Star-Bulletin deal
expands classified
advertising reach to TV

WHAT'S black and white and digital all over? TVClassifieds, interactive classified advertising on television, by the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Oceanic Time Warner Cable and Broadband Interactive TV.

TVClassifieds, on Oceanic's digital Channel One, is believed to be the first product of its kind in the nation, according to management officials at Oceanic and Broadband iTV Inc.

Using the remote, a viewer can select the "Our Town" tab on the screen and then browse through hundreds of announcements and ads for autos, merchandise, pets, real estate rentals and real estate for sale.

TVClassifieds draws its content from print ads in the Star-Bulletin paper and from a Web site, www.hawaiitvclassifieds.com, where people can buy ads that will be displayed on TV only, said Milton Diaz, Broadband Interactive chief technology officer.

A TVClassifieds ad is included in the purchase of a Star-Bulletin classified ad for a limited time.

"This is a product we are targeting to go to the mainland," Diaz said.

"Oceanic is a wonderful partner. We are hoping to deploy this on other Time Warner Cable operations."

Upgrades in development will give ad buyers the ability to upload still pictures and video to TVClassifieds through the Web site.

"That's the whole promise of the new, digital, interactive world," said Oceanic President Nate Smith. "The paradigms for traditional commerce are being challenged and changed."

Of Oceanic's 388,000 customers statewide, more than 140,000 subscribe to its digital service and more than 112,000 of those households are on Oahu.

"What is particularly exciting is that a newspaper has never embraced a television product as robust as TVClassifieds," said Dennis Francis, president and publisher of the Star-Bulletin.

Most classified advertisers who buy space in the Star-Bulletin also choose to have the ads appear in MidWeek and MidWeek - The Weekend, according to Dave Kennedy, vice president of marketing for the Star-Bulletin.

Broadband iTV previously began interactive, long-form advertising for Oceanic which airs on digital Channel 326. On that channel, viewers can use the remote to select a product category and chose long-form videos promoting products or services without having to deal with a pushy salesperson and before plunking down any coin.

Oceanic was the first cable company in the nation to roll out interactive service, beginning with movies on demand in December 1999. It later was the first to enable viewers to order pizza for delivery using a digital set-top-box and remote control.

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