Market will define the infobahn

This column marks the debut of Interactive Marketing, a new occasional feature focussing on news, issues and emerging trends in all areas of interactive marketing.Strategy invites column submissions. Enquiries should be directed to Mark Smyka, editor at (416) 408-2300.This issue's column...

This column marks the debut of Interactive Marketing, a new occasional feature focussing on news, issues and emerging trends in all areas of interactive marketing.

Strategy invites column submissions. Enquiries should be directed to Mark Smyka, editor at (416) 408-2300.

This issue’s column is by Marc Solby, a Toronto writer and multimedia project manager with Montreal-based Videoway Multimedia.

Pop quiz. A test on tests. Match up the following interactive tests with their description. Answers at bottom of chart.

A) gte’s Cerritos Project

B) US West/TCI/AT&T

Viewer-controlled cable tv

C) Time Warner Network

D) Stentor – Beacon Initiative

E) Bell Atlantic Multimedia Network

F) UBI Consortium

Multimedia Network

1) 1992 start – 300 homes in suburban Denver attached to hundreds of vcrs to test pay-per-view and simulated ‘video-on-demand.’

2) 1989 launch of voice, video and data services, three homes and six classrooms with videophone and video-on-demand; 300 homes interactive banking and information services.

3) Virginia-based test of v-o-d, home shopping, educational tv, etc. Currently at its inception of 300 homes (employees); shooting for 2,000 homes

4) Canadian Telco alliance dedicated to building an open, national, broadband network for interactive multimedia

5) Fall ’95 start of 34,000 home network in northern Quebec. Still-frame network offering information services, home shopping/banking, educational services. Phase 1 of a three-phase plan to network most of Quebec.

6) Soon to start 1,000 to 4,000 home test with full-motion video-on-demand, home shopping, video games, etc. in Orlando, Fla.

Answers:

A = 2

B = 1

C = 6

D = 4

E = 3

F = 5

It’s nice to know who is doing what in the interactive scene, but I think the more important question is ‘Why?’

Watch for the tests that are market-oriented, rather than the more technology-minded.

I think they provide the best opportunities for marketers to participate and learn about the future.

For instance, the now-famous Time Warner Orlando, Fla. test is aiming to push the limits of network technology. It’s an engineer’s fantasy and an accountant’s nightmare.

A quick breeze through the numbers says that at around US$7,000 per home in hardware, plus the costs to develop the network, the Jones family is going to have to order an awful lot of pay-per-view to make it worthwhile.

So what? Someone has to invent this stuff

You don’t pop over to Radio Shack and pick up a full-motion video server for 400 homes and some state-of-the-art compression technology.

Remember Field of Dreams. Just mow the cornfield, worry about ticket prices later.

If you don’t have a subscription to Spectrum, the magazine for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, it’s hard to appreciate the technological feats of the high tech tests beyond being impressed by the results.

Yet, in a market-oriented test, cable tv giant tci filled a room with vcrs to learn about what consumers want out of video-on-demand.

For marketers, it’s easy to appreciate why that’s valuable information to anyone involved in pay-per-view, particularly anyone thinking of spending a few hundred million on a network.

The ubi consortium network in Quebec is gaining prominence as a market-oriented project.

The network uses state-of-the-art, but not prototypical, technology.

It will operate in still-frame multimedia ‘pages’ with sound, not full-motion video; but, in September 1995, it will likely be the only fullscale interactive tv network in North America.

ubi plans to begin giving homes in Chicoutimi, Que. the necessary equipment beginning in late ’95 and expects to have at least 80% of the market, 34,000 homes, in the network by early 1996.

The equipment will consist of: a set-top box (computer), printer, transactional device, and a remote. That’s a fair bit of hardware to dole out to 34,000 homes for free.

As a result, ubi needs service providers to be paying for applications on the system.

Consumers, on the other side of the box, will want useful, entertaining content if they are going to be spending time and buying goods and services with the system.

The real world economics of the project: buyers, sellers, consumers that make up a 100,000-person market, create the parameters of a market-driven environment – literally.

Which means that advertisers have an excellent opportunity to learn about their interactive consumer. Even for experienced marketers, there is plenty to learn.

In an interactive environment, viewers are going to have more control over what they watch.

The challenge will be figuring out how to keep them interested and present your message in an efficient and entertaining way.

Interactive applications with their response mechanisms – printing a coupon, getting access to a recipe, answering a survey – can often have a measure of success.

That response rate is usually the result of applied learning. It can also help get you the promotion you’ve always deserved.

Part two of today’s quiz is essay questions.

How much information does the consumer want? What’s the best way of presenting the brand to sustain involvement? How much interaction should be built in? Who can you get information from? How best to judge multimedia executions? Where is the best place to position an application? What types of partnerships and alliances will help you?

As in most marketing endeavors, there are no simple answers. It depends on the type of category, the type of brand, and the type of company.

The interactive network is not some kind of massive revolution, wiping out television commercials.

It is, however, a mainstream, efficient, mass medium that can be measured; and, that means that testing and learning translates into dollars and cents.

This column marks the debut of Interactive Marketing, a new occasional feature focussing on news, issues and emerging trends in all areas of interactive marketing.

Strategy invites column submissions. Enquiries should be directed to Mark Smyka, editor at (416) 408-2300.

This issue’s column is by Marc Solby, a Toronto writer and multimedia project manager with Montreal-based Videoway Multimedia.

It’s nice to know who is doing what in the interactive scene, but I think the more important question is ‘Why?’

Watch for the tests that are market-oriented, rather than the more technology-minded.

I think they provide the best opportunities for marketers to participate and learn about the future.

For instance, the now-famous Time Warner Orlando, Fla. test is aiming to push the limits of network technology. It’s an engineer’s fantasy and an accountant’s nightmare.

A quick breeze through the numbers says that at around US$7,000 per home in hardware, plus the costs to develop the network, the Jones family is going to have to order an awful lot of pay-per-view to make it worthwhile.

So what? Someone has to invent this stuff

You don’t pop over to Radio Shack and pick up a full-motion video server for 400 homes and some state-of-the-art compression technology.

Remember Field of Dreams. Just mow the cornfield, worry about ticket prices later.

If you don’t have a subscription to Spectrum, the magazine for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, it’s hard to appreciate the technological feats of the high tech tests beyond being impressed by the results.

Yet, in a market-oriented test, cable tv giant tci filled a room with vcrs to learn about what consumers want out of video-on-demand.

For marketers, it’s easy to appreciate why that’s valuable information to anyone involved in pay-per-view, particularly anyone thinking of spending a few hundred million on a network.

The ubi consortium network in Quebec is gaining prominence as a market-oriented project.

The network uses state-of-the-art, but not prototypical, technology.

It will operate in still-frame multimedia ‘pages’ with sound, not full-motion video; but, in September 1995, it will likely be the only fullscale interactive tv network in North America.

ubi plans to begin giving homes in Chicoutimi, Que. the necessary equipment beginning in late ’95 and expects to have at least 80% of the market, 34,000 homes, in the network by early 1996.

The equipment will consist of: a set-top box (computer), printer, transactional device, and a remote. That’s a fair bit of hardware to dole out to 34,000 homes for free.

As a result, ubi needs service providers to be paying for applications on the system.

Consumers, on the other side of the box, will want useful, entertaining content if they are going to be spending time and buying goods and services with the system.

The real world economics of the project: buyers, sellers, consumers that make up a 100,000-person market, create the parameters of a market-driven environment – literally.

Which means that advertisers have an excellent opportunity to learn about their interactive consumer. Even for experienced marketers, there is plenty to learn.

In an interactive environment, viewers are going to have more control over what they watch.

The challenge will be figuring out how to keep them interested and present your message in an efficient and entertaining way.

Interactive applications with their response mechanisms – printing a coupon, getting access to a recipe, answering a survey – can often have a measure of success.

That response rate is usually the result of applied learning. It can also help get you the promotion you’ve always deserved.

Part two of today’s quiz is essay questions.

How much information does the consumer want? What’s the best way of presenting the brand to sustain involvement? How much interaction should be built in? Who can you get information from? How best to judge multimedia executions? Where is the best place to position an application? What types of partnerships and alliances will help you?

As in most marketing endeavors, there are no simple answers. It depends on the type of category, the type of brand, and the type of company.

The interactive network is not some kind of massive revolution, wiping out television commercials.

It is, however, a mainstream, efficient, mass medium that can be measured; and, that means that testing and learning translates into dollars and cents.

This column marks the debut of Interactive Marketing, a new occasional feature focussing on news, issues and emerging trends in all areas of interactive marketing.

Strategy invites column submissions. Enquiries should be directed to Mark Smyka, editor at (416) 408-2300.

This issue’s column is by Marc Solby, a Toronto writer and multimedia project manager with Montreal-based Videoway Multimedia.

It’s nice to know who is doing what in the interactive scene, but I think the more important question is ‘Why?’

Watch for the tests that are market-oriented, rather than the more technology-minded.

I think they provide the best opportunities for marketers to participate and learn about the future.

For instance, the now-famous Time Warner Orlando, Fla. test is aiming to push the limits of network technology. It’s an engineer’s fantasy and an accountant’s nightmare.

A quick breeze through the numbers says that at around US$7,000 per home in hardware, plus the costs to develop the network, the Jones family is going to have to order an awful lot of pay-per-view to make it worthwhile.

So what? Someone has to invent this stuff

You don’t pop over to Radio Shack and pick up a full-motion video server for 400 homes and some state-of-the-art compression technology.

Remember Field of Dreams. Just mow the cornfield, worry about ticket prices later.

If you don’t have a subscription to Spectrum, the magazine for the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, it’s hard to appreciate the technological feats of the high tech tests beyond being impressed by the results.

Yet, in a market-oriented test, cable tv giant tci filled a room with vcrs to learn about what consumers want out of video-on-demand.

For marketers, it’s easy to appreciate why that’s valuable information to anyone involved in pay-per-view, particularly anyone thinking of spending a few hundred million on a network.

The ubi consortium network in Quebec is gaining prominence as a market-oriented project.

The network uses state-of-the-art, but not prototypical, technology.

It will operate in still-frame multimedia ‘pages’ with sound, not full-motion video; but, in September 1995, it will likely be the only fullscale interactive tv network in North America.

ubi plans to begin giving homes in Chicoutimi, Que. the necessary equipment beginning in late ’95 and expects to have at least 80% of the market, 34,000 homes, in the network by early 1996.

The equipment will consist of: a set-top box (computer), printer, transactional device, and a remote. That’s a fair bit of hardware to dole out to 34,000 homes for free.

As a result, ubi needs service providers to be paying for applications on the system.

Consumers, on the other side of the box, will want useful, entertaining content if they are going to be spending time and buying goods and services with the system.

The real world economics of the project: buyers, sellers, consumers that make up a 100,000-person market, create the parameters of a market-driven environment – literally.

Which means that advertisers have an excellent opportunity to learn about their interactive consumer. Even for experienced marketers, there is plenty to learn.

In an interactive environment, viewers are going to have more control over what they watch.

The challenge will be figuring out how to keep them interested and present your message in an efficient and entertaining way.

Interactive applications with their response mechanisms – printing a coupon, getting access to a recipe, answering a survey – can often have a measure of success.

That response rate is usually the result of applied learning. It can also help get you the promotion you’ve always deserved.

Part two of today’s quiz is essay questions.

How much information does the consumer want? What’s the best way of presenting the brand to sustain involvement? How much interaction should be built in? Who can you get information from? How best to judge multimedia executions? Where is the best place to position an application? What types of partnerships and alliances will help you?

As in most marketing endeavors, there are no simple answers. It depends on the type of category, the type of brand, and the type of company.

The interactive network is not some kind of massive revolution, wiping out television commercials.

It is, however, a mainstream, efficient, mass medium that can be measured; and, that means that testing and learning translates into dollars and cents.