Study Shows Promise on Broadband Ads


Rich-media advertising over broadband networks results in
better brand recognition, longer viewing times and lower costs for the advertiser,
according to a five-month study recently concluded by At Home Corp. and Intel Corp.

According to the study, the ads, which were tested on At
Home's @Home Network, had a 34 percent higher recall percentage than narrowband

In addition, comprehension and shift in brand imagery
improved by more than 30 percent, and consumers spent an average of between 30 seconds and
five minutes interacting with the broadband ads.

Ipsos-ASI Inc., a Norwalk, Conn.-based marketing-research
company, administered the study.

Participants in the program -- the first of a two-stage
test -- included AT&T Corp., Bank of America, First USA, Intel, Johnson & Johnson,
Levi Strauss & Co. and Toys "R" Us Inc.

Susan Bratton, director of the interactive-advertising
group for At Home, said the company has been running rich-media advertisements through its
18 MSO partners since September. The tests were conducted, she added, primarily to provide
data proving the impact of broadband advertising.

"We're trying to do this to benchmark the
industry," she said, "and to show how effective broadband advertising is
compared with narrowband today."

Bob Igiel, executive vice president of Young &
Rubicam's The Media Edge in New York, said broadband advertising is a promising
technology, but it won't become a major vehicle until more "smart" cable
modems are deployed.

"Broadband is something to get excited about, but the
vision of broadband becomes a reality when smart boxes are deployed in enough homes,"
Igiel said. "Any meaningful deployment is three to five years down the road.
It's all very interesting. Obviously, it's the wave of the future. Let's
call it the wave of the near future."

Although broadband ads can be more costly -- a narrowband
banner ad that costs $1,000 would cost between $2,000 and $3,000 in a broadband format --
they provide more bang for the buck, according to Bratton.

About 2,800 @Home users were sampled during the study.
Aside from being on the cutting edge of technology, these users are also more apt to shop
online, which made the sampling that much more relevant to advertisers.

Although the data showed that broadband ads could be a
powerful marketing tool, Bratton added that the survey also pointed out that advertisers
have to be careful with what they put on the Web. Creating ads that annoy the viewer can
have repercussions for the advertiser, and not for the bandwidth provider.

"You have to wield this wisely," Bratton said.
"You have to provide something that the customer feels is relevant to them and not
too annoying."

For example, she added, if a viewer was particularly upset
with a broadband ad by AT&T, that user blamed the advertiser for his or her annoyance,
and not @Home.

@Home will conduct a second test, beginning later this
month, with six new advertisers, including Ford Motor Co., IBM Corp., Toyota Motor Sales
USA's Lexus division, Procter & Gamble Co. and Showtime Networks Inc.