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iNexTV.com Readies Streamed Channels

iNexTV.com Inc., New York is preparing for the fourth quarter launch of several Web sites that will feature streaming media content. Streaming describes a technology to send audio and video signals through the Internet, which in effect, turns Web sites into Web channels.

Advertisers will be able to place commercial inserts in the streams that can be targeted to highly focused markets. There will also be the standard banner ads on some of the sites.

“These advertisements will be designed to create brand awareness and improve the corporate image of the advertiser,” said Robert N. Paltos, director of national sales for iNexTV. “These advertisements will also create brand loyalty, which will increase product sells and, in turn, generate revenue.”

The networks scheduled for launch this year are EXBTV, which will cover events in the executive branch of government; AENTV, an alternative entertainment channel; and the iStyle Network of channels, which will feature specific interests such as polo, classic cars and men’s fashion. All three sites will have direct-response and brand advertisements inserted into the video streams.

iNexTV also will have celebrity appearances on its channels. It retained Hugh Downs for EXBTV, and the iStyle Network’s Polo Channel will feature a video clip of Tommy Lee Jones’s polo team. There will also be archived video-on-demand clips and live Webcasts.

The interactive capabilities of the channels will eventually mean that all TV commercials will include a direct response mechanism.

“This is made for direct marketers,” Paltos said. “Each site has its own audience, and by this virtue it becomes its own store front. The strength of the Internet is that marketers can go one-on-one with customers at the same time they are going one to 5 million.”

The technology that is being used to imbed streaming video into the channels is nonproprietary, so advertisers and marketers will not have to reformat their spots to place them on the site. The company said it wants to provide enhancements to existing technology to improve the quality of video streams on the Web.

iNexTV is not concerned about the race for cable broadband access because company officials said it is not going to change their objective, which is to provide a network of streaming video channels over the existing Web and have sponsorship on the sites.

“We are providing a platform for sponsors and advertisers who are now using the uniqueness of the Net,” said Chris Stetson, director of research. “Broadband is going to be important for business, but it is not going to matter whether it is DSL or cable.”

The demographics of the iNexTV audiences are projected to range from the late 20s to the 50s in age and be upscale and educated. The content is being designed in such a way that it will have some resemble to a television series.

Advertisements will either be addressable video streams or banner ads. The company is not releasing its rates to prospective advertisers until they have completed additional research. Sponsorship will range from ownership of a particular site to ownership by several advertisers.

“We are being deliberately vague with our rate card,” Stetson said. “Right now we are approaching potential advertisers and asking them if they would allocate a small piece of their media budget to our sites.”

In addition to its domestic channels, the company will also launch a European network of Web channels beginning with TV1 in Germany.

“For us the European opportunity is the next ripe fruit on the tree,” said Paltos. “We will have links to the parliament channel in England as part of our worldwide strategy for government coverage.”

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