FasTV initiates Web hub for content, TV spots

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Fastv today unveils a new Web site offering consumers access to video news clips, weather, sports and other broadcast content.

The site, being introduced at the National Association of Television Programming Executives in New Orleans, aims to be a video portal for consumers who want one-stop shopping for video clips on the Internet. The site also can deliver TV spots.

So far, the Los-Angeles based company has teamed with content providers CNN, the Weather Channel, NASA TV, Public Broadcasting System, Merrill Lynch & Co. and others to deliver video clips on the site, which is free to users.

FasTV has hired Stein, Rogan & Partners, New York, to launch an estimated $15 million integrated campaign, including TV, print, radio, outdoor and online advertising. Trade ads with a tagline "Your world. Your way," began last week. TV spots will debut the first week of March.

"We provide freedom from [content sites'] schedules," said Barry Layne, senior-VP marketing at FasTV, which is backed by private investors. "If they miss something on CNN, they can get it on FasTV."

COMPETITIVE MOVE

In a sense, FasTV competes with the sites with which it is partnering, as well as other content aggregators and video broadcasting sites, such as high-flying Broadcast.com and portals.

"I think FasTV could be a strong player in the consumer space, but it is very expensive to build a media brand, and that is essentially what they are trying to do," said Patrick Keane, senior analyst-content at Jupiter Communications. "That will cost a lot in terms of advertising and branding vs. the model of licensing content and gaining distribution through portals."

FasTV uses RealNetworks' G2 player to deliver 30-second and longer video clips. FasTV's proprietary technology indexes video clips provided by partners, so users searching by topic, such as President Clinton's impeachment trial, can play back clips of their choice.

The company has hired Winstar Interactive as its sales and marketing rep firm, and will launch with a handful of advertisers and electronic commerce partners.

ADVERTISER OPPORTUNITY

"We see this as a real opportunity for traditional advertisers who have invested in branding their products on TV," said Bobbie Halfin, president-CEO Winstar, New York, who had a long career in print publishing. "Because this is a convergence product, it allows them to utilize that [TV] asset."

FasTV charges $50 per thousand impressions for banner ads on the site, and $100 CPM for 15-second TV spots. Initial advertisers include Go Network, Schering Plough's Claritin brand, Cars.com. and e-commerce partner Reel.com.

FasTV's offering "is a niche that is only going to grow as broadband access continues to be more prevalent," Mr. Keane said. "All advertisers and brands are looking for a greater opportunity to deliver a more interesting message to consumers."

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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