Digital redefined via cable

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Digital" has dual meanings in the emerging world of TV programming.

One meaning is the increasingly popular digital networks, which often are more focused content areas spawned from successful analog cable networks. The second meaning is the World Wide Web-a tool that, when used well, allows the networks to offer additional content not on TV.

In fact, networks' Web plays could be paving the way to interactive TV, where viewers likely will move almost seamlessly between TV and the Internet, says Derek Baine, senior analyst-entertainment and media with media consultancy Paul Kagan Associates.

Smart companies are learning the ropes themselves, and are conditioning customers turning to the Web for additional information, he says.

"Eventually, you won't know whether you're on the Internet or on TV," Mr. Baine says.

Consider the efforts of the Do It Yourself Network, which has created "Kits," short how-to vignettes shown on the digital network. When the program is over, viewers can hit to download more information, says Steven Gigliotti, senior VP-advertising sales with parent Scripps Networks. This decreases volumes at call centers where viewers would phone for more information, and provides even more depth for viewers, Mr. Gigliotti says.

"What you can't get accomplished in 22 minutes [on a TV show], you can get accomplished on the Web site," he says.

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