PRODIGY RELINKS WITH COX TO SPUR INTERACTIVE APPEAL: SERVICE T0 OFFER CONTENT PACKAGES BASED ON DEMOS

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Prodigy moved to enhance its appeal to interactive marketers last week by renewing ties to rep firm Cox Interactive Sales.

It also licensed Accipiter targeting software and designed new online ad packages that draw more heavily on the service's deep-er content layers.

The changes are the work of VP-Advertising Sales Dan Desmet, who joined the online service in February from Interactive Imaginations, New York, replacing Scott Schil- ler, now VP-online marketing and ad sales at Sony Online Ventures.

VOLVO IS SPONSOR

The first sponsorship signed under the 1997-98 Cox/Prodigy contract is from Volvo Cars of North America, a client of Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmet-terer/Euro RSCG, New York.

Prodigy also secured an additional yearlong sponsorship from Amazon.com, Mr. Desmet said.

Mr. Desmet's first charge at Prodigy was to evaluate rep options for the service, which had worked with Cox's TeleRep in the past.

"They were repping Prodigy to national advertisers on a pretty broad basis before," Mr. Desmet said. "Now we'll be bringing to them a lot more tools with respect to targeting."

Like America Online, Prodigy will now offer pre-designed content packages based on demographics or content themes-such as sports, finance, news, shopping-that advertisers want.

$20 CPM'S

Run-of-site banners begin at a $20 cost per thousand and increase for custom targeting. Before, with fewer targeting options, the Prodigy price range remained in the $20 to $50 arena.

Prodigy also plans to draw heavily on a custom research contract with PC Meter and has begun looking to fill the new position of research director for interactive advertising, according to Mr. De- smet.

Prodigy recently began working with NetCreations, a company that handles e-mail address list rental and management for direct marketing purposes. Contributing: Debra Aho Williamson.

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