The multimedia division of Dow Jones & Co. announced it has created the first on-demand video news service that delivers full-motion pictures and sound to traders' desktop computers.

The on-line service, called Dow Jones Investor Network/On-Demand, is an extension of the media giant's video news service that broadcasts live and recorded business news to financial industry professionals. The video news service was launched in 1993; the additional service, last week.

Now bankers, traders, and portfolio managers who subscribe to the Dow Jones Investor Network can also get access to more than 250 hours of recorded news events, a capability known as video-on-demand.

"DJIN/On-Demand gives our customers the option of viewing events live or retrieving those events from our recorded video library when their schedules permit," said Simon Langdon, director of business operations at Dow Jones Investor Network. "Clients can now decide what events to watch and when to watch them."

As the digital networking technology necessary to send and receive video transmissions over personal computers has improved greatly in recent years, a handful of big financial news and TV broadcasting companies have begun offering news on the new medium.

In addition to Dow Jones, Turner Broadcasting's Cable News Network, General Electric's National Broadcasting Co., and Reuters PLC all offer desktop video news services aimed at information-hungry business people. Subscriptions to these services range from $500 to $1,500 per month.

Dow Jones officials said their service is the first to offer subscribers the ability to download "full-motion" video and sound, using a high-speed, fiber optic network service from MFS Communications Inc.

NBC's Desktop Video unit also has an on-demand capability, but it comprises audio accompanied by "snapshot" video, instead of full-motion pictures, Dow Jones officials said.

Two unnamed "large investment firms" have subscribed to the on-demand service, according to Dow Jones executives.

Dow Jones said it developed the service using a multimedia data base system from International Business Machines Corp., as well as proprietary software that allows live broadcasts to be stored immediately in the data base, making video clips quickly available for downloading.

"DJIN/On-Demand represents the cutting edge in video technology, and yet it is easy to use and easy to integrate at the customer site," said Greg Baber, director of systems development at the Dow unit. "Our full motion, on-demand video is played back from off-site Dow Jones (computer) servers directly to the subscribers' PCs with no disruption whatsoever to the customer PC."

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