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By RAYMOND W. SMITH, Chairman and CEO of Bell Atlantic Corporation
Delivered before the Advertising Women of New York, New York, New York, February 1, 1995
Before I get started, let me just clear up a couple of questions. First of all, for those of you who saw my "Conan the Barbarian" picture on the cover of Wired magazine recently, there have been rumors that it was my old head pasted on Arnold Schwartzenegger's body - yes, that is my real body.
And second, despite anything you might have read, Bell Atlantic has no plans to buy Big Bird - but we have taken a 30 percent option on Barney.
Seriously, it's really a pleasure to be here with so many talented and creative people. According to the letter I received, I've been asked to explain the convergence of digital technologies; predict what the information revolution will mean for retailing, merchandising, promotion, advertising, television, and leisure; give an insight into the incredible change in the video form and its major competitive and organizational implications - and to do all that in a light and entertaining manner after a big lunch, in about 17 minutes. (Let me just point out: That's a lot to ask a person to do for free.)
So with so much to do, I can assure you that I won't spend very much time talking about the "1's" and "0's" of the new digital Esperanto, and I vow not to breathe the mother of all cliches, the "information superhighway." Obviously, I do not come here as an expert in the advertising business; the truth is, you will have far more to do with the shape of advertising and retailing in the next decade than I will.
Instead, I come here with just three simple messages and maybe a challenge or two - about the implications of the information delivery systems and the new paradigm of the video industry on your business:
* First - The next generation of commercial television is upon us. It will be fundamentally different from today's one-way linear TV experience. And it will be here faster than any of us can imagine.
* Second - Interactive, transactional television will create a whole new relationship between buyer and seller. This new, more immediate connection poses some challenges to the traditional role of the advertiser, but at the end of the day it will dramatically increase the value of television as a medium over the conventional TV model - and, therefore, it will increase the value of anyone who can tap that power effectively. (Like you.)
* Third - To paraphrase Lee Iacocca, those of us who want to profit by the new media and not be consumed by them must lead, follow, or get out of the way. We can jump in early and help create …