ad info

TIME Asia Home
Current Issue
Magazine Archive
Asia Buzz
Travel Watch
Web Features
  Photo Essays

Subscribe to TIME
Customer Services
About Us
Write to TIME Asia
TIME Canada
TIME Europe
TIME Pacific
TIME Digital
Latest CNN News

Young China
Olympics 2000
On The Road

  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia

Other News
From TIME Asia

Culture on Demand: Black is Beautiful
The American Express black card is the ultimate status symbol

Asia Buzz: Should the Net Be Free?
Web heads want it all -- for nothing

JAPAN: Failed Revolution
Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori clings to power as dissidents in his party finally decide not to back a no-confidence motion

Cover: Endgame?
After Florida's controversial ballot recount, Bush holds a 537-vote lead in the state, which could give him the election

TIME Digest

TIME Asia Services
Subscribe to TIME! Get up to 3 MONTHS FREE!

Bookmark TIME
TIME Media Kit
Recent awards


Read My Banner
The medium is only so-so

September 16, 1999
Web posted at 8 a.m. Hong Kong time, 8 p.m. EDT

Name the last ad you can remember seeing online.

Tough one, eh? This is the nub of the issue facing (or impeding) the growth of the Internet as yet another marketing tool. For all the Net's ability to track and deliver the most focused consumer data in the history of capitalism, the sad fact is that online advertising still doesn't sing.

Asia Buzz: Tokyo Drops the Ball in East Timor
The economic giant remains little more than a political midget
- Wednesday, Sept. 15, 1999

Asia Buzz: Change or Perish
Are the print media's days finally numbered?
- Tuesday, Sept. 14, 1999

Asia Buzz: The Artist Has Landed!
Mando-pop diva A-Mei touches down at Hong Kong's Kai Tak
- Monday, Sept. 13, 1999

Asia Buzz: Cable News
If this is a rip-off, how come I can't spend any money?
- Monday, Sept. 13, 1999

Asia Buzz: Culture on Demand
Tired of the same old restaurants? Go "nousian"
- Saturday, Sept. 11, 1999

Market Q&A
Each business evening with analysts around the region

The story behind today's news from the editors of Asiaweek

Daily Briefing
Today's headlines from across the region

Singapore's I-One International is a case in point. Its Internet booths along Orchard Road are supposed to speak of e-commerce, but so far much of the actual money is coming from the Volkswagen ads adorning the booths' exteriors.

Admittedly, it's early days. Goldman Sachs' Hong Kong-based Net analyst Rajeev Gupta reckons online advertising in Asia is about to enter "a very rapid phase." He predicts Asian ad spending online will reach $1.5 billion by the year 2001, 5% of the region's total advertising market. That compares with just $10 million in 1998. ("Traditional" Asian major-media ad spending in 1998 was $21.4 billion.)

Numbers like that naturally attract players. U.S. giant DoubleClick is rumored to be hooking up with Singapore-based Tricast, which posts the Asian franchises of MTV, CNET and E!Online, while DoubleClick's main rival in the U.S., 24/7 is franchised by and affiliated with America Online's growing regional operations.

The online ad industry is evolving much differently from the path taken by traditional media. Tricast is a content provider; Hong Kong-based is the content portal that recently went public on New York's NASDAQ. Marriages of advertising agencies and media are rare, mostly because of the strict division between church and state.

In Asia at least, this new strain of ad industry suggests that the mold is being broken, with the exception of a third homegrown player, SpaceAsia Media. SpaceAsia was founded in typical seat-of-the-pants Net style: by a few guys in a bar with an idea who slapped down some cash and created a company. Not affiliated with any content or portal site, SpaceAsia says it uses the most industry-specific, consumer-specific technology around, short of evoking the specter of Big Brother.

Tracking consumers with state-of-the-art technology is one thing, but the message itself must also improve. The sharpest online ad I've seen came unsolicited from the official Austin Powers movie site. When I opened the attachment, an animated Austin took over the desktop, danced around the screen and mooned me before being besieged by Dr. Evil. You had to click on Austin to save him, at which point an animated Richard Branson arrived on a Virgin Atlantic jumbo and whisked Austin away via the Virgin e-commerce Website. Viva Las Vegas, baby ... yeah!

It was cute--but, more importantly, it held my attention for a whole two to three minutes. It crossed borders. O.K., I didn't buy a Virgin flight, but I did see the movie. And yes, getting a few of these every day would get annoying, but it highlights the new medium's potential.

We are likely less than 1% of the way down the Internet advertising track. Wait to be annoyed in ways you never thought possible.

Write to us at
Search for recent Asia Buzz

TIME Asia home



U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

Thai party announces first coalition partner


COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state


COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness

Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN

Back to the top   © 2000 Time Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.