New York -- Wink Communications Inc. and WorldGate
Communications Inc. took key steps last week toward making their visions of interactive
advertising a more widespread reality.
The "Wink Enhanced Broadcasting" system, which
had already set 10 charter advertisers, became more attractive last week with the signings
of ABC and CBS to join the previously signed NBC, Wink vice president of ad sales Mike
Among Wink's charter advertisers interested in
building one-to-one relationships with their customers are: AT&T Corp., The Clorox
Co., Ford Motor Co., General Electric Co., Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Procter &
Gamble Co. and Charles Schwab & Co.
In addition, Gannon said, Wink is talking to Kraft Foods
Inc. -- which became Tele-Communications Inc.'s (now AT&T Broadband &
Internet Services) first interactive client signed last year for a future test -- on the
ad side, and to Fox Broadcasting Co. on the TV-network side.
Ford and Domino's Pizza Inc. are said to have joined
Kraft on the AT&T Broadband test, which the MSO would not confirm.
WorldGate, which hosted a four-hour conference here last
Thursday for MSOs and media buyers, sought others to join General Motors Corp. in a
"landmark" research study on channel hyperlinking, due this fall.
Channel hyperlinking allows viewers "instantaneous
linking" between cable TV and related Web sites by clicking on an on-screen icon.
GM was also the first charter advertiser announced for TiVo
Inc.'s new customized-viewing service.
WorldGate's fall study will involve Nielsen Media
Research, 70 networks and three MSOs -- Charter Communications, MediaOne Group Inc. and
Massillon Cable of Ohio -- according to WorldGate vice president of strategic programs
Operators, which could charge subscribers $7 to $12 per
month for hyperlinking, might generate $22 per subscriber, per month in new ad revenue,
WorldGate CEO Hal Krisbergh contended.
MSOs that offer Wink services on some of their systems
include AT&T Broadband, Charter, Century Communications Corp., Comcast Corp., Cox
Communications Inc and Time Warner Cable. Those MSOs will generate revenue based on
consumers' responses or clicks, Gannon said.
Wink estimated that its technology will be in 1 million
homes by year's end, up from 30,000 currently.