IQ News: A New Game: TEN Goes for Mass Online Ad Appeal

Total Entertainment Network (TEN), the San Francisco-based online gaming company, today announced 20 advertisers for its network of partner sites. The network began in May 1998 with the debut of “Classic Games by TEN,” a games area for Excite, Redwood City, Calif.
The “Classic Games,” which include traditional fare such as chess and checkers, are now also carried on CNet, GeoCities, GO, Netscape, One Zero Media (AltaVista), Prodigy and Webcrawler. The sites which carry the games network have an unduplicated reach of nearly two thirds of all Web traffic, TEN said.
The new roster of advertisers includes PepsiOne, Disney Online, CDnow, live event site OnNow and news group reader Deja News. Snagging more mass-market advertisers illustrates the continued mainstreaming of TEN, which began as a subscription site for so-called hardcore games such as Quake.
TEN also is launching new types of ad units. To play, people join one of dozens of “rooms,” which can be ad-sponsored. Each game piece, such as a playing card, can be emblazoned with corporate messages. While games are loading, interstitial ads appear. Logos can also appear in game title bars.
Erik Lundberg, TEN’s vice president, sales, said response to interstitials has been as high as 10 percent. “It’s a captive environment for online advertisers.”
Seema Williams, an analyst for Forrester Research in Cambridge, Mass., said the shift away from hardcore gamers was a sound strategic move. “They’re finding that to be viable, they need to appeal to a broader range of consumers and that advertising plays a stronger role in their business model than it did before.”