Does John Malone have a career we don't know about. ROAD KILL

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Bits & bytes from the new-media front.

"Speed"-ing down the information superhighway. The latest sign the info highway is being absorbed into the mainstream comes from an unlikely source: Dennis Hopper. In the action movie "Speed," Mr. Hopper sets off a remote explosion that kills a woman after he sees her on a TV news broadcast trying to escape from a speeding bus. Chuckles Mr. Hopper's character, "Interactive TV, Jack. Wave of the future."

We also spotted Bill Gates in the background. Is it us, or does the 500-channel man in the new TV spot for Conde Nast Publications (he's the one who has nothing to say) look a lot like TCI's John Malone? And while we're on the topic, how many viewers of the Knicks-Rockets series had any idea what that commercial was about? It seems like a lot of money was spent to talk to a few in-the-know people.

Itching to interact. We've heard of getting your foot in the door, but this is one fungus we don't want to touch. Schering-Plough Corp. is considering taking its Tinactin athlete's foot medication online. On the short list: Prodigy, Interactive Connection and former MTV VJ Adam Curry's On Ramp Internet service. Says Senior Media Planning Manager Joe Siano: "From what I've read about the online services, they seem to be male-oriented like this particular brand ... You put up a Drixoral cold bulletin board, who cares?"

Do I hear $2.8 billion? Ziff-Davis Interactive President Michael Kolowich told attendees at a Magazine Publishers of America New Media conference in New York earlier this month, "We want to get to a point where five years from now, our electronic properties can be listed right alongside our print properties as things our company does." Then, in laughing reference to Ziff-Davis parent Ziff Communications being put up for sale just days earlier, he added, "Whatever company we may be then. The auction starts here."

Compiled by Scott Donaton and Debra Aho. Contact the Interactive Media & Marketing editors via electronic mail at [email protected]

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