In the past couple of days I’ve had a couple of press releases cross my (virtual) desk relating to some new interactive TV technologies tied to advertising, which sound like they’re targeting the same market as TiVo’s interactive ad platform. The first to land was Backchannelmedia’s TV-to-Internet technology which is being tested by LIN TV Corp., a local television and digital media company, on the Hartford-New Haven stations WTNH-TV ABC 8 and WCTX-TV MyTV 9 starting in November.
The technology works by allowing viewers to press a button on their remote when a small icon appears on the bottom of the screen. This ‘bookmarks’ the content, or offer, which is then forwarded to a personal website which is incorporated into WTNH.com. I think this is an interesting approach, one I’ve suggested TiVo use for advanced content in the past. Some content is simply better presented on a computer. And this could allow less sophisticated platforms, like a non-DVR cable box, to provide a level of interactive content by offloading it to the website.
Generically, being able to bookmark things on a website would be useful in other ways. For example, a number of Discovery channel shows will say things like “Visit our website for more content/behind the scenes/etc”, and it would be great to be able to push a button on the remote at that point and have a link to the content waiting for you on the PC.
The second press release announced that Time Warner Cable has licensed elements of an Enhanced TV (ETV) platform from Broadband Interactive Applications (BIAP). BAIP’s ETV User Agent will be incorporated into Time Warner Cable’s advanced advertising platform. It will allow TWC’s STB’s to run Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) applications, both created by TWC and third parties, such as the TV networks.
EBIF is a multimedia content format standard developed by the OpenCable project within CableLabs, which also developed OCAP/tru2way. EBIF is a core element of Canoe, a cable industry effort to develop an advanced advertising platform for all MSOs. Both the cable and broadcast industries will use EBIF to deliver advanced features to cable STBs.
The press releases are below:
LIN TV Announces WTNH-TV and WCTX–TV to Test Backchannelmedia’s TV-to-Internet Click Through Technology
PROVIDENCE, RI and BOSTON, MA, October 27, 2008 – LIN TV Corp. (NYSE: TVL), a local television and digital media company, announced today that its Hartford-New Haven television stations, WTNH-TV ABC Channel 8 and WCTX-TV MyTV Channel 9, will participate in Backchannelmedia’s TV-to-Internet Click Through market trial.
The market trial, set to begin this November, will test Backchannelmedia’s interactive technology with a select group of WTNH-TV and WCTX-TV viewers and advertisers. Backchannelmedia’s patent-pending technology enables viewers to conveniently interact with television ads and programs and bookmark interesting content and advertisers’ offers to view at their convenience.
While watching WTNH-TV and WCTX-TV, participants in the trial will click their TV remote controls on small, non-intrusive icons at the bottom of the viewer’s TV screen to “bookmark” offers on items of interest in local news and entertainment programming. The “bookmarked” content is forwarded to the viewer’s personal web site branded and framed into WTNH.com for easy viewer access and also logged at a data center, providing valuable information for broadcasters and their advertisers.
LIN TV’s new media strategy is focused on partnering with innovative companies, such as Backchannelmedia, to deploy technology that will engage its audiences around LIN TV’s market-leading brands and generate new revenue opportunities. Backchannelmedia’s TV-to-Internet Click Through technology enables LIN TV to engage its viewers, collect valuable data on viewer interaction, drive incremental revenue, and move viewers between LIN TV’s television and Internet channels.
“We are interested in evaluating interactive television applications for our channels. Interactive TV creates unique opportunities for our new media business,” said Robb Richter, senior vice president, new media, LIN TV. “Backchannelmedia’s TV-to-Internet Click Through technology offers viewers a convenient way to interact with our popular television content, which opens the door to a myriad of more advanced marketing opportunities for our advertisers. We look forward to participating in the market trial and strategically evaluating Backchannelmedia’s cutting-edge technology.”
“LIN TV is at the forefront of embracing new media trends and we are confident that we can provide them with new ways to connect with their viewers and advertisers,” said Michael Kokernak, founder and co-chief executive officer, Backchannelmedia. “Our product is one of the best interactive products on the market today and I predict great results from our market trial with WTNH-TV and WCTX-TV.”
About LIN TV
LIN TV Corp., along with its subsidiaries, is a local television and digital media company, owning and/or operating 29 television stations in 17 U.S. markets, all of which are affiliated with a national broadcast network. LIN TV’s highly-rated stations deliver important local news and community stories, along with top-rated sports and entertainment programming.
LIN TV is also a leader in the convergence of local broadcast television and the Internet through its television station web sites and a growing number of local online innovations that reach 15% of U.S. broadband households. LIN TV is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “TVL”. Financial information about the company is available at www.lintv.com.
About Backchannelmedia Inc.
Boston-based Backchannelmedia, Inc. (www.backchannelmedia.com) was founded in 2000. Backchannelmedia has developed technology that can be embedded into existing set-top boxes currently found in many TV viewer homes that allows the viewer to forward or “bookmark” their interests from TV to the online world. That interactive technology combined with the Backchannelmedia Portal on the Internet creates a secure link between the TV and Internet platforms. This secure link can be used to create a richer viewing experience for the TV viewer by linking it to content and e-commerce on the Internet.
Backchannelmedia’s opt-in solution answers TV viewer concerns for increased online privacy by extending controls to the viewer for the TV experience. Backchannelmedia’s patent pending technology can be deployed in consumer electronics equipment, TV sets, over the air receivers, cable head-ends, switched digital video and network DVR technologies, direct broadcast providers, as well as a multitude of devices and delivery providers.
Lois Paul & Partners
Vice President of Sales
105 South Street
Boston, MA 02111
Voice: (617) 728-3626 ext.102
Fax: (617) 517-7777
Oct 28, 2008 08:31 ET
Time Warner Cable Licenses Key Elements of BIAP’s ETV Platform
PLANO, Texas, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ — BIAP Inc. announced today that is has reached an agreement with Time Warner Cable for the use of its ETV User Agent in Time Warner Cable’s advanced advertising platform. The five year license agreement will, upon deployment of the software, enable Time Warner Cable digital set-top boxes to run EBIF applications created by the operator or by third parties such as television networks. In addition to supporting third-party EBIF applications, the BIAP ETV User Agent will support Time Warner Cable’s newest MDN navigator.
“The BIAP ETV User Agent is a robust application platform that will serve Time Warner Cable well in the deployment of EBIF and properly support our interactive applications and advanced advertising,” said Mike Hayashi, executive vice president, advanced engineering for Time Warner Cable.
“We are thrilled to open a new chapter in our relationship with Time Warner Cable,” said Tim Peters, BIAP CEO. “This agreement we believe validates our EBIF technology and we thank Time Warner Cable for their pioneering work in the world of interactive television. With the advent of the EBIF standard; their groundwork will lead the entire industry into the new and lucrative world of advanced advertising which depends on the wide deployment of EBIF-enabled set-top boxes. It will also usher in a new era of interactive programming that will allow viewers to participate more and to personalize various aspects of what they are watching.”
EBIF (Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format) is a multimedia content format standard developed under the OpenCable project of CableLabs. The primary purpose of ETV and the EBIF standard is to enable interactivity to drive viewer engagement and participation. EBIF is one of the key elements of Canoe, the cross-MSO advanced advertising platform currently under development. Both the cable and broadcast industries have fully embraced the EBIF standard as the primary application platform to deliver the long-awaited advanced features across the full range of deployed digital cable set-top boxes, including early generation models with less memory and processing power.
BIAP provides for the industry the three essential elements that will enable interactivity and bring the Canoe initiative to a critical mass of homes. These elements include a standard-based ETV Platform which includes the User Agent, ETV platform server, ETV streamer and a development SDK for EBIF application creation. The second element is a portfolio of applications (EBIF) that enrich the subscriber experience but more importantly allow for the creation of user data critical to addressable advertising. And third is an advanced advertising product called Canoe in a Box which has all the standard-based elements (SCTE-130) that make interactive advertising work including the AdAim™ technology to generate ad targeting information for addressable advertising to the individual homes, while preserving subscriber privacy.
BIAP (Broadband Interactive Applications) supplies the cable industry with all of the critical tools for interactive television advertising and programming. These tools include the ETV Platform, a broad offering of applications and a complete portfolio of products for advanced advertising. BIAP’s partners include: NBC, eBay, Hearst’s Talking Phone Book, and Rasmussen Reports. Applications in deployment include eBay on TV, Fantasy Football, Yellow Pages on TV and PiTV, a local information service that can be personalized. BIAP is currently available on 24 million set top boxes principally with Time Warner Cable and DISH Network. BIAP has received two patents for its technology and has three Emmy nominations for its applications. Corporate headquarters are in Plano, Texas, with research and development in Sterling, Virginia.
Source: BIAP Inc.
CONTACT: Ellen Cooper, +1-212-777-8353, email@example.com, for BIAP
Web site: http://www.biap.com/