Is NYC Ready To Interact?


Larry Fischer
President, Time Warner Cable Media Sales
When Time Warner Cable introduces a new type of advertiser-supported interactive TV advertising service in Manhattan later this year, corporate ad sales chief Larry Fischer hopes Madison Avenue. media executives will finally warm to a long-awaited medium. The newsletter spoke recently with the former Time Warner City Cable Advertising executive about the New York debut:

Q. How does the interactive approach you’re planning for NYC look and feel?

A. If you’re selling The Da Vinci Code from Sony Pictures, and you’re running a 30-second spot in Manhattan – let’s say the movie has just opened – you can run a spot that has a telescoped ad that says, ‘Would you like to see the trailer?’ You click on the trailer and it takes you to Movie Trailers on Demand. You see a 15-second American Express ad, you see the green screen, and then you see the movie trailer for Da Vinci Code.

Q.Then what?

A. At some point near the end of the trailer there’s another telescoped ad that says, ‘Are you interested in seeing this movie?’ If you answer ‘Yes,’ because the technology knows where you live, it will tell you the theaters that the movie’s playing at, it can tell you the start times and it can eventually print you a ticket. Not all of what I just told you is available today, but a lot of it is.

Q. Beyond movies, what categories might have promise?

A. We’re doing a lot of business with Fresh Direct, [a Web site food store that delivers grocercies directly to homes in some parts o New York] which has trucks all over town, and they would like you to learn more about them. So if you had a telescoped ad for Fresh Direct, it would take you to the Fresh Direct menu, and you could see what you could order, even if you couldn’t order from them directly, and on the screen it would list their Web site,, or you could order from an 800 number. So we’re getting closer to completing the circle. And the advertising community, once they see this, and certainly if they see it on a competitor’s ad, it will begin to get agencies and clients together in a way they’ve never gotten together before.

Q. What’s the biggest obstacle to success?

A. You never get all the people in the room together. The industry’s presenting game-changing technology that will enable them to work and brand their goods and services in a way that’s never been offered before, and they don’t see it. It takes too long. I’m running a really big business here, it’s about to get much bigger. And so I can’t attend five meetings with the same client. And because I’m not asking for $100 million. I’m asking for what amounts to seed money, early money in a game changing environment.

Q. How does the advertising itself change with a platform like this?

A. It’s not the kind of thing where the advertiser doesn’t have to participate. In some cases, the advertiser [like General Motors] may produce the content. The point is, if you’re going to take people from a linear environment to a digital environment, you’ve got work to do, Mr. Advertiser.

--Interviewed by Stewart Schley