New York -- Interactive-television companies will begin to prove that the
category represents a viable business, executives said during a satellite CEO
conference sponsored by Merrill Lynch & Co. here Thursday.
Wink Communications Inc. president Maggie Wilderotter said the second half of
2001 should represent a turning point for interactive TV.
While the winners and losers in the interactive-TV category might not be
readily apparent this year, 'What you should look for is enough information to
start connecting the dots,' DirecTV Global Digital Media president Larry Chapman
told investors and analysts.
Like investors in the category, DirecTV Inc. is trying to gauge consumer
demand for various interactive-TV services. It plans to test a number of offers
this year from Wink, TiVo Inc., Microsoft Corp.'s 'UltimateTV' and AOL Time
Warner Inc.'s 'AOLTV.'
'By 2002, when we have a consolidated platform, we'll be in a much better
position to understand what resonates with the subscriber, what we should do and
what we should avoid,' Chapman added.
Wilderotter said some interactive-TV stocks were unfairly hit last year by
their perceived association with the dot-com sector.
'There is a huge demand for [interactive-television] services,' she added,
'and it's up to us to actualize the interactive-television market.'
Pegasus Communications Corp. CEO Mark Pagon said that while there's little
question that there's a demand for interactive TV, 'where people seem to have
trouble is finding the business model.'
Different interactive-TV companies collect revenues from advertising,
electronic commerce, subscriptions and licensing or operations