MetaSound deal puts CNN 'on hold'

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The days of "Please hold on for the next available representative" may soon be over.

Last week, CNN Radio and MetaSound Systems said they have an alliance to provide CNN-branded news and entertainment content to minimize the boredom of customers on hold and keep them on the line.

MetaSound, with current clients including British Airways, Siemens and Ticketmaster, provides digital audio programs distributed via the Internet for call center or "in-queue" environments.

CNN Radio will provide branded content to MetaSound in 15 categories, including business, computers, celebrities, health, parenting, science and technology, sports, and world news.

The wide range of content will allow for customization suited to marketers in specific industries, said Robert Garcia, general manager of CNN Radio.

MetaSound will provide the technology as well as the manpower in media services.

CUSTOMIZED MESSAGES

MetaSound also will identify new "client" opportunities and then work with them to craft customized messages. The customized content would include the CNN feed, and perhaps affiliated ad messages as well as music.

"We're able to deliver to the advertiser a highly pre-disposed captive audience," said Rick Davis, senior VP-sales and marketing at MetaSound. "We call it `point-of-purchase audio.' "

Commercial rollout of the system is expected by late June or early July, executives said.

Mr. Davis said MetaSounds is discussing the service with Bronnercom, Boston, on behalf of a telecommunications client. It's likely that client is AT&T Corp., the shop's sole account in that category.

Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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