Sony's new ad company will replace banner ads with icons

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TOKYO--Sony Corp. is hoping to post a challenge to Internetbanner advertising with the launch of a company next month that willuse icons and other computer graphics to get information to Net surfers.

Starting April 16, Cybergene.com Corp. will offer client softwarefree to users in order to spread the word about its graphics-based,Net information technology called "IP3."

The IP3 technology, made in conjunction with Tokyo-based Visionarts,will enable users to access information by clicking on the icons itcalls "Information Pictures" without having to use a portal site andsearch engine, according to Sony.

Sony is hoping that the company will take a chunk of the market awayfrom banner ads on Web sites. The new Net company will develop a Website that displays numerous icons from advertisers and supporting companies at one time. The users then can make their way to their desiredNet destination, including those devoted to e-commerce.

Sony says the new icon-based display is "much more effective thanbanner advertisements that have become the norm in the Internet era,[because] product and business information are attached to a devicedisplayed on the desktop like an icon."

Cybergene.com will have initial capitalization of $2.3 million, withSony Corp. holding a 100% stake in the company.

Copyright March 2000, Crain Communications Inc.

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