IAR Bits and Bytes

Turn On Media Debuts Offering

Westborough, Mass.-based Turn On Media is betting that there’s a market in selling advertising inventory on users’ PCs — before Windows loads.

Through its new product offering, Turn On Media, a unit of Insyde Software, Inc., plans to place ads on users’ screens as the operating system is booting. Normally, users see plain text messages as the computer goes through its startup processes. Instead, the firm delivers full-screen, rich media ads.

A key part of Turn On Media’s proposition is that its parent, Insyde Software, manufactures low-level BIOS software for clients like Hewlett-Packard, National Semiconductor, Nokia, Philips and Sony. As a result, the Turn On Media advertising spinoff uses Insyde technology to interact with PCs before they even have a full-fledged operating system up and running.

The ads can incorporate sound, animation, e-commerce and links to Web pages (which load once Windows is running). Turn On Media said it envisions its product being used for advertising, sponsorships, direct marketing promotions, music and movie trailers, affinity programs and internal corporate communications.

After Windows loads and while a user is online, Turn On Media also downloads and queues the next ad, in preparation for the PC’s next startup. The ads are targeted in accordance with consumer-specified preferences.

The software that makes this all possible is expected to be distributed to users via the Web and CD-ROM, and will promise to deliver targeted special offers and content.

Turn On Media VP of marketing Ian Cross also said that the firm plans to partner with PC makers to offer the software already pre-installed on store-bought PCs. In that event, the manufacturers would split the ad sales revenue with Turn On Media.

“We created this new interactive marketing technology from our deep experience in developing the BIOS firmware for PCs and Internet-access devices that enables computers to boot up,” said Turn On Media president and chief executive Jonathan Joseph. “It offers the flexibility of interactive marketing, the branding power of print and broadcast media without the size and content limitations of banners and email marketing, and a new, patent-pending and unavoidable location for message delivery.”

“Research … revealed that consumers are tiring of overloaded email inboxes and ubiquitous banner ads, and resent the unwelcome intrusion of interstitial pop-up messages,” Joseph added. “When shown a Turn On Media demonstration, 81 percent of these respondents were very positive about viewing messages, particularly if they could indicate their preferences.”

The firm said the product would be priced on an impression basis over time. For rich media ads that include e-commerce, Turn On Media also said it would deduct a share of the sales revenue.

Bluestreak to Serve Eyeblaster Ads

Rich media ad firm Eyeblaster has struck a deal with ad server Bluestreak, landing another serving partner for its out-of-banner ad format.

Through the agreement, terms of which were not disclosed, Bluestreak now will offer Alley-based Eyeblaster’s technology to its ad serving customers and on its sites. Bluestreak’s rich media formats are accepted on more than 20,000 sites, including America Online and Yahoo, it said.

The deal also broadens Bluestreak’s rich media arsenal. From its own beginnings as a rich media provider, Bluestreak has offered a host of internally developed rich and streaming media products. Now, Newport, R.I.-based Bluestreak adds support for a third-party ad format to its product suite.

Silverpop Launches Agency Program

Atlanta-based email marketing software start-up Silverpop Systems said it has launched a new initiative designed to expand its client base.

Similarly to efforts by larger technology players like Microsoft , Silverpop has created a partnership program that includes online and traditional ad agencies and direct marketing firms. Ideally, partnering with the agencies will help promote Silverpop’s email product to clients.

Termed the Silverpop Dynamic Marketers Program, the initiative claims i-shops such as Armchair Media, Bennett Kuhn Varner, DeepFry, Macquarium, Power I and Xcelerate among its list of members.

As partners, the agencies will use Silverpop’s Dynamic Messaging software as part of their overall offering to clients.

“The launching of our Silverpop Dynamic Marketers program signifies our commitment to the world of interactive marketing and our goal to have Silverpop’s products become the de facto standard for agencies and firms wishing to add powerful email technology to their list of capabilities,” said Greg Foster, Silverpop vice president of business development.

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