General Electric Co.'s interactive agency review is looking more like a search for a Web production house. GE last week narrowed the review to four companies, including One World Interactive, Spencertown, N.Y., designer of the GE Plastics site (http://www.ge.com/gep/homepage.html). CKS Partners, Cupertino, Calif., was cut; other "name" shops that were asked to participate (Modem Media, Westport, Conn.; Poppe Tyson, New York; and BBDO Worldwide, GE's brand agency) all declined. A decision is expected next month.
CompuServe surprised industry observers by picking Martin/Williams, Minneapolis, over DDB Needham, Chicago, for its advertising account. Billings weren't disclosed, but agency executives estimated the online service could spend more than $20 million on advertising in the next year. "We're going to be a hell of a lot more aggressive in the marketplace," said Tom Cullivan, CompuServe director of advertising. "We want to regain the leadership position in the U.S," where CompuServe trails America Online. Mr. Cullivan said new ads will aim to generate awareness for the online service and change perceptions that it's aimed only at computer enthusiasts.
Time Warner Cable and Time Inc. are testing a high-speed online service delivered via cable wires. The service, running in 400 homes and several libraries, schools and government offices in Elmira, N.Y., offers access to Time Inc.'s Pathfinder World Wide Web service, news, shopping, sports, weather and e-mail. The basic monthly charge is $14.95; an extra $9.95 per month gets high-speed access to the Internet.
Forbes will open a site on the World Wide Web in conjunction with Electronic Newsstand....Marinex Communications launched "The Biz: The Digizine for the Entertainment Industry" on the Web at http://www.bizmag.com.... The NFL Players Association named Sportsline USA (http://www.sportsline.com) its official online service.