Interactive TV firm BIAP is renaming itself FourthWall Media, with the goal of emphasizing its creative and advertising capabilities beyond the technology platform.
The name is a reference to the imaginary "fourth wall" in theater, which prevents the actors from directly addressing the audience.
CEO Tim Peters said the name change doesn't signal a shift in strategy. Rather, FourthWall is supposed to connote the company's focus on breaking through the barrier between TV viewers, and programmers and advertisers.
"In our view, this big piece of glass" -- the TV screen -- "has always been in the way of interactive TV," he said. "Knocking down this fourth wall is what we've been about."
BIAP has developed its own platform for delivering and managing Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) applications on cable set-tops. Now, according to Peters, FourthWall will be delivering more capabilities on top of that, such as data aggregation and audience tracking.
"We couldn't get into the media side of the business until we had a platform," he said.
A year ago, the company inked a five-year licensing deal with Time Warner Cable to use BIAP's EBIF agent as part of the cable operator's advanced-advertising platform. Peters said more licensing deals are in the pipeline, for not just the technology but also for EBIF applications and advertising solutions.
The Plano, Texas-based company also is touting the fact that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has just granted it a patent for a key interactive technology: Patent No. 7,613,790, for "Apparatus for and method of executing customized interactive computer services in a broadband network environment." According to the USPTO's online database, the patent is scheduled to be issued on Nov. 3.
The patent, according to the company, lets consumers set personal preferences for the information an application displays on screen and has been in use in a variety of BIAP's applications since 2003.
BIAP -- which stands for Broadband Interactive Applications -- was founded in 1998. The company's technology has been deployed in more than 24 million set-top boxes with Time Warner Cable, Dish Network and several small MSOs.
The company's ITV platform runs on Cisco/Scientific Atlanta, Motorola and tru2way-based set-top boxes. Its EBIF-based solutions include the AdWidgets advertising system for rapidly deploying interactive ads; and prebuilt TVWidgets applications, such as eBay on TV, Fantasy Football and Yellow Pages on TV.
FourthWall's new Web site is at www.fourthwallmedia.tv.