Disney lab to probe effectiveness of web ads

There’s a lot of money being spent on digital ads, and The Walt Disney Co. wants to know if any of it is worth the price. To do that, the entertainment giant plans to open a lab in Austin, Texas, where it can test the effectiveness of online and mobile ads.

According to The Associated Press, Disney plans to measure the effectiveness of advertising on a pool of up to 4,000 people. Scientists will hone in on heart rate, skin conductivity and follow the eye-tracking of participants.

The lab will serve Disney as well as its corporate siblings, ABC and ESPN.

“One of the reasons for engaging in an initiative like this is to determine, once and for all, if there is additional value,” Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of research and sales development for ESPN, told The Associated Press.

If Disney finds that interactive ads perform better than traditional spots, it will then try to build a case for charging more.

But the experiment could prove to be a boon for more companies than just Disney. In the past few months, Google has been putting pressure on YouTube to find value in its audience, and social networks like MySpace and Facebook have been scrambling to monetize their traffic.

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