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Webcast audiences look, listen, and buy

Almost 70 percent of online broadcast audiences click for content information related to Webcasts, and almost 60 percent click through for advertiser information, a study says.

Webcast audiences are doing more than just listening and watching online programming, according to a study released today.

"With our latest streaming media study, we have shown that people are responding to the ads and conducting e-commerce while listening to audio and video programs online," Greg Verdino, vice president and general manager at the Arbitron Company, said in a statement. Arbitron conducted the survey.

Almost 70 percent of online tuners click for content information related to the Webcast, and almost 60 percent click through for advertiser information, according to the study. In addition, 49 percent of the Webcast audience buys advertised products online, and 44 percent click on ads online.

"For Webcast tuners, advertising is not a dirty word. Television and radio stations streaming live programming have created a perfect environment for high-impact media advertising--and a new, growing e-commerce platform for Internet retailers," Verdino said.

In addition, 86 percent of audiocast audiences listen to online broadcasts more now than they did six months ago, while 75 percent say they plan to tune in more frequently in the future.

The survey is one of the first to look at the general Webcast viewing audience, which has been growing year to year. Many Internet users are gearing up to view thousands of video channels over personal computers or cable televisions using high-speed Internet connections. Millions use Internet audio software to tune in to hundreds of radio stations, investor conference calls, and football games carried over the Internet.

The video-viewing technology has been spotlighted over the last six months for watching President Clinton's grand jury deposition tape, John Glenn's space flight, and the Victoria's Secret fashion show.

Today's study found that 63 percent of those surveyed said they do most of their online listening from home, while 47 percent said they listen from work, 6 percent from school or the library, and 2 percent from other locations.

Nearly three-fourths of this group listen online at least once a week, and more than one-third listen daily. More than 77 percent of Internet audio listeners prefer stations with a music format.

A close second to music in format preference is news coverage, which is listened to by 64 percent of the audiocast audience.

The study also found that almost 74 percent of Webcast listeners listen to out-of-area radio broadcasts, while 56 percent listen to local radio stations streaming on the Web.

In addition to Internet audio preferences, the study also found that audiences viewing streaming video on the Web have similar preferences in program content, with news coverage and music programming as the leading selections of Webcast viewers.

Although not as popular as Internet audio, almost three-fourths of the people surveyed spent up to 30 minutes a week watching streaming video. Almost half of the viewers said they plan to watch more streaming video in the future.

First conducted in 1998, Arbitron's ongoing Internet studies profile American listening and viewing preferences on the Web, providing insights for Webcasters by highlighting emerging trends and audience preferences, the company said.

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