Following successful tests of interactive services on
analog set-tops, Interactive Channel is now up and running with new digital content that
runs on both analog and digital set-top products.
At next week's National Show in Atlanta, IC will show
off what it's calling "cable supersites" -- an added feature that enables
Web links to participating programmers, as well as e-mail delivery.
To handle the added Internet capabilities, IC blended
Spyglass Inc.'s "mosaic" technology into its server, said Tom Peters,
senior vice president of IC.
When subscribers that are equipped by their MSOs with
set-tops made by General Instrument Corp. or Scientific-Atlanta Inc. tune in, they'll
be able to access IC's existing service suite, and also click on
"supersites" that aggregate pertinent information about the programmers, Peters
said. That includes links to Web sites.
"We recognize that MSOs spent a lot of money to
aggregate eyeballs on cable, and the cable supersites let the networks and MSOs leverage
their content, while encouraging the viewer to stay on the cable plant," he said.
Wendy Borow, vice president of strategic marketing for IC,
said that while there are a lot of competing players, like Wink Communications Inc. and
WorldGate Communications Inc., offering "different pieces" of advanced
interactivity, IC's plan is distinct because it allows for "both a rich, digital
experience and a bundle of services that MSOs can either pick in total, or in
Plus, she said, the technology is completely ready today.
"Not in development -- ready," she added.
Peters said that following the successful close of
IC's market trial of the service with Century Communications Corp. in Colorado
Springs, Colo., he's seeking deployments with other major MSOs. "We're in
discussions with all of the majors," he said.
Peters added that he's positioning the channel as a
"zero-cost download" that exists as a "truly thin client" on set-top
Last week, two programmers -- E! Entertainment Television
and Game Show Network -- signed on as takers for the cable-supersite concept. Several more
deals are anticipated over the next few months, IC executives said.