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Spinning banner ads with audio

Net radio firm Spinner.com is using its format to coordinate banner ads with audio programming, the firm says.

Net radio firm Spinner.com is using its format to coordinate banner ads with audio programming, the firm said.

Dubbed "ActiveAudio," the service lets advertisers on Spinner.com--including Amazon.com, the Audio Book Club, and Warner Brothers Records--synchronize audio and banner ads. Spinner.com hopes the ads will increase click-through rates and attract more advertising. The audio can include what additional information users will find when they click on the banner that is up on the site.

Net sites that are dependent upon advertising are constantly trying to innovate in terms of how they help advertisers reach users. A recent study by Forrester Research projected that Net ad sales would reach $15 billion in 2003.

With the promise of widespread broadband access, firms have turned to media-rich advertising in hopes of having more to offer potential advertisers. Earlier this month, for example, cable access provider @Home teamed with a number of high-profile companies to test the effectiveness of multimedia ads on the high-speed platform.

The Spinner.com audio ads are played in-between songs. The spots only last 15 seconds, but the corresponding banner remains up on the site for the duration of the song, according to the privately held firm, which said it has sold out its first month's inventory for ActiveAudio.

The strategy is different from banner ads that contain audio themselves, which have received mixed reviews from site operators and generally are unpopular among Net users. With ActiveAudio, the audio spots are part of the programming the user has elected to listen to, and the banner is displayed on the firm's tuner.

"ActiveAudio has been extremely effective in driving click-throughs for banners promoting the Barenaked Ladies Fly-Away contest that we ran with Spinner.com," Todd Steinman, vice president of new media for Warner Brothers Records, said in a statement.

Spinner.com, which relaunched its site in July, said its traffic has jumped 500 percent since the beginning of 1998.