The first sign of PointCast's move towards standards was its agreement late last month to partner with Macromedia, maker of multimedia development tools. The agreement calls for Macromedia's newest tool, Flash, to become the standard for creating interactive ads for the totally ad-supported PointCast Network, starting in the fourth quarter. The animation tool can also be used to create ads for the Web.
"By using Flash, we'll be creating a bridge between how a creative person can approach the Web and how they approach PointCast," says Anna Zornosa, PointCast's senior vice president of advertising, sales and affiliate development. "It creates a de facto standard for using Flash to create animation for the Web."
Macromedia claims that Flash, which costs $199, is not only cheaper, but easier to use than Director, the Macromedia tool which is currently used to create 90 percent of the ads on PointCast. Materials created in Director must then be converted to PointCast animation.
Jupiter Communications' Internet analyst Evan Neufeld thinks that PointCast's attempt to create standards stems from the need to bring more advertising onto the Internet by making it easier to produce. "If you make the process easier you facilitate the amount of dollars spent online," he says.
Explains Zornosa, "We want more animation to find its way to the Web. We think that by emphasizing the use of Flash that we're going to be able to encourage creative departments to use it more."--JS