Growing consumer interest in the Internet, coupled with Web portal sites' ability to capture their interest, is starting to attract non-IT advertisers to the Web and the market potential is booming. Portal sites, such as MSN (Microsoft Network), Yahoo and Excite are becoming the de facto starting points for consumers new to the Web.
Microsoft announced that it has won a record-breaking $90 million (#53 million) deal with US credit card company FirstUSA, which gives the company exclusive rights to advertise its MSN credit cards. FirstUSA is the largest Visa and Mastercard lender in the US.
Microsoft attributes the success of the deal to its decision to put all its Web properties under one portal roof. MSN now includes the Expedia travel site, the CarPoint car dealer network, the Hotmail free Email service, and the Sidewalk city guides.
The UK Banners Survey by Fletcher Research excludes revenue from proprietary online services, such as AOL and LineOne, and does not count revenues from classified advertisement services or listings. However, it shows that consumer brands' proportion of ad spending increased from 4% in February to 25% in September. Computing companies will account for about 30% of advertisement spending in 1998 and financial services 22%, but consumer brands are catching up with a projected 1998 total of 14%.
In addition, there are roughly 500 new advertisers on UK Web sites this year, many of whom have never used the Web before as a marketing medium.
Fletcher's attributes this to "a rapidly increasing online user population and improved offerings from the UK's maturing online publishing industry".
Interestingly, the survey flags the Web coverage of World Cup football as a hook that many advertisers used to launch their first online campaigns.
Fletcher's predicts online advertising will be worth #268 million by 2001, fuelled by an increase in the online population to 13 million with the introduction of Digital TV in 1999.
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