Any lessons learned from the Great Internet Bubble of the late 90s have apparently been cast aside by US TV and cable companies as they rush Gadarene-style to tout packaged TV, internet services and web-based programming to advertisers and agencies.

But few think the dotcom crash of 2001 will be replicated in the rush to media convergence. According to Mediavest president Donna Speciale: "The networks are really focusing on digital. Some of the presentations are even starting with the digital component. That has never happened before."

It has not been lost on the TV moguls that internet advertising is the fastest-growing sector, increasing in the US by over 30% last year to $12.5 billion (€9.91bn; £6.85bn).

Many media companies are flirting heavily with digital distribution, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, owner of the Fox network, has spent over $1.5bn in the past year on acquisitions and developing an online presence.

Disney too has gotten in on the act: its ABC network has already started to air some of its most popular shows on

These and other TV programs are also available for free via iPods, cellphones and the internet, enabling media owners to garner ad dollars that might otherwise have fluttered into the pockets of Yahoo! and Google.

Ad buyers are more than happy at this trend. MindShare's Dominic Proctor welcomes the advent of multimedia packaging: "It's what we have wanted to buy. Until now [media owners] haven't wanted to sell it. They have seen cross-platform deals as a synonym for discount."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff