INTERVIEWS

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Advertising Age e-mailed questions about the state of the

interactive industry to leading industry thinkers. Here are some of

the responses.

Raymond Smith, chairman-CEO, Bell Atlantic Corp.

A year ago, all of the new-media buzz was centered on the concept

of interactive TV and video on demand. Today, the spotlight is on commercial online services and, even more so, the Internet. What will we be talking about a year from now when the subject is the

information revolution?

A huge capacity is being created, based on the marriage of

broadband communications, server technologies and two-way switching, for delivering a whole new range of interactive and entertainment services to homes and businesses on both televisions and personal computers.

It is starting already. It will gain momentum and gain customers in 1995. It will really pick up steam and gain critical mass in 1996 and become a mass-market phenomenon in 1997. By 1998, it will be re-discovered as a media phenomenon and interactive TV will be reborn.

What role will marketers and advertisers play in building, funding and shaping the culture of the so-called information superhighway?

Are they in danger of being left behind?

Interactive, transactional selling over broadband networks will create a whole new relationship between buyer and seller .*.*. Those marketers/advertisers who can master the very different strengths of this new interactive medium will lead the way into new markets. Those who don't jump in early and wait will find themselves operating the best darn buggy-whip businesses on Madison Avenue.

Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT's Media Lab and author of "Being Digital" (Knopf)

A year ago, all of the new-media buzz was centered on the concept of interactive TV and video on demand. Today, the spotlight is on commercial online services and, even more so, the Internet. What will we be talking about a year fromnow when the subject is the information revolution?

We will be talking about the consequences of being digital and the Internet, because many things will be turned upside-down. [Video on demand] is just an electronic blockbuster, but the 'net calls into question copyrights, digital cash, encryption and advertising. I believe more people will be on the 'net in the year 2000 than looking at network TV.

What role will marketers and advertisers play in building, funding and shaping the culture of the so-called information superhighway? Are they in danger of being left behind?

Few $159 billion industries are so dumb as to be totally asleep, and there will be some very imaginative solutions to advertiser-supported media. The big difference is that today we PUSH bits at people. Tomorrow people (and their intelligent agents) will PULL at them. In that world, advertising has to be news, not noise.

What are the key issues that must be resolved or at least explored in the coming year with regard to new media?

Privacy will be a big issue and, as starters, the government needs to wake up and stop putting export restrictions on encryption. Or, if they won't, let's import it. Digital commerce just will not happen without privacy and security.

More interviews on Pages S-26 and S-28.

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