Internet Video

Marrying Content, ITV

11/29/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Want to read Joan Rivers’
stream-of-consciousness
tweets as you watch her new
show on WE TV?

That could be coming to a cable
set-top near you next year:
Rainbow Media’s WE TV and
Wedding Central plan to launch
interactive TV apps in the first
half of 2011 that will be able to
provide features including audience
polling with live results,
trivia, live Twitter feeds and a record/
remind feature.

The apps, developed by New
York-based Ensequence, will be
based on CableLabs’ Enhanced
TV Binary Interchange Format,
which has become cable’s de facto
standard for delivering ITV.

The interactive capabilities
will be enabled for several WE
TV and Wedding Central shows,
such as Bridezillas, My Fair Wedding
With David Tutera
, The Locator
and the 2011 premiere Joan
& Melissa: Joan Knows Best?

“Women are social, and this is
another way to engage women in
our programming,” said Jen Robertson,
senior vice president of
digital media and business development
for WE TV and Wedding
Central. “We’re going to pick different
features to see what fits organically
with the content.”

Robertson wouldn’t say which
MSOs the programmer expects
to work with on its interactive TV
launch. “A lot of this for us will be
operational learnings,” she said.

Rainbow parent Cablevision
Systems has rolled out EBIF user
agents to all its 2.9 million digital
subscribers but hasn’t yet deployed
apps based on the spec.
Comcast has about 14.5 million
EBIF-enabled homes
currently across its
Motorola footprint,
and Time Warner
Cable will have
about 4.5 million by
the end of 2010.

WE TV and Wedding
Central will use
the Ensequence iTV
Manager interactive
platform to deliver
apps specifically
tailored to each network’s
brand environment and
content. The programmer is taking
care to make sure the interactive
elements don’t interfere
with other on-screen promos
and graphics, Robertson said:
“We don’t want to overwhelm
people.”

In the future, Ensequence envisions
extending its software to
deliver interactive apps for TV
shows to mobile phones, tablets
and other non-TV devices,
CEO Peter Low said. “The programmers
and creative people
are going to want to communicate
to their audience regardless
of the platform.”

Ensequence’s customers include
NBC Universal, MTV Networks,
ESPN, Showtime, The
Walt Disney Co., Dish Network,
DirecTV and Verizon Communications.

November

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