The old standard jukebox may soon be eclipsed by its high-tech progeny, the music video jukebox. Behind it is a Cambridge, Mass., company seeing -- what else? -- an untapped advertising venue.
Back in 1983 film producer Thom Kidrin figured he'd stumbled upon a natural. A whole generation associates music with images; an updated jukebox that added a high-mounted TV screen playing MTV drivel seemed logical. But several million dollars later his investor got sidetracked and the project got shelved.
Cut to last fall. Kidrin connected with two new partners who were taken by the concept's potential for advertisers. Now, Laser Video Networks is set to test 50 machines on college campuses; it hopes to roll out 500 next year.
A projected $10,000 in revenues per unit will come partly from two-plays-for-a-buck fees. The rest? From companies decorating the seven-foot-high machines with product logos -- and from commercials, which will air between the Madonna and De La Soul requests.
-- Leslie Brokaw