BIB relies on ‘old tech’ for launch

Home shopping system British Interactive Broadcasting (BIB), will be forced to rely on telephones, faxes, and e-mails to prop up its digital technology in the first months of its retail launch.

The embarassing need to fall back on “old technology ” has been forced on BIB by a need to have something to show impatient retailers, according to industry sources.

When the system begins taking orders next spring, they will not go straight to the retailers, as planned, but instead be lodged at BIB headquarters. From there BIB staff will phone the orders to retailers which will then deliver them to customers.

BIB chief executive David Hilton broke the news to a Digital Marketing Group (DMG) meeting earlier this month. The DMG is a consortium of the digital departments of the top ten media and creative agencies in the UK.

Saatchi & Saatchi Vision interactive manager Bradley Crooks says: “It’s a classic example of a contradiction in modern technology. BIB felt it had to get something established to show retailers it has a service to sell. But the system is smoke and mirrors at the moment.”

Another agency interactive head at the meeting says: “The BIB system is very complex. The two-step system that was outlined to us is fairly sensible.”

BIB commercial director Nick Mercer does not rule out using older forms of communication to talk to its retail partners. He would only say: “We’re evaluating a piece of commercial software which will guarantee that we can talk to our content providers electronically.”

Hilton told the DMG that BIB plans to have a text-based service established this autumn. The full home shopping service is scheduled to launch in autumn 1999.

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