But times have changed. Interactive TV won't be coming to Orlando until the fourth quarter; the conference's focus instead will be on the here and now-what technologies are available today to marketers looking to go interactive.
Some 400 advertising, marketing and interactive media executives are expected to attend the event, scheduled for May 8-11 at the Orlando Marriott World Center.
"What we're trying to do in all these sessions is provide attendees the opportunity to learn about the things they can do now," not just the futuristic technologies, said Andy Batkin, president of conference sponsor Interactive Marketing Inc., Hermosa Beach, Calif.
This is the first East Coast conference from Interactive Marketing Inc.; a conference last September drew 300 attendees to Scottsdale, Ariz.
The conference agenda strives to cover interactivity in all senses of the word: interactive telephone, interactive entertainment, interactive newspapers, online services, infomercials, CD-ROMs, videogames and kiosks.
In addition, a panel of ad agency executives will discuss the role agencies should play in interactive advertising.
Still, interactive TV-and Time Warner-will be a hot topic. The opening session features a panel of executives from Microsoft Corp., Bell Atlantic Corp., ICTV, U S West and Time Warner, all of which are at work on interactive TV applications.
"It is our sense that the marketing community is fascinated by the potential for interactive TV," said Bruce Judson, general manager of Time Inc. Multimedia. "We'll talk about the implications of on-demand video communications for how marketers communicate with potential customers."
The conference's keynote speaker will be Tom Weigman, president of multimedia and strategic services at Sprint. Sprint is also a sponsor of the conference.