Virtual infomercial

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USA Networks this week begins running what may be the first virtual infomercial. As part of a Simon & Schuster multi-week ad buy on USA's Sci-Fi Channel and Dominion World Wide Web site, USA has created two virtual tours of Simon & Schuster's new Star Trek CD-ROM programs. Beginning this week, Dominion users can navigate through a seven-page tour of the Star Trek "Omnepedia," a CD-ROM containing information and trivia on the Star Trek movies and series. In a few weeks, Dominion will begin running a similar seven-page tour of the Star Trek "Technical Manual" CD-ROM. Dominion users can automatically order the computer programs via the Web site. Simon & Schuster is owned by Viacom, which is a 50/50 partner in USA with MCA. The estimated $20,000 media buy includes conventional commercials on Sci-Fi in the U.S. and possibly on its new European channel.

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