Warner Bros. Online launches targeted ad package

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Following the success of its online shopping season, Warner Bros. Online is introducing a series of ``transactional content'' areas in which it will place advertisers and e-commerce partners in custom entertainment environments to drive purchases.

The concept of transactional content, which Forrester Research has endorsed as a successful e-commerce model, is based on the idea of mixing transactions with community and content.

``The whole evolution of e-commerce will move from broad-based horizontal portals to vertical portals,'' said Jim Moloshok, president of Warner Bros. Online.

Just as general portal sites and online communities such as Yahoo!, America Online and Lycos sign up anchor tenants and e-commerce partners, Warner Bros. Online is offering marketing partners placement in custom environments for $25,000 to $50,000 for roughly six weeks.

CUSTOM SHOPPING FOR ALL SEASONS

For the Christmas season, Warner Bros. Online created a Holiday Shopping Picks area, featuring links to online retailers Intel Corp., iVillage, Levi Strauss & Co.'s Dockers brand, 3Com, TotalE and other advertisers.

``We use our content as filters to pre-qualify customers,'' said Mr. Moloshok, pointing to the targeting of consumers who come online to shop for entertainment and related content.

The average click-through rate for the Holiday Picks advertisers was 11.5%, compared with the industry average of 1%.

Warner Bros. Online did not disclose revenues for its e-commerce partners, but its online studio store averaged sales equivalent to two of its physical stores in the fourth quarter, Mr. Moloshok said.

It will roll out custom shopping environments for Valentine's Day, a summer event and other themed areas in 1999.

FROM ENTERTAINMENT TO COMMERCE

Also in an attempt to offer transactional content, Warner Bros. Online has partnered with TotalE, the online store of music retailer Columbia House, to create online kiosks selling music and videos tied to its own content, such as music featured on shows such as ``The Rosie O'Donnell Show'' and ``Dawson's Creek.''

``We want to evolve the [consumer] from entertainment browsing to commerce browsing,'' Mr. Moloshok said.

Copyright January 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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