September 17, 1996
Bell Atlantic InfoTravel Enters Exclusive Distribution
Agreement With On Command Corporation
Interactive-TV City Guide Has Potential Access
to Nearly One Million Hotel Rooms Nationwide
BETHESDA, Md.- Bell Atlantic has signed an exclusive
agreement with On Command Corporation (On Command), a new company
formed by On Command Video Corporation and SpectraVision Inc., to
distribute InfoTravel®, Bell Atlantic's interactive TV-based city
guide. InfoTravel operates in conjunction with On Command's
hotel-based, on-demand in-room entertainment and information services,
which are presently in 400,000 hotel rooms nationwide and will expand
to 900,000 once the transaction combining the two companies is closed.
"This agreement with On Command follows a successful year in
Washington, D.C., and an announced expansion of InfoTravel to Chicago
in early 1997," said Christine Lundregan, president, Bell Atlantic
Electronic Publishing Inc."Presently we are examining other major
travel destinations with the right mix of leisure and business
travelers, a combination that proved successful for the Washington,
D.C., InfoTravel system."
InfoTravel, which is advertiser supported and free to the user and
the hotel, is a multimedia guide for business and leisure travelers.
Earlier this year, On Command announced the adoption of a video server
platform for the operation of its pay-per-view movies, interactive
entertainment, information services and the InfoTravel system.
"InfoTravel is an innovative new media product that's truly
meaningful and useful to the hotel guest," said Bob Kavner,
newly-appointed president and chief executive officer of On Command
Corporation. "It's a good example of the new, guest-oriented
programming and services On Command intends to provide its hotel
customers. Furthermore, the growth of InfoTravel underscores the
ability of the On Command platform to cultivate new interactive
products and services in the attractive demographics of the
This agreement will secure Bell Atlantic's position as the largest
provider of interactive electronic information targeted to the
hospitality industry. The formation of the new On Command Corporation
combines On Command Video and SpectraVision Inc., making it the
largest hotel video provider in the United States. This will give Bell
Atlantic's InfoTravel potential access to approximately 900,000 guest
rooms, nearly one-third of all hotel rooms nationwide, according to
the American Hotel & Motel Association.
"Bell Atlantic's implementation strategy for InfoTravel makes a lot
of sense," said Mary Doyle, senior analyst, mass market interactive
services, IDC/Link."They identified a market segment, the traveler,
who has a need for localized advertiser information, and Bell Atlantic
avoided the high costs of establishing an infrastructure by joining
forces with the nation's largest hotel video provider, On Command."
InfoTravel was launched in Washington, D.C., in June 1995. One year
later, it carries advertising information on 110 advertisers, 35
points of interest, plus hotel guest services on each of its 13
participating hotels. This reflects a 37 percent increase in
advertisers from its launch and a 65 percent renewal rate.
This past June it was announced that InfoTravel will be available
in 10 Chicago hotels by January 1997.
InfoTravel users select information from five different categories
and can make direct, interactive connections to advertisers-
information providers-by keying in numerical codes on their hotel room
TV remote control. Advertisers have the option of offering discount
coupons and customized maps with directions to their locations that can
be printed for pickup at the hotel's front desk. Also, guests can
automatically connect to an advertiser via their room phone.
"This is a great technology application that could become a
critical differentiation between hotels that offer the system and
those that don't," said Richard G. Moore, professor of technology at
the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. "The beauty
InfoTravel is that not only does it reach the targeted audience, it
provides statistical proof of when, where, how often and for what
length of time the advertising message was received."
InfoTravel usage information is captured in a quarterly report that
tracks times and dates ads are viewed, frequency that maps and coupon
print-outs are requested, and the number of direct telephone
connections made to their place of business.
On Command Corp. is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and is majority
owned by ASCENT Entertainment Group, Inc., (NASDAQ:GOAL) which is
headquartered in Denver, Colo.
InfoTravel is offered by Bell Atlantic Electronic Publishing Inc.,
a separate subsidiary of Bell Atlantic Directory Services, part of the
directory services group of the Bell Atlantic Corporation. Bell
Atlantic Electronic Publishing and Bell Atlantic Directory Services
are headquartered in Bethesda, Md.
The Bell Atlantic Corporation
(NYSE:BEL) is at the forefront of the
new communications, entertainment and information industry. In the
mid-Atlantic region, the company is the premier provider of local
telecommunications and advanced services. Globally, it is one of the
largest investors in the high-growth wireless communication
marketplace. Bell Atlantic also owns a substantial interest in
Telecom Corporation in New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
- Stephanie Hobbs (301) 493-3134