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ITV sign interactive deal with BSkyB

ITV has signed an agreement with BSkyB that will enable the network to launch a range of interactive services on the digital satellite platform and to develop new revenue streams.
The news followed hot on the heels of an admission yesterday by ITV’s Joint Managing Director Clive Jones, that the channel's share of the TV advertising market had fallen in January as more people signed up to digital television services.
The deal, which brings ITV fully into the digital arena quite late, allows for three principal areas of development - interactive applications, interactive advertising, along with betting and gaming services. These services are to be developed by ITV in conjunction with Sky Active.
The first fully interactive ITV1 programme, 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire', will launch this Saturday, 15 February to over 6 million Sky Digital homes. Developed by Carlton Active and sponsored by BT, the interactive version of the hit quiz show will allow viewers to play-along with the quiz, answering questions put to the on-screen contestants in real-time via their remote control.
Promising a new revenue stream for ITV, interactive advertising will offer clients new ways to engage with viewers, to provide more information on products and services, and to obtain immediate feedback and sales leads.
The third element, ITV’s partnership with Sportech plc’s Littlewoods Leisure division will bring gaming and betting services linked to programming to the ITV network. The partnership, announced in 2002, is based on a revenue sharing arrangement between ITV and Littlewoods and a range of applications is in development.
Clive Jones, Joint Managing Director, ITV said: “This is an important deal for ITV that offers significant commercial potential in the long term. ITV will now be able to offer a full range of interactive services to enhance viewers’ enjoyment of our programmes and connection to our channels.”
BSkyB’s Chief Operating Officer, Richard Freudenstein, said: “Sky is delighted to welcome ITV as the latest terrestrial broadcaster to take advantage of the interactivity available on digital satellite. Over 20 channels and 250 advertising campaigns have used this technology so far to enhance their offering, and I am sure ITV and its viewers will benefit from it too. We look forward to working with them as the services develop.”
Meanwhile Mr Jones is currently lobbying the Westminster Media Forum to reduce the cost public service broadcasters (PSBs) have to pay to be carried on BSkyB’s digital platform.
Mr Jones claimed the cost, around £17 million-a-year, was too high, while Sky maintain that the charges are fair.
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