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In-store TV lets ads follow shoppers
Next month 2,000 television sets will blink on at 350 J.C. Penney stores, and teenage girls shopping for clothes will see a carefully programmed blend of music videos, fashion tips and commercials for Union Bay Sportswear.
Moviegoers in the lobbies of 210 United Artists cinemas this spring also watched TV: videos, film reviews, and advertisements for a teen-oriented show on the Fox television network.
Many big-budget advertisers, worried about the increasing cacophony of broadcast and cable television, have begun driving their message home by looking beyond the home.
From Nike Inc. and Nintendo of America to General Motors Corp., they are exploring alternative television "networks" that deliver specific kinds of viewers in such unlikely places as fashionable department stores, airport waiting rooms, and grocery checkout lines.
In the forefront of this expanding field are two Seattle companies with a national presence, Sight & Sound Entertainment Inc. and Instore Entertainment Inc.
Their rival video networks have recently carried ads for such products as Levi's jeans, Nike athletic shoes and films from the Samuel Goldwyn studio, as well as Union Bay and Fox.
Muzak Limited Partnership, the Seattle company that raised elevator music to a science, is preparing to enter this arena as well. A company official acknowledges its planned network will also go …