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What is all this fuss about interactive television?

Many of the largest companies in the world, and numerous smaller operators, have invested hundreds of millions to extend television’s capability into interactivity. There are a number of reasons why they think this is a clever thing to do:

  • Television already makes money – big money.
  • Television is ubiquitous (at least in the industrialised world).
  • Television has impact.
  • Television is trusted.
  • Television is in the home.
  • The right types of interactivity look likely to be popular and likely to add to the money-making potential of television.
However, the experience in the UK and across Europe over the last few years has shown that interactive television is far from a commercial sure thing. Lots of interactive television services have been closed down and companies have gone out of business. This may, in some ways, be a good thing. It means interactive television producers can learn from the mistakes of others - and build on their successes.

Commercially successful iTV services generally:

  • Make sure there is a large enough group of viewers (to realise significant revenues or other benefits).
  • Create alignment with existing viewer behaviour.
  • Have a clear proposition.
  • Produce effective marketing and promotion (particularly using television programmes and channels).
  • Maintain flexibility, so elements can be added and dropped, depending on how they are received by viewers.
  • If necessary, get partners involved in development.
  • If necessary, include other media as part of the final offering (the internet and mobile phones, for example).
To get detailed insights and tips on making money from interactive television, you can buy the book Interactive Television Production now. You may also be interested in links to sites that have information about the commercial side of interactive television.


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