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Major consumer advertisers are signing up for a new push service from Targeted Multimedia to deliver video and other commercial messages to consumers' PCs.

After only two months on the Web, Baltimore-based Targeted Multimedia's Modern Shopper ( has attracted advertisers including Thrifty Car Rental Systems, Holiday Inn Worldwide, American Airlines, Godiva Chocolatier and Telebrands Corp. Modern Shopper is a virtual shopping service, that in addition to selling a variety of merchandise, updates its merchants' advertisements to subscribers' desktops.


Advertising on Modern Shopper runs between $1,500 for category links for six months to $2,500 a month for daily specials, which are linked to particular products or services and can be rotated on a daily basis. Multimedia ads, which are digitized, compressed and streamed from Modern Shopper's Web site, cost 7cents per display viewed. And promotional messages-targeted promotions that are sent to a narrow demographic of users that have selected these types of messages-cost 12cents per message viewed.

"We chose it for the opportunity to have commercials viewable by Internet customers," said Shail Prasad, VP-marketing, Telebrands (, an online home shopping network.

To become a subscriber, users can download the Modern Shopper program to their desktop for free from the Modern Shopper Web site, along with Backweb Technology's latest push software.

Once the technology is downloaded, consumers select from 12 channel preferences, including books and video, catalogs, clothing and computers to receive multimedia product ads at their desktops.

Registered users' channel preference information is kept confidential and is encoded to stay on the customer's computer through Modern Shopper's Profiler system, which allows Targeted Multimedia to track what kinds of consumers are viewing ads, visiting sites and purchasing products.


User information is released to merchants and advertisers that advertise on Backweb.

"We tell advertisers that for only a little bit more [money], they can advertise on BackWeb and know exactly who is seeing their ads," said Eric Beser, chief technology officer at Targeted Multimedia. "We can't guarantee them sales, but we can guarantee eyeballs."

Customers receive updated ads, ranging in size, length and graphic detail, via the Internet. However, the multimedia ads are updated in the background so users can be performing other tasks while the ads are downloading.

Once the ads are downloaded to the desktop with BackWeb, they can be viewed without having to log back on to the Web. "It's an unobtrusive way of getting our advertisements to consumers. They have the leisure of viewing our ads at anytime," Mr. Prasad said.

Targeted Multimedia, as of last month, had downloaded 215,000 ads. It also had recorded one million unique visitors.

"It's strengthening our advertising and giving the people the option to immediately make a purchase," Mr. Prasad said. "We continue to use [Modern Shopper] because the response of the viewers has been very good."

Mr. Prasad, however, would not disclose specific details on purchases made in response to the ads.

Modern Shopper currently has 25,000 subscribers.

Ms. Teasdale is assistant graphics editor at Advertising Age.

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