More than 400 people-half journalists, half employees of Time Warner and its partners-gathered from around the world to watch Time Warner Chairman-CEO Gerald Levin push the buttons on a remote control to introduce the industry's most advanced interactive TV trial.
The network is only in about five homes so far and the applications are somewhat limited. But demonstrations of movies on demand, videogames and interactive electronic shopping showed the potential behind Time Warner's $5 billion gamble. The services go well beyond both traditional, passive TV and current online computer applications.
Mr. Levin believes the money needed to support interactive TV systems like FSN will come mostly from video on demand and advertising. But marketers aren't convinced yet. Only a handful-including Chrysler Corp. and the U.S. Post Office-are participating in the trial's initial phase.
Details on Page 37.