First interactive TV service in Europe is born

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LONDON--Armchair shopping has become a reality in Europe with the establishment of the region's first interactive TV service in the U.K.

Retailer Woolworth's has developed the Open service through The Hub, a leading U.K. e-channel consultancy. Available through SkyDigital, the transactional service will allow customers to purchase entertainment goods such as music, books, videos and games using a simple, step by step ordering process.

"Many major retailers have invested in transactional Web sites and are beginning to see the benefit in terms of generating revenue and loyalty. To remain competitive, it is essential that companies look at their e-channel strategy in broader terms to ensure that all platforms available are maximized where appropriate," said Jim Harrison, project director, The Hub.

"Companies must look ahead at emerging platforms such as digital television and public access kiosk to ensure mass market accessibility," said Mr. Harrison.

Howard Unna, electronic channels manager, Woolworth's, said, "We had recognized the next logical step for Woolworth's was to go digital and....that reshaping our retail model to include interactive TV was the best way forward."

Copyright July 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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