GROUP WILL FOCUS ON INTERACTIVE AD BIZ

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The Interactive Advertising Council has opened its doors in Washington, hoping to further the cause of interactivity and advertisers' role in it.

"We are here to promote and protect the interests of interactivity, with very strong support of the advertisers," said William L. Sheehan, a former marketing/sales executive serving as the council's senior VP. "The advertiser is going to pay a large majority of the development of the information highway."

The council's kick-off event is an Oct. 11-13 symposium on interactive advertising held in conjunction with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania.

"Other associations are for the most part vertically oriented," said Trey Taylor, council president. "There are those who represent advertisers purely, those who represent agencies purely, others who represent long-distance carriers or cable.

"What's missing for interactivity to work [for advertisers] is a look at this across the board," said Mr. Taylor, a former executive with Cole & Weber, W.B. Doner & Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

Toward that end, the council hopes to recruit members from marketers, agencies, media companies, researchers and technology providers. Dues structure hasn't been set yet; the council is currently operating on a $100,000 budget, with hopes of increasing it to $5 million within a year.

Its first member is Powell, Goldstein, Frazer & Murphy, a Washington law firm that will monitor regulatory action and help the council's lobbying efforts.

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