Time Warner Gets Interactive for Olympics

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About 700,000-800,000 Time Warner Cable digital-cable subscribers in seven markets will be able to track medal counts and view extensive TV listings, biographical information on Olympic Games athletes and other information through their remote controls when the winter Olympics begin next Friday in Torino, Italy.

The trove of constantly updated information will be delivered through an interactive service created by NBC, Time Warner and software supplier Biap Systems Inc.

The Olympic service can be used by subscribers to Time Warner Cable systems in San Antonio, El Paso, Waco, Corpus Christi and Austin, Texas; Columbia, S.C.; and Green Bay, Wis. Biap software is already installed in digital set-top boxes in those seven markets.

For the Olympics, Biap created a software agent that uses the public Internet to ping a central NBC server in New York and downloads up-to-the minute medal-count information and TV listings to the local Biap servers in the seven Time Warner systems.

Time Warner Cable vice president of interactive television and advanced advertising Joan Gillman said the MSO and NBC will promote the applications in those seven markets to drive usage, and viewer response could dictate whether they expand interactivity for the 2008 Summer Games. “It’s an important first step,” she added.

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