


Arbitron's study indicates that 70 percent of online turners click for content information and 60 percent click through for advertiser information. The U.S. Webcast population is one-third of all Internet users, or 31 million people, said Gregory Verdino, vice president and general manager of Internet information services at Arbitron.


"Surprisingly, consumers demonstrate a willingness to interact with online advertising," Verdino said. "It's important for broadcasters to embrace the Web aggressively and develop more compelling content to improve the user experience."


The study found that the most compelling online video content is news, with 47 percent of Web video users tuning in. Music videos were second-most popular, at 37 percent, while talk format ranked third. Web users are more likely to embrace Internet radio than Internet TV now, but 53 percent of streaming media users said they expected to use streamed video more in the future. Still, there is major dissatisfaction with streamed video, as 21 percent of respondents said they did not like or hated streaming video.


Mark Hardie, a senior analyst with Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, said there are still many technical barriers to overcome before video streaming is more accepted by consumers.


"The No. 1 complaint we hear is about bandwidth," he said, referring to the limited network capacity to handle video content.


The Arbitron study surveyed 1,527 Internet Webcast users through random intercepts at video content providers, Broadcast.com and Vtuner.com.
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