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Broadband advances

alisa bowen
Broadband technology offers online publishers unique opportunities to charge for content, and broadband users tend to be exactly the audience that advertisers want to target, according to Alisa Bowen, head of Reuters.co.uk.

Addressing some 30 gathered delegates at an AOP forum yesterday (Wednesday 25 May), Bowen pointed out that broadband users of the Reuters website users tended to be richer, more engaged with the content and more loyal than normal web users. She outlined the company's pioneering use of live video streaming, which during the Iraq war led to 2m streams per day.

These opportunities allowed the company to offer a "unique service" to their users and their research found there was no real difference between UK and US users' demographics and behaviour. Said Bowen: "News content is important to both but UK users have a more appetite for longer clips."

She said that willingness to download technology was no barrier to use, but that many users found it difficult to actually find video streaming online.

Bowen challenged online publishers to: "make it better presented and better integrated."

what car
Speaking on the award winning website Whatcar.com, publisher Kevin Madden described the car research site's use of video streaming to drive interest in the site. Madden described broadband as: "about different ways to deliver to customers at different times." He said the most successful campaigns had occurred when there had been a level of integration between video clips and advertorials."

He said that they had saved a lot of money by bringing the whole process in-house (as opposed to outsourcing): training existing staff, and investing in cameras and editing suites. The use of the technology had proved so successful that now 14.2 per cent of visitors to their website had watched the videos.

Despite the opportunities for targeted advertising Madden described advertisers as "very slow to take this up." Madden blamed the problem on nobody within agencies taking responsibility for the actual buying; confusion existed in terms of who was responsible for booking it: TV planners or online buyers.

Elaine Pritchard, project manager, Northcliffe Electronic Publishing took delegates through the award-winning educational website, Headlinehistory.co.uk. She said it was important to develop the "wow" factor to interest children. The site involves a tour through four periods of history, centred round actual footage plus videos of actors posing as historical witnesses. Though built primarily using Flash, an html CD-Rom was provided for accessibility purposes.

In a question and answer session that followed, the panelists discussed the merits of in-house versus outsourcing, the degree that video content was influenced by advertising and whether streaming was better than downloading.

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