Another company joins the pool of entrants providing authoring kit tools for OpenCable Application Protocol this week as Emuse Technologies announces that its Modelstream ITV application and deployment software is ready for cable use.
Emuse is no stranger to ITV or cable. British Sky Broadcasting plc has used its toolkit for ITV applications in the U.K., with the most recent example, “The Great British Spelling Test,” drawing 65,000 players who each paid the equivalent of $1.80 per home to play a spelling game on their TV sets.
Emuse also has been used in interoperability tests at Cable Television Laboratories Inc. events. This summer it teamed with middleware provider Osmosys, which has created OCAP applications for Starz Encore Group and Time Warner Cable.
Entering the cable space was a natural, said John Bryan, vice president of operations at Emuse. “With the ITV business, there is a big opportunity in the next 12 to 18 months,” he said. “We’re focused on getting content into the distribution channels.”
That focus is to talk with programmers about using Emuse software to make their current content interactive, he said. “ModelStream enables content producers to easily create ITV applications for multiple platforms, reducing the barriers to entry for developers,” he said.
At the same time, Bryan is also talking with U.S. MSOs about using ModelStream. It’s a bit of a two-part push.
Bryan said ModelStream is compatible with Open TV Corp., used by EchoStar Communications Corp.; NDS Group plc, being used by BSkyB; and the OnRamp and OCAP platforms used by U.S. cable operators.
Bryan feels DirecTV’s impending push into interactivity has operators focused on ITV.
“DBS can deliver nationwide interactive ads tomorrow,” he said. DBS operators are not encumbered by authoring content for 7,800 headends, he added.
Bryan believes early interactivity will be funded by advertisers. Those advertisers are, of course, familiar with the television medium, and many have experimented with new forms of video advertising, including broadband, VOD and ITV.
Bryan acknowledges that it’s a competitive battle. The company crosses paths, somewhat, with GoldPocket Interactive, but he said the two companies also can work side by side.
Some MSOs have begun work with Bluestreak and Meta TV as application providers, he said, adding to the integration work.
But Bryan remains hopeful that MSOs will push OCAP to the next level, if for no other reason than to stay competitive with satellite.