French Ad Market May Triple This Year

The French Internet advertising market is expected to double or triple this year as more and more people go online and more companies use the Net as a medium to reach their audience, according to experts at the MILIA multimedia fair in Cannes.

“In France, the ad spending on banners on the Net was 4.5 million francs in 1996, 22 million in 1997, and we expect 50 million to 75 million francs in 1998,” Cecile Moulard, director of Carat Multimedia, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

The German market is about three times that size, and the British market is at least five times that size.

Moulard launched the French chapter of the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB). The IAB now counts Britain, Germany, and France as overseas chapters. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Japan will follow.

Moulard, IAB France president, told Reuters that while the French have been hesitant to go online due to the wide acceptance of the Minitel database system there, she expected a strong growth in 1998.

She noted that both digital television groups–Canalsatellite and TPS–are offering Internet access, while there also are experiments with the Internet on television cable networks.

“We are perhaps lagging behind in the number of people connected to the Net, but we have the most people connected to digital television,” she said. Of the two million people receiving digital television in Europe, mainly via satellite, one million are in France.

Another factor that could boost the market is the Webphone developed by Alcatel Alsthom, which should be launched in June. This is a phone terminal with access to the Internet via a browser on a display.

“We are hearing that France Telecom may rent the terminals and that would boost their acceptance,” she said.

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