ITV Apps Bigger Reason to Switch Providers: Survey

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Weather widgets and sports-score trackers on TV may be more than just a bit of razzle-dazzle-a new survey shows they've become a bigger reason to consider swapping providers.

About 45% of TV viewers said they would be "likely to consider" switching their cable, satellite or telco service if a competing provider offered ITV features with their favorite shows, according to a poll of more than 2,000 U.S. adults in March 2010. That's up from 25% who said that in a similar survey in late 2007.

Showtime Sports EBIF app on FiOS TV

Both surveys, conducted by Harris Interactive, were commissioned by New York-based interactive TV developer Ensequence.

Meanwhile, about 17% of respondents on the 2010 survey said they would "definitely" or "probably" switch providers based in ITV features, about the same as the prior survey.

In general, the latest Ensequence-sponsored survey also shows viewers have become more receptive to clicking on TV programming and ads:

• 70% of sports fans and 55% of drama viewers said they wanted to interact with programming, up five percentage points each from the 2007 survey;
• 73% of all viewers would like to interact with TV ads for products they're interested in;
• 58% of respondents said they would be interested in requesting free product samples via their TVs (up from 49% in 2007); and
• 43% said they'd locate a local retailer using an ITV app.

The results show that interactive TV "presents an important strategic opportunity for programmers, advertisers and service providers to increase the value of their respective businesses," Ensequence president and CEO Peter Low said.

Separately, Ensequence announced it was selected by Showtime Networks to develop Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) interactive TV applications for the network's sports programming.

The Showtime Sports interactive app launched Feb. 26 with select boxing and mixed martial arts HD telecasts on Verizon's FiOS TV. The application gives fans access to stats, fighter profiles, polling, fight calendars and a trivia game -- all synchronized with the telecast. Showtime Networks is running the back-end operation for the EBIF app with Ensequence's iTV Manager Programmer Edition.

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