- The Washington Times - Monday, September 25, 2000

Digital:Convergence Corp. (www.digitalconvergence.com) has entered the race to seamlessly merge the infor-

mation highway with the printed page.

This Dallas-based firm has created a way to "Internet-enhance" printed and broadcast news sources with ":CueCodes," or cyber-bar codes.

The company's ":CueCat," reads ":CueCodes" inserted into editorial or advertising hard copy and acts between the mediums by taking readers directly to the Web content that is relevant to the ad or article without the need to use a search engine or even type in a URL.

":CueCodes" detected during a broadcast bring the information links to the viewer's desktop for one click access.

"While newspapers provide general and broad information for a large audience, the Internet provides in-depth and targeted information for a segmented audience," said Larry Olsen, vice president of newspaper publishing for Digital:Convergence.

"The :CueCat allows the newspaper to remain relevant with the electronic delivery of information by becoming a Web page portal to that very narrow target segment that is a part of their broader audience."

The Digital:Convergence technology, available free to more than 800,000 Forbes subscribers, included a feline shaped scanner and ":CRQ" software.

Company plans call for more than 10 million American consumers to receive package mailings this year with, by the end of 2001, more than 50 million consumers owning and using the ":CueCat" scanner.

Consumers can also pick up free packages that include the :CRQ software, ":CueCat," installation instructions, RadioShack's cue-enhanced catalog and a copy of Forbes' "Best of the Web" edition at RadioShack retail locations.

Going for cyber-gold

NBC-TV may be the biggest loser of this year's Olympic Games. Television viewing of the tape-delayed games is falling short of projected viewership promises that the network made to advertisers.

Over the first three days of taped telecasts, with absolutely no live competition being broadcast, the Olympics scored an average 14.5 national rating in contrast to NBC Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol's projections of averages between 17.5 and 18.5 with advertisers being assured no prime-time average would be lower than 16.1.

While the television viewership may only win a bronze, Web sites are definitely in the gold medal range, with NBCOlympics.com leading the way with a 159 percent jump to 433,000 unique visitors on the day of the opening ceremony.

"It is being said that this is the first Web Olympics, but television remains the major broadcast medium," said Allen Weiner, vice president of analytical services at Nielsen/ NetRatings, an Internet research firm out of New York City.

"Still, no one can ignore the fact that the Internet is playing a major role, taking some of the spotlight away. This is a battle between old and new with the new media portal sites such as Lycos, Yahoo and AOL providing a 360 review of the news and information, including the Olympics, that people want."

Surfing for a dream

Following the success of "The Blair Witch Project" and "Pi" theatrical Web sites, Artisan Entertainment (www.artisanentertainment.com) has created a bizarre cyber-offering to promote its upcoming, critically acclaimed independent film "Requiem For A Dream" (www.requiemforadream.com).

Adapted from the 1978 novel by Hubert Selby Jr., the film's visual style is a continuing montage of imagery, which reportedly has more single cuts than any other mainstream feature ever made.

Writer and director Darren Aronofsky has assembled the cast of Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto to relate the story of a group of drug addicts yearning for a better life.

The site strives to mimic the main character's emotional descent using a disoriented blast of images, sound and dialogue through the use of Macromedia Flash technology. As the opening page loads, viewers will find that they quickly lose control of the images on the screen.

"The purpose of the Web site is to entice the moviegoer into seeing the film by translating the visceral feelings of the movie and providing an experience that will intrigue them to want to know more," said LeAnne Gayner, senior vice president of Theatrical Marketing. "We have created a Web site that will capitalize on the visual wizardry of Darren Aronofsky's work."

Having repeatedly visited the Web site, more than three different short Flash movies do serve to create compelling content. Even more so, unsuspecting surfers will not even realize what they have fallen into is an advertisement for a movie.

"There are numerous movie information and fan sites on the Internet where persons can find out information about the stars, the director, the story or the film," Ms. Gayner said.

"Ours is meant to be an experience that parallels the film and that takes advantage of the medium, to look at the property in a way that furthers the experience before and after you view the film."

• Have an interesting site? Write to Joseph Szadkowski at the Business Browser, The Washington Times, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; call 202/636-3016; or send e-mail ([email protected]).

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