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Audiweb and Doubleclick Take on Italy's Internet Advertising

UPA, the company that brought telephone traffic measuring to Italian advertisers with its Auditel service, announced recently that it would launch a similar service for Internet advertisers under the title Audiweb.

In collaboration with Milan's Bocconi University, Audiweb, according to reports, will provide Web advertisers with an official method of measuring the number of visitors to specific sites and, therefore, enhance their use of Internet publicity--covering a growing market of 2,600,000 users in Italy.

"[This service] developed out of a necessity," explains Felice Lioy, president of Audiweb. "If a company has no idea the number of contacts they receive from the Internet, and a clear picture of the Net target market this media is able to reach, it will not be easy for them to dedicate fund to publicity."

In 1996, Italian advertisers accounted for 6,000 Web pages. Last year that figure exceeded 15,000. According to Audiweb's vice-president Marco Barbuti, this is only the beginning. Given the growth in Internet usage, he estimates that within three years, sales from cyber-advertising will reach levels of $170-$228 million.

The key to increasing Internet publicity and sales, hopes UPA, is providing advertisers with greater knowledge and precise figures of the market. These will be the major goals of the new Audiweb service, the company explained.

Not far away, at another press conference in Milan, executives of Doubleclick Italy, the country's exclusive concessionaire for Altavista, introduced its official Web site and explained its hopes of becoming the country's largest dealer of Web advertising.

The sister company of Doubleclick USA, advertising revenue generated from the new site is expected to reach $1.14 million by the end of the year. Already companies like Volvo, Rover, Telecom Italian Mobile, Ericsson, Microsoft, and the Pagine Giallo (Italian Yellow Pages) are taking advantage of Doubleclick services.

Doubleclick Italy was developed last March through a joint-venture of Cairo2, Datanord Multimedia and Doubleclick USA, the largest Internet publicity agency in cyberspace. Using the know-how of the mother company, Doubleclick Italy entered the market offering Italian advertisers the DART (Dynamic Advertising Reporting and Targeting) system.