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Bored by those endless football games while you teeter on a bars tool drinking . Schlitz? Tired of the convoluted soap opera that distracts your date in the diner? Cheer up, video Muzak is here, Video Television (VTV), billed as an elbow-bender's balm, enters the scene this month at over 500 clubs, restaurants, and bars throughout the U. S. As a child of MTV, VTV is an eclectic concoction of music videos, comedy and film clips, and advertisements. Steve Martin tells jokes. Betty Boop sings. Camel cigarettes looks for Real Men. And Flash Gordon conquers the Universe. Video snippets from the worlds of sports, fashion, music, and history round out the picture. Much of it is public domain material, though HBO, among others, okayed many of the film and concert clips.
Jay Coleman, publisher of Rockbill, dreamed up the idea when he was asked to do a Camel cigarette commercial to screen in dance halls. The ad was an award-winning hit with Camel, but Coleman was frustrated by his lack of control over who was watching, when, and hpw often. VTV is his attempt to 'correct that.
What VTV comes down to is another outlet for advertising. Cigarette and hard liquor ads that are now forbidden on broadcast and cable TV can play on VTV because it is delivered by Federal Express, not the airwaves. "What better place to advertise liquor than in a bar?" asks Jane Yusko, VTV's sales director. "The ir products are sold there, so when a commercial for a brand comes on it reinforces the customer when he's about to order." But the health-conscious need not worry: VTV is also airing public service spots on drunk driving.
The service's subscribers get 8 hours of programming a month. In return they play the tapes 20 days a month, 4 hours a day. At the end of each month, they exchange them for new tapes. One source estimates that 500,000 people will watch VTV, if 'watching' can be said to accurately describe what they'll do. After all, how many people 'listen' to MuzaK? Then again,it could be a videoholic's dream.
44 Video February 1986