Soldiers will be able to receive video email
Snail mail has never seemed so obsolete: This Christmas, members of the U.S. armed services who are stationed in Afghanistan will be able to receive video email messages from their loved ones. Compaq Computer, Sorenson Media and Digital Island are furnishing the technology that will let people record their messages. Soldiers will be able to see the results at Families will be allowed to record three minutes of material; others will be limited to 30 seconds. Compaq will set up computers equipped with videorecording and editing technology in a number of major U.S. cities. Observers think the effort could ramp up the popularity of video email in general.

DoubleClick and Liberate Tech do interactive TV
As technology has diversified media options and thus spread out the audience, it may also allow advertisers to target viewers better than ever. Online advertiser DoubleClick Inc. and interactive TV pioneer Liberate Technologies Inc. are betting on it. The two are teaming up to distribute highly targeted ads for interactive TV. In the initial stage, DoubleClick's AdServer program, which places ads on sites according to specific requirements, will be combined with the Liberate TV Navigator, a client for digital set-tops. With the continued spread of broadband, two-way communication between the TV and viewer will become possible. DoubleClick's participation will plug the crucial ad-funding component into the equation.

IAB and bury the hatchet
The Interactive Advertising Bureau has decided to work with, not against, Gatorís ad technology drew fire from the IAB because its software, which functions as a MySimon-like surfing and shopping companion, also has the capacity to superimpose other companiesí ads over a web siteís existing ads. The IAB in August put out a statement that said Gator was behaving unethically and that its technology violated intellectual property laws. Gator countered by filing a libel suit against the IAB. But the ad sellers group and Gator are making peace and plan to cooperate in creating a new edition of Gatorís Companion Pop-up Banner unit, the very ad unit that previously sparked such strong irritation. The ad format will be revamped to work in harmony with web sitesí own ad sales. According to reports, the IABís change of heart follows the appointment of Greg Stuart to interim president and CEO while Robin Webster is on a leave of absence.

Holiday e-commerce is thriving
A large number of people are shopping online these days, according to reports from both the Commerce Department and Nielsen//NetRatings. In the third quarter, online retail sales increased for the first time since last year. The Commerce Department says that online purchases increased 0.2 percent, hitting $7.4 billion. During the second quarter, in contrast, e-tail purchases fell 1.8 percent. Nielsen//NetRatings, which unlike the government includes online travel, brokerages and ticket sales in its calculations, found that e-commerce spending soared 60 percent during the third quarter when compared to the same period in 2000, hitting $16.3 billion. Nielsen//NetRatings says that online travel expanded 53 percent in the third quarter, up to $4.3 billion. Perhaps in anticipation of chillier temperatures, online consumers spent 77 percent more on clothing and apparel shopping in the third quarter, for a total of $1.5 billion.

Online ad budgets get plumped up in U.K.
At least someoneís relatively optimistic about online advertising. Two-thirds of major advertisers in the United Kingdom advertise on the internet already, and of those, half plan to increase their spending, according to a report by research firm ARC for the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers. Just 12 percent say they will be cutting their internet ad spending for next year. Ten percent of British internet advertisers will spend more than $1.4 million on online advertising. A majority of companies that have consumer web sites also say they will increase the amount of money they spend on those sites next year.

November 30, 2001 © 2001 Media Life

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