Fledgling Web Company Plans I-TV Show to Sell Home Electronics

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Web development company Lead2Gold.com expects to take its first steps into interactive television by the first quarter of 2002 with a series called eLiving Today, an instructional program focusing on home electronics.


The 2-year old company hopes to launch the show via MicrosoftTV and to advertise home electronics merchandise sold by major electronics e-tailing shops.


"There are three steps in our business model: first, creating the show for television; then creating a fully interactive Web site that consumers will be directed to when watching the show; and finally, integrating the two [Web site and television show] together on interactive television," said Johnny Mathis, CEO of Lead2Gold.com, Chesterton, IN.


Lead2Gold.com plans to initiate the first two steps by the fourth quarter of 2001, with the final step slated for an undisclosed date in early 2002.


ELiving Today will be a 30-minute weekly program providing how-to and product review advice on home automation, home entertainment, personal computers, software and the Internet. The company is producing 13 episodes for the first-year test run. A deal for the show is being finalized with MicrosoftTV.


The program will target a heavily skewed female demographic age 25 to 45.


"We are looking at more of a female audience because they are seeking to be educated about new technology," Mathis said. The company is looking to run the show in daytime weekday slots to reach that audience, he said.


The show also expects to attract men through its co-hosts. The hosts consist of Kim Tlusty and Julie Handy, two women in the primary demographic target, and Jeremy Johnson and Glenn Fahls, a teen-ager and a 45-year-old man, respectively, Mathis said.


"The teen co-host is being used as an expert on gaming systems," Mathis said. "Sometimes parents are overwhelmed in this area and need a hip, young kid to tell them what their children might be interested in."


During the program, a URL link will appear that consumers can click on for more information or to buy a featured product. When the link is clicked on, content about the product will pop up around the video.


"If you want more information about DVD players, you could pull up content surrounding the show and receive information about the hottest models, get specs on those models and do cost-comparison shopping through our partners," Mathis said. "We want to serve somewhat as a shopping portal."


Lead2Gold.com is in talks with national electronics retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City to advertise their merchandise on the Web portal and eventually via the I-TV show.


The company intends to earn revenue by charging a flat sponsorship fee to retail partners along with a percentage of each sale made through the program, Mathis said. Specific pricing has yet to be determined.


Lead2Gold.com will market the I-TV program via magazine and online advertising, Mathis said. The company is determining which outlets to use.


The company launched in 1999 as an online media buyer and initially worked with direct marketing sites such as FultonStreet.com and GiftTree.com. Mathis, the former owner of Actex, Bloomington, IL, a Web development company, independently funded Lead2Gold.com.


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