Broadcasters Debut Pearl, Interactive TV Tested In 3 Trial Markets

Major TV broadcasters are starting up a locally based interactive TV trial in three markets which will deliver enhanced content and advertising during local TV newscasts.

The effort -- Pearl, a joint venture of eight TV station groups that focuses on digital TV content -- will deliver interactive TV content to LG-branded smart TVs in Atlanta, Cleveland and Orlando.

Interactive content can include -- for example -- photo and map overlays or more information about news and weather reports, as well as personalized traffic information and content from the station’s own Web sites.

With regard to advertising, viewers can request coupons and more information from brands -- including store locations. Pearl members include Cox Media Group, the E.W. Scripps Company, Gannett Co. Inc., Hearst Television Inc., Media General Inc., Meredith Local Media Group, Post-Newsweek Stations Inc. and Raycom Media. Schurz Communications is also investing in the interactive TV trial.

These TV broadcasters reach 111 million households representing 63% of the U.S. population, totaling nearly $4 billion in annual advertising revenue.

Stations participating in the trial include WSB (Cox), WGCL (Meredith) and WXIA (Gannett) in Atlanta; WOIO (Raycom), WEWS (Scripps) and WKYC (Gannett) in Cleveland; WKMG (Post-Newsweek), WFTV (Cox) and WESH (Hearst) in Orlando.

Parks Associates estimates the number of smart TV U.S. homes will reach 42 million this year, representing 36% of all TV households.

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