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Internet Ad Revenue Doubles In France But Remains Slight

French companies spent twice as much on Internet advertising in 1998 than they did the year before, though these sales still account for just a fraction of overall advertising revenue in France, according to a new study.

"1998 was year-one for advertising on the Internet for large French companies, many of which effectively matched each other's spending one-to-one," says the report by the French advertising company Havas, a subsidiary of the conglomerate Vivendi.

French Internet ad sales reached FF80 million, or $13.5 million, in 1998, up 100% from 1997's FF40 million notch, says the report. However, Internet ad revenue accounts for less than 1 percent of the FF166 billion overall advertising market in France, with FF52 billion spent on direct marketing, FF25.5 billion on ads in the traditional press and FF20 billion for TV ads.

Moreover, with French computer users so far taking to multimedia far more enthusiastically than they have to the Internet, multimedia ad sales outstripped Internet ad sales by a factor of more than 15, reaching FF1.28 billion in 1998, up 98% from 1997's mark, according to the report. The only other advertising medium to show double-digit sales growth, ads in movie theaters, grew 10% to FF537 million.

Still, Havas found that French companies are waking to the Internet's capacity to get their messages across. In a survey, it found that 67% of advertisers believe Internet advertising will be a necessity in the near future; 68% said it was ideal for reaching specific targets and 66% thought it indispensable for maintaining competitiveness.



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