Incanta, Spiderdance Help Forge TV Riot3/26/2000 7:00 PM Eastern
With the Internet already a regular staple of many U.S.
households, newly developed broadband technology is helping consumers to customize their
music preferences through an audio player optimized for broadband, or to participate with
MTV: Music Television audiences watching webRIOT, an online game show.
"We are just at the beginning of a huge revolution in
how people watch television," said Bill Niemeyer, director of business development
for Spiderdance, a company that delivers interactive content over the Web and tightly
integrates with television broadcasts. "This isn't to say that traditional
television will go away. But there's going to be a range of shows created especially
to be interactive."
Companies like Spiderdance, which partnered with MTV to
produce webRIOT, and Incanta Inc. are at the forefront of bringing interactive
television and programming via broadband to the consumer.
"Right now, there are two million broadband
users," said Dan Israel, vice president of marketing for Incanta. "With an 80
percent compound growth rate, this is going to continue to be a major-market
Incanta has started to focus its efforts on those initial
two million users, according to Israel. The company recently announced the start of a
nationwide build-out of its network by partnering with broadband service providers and
content companies. With trials already underway in Georgia and California, Incanta is
delivering free customized content, like music, games, sports, and short-length films, to
broadband-service providers and the homes they serve. Its Incanta Music Player 1.0 is,
according to the company, the first personalized media player optimized for broadband.
In the last five months, 2,000 households have downloaded a
trial version of the player, to rave reviews.
"People really enjoy doing this because they are able
to do their own personalized music station," said Israel. "Instead of flipping
through six different music stations, they have a choice."
The broadband age is still limited to the home and to those
appliances that are broadband compatible. It is only a matter of time, however, before
technology allows people to access broadband beyond stationary devices.
"Really, this is just at its infancy," said
Israel. "We're learning to sell not bandwidth, but services."
Spiderdance is building its reputation on the provision of
interactive services. Its webRIOT specially developed for the millions of
households that surf the Web while watching television. Since its launch in November, it
has more than 700,000 registered users, said Niemeyer.