Up Close and Personal

  • by May 14, 2001
Up Close and Personal

In a special reported in Interactive Week Forrester Research says that iTV revenue in the U.K. will hit around $14 billion by 2005. Europe is creating a new wave of interactive information and entertainment services that will beam into living rooms around the world in the next few years. Jesper Knutsson, vice president of iTV at, says that "We are slowly changing TV as we know it to something much more dynamic, which entertains and informs."

Research firm Jupiter Media Metrix predicts that iTV penetration in the U.S. will surpass that in Europe in the next few years - rising from 8 % today to 43 % of U.S. households by 2005. That compares with an average of 26 % across all of Europe by 2005, according to Jupiter. European shows are leading the way with innovative iTV programming, but eventually, America will have greater momentum.

In January, digitally savvy young danes became pioneers in one of the world's first live interactive TV shows. The program covered hip consumer issues for a teen audience and has live, interactive features embedded in the entertainment format. Viewers can zap between video streams to get different angles or watch other parts of the studio. They also use the TV handset to access interactive links that display information about products. They can enter quizzes and vote on a range of program topics, from the coolest snowboards to the hottest pizzas.

Worldwide, a third of all households' TVs will be digital by 2006, according to Ovum, a U.K. research company. That's more than 350 million homes - and the number of digital customers using interactive services on their two-way TV sets will shoot up from 20 % to more than 60 % at the same time, Ovum says.

"Companies will certainly need to develop multi-access strategies to deliver their information and their services in the future," Grimme says. "They'll have to present similar content on a range of different devices,” says Katharina Grimme, senior analyst in digital media and e-services at Ovum. "It's going to be a clash of two very different industries: the Internet companies and the media broadcasters," she says. "They have different structures, approaches and objectives. Broadcasters tend to look at market audiences as a whole, while the Internet is more about customization and vertical strands."

Read more here at ZDNet.

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