FORGET DISNEY WORLD; WHERE'S TIME WARNER?

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An insider's look at the Conference on Interactive Marketing/East in Orlando.

Self-service network: More than one conference attendee expressed disappointment that guided tours of Time Warner's still-under-construction Full Service Network weren't on the agenda. Several said they wanted to drive around and look for it themselves. No word on whether anyone found the missing superhighway.

Low technology, Part I: Full-motion video was not the platform of choice for most of the four companies giving presentations on interactive TV applications: ICTV, Bell Atlantic Video Services, Time Warner and Microsoft Corp. Said one attendee irked by the still graphics: "If they're trying to get us to buy their service, why can't they at least show us something that moves?"

Low technology, Part II: Technical glitches are becoming a hallmark of any conference that purports to focus on advanced technology. The latest victim: Redgate Communications Corp.'s Deborah Baker, who waited 10 minutes while technicians worked on her laptop multimedia computer when her CD-ROM wouldn't start. Maybe she should've brought the slides.

The butt of a few jokes: Located directly across from the conference's main meeting room was a TV set showing a graphic full-color videotape of intestinal surgery. No, it wasn't Whittle's Medical News Network exhibit. It was part of the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons' annual meeting, in the room next door. At least it wasn't across from the cafeteria.

Of 31 marketer companies contacted, only one, Avis Rent A Car System, sent an executive to speak at the conference session entitled "Corporate America Goes Interactive." Sitting passively in the audience, however, were executives from Royal Caribbean Cruises, Pepsi-Cola Co., Jim Beam Brands, Coca-Cola Co., Busch Gardens and others.

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