CAMPAIGN-I: Behind the Hype - A tailor-made lifestyle guide on the net. Ichoose.TV allows viewers to select video clips from various lifestyle channels

Ichoose.TV claims to be Europe's first internet network of

entertainment videos. In reality, it is less of a network and more of a

platform which farms out syndicated content. But it does this well.

The user must first log in and provide the site with the all-important

info for the advertisers - age, sex, e-mail address and so on. This data

is supplied so, as we're told: 'We never have to see an ad that wasn't

meant for us again!'

The front page is simple and clear with 'channels' offering content on

music, film (but no major films, just trailers), fashion, comedy, games,

travel and so on. You simply click through to your area of choice and

pick a streaming video clip. What is a welcome change here is that you

can also choose the platform it comes in on - either Real or Windows

Media, although there's no mention of Quick Time.

You can also 'schedule your own content' selecting from the approximate

1,000 video clips available - creating a personal playlist and even give

a name to your own 'station'.

Ads are placed in front of every clip you select and, cleverly, cannot

by skipped through. You have to watch them. Ichoose.TV does not,

therefore, have to rely on banner ads.

One problem is that the site relies on other people's content and so

quality control must be an issue - users will only revisit if the

standard is reasonably high. Additionally, by hinging the entire site

proposition on streaming video, Ichoose.TV could alienate itself from

home users who only have 56k modems. Those who have tried it know that

watching streaming media with this level of connection when America is

awake and online is very frustrating. People at work with access to the

company-leased line will love it.

One big plus is that, if it is successful, this will translate into

interactive television without missing a beat.

Target audience: The net generation. Bored workers with net access.

Principals: Launched in January 2000 by Ladybird Technologies, a

subsidiary of Ladybird Capital. Stephen Coleman is the chief financial

officer, Steve Wild is the vice-president of advertising sales and

Anthony van Someren is the vice-president of programming and creative.

Adrian Workman is the chief executive.

Funding: Ladybird Capital invested pounds 2.5 million.

Marketing: Initially relied on carriage partners such as ntlworld, who

marketed the site to subscribers. Joint targeted press and PR campaigns

with carriage and content providers such as EMI - using artists to

promote videos.

Competitors: Competitors generally have niche offerings only - either in

music or movies such as QuickTime offers its own built-in

channels as does Real and Windows Media.

THE YEAR AHEAD - Excellent prospects

Word-of-mouse should be a friend of Ichoose.TV. The continued success of

the site will depend upon content quality and promotion. If this is

invested in, then all should be well. Interactive TV beckons.

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