February 3, 2004 1:54 PM PST

Reuters jumps on video bandwagon

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Reuters said Tuesday that it will begin delivering advertisements on its Web video service, the latest publisher to play up broadcast commercials online.

The New York-based news service said it has redesigned its online video platform, Reuters Television, to make room for 15- and 30-second commercials to be aired before news clips.

"As part of this redesign, our programming has dramatically increased," Reuters Media President Chris Ahearn said in a statement. "Our consumers now have a choice of four distinct channels (such as Business, World News and Entertainment), which allow them to set their personal news agenda."

Reuters joins a flurry of publishers to begin featuring video ads on their Internet sites. Microsoft's MSN recently launched MSN Video, a service to access news clips, music videos and entertainment that is supported by commercials. America Online has started displaying video ads atop its Instant Messenger service.

Unicast, a digital ad technology company, introduced new software last week for delivering full-screen commercials between Web pages played on demand, as opposed to with streaming technology. ABCNews.com, MSN, Sportsline.com, ESPN and others, will be testing the technology, called Video Commercial, over the next six weeks.

Although the technology to deliver such ads has been around for years, widespread adoption of broadband is now bringing it home to roost, analysts say. According to research, more than 20 million U.S. Internet users have high-speed Internet connections that give them the ability to enjoy music and video online with relative ease.

"Now that we're getting to a rapidly growing broadband market, it only makes sense that the technology and use is on the increase," said Marc Ryan, an advertising analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings. "The experience is becoming much more rich, because the bandwidth is there."

Advertisers will be able to display Flash ads in 15-second commercials or anchored 30-second spots on Reuters Web sites in the United States, United Kingdom and Japan.


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