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Interactive TV is about to get a boost. Showtime Networks will unveil a new (ITV) application next week that uses remote control ordering to give consumers access to long form video, and free full-length episodes of Showtime programming. The technology will bring television commerce (tcommerce) and advertising that allows watchers to become customers a little closer.
Showtime and its two other channels, The Movie Channel and Flix, do not currently accept advertising. According to the company, which is pitching the technology as a Showtime Marketing Application, "the most valuable component is the ease with which a viewer can now order Showtime, and the upgrade can be processed and authorized within seconds." If that ease of ordering can be applied to other networks, and ad units within those networks, ITV is tied to the remote control.
The application holds promise for ITV, of which one expert says Americans are "clueless" about. For Showtime's purpose the application basically allows viewers to order a movie or (part of a movie) or an original series, from which they are redirected to another interface. The network, carrier, and related call centers receive the request immediately. The company expects "the automated approach to generate additional sales and reduce call center expenses for the operators," according to a statement.
The real-time ordering approach will work on currently installed cable boxes and will work on next generation set-top boxes from Cisco and Motorola. Showtime is also working with Verizon FiOS TV to deploy the application, which will be demonstrated at the ActiveVideo and booths at the NCTA Cable Show.