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PRODIGY WILL BE NATIONAL LINK BETWEEN INTERACTIVE CONTENT PRODUCERS AND CABLE OPERATORS

 WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Prodigy Services Company, producer of the nation's most-popular online service for home computers, said today that it will open its distributed interactive delivery network to third parties and become a national link between local cable operators and producers of interactive programs, products and services for cable TV viewers.
 In addition to offering network services, Prodigy also is developing its own interactive TV Services. A prototype of these services, designed to work on the advanced new digital set-top converter box from Jerrold/General Instrument, will be demonstrated at next week's National Cable Television Association convention in San Francisco.
 Already the leading provider of interactive services, Prodigy has attracted more than 2 million home-computer users to the PRODIGY service in less than three years since its national rollout. Prodigy said it expects the rapid growth of its home-computer-services business to continue and now intends to broaden its delivery strategy to include cable, with its ever-larger installed base of cable-TV homes.
 "Today's cable alliances are focused on trials of interactive video services," said Scott Kurnit, executive vice president of Prodigy. "We believe these future services have great potential. As the economics of on-demand video systems are proven over time, we'll incorporate elements of them in our network and services. Meanwhile, we're prepared to offer network services in support of the planned trials.
 "But Prodigy believes there is a large, untapped market today for two-way text and graphics services delivered over cable to the TV."
 Such services -- both in stand-alone products and as a supplement to existing video programs -- are the most feasible way to let cable TV viewers "talk back" to content producers. Prodigy already has the infrastructure in place to make that happen, having made the multimillion-dollar investment to build a highly sophisticated, distributed national interactive network. At its center is the nation's largest consumer information transaction processing facility, responding to interactive commands more than 35 million times a day.
 Prodigy's network can just as easily deliver interactive services to cable TV customers, without the need for cable companies, program networks or producers to make heavy capital investments and invent their own networks. "No one except Prodigy has the infrastructure in place, combined with expertise in interactive consumer programming and a comprehensive package of content, much of which can easily be adapted for the television medium," said David J. Waks, Prodigy's director, systems strategy and technology. "That combination will help get interactive TV out of the test mode and into widespread consumer use."
 In addition, Prodigy is encouraging other providers of interactive programming to develop their own content and deliver it through Prodigy's existing infrastructure. "We believe there's an enormous amount of creative talent ready to provide exciting consumer services," said Mr. Kurnit. "We want to work with these people, or provide them the tools, to help fulfill their vision of interactive TV. And we're ready to start doing it now, so it could be on consumers' screens next year."
 With interactive TV, viewers can supplement video programming with on-demand information overlays. For example, while watching a baseball game, a viewer could use his remote control to pull up a batter's lifetime average against the pitcher. Or, he could check the price of a stock he's been following -- and even buy the stock -- without leaving the game in progress.
 Currently, the PRODIGY service offers a broad range of entertainment, up-to-the-minute news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, education and reference materials, games, travel reservations, communications, shopping, home banking and brokerage services. As Prodigy continues its rapid expansion, more education, news, financial, sports and other products and alliances will be announced.
 Prodigy Services Company is a partnership of IBM and Sears.
 -0- 6/3/93
 /CONTACT: Prodigy Services Company, 914-993-8843/


CO: Prodigy Services Company ST: New York IN: CPR SU: PDT

MP-CK -- NY051 -- 4963 06/03/93 11:57 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 3, 1993
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