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Web ad spending for the first six month months of 1998 jumped 59.9% from the year-earlier period, according to "InterWatch," a report released today by InterMedia Advertising Solutions, a spinoff of Competitive Media Reporting. The top 50 marketers spent $147.4 million. Microsoft Corp. was the No. 1 spender ($17.2 million), followed by IBM Corp. ($14.9 million), Digital Equipment Corp. ($5.6 million), Excite ($4.9 million) and General Motors Corp. ($4.7 million).

Sony Music Entertainment buys InfoBeat rights

Sony Music Entertainment expands its online reach Jan. 19 when it purchases the brand and consumer business of Denver-based InfoBeat, a line of free e-mail newsletters that reach 2 million unique subscribers. InfoBeat, which also has a business-to-business division, is changing its name to Exactis.-com and will focus on managing and delivering e-mail publications for businesses. Sony is also signing a multiyear deal with to distribute and manage InfoBeat e-mail publications. Terms were not disclosed. "We felt the increasing pressure of being in two businesses," said InfoBeat Chairman John Funk, adding that to succeed among consumers, it needed to spend heavily on an ad campaign or find a media partner like Sony. has more than 30 customers including Amazon.-com, American Express Co. and Charles Schwab & Co.

In other news

Interactive agency T3 Media, New York, next week announces the opening of a Seattle office, mainly to support client Microsoft Corp. General Manager Tim

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