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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 1996
BELL ATLANTIC INFOTRAVEL INTERACTIVE VIDEO GUIDE
EXPANDS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO CHICAGO HOTELS
Matsushita and On Command Video to Provide Digital Video Server
CHICAGO- One year after Bell Atlantic commercially
InfoTravel(tm) in a number of Washington,
D.C.,-area hotels, the
interactive video guide service expands to Chicago.
In a news conference held today, Christine Lundregan, director, Bell
Atlantic Electronic Publishing Inc. (EPI), announced that nine Chicago
hotels already have agreed to carry the InfoTravel system starting in
late 1996. Using a TV and a remote, hotel guests can chose a
restaurant, check out local entertainment options, locate the nearest
shopping area and then connect to the advertiser via the hotel room
phone and print coupons and customized maps for pickup at the front
Lundregan also announced that a Chicago-based sales force is launching
a drive to solicit local advertisers to participate in the system
aimed at the 25 million annual visitors* to the
nation's third largest
InfoTravel, which is advertiser supported and free to the user and the
hotel, is a multimedia guide for business and leisure travelers that
operates as part of the On Command Video hotel-based TV service.
"Thirteen hotels in the Washington, D.C., are signed for InfoTravel,
almost double the number at the launch a year ago, we can expect the
same interest level in Chicago," said Lundregan.
"Bell Atlantic has developed InfoTravel into a viable, successful
product for the hospitality industry," said Lundregan. "Chicago
selected for the next step as it is an important business and tourist
center with the right mix of leisure and business travelers, a
combination that has proved successful for our Washington, D.C.,
Bob Snyder, president of On Command Video Corp. (OCV), announced the
adoption of a video server platform for the operation of pay-per-view
movies, interactive entertainment and information services and the
InfoTravel system. Presently InfoTravel operates on Compact Disc
interactive (CD-i) technology.
"The move to a digital video server (DVS) platform will begin in
Chicago and be implemented nationwide over several years," said
Snyder. "InfoTravel has contracted with On Command Video to reside
the servers and, as a critical mass is obtained, we can expect a
satellite-distributed, digital network nationwide."
OCV presently is installed in 386,000 hotels rooms and planned for
106,000 rooms with an additional 500,000 rooms available upon the
approval of the recent SpectraVision acquisition by parent ASCENT
Panasonic is providing the video servers, which were developed by
Matsushita Electric. "Multimedia technology depends on the use of
digital networks, with service providers such as On Command and
InfoTravel, providing the paying, viable applications that users
want," said Robert W. Parson, president, Matsushita Home and
Commercial Products Company, Secaucus, N.J.
Bell Atlantic Directory Graphics is producing the interactive,
multimedia content for InfoTravel. "The DVS technology allows for
updates, for both national and customized local content and for high
media resolution," said Dan Gomez, president of Bell Atlantic
Directory Graphics, Valley Forge, Pa. "The server will allow for
frequent InfoTravel updates and the potential to target specific
travel audiences, such as weekend and weekday travelers."
InfoTravel is now available in 5,100 rooms with an additional 1,000
rooms set for July. The 13 hotels include: nine Marriott, two Hilton
and two Holiday Inns in Washington, D.C., Northern Va., and suburban
Maryland. Guests can preview 100 advertisers and 35 local points of
interest as well as access hotel services by keying in numerical codes
on the TV remote for audio, video and text descriptions. InfoTravel's
directory menu includes Places To Eat, Things to See and Do, Services
& Getting Around, Nightlife and Shopping.
On Command Video Corp. is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and its
parent, ASCENT Entertainment Group, Inc., (NASDAQ:GOAL) headquartered
in Denver, Colo.
InfoTravel is offered by Bell Atlantic Electronic Publishing Inc.,
part of the directory services group of the Bell Atlantic Corporation.
Bell Atlantic Directory Services and Bell Atlantic Electronic
Publishing are headquartered in Bethesda, Md.
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 of New Zealand and is actively developing
high-growth national and international business opportunities in all
phases of the industry.
Contact for On Command Video:
- Carmeyia Gillis, 303-572-0381