Web Watch

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More than one billion people worldwide now have access to the Internet. The majority (845 million) are defined as active, using the Internet more than once per month. Currently only 25% percent of people go online with broadband connections but these high-speed connections are projected to penetrate 90% of all online households by 2010, according to a recent report from eMarketer titled, Worldwide Online Access 2004-2010. As the Internet continues to get bigger and faster, it also offers a more user friendly experience for an emerging generation of multi-tasking mediaholics.

In the US, still the global Internet leader, there are now 175 million people online. Pharmaceutical marketers, device manufacturers, managed care organizations and health system marketing executives are starting to build out their web presence and leverage the Internet to acquire new customers at a lower cost. We're seeing a lot more multimedia coordination as television, radio, and print advertisements are driving customers to the company or brand Web sites for more information. Using the Internet to help close the deal is simply the logical conclusion to the multimedia campaign designed to secure new customers. And in many instances, customer acquisition over the Web is a lot less expensive that traditional avenues.

“The customer is in charge and they will decide when, where, and how they want to look for information” says Chris Schroeder, president & CEO of the Health Central Network. He believes individuals now have more control of how they consume media and information.

Internet advertising is projected to grow by 35-40% in 2006. The big ad networks like Google's AdSense are helping to drive the market but mid-sized players like the Health Central Network as well as smaller networks all seem to be well positioned for a hot marketplace.

Dan McKillen is president of the HealthDay news service

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