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Banks were "lining up" to get on iTV - 500 Beiträge pro Seite

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TV marketplace unlocks e-commerce potential

By Trevor Datson, European consumer goods correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Book a holiday, juggle your bank accounts, order that Beatles CD, bet on the big match, choose a new car, buy your Thanksgiving turkey -- but whatever you do, don`t get up from in front of the television.

That at least is the message of the T-commerce evangelists, and in a world where neologisms have become a badge of current awareness, you`d better know that it means buying stuff via your interactive TV (iTV).

If this sounds like just the latest in a series of things that promised to change your life but didn`t -- the Apple Mac, WAP phones, digital photography -- then think again.

Some of the industry`s most reliable forecasters believe T-commerce will provide exactly the fillip that e- commerce needs if it is to avoid relegation to the preferred pastime of technology nerds.

"It`s going to be a fairly major part of e-commerce -- it will probably make up around 25 percent of e- commerce spending in Britain and 15 percent in Europe, by the end of 2005," said Tim Grimsditch of technology research company Forrester.

It`s already growing fast. In Britain, some 10 percent of digital TV subscribers have made some form of iTV purchase, a proportion that is growing by roughly two percentage points every six months.

This is not because Britons are more committed couch potatoes than their European counterparts. Interactive TV is a mainly digital medium, and Britain has one of the highest digital TV penetrations among Europe`s 9.5 million digital households.

Even in the United States, where interactive TV has yet to take off on any real scale, Forrester believes interactive consumerism via the TV set will generate $25 billion in new revenues -- i.e. not taken from Internet retail -- by 2005.


There is a tendency to think of iTV as just another form of access to the Internet, and in fact it can be -- Britain`s OnDigital, a joint venture of Carlton Communications and Granada Media, offers exactly that.

But there is another model, known to industry buffs as the "walled garden". Here, digital broadcasters such as British market leader BSkyB offer their own proprietary universe of interactive gaming and information services -- and T-commerce.

Retailers pay top dollars to be included in walled garden platforms such as BSkyB-controlled Open, aware that such systems hand them a whole new customer base focused on a limited number of shopping services, rather than randomly surfing the Internet.

"We can integrate with what people are accustomed to. It`s a way of enhancing the viewer experience of television -- one that doesn`t go far from the entertainment environment," said Ricardo Tejada, spokesman for Open, the world`s leading iTV platform.

Because shopping on your TV remote control is what is called a "lean-back" experience, as opposed to the "lean forward" nature of shopping on the Internet, some types of product and service lend themselves better to T-commerce than others.

Goods often bought on impulse are one such area. Impulse buys via iTV often constitute inexpensive items that can easily be displayed to their advantage on TV, such as music, video, convenience goods, toys, concert tickets and some clothing.


Leisure travel is another area expected to show exponential sales growth via iTV. Watching a travel programme on, say, the Maldives, a viewer could choose a link to a travel agent offering that destination, and once there, call up video footage of the island and hotels available.

But it gets better. Eventually, users of an iTV system could even talk live via a videolink to a travel agent, overcoming the main limitation of current e-commerce: the Internet is a poor environment for window- shopping, and buyers generally have to know what they want before they log on.

Such levels of interactivity will probably be seen first on "walled garden" systems, since it will take some time before Internet TV link-ups offer enough bandwith to carry high-quality duplex (two-way) video.

Another service seemingly tailor-made for iTV is gambling. Online betting in Europe, estimated to be worth just $55 million last year, is expected to soar to $5.5 billion by 2004, according to recent market research.

And the potential in the U.S. is even greater. The American gambling market is already worth over $70 billion, and a lot of the gaming that will take place on iTV will be new business only possible through this medium.

And what could be easier? Bet on a soccer result right up to kick-off, or on who spins off first in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix, or the points spread in the Cowboys/Redskins clash -- even while the match is in progress.

"Gambling is going to be a big one, as will anything you already shout at your TV for," Forrester`s Grimsditch said. "Game shows, footy (soccer), quizzes -- there`s going to be a lot of work on play-along game shows."


Banking and financial services could also be a big seller (one broadcaster said banks were "lining up" to get on iTV), but here we run into one of the main problems of the walled garden -- what if your bank (or stockbroker, or tailor) isn`t there?

Because they may well not be. BSkyB`s Open platform only hosts 30 to 40 retailers, with roughly as many again in its own virtual department store, Open Extra.

Defenders of the walled garden say this is an advantage. The choice available on the Internet is too bewildering, they say, and Net websites designed for reading on a PC screen don`t work on a television screen, usually several metres across the room.

But of course it does mean a limiting your choice, says Andrew Marre of Internet-by-TV provider OnDigital.

"In many cases a website will work perfectly well on the box. We believe in the long run, the Internet will be delivered to most people on the TV. In a walled garden, people eventually hit the wall."

Some experts believe a hybrid, stripped-down version of the Internet will prevail, but whichever model comes to dominate, interactive television could just be the thing that finally brings e-commerce to the masses.
Sounds good !!!
Bin der Meinung daß wir im Dezember bei MBX noch die Euro 10.- sehen.
In einer Woche sind wir gescheiter und vielleicht auch etwas reicher. In diesem Sinne.
eine alternative meinung unter:

cheers, guuruh

Cable Kill iTV Again?

By Dudette
(December 3, 2000)

It is an old cliche that those who do not learn from
history are doomed to repeat it. Unfortunately, after a
week at the Cable Show looking at the cable companies`
plans for their services, it`s looking like "deja vu all over

The History They Should Have

Over the past two decades, the cable and telephone
industries have spent several billion dollars in trials of
interactive television services. Without any exceptions
of which I am aware, every trial failed. The companies
were never able to come up with a service that would be
compelling to consumers, or that could be delivered at a
cost that was anywhere close to what consumers might
be willing to pay.

Just about the time that the WebTV product was first
launching, the last of the cable iTV trials was being shut
down. One of the reasons that WebTV had such
difficulty in getting any serious attention was that
"everyone knew" that mainstream consumers weren`t
interested in interacting with their televisions. "When
Steve Perlman showed it to me before the launch, I told
him that it was one of the stupidest ideas I`d ever seen,"
Barry Schuler, now responsible for AOLTV, told me in
May 1998.

I`ve mentioned a number of times about how amazed I
was when I began to meet WebTV users at the end of
1996. As an iTV developer of a decade`s experience
myself, I had participated in a number of the failed
attempts to create interactive television content and
services that people would want to use. Yet here were
people who weren`t part of a trial or test group, spending
their own time and money to interact on TV.

I was eager to learn what was making WebTV
compelling to people, even though no one was spending
any special effort to make "iTV" content for them. As I
met more and more people through our site that
ultimately became Net4TV, I learned the key benefits to
people that WebTV was delivering via the Internet, but
that we had completely missed in our creating the cable,
telco, and CD-ROM-based interactive television
content and services.

1. Go Where You Want to Go, Do What You
Want to Do...

All of the trials had been "closed systems," as of course
were the CD-ROM programs. People could only go
where and do what we, the program producers, allowed
them to. That meant that whatever the users of the
program were allowed to do, we had to produce: every
part of the service, every place to click, and all of the
content behind it.

The problem, of course, is that we couldn`t make a vast
range of content to serve people`s individual interests.
The more content that we created to serve different
interests, the costs of content production would soar, but
the audiences that were interested in the individual
pieces would be smaller and smaller, the more diverse
the interests that we served. The World Wide Web was
solving this problem for the WebTV user -- a huge and
ever-growing library of content that could provide
something truly interesting to just about anyone.

Another issue that we`d faced was that we needed a way
to make money from the consumer to pay for the service
or product. The CD-ROM software for TV set-top
boxes was $25 to $60 per program at retail -- not just
because of the cost of the programming, but also because
there was a physical product that had to be
manufactured, packaged, warehoused, and then sold
through distributors and retailers. Every step added cost.
The reason that cable and telephone companies were
interested in iTV in the first place was to try to get users
to buy stuff through their TV sets, so much of the
attention in the services was geared around "buy a pizza"
or "buy a movie" through the TV.

With WebTV and the Internet, you truly could "go
where you want to go, do what you want to do." If you
want to buy stuff, there is a huge array of products and
services available to you (far more than any cable or
telephone company could ever imagine being able to
offer). But there also are libraries, games, virtual
museums, magazines, humor... in fact, just about
everything you can imagine and everything you couldn`t
until you happen to run across it (our Surfari: Humble
Paper Clip in this issue is a wonderful example). It is a
user-directed experience -- not one controlled by the

2. ...With Whomever You Want to Do It With

Another critically important element that we learned
about was the importance of community. In fact, this
might be the most compelling capability that WebTV

Our own user feedback has told us that the thing that
made WebTV "click" for so many people was making
friends with other people they met online. Especially for
folks who are shut in, or who don`t live conveniently
close to their friends, the ability to meet people in
newsgroups, chat rooms, email lists, and by just striking
up an email acquaintance with someone whose web site
interests you really contributes to the quality of life.

The iTV trials (and the CD-ROMs, of course) were
closed systems. Some of the trials did provide messaging
between users (not that there were enough users in the
tests to really try it out -- sort of like having the only
telephone in town), but there just wasn`t any realization
that people might want to meet and talk over their TVs.
That wasn`t the point anyway -- the reason that cable
companies and telcos were doing iTV in the first place
was to try to figure out how to get people to buy stuff.

Walled Gardens -- Deja Vu All
Over Again

After the national Cable Show in June, I had hopes that
the companies were finally getting it. But unfortunately,
it`s evident to me now that they`re not. They want to pen
up their users within their "walled gardens" where their
options will be to click to order something from some
embedded link (but only if the cable company itself will
get a piece of the order), and return to watching TV.

What`s driving this? It`s not anyone thinking about what
their subscribers might actually want. It`s purely three
things: fear, uncertainty, and greed.

Fear: They might not watch TV

The cable companies don`t want to provide Internet
access (although they may be forced to offer it as a
"premium" service) because they`re afraid people will go
on the Net instead of watching TV. Every piece of
content within most of the walled gardens is required to
have a PiP (Picture-in-Picture) so that viewers will still
see the TV while they`re buying that pizza or looking up
the local weather, and then a "Return to TV" button
clearly displayed.

How you gonna keep them watching TV after they`ve
seen the Internet? The cable companies have reason to
fear -- having the Internet at their fingertips doesn`t
mean that people won`t keep watching the shows they
like, but it does mean that they won`t watch shows they
don`t like, just because there`s nothing else on. Gee, the
cable companies might have to pay more attention to
giving their users good programming, rather than 100
channels too often filled with dreck and reruns.

Uncertainty: We don`t know where this is
going, so we`ll just do enough to get by.

At the last show, all of the competent middlewares (like
Microsoft TV, Liberate, etc) were headed towards the
advanced digital set top boxes like the DCT-5000. Now,
a bunch of the cable companies have decided that they
can make do with older, less-expensive boxes like the
DCT-2000. Microsoft TV won`t even run in that box,
and Liberate has come up with a "compact" version for
that box that isn`t going to make anyone happy except
the bean-counters at the cable companies.

So, because the cable companies will wring their hands
and worry about investing so much before iTV is proven,
we`ll get an iTV that doesn`t let you do anything except
click on dumbed-down stuff that a cable company has
prepared for you. And then when it fails, the cable execs
can all congratulate themselves that they didn`t go
overboard and invest in the more powerful set top boxes.

Greed: Every interactive click must give us
direct revenue.

We had ported four of our games to Liberate`s DTV
navigator on the DCT-5000 and showed them in the
Liberate booth. "How do you charge the users for these?"
we were asked.

"We don`t, " we answered, "They cost very little, and
we`ve left space at the top for the PiP and we can add the
`return to TV` button. Cable companies can provide
them as part of the basic interactive service..."

"They`re not going to provide anything that doesn`t
involve users paying for it," the president of another
company who was showing with us told me. "They want
us to charge users to play our game, and then we have to
pay them a percentage. AT&T is leading this attitude --
`every click must make money for AT&T` -- and the
other cable companies are thinking that`s a good idea."

We`ve seen the future, and we didn`t like it very much. has a wonderful site on the web with recipes,
how-to, information about food, and the ability to buy.
I`ve seen AT&T`s walled garden version. All the
information is stripped out -- it`s "place an order and
return to TV." E*Trade, another content-filled site, has
been stripped to "make a trade, and return to TV."
Everything is stripped down, dumbed down, and "return
to TV" (and of course, people on TV will never scroll,
which is their excuse for not offering any content).

Oh yes, and you know all that enhanced TV content that
you get on Discovery and E and (sometimes) on
MSNBC, and those crossover links that take you to
related web content? AT&T and some other cable
companies are planning to strip it out, unless the channel
that is carrying it agrees to pay them extra. Now that`s a
real incentive for program producers to make enhanced
and interactive content -- NOT!

The Opportunity for WebTV and

We saw a lot of cool programs and services for iTV,
many of them able to be used today on the WebTV Plus
and AOLTV systems. And we realized that there is an
opportunity for WebTV and AOLTV to save iTV and
make themselves enormously successful at the same
time, if only they are smart enough and brave enough to
take it.

We have a Liberate developer box, the system
underneath AOLTV, that has a network card in addition
to a modem. We have it plugged into our T1 network,
which is about as fast as a cable modem or fast DSL. It is
a really nice connection -- very fast, very reliable, and
always connected (no dial-up and connection required).

What I would love to see is a WebTV Plus and an
AOLTV box with network cards brought to the
consumer market. You`d be able to plug them in to a
DSL connection or a cable modem (cable companies
don`t mess with the PC users` activity on the Net, only
the TV users`).

Frankly, I think that would rock. It would work with the
home networks, so you`d be able to share the DSL or
cable modem connection with PCs or other networked
appliances in the house. It would be free of those pesky
connection "phone line" problems and wouldn`t time
out, so you`d be able to really appreciate the enhanced
TV content that`s being aired today, without your box
having to dial up and give you the crossover link minutes
after you forgot what you clicked on.

Even the geeks might want it -- you know, the PC users
and tech press who are such naysayers about the Internet
on TV -- because it would be the coolest new enhanced
TV platform. They might even discover why the Internet
on TV is a valid medium in its own right if we can sneak
it into their homes as an "eTV" Trojan horse.

And it could provide enough of an installed base that it
might actually be worth it for TV program producers to
continue to develop enhanced TV and interactive TV
programming until they get it right. The satellite
companies will already be taking advantage of the cable
companies` mistake, but much more of the US gets its
TV from cable, or lives in an apartment where a satellite
can`t be installed.

Why did I say "if they`re brave enough?" Well, the cable
companies wouldn`t be very happy with Microsoft, and
they might want to take it out on Microsoft TV. But if
these companies can`t run Microsoft TV on the wimpy
boxes they`re deploying, then what have they got to lose?
AOLTV might get hassled by Time-Warner Cable,
unless there`s someone bright enough to recognize that it
gives them a play in all of the NON-Time-Warner
markets and, even if the FTC (or is it FCC?) forces them
to open TW cable to other set-top boxes, who would
want them (or at least, any except WebTV)?

I hope they are brave enough to do it. It just might save
iTV, and it might even save the cable companies,
ultimately, from their stupid mistake of fear,
uncertainty, and greed.
Friday December 1, 7:29 AM

Advertisers tune in to interactive TV

By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Major advertisers are relishing the power of interactive TV -- a medium that allows viewers to shop, email, play games and control what they watch -- to target finely-tuned audiences.

There is a hitch. New technology, such as personal video recorders, also enables viewers to skip commercials.

But from an advertisers` perspective, interactive TV, or iTV, can provide vital information about consumer preferences, and the industry is rising to the challenge.

Last week, Coca-Cola Co. launched its first interactive advertisement via service provider RespondTV. Viewers with digital set-top boxes can use a remote control to click on an icon of Coca-Cola`s popular "Polar Bear Twins" and have a toy bear sent to them in the mail, free.

And Coca-Cola Co. is not alone.

Wink Communications Inc., a creator of iTV ads, has clients that includes automakers General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and DaimlerChrysler, home product makers Unilever and Clorox Co. and financial service firm Charles Schwab Corp.

"(iTV ads) are yet another way to reach out and touch consumers directly," said Coca-Cola executive Mart Martin. "It`s the connection. You can watch a cute little polar bear on our commercial, click on the icon and we will deliver it right to your door."


Technology research house Forrester estimates that the traditional commercial model provides TV networks with some $75 billion a year -- a figure which is expected to peak at $86 billion by 2003 -- while new forms of advertising could generate $17 billion in new revenues by 2005.

As a mass market medium that reaches millions of viewers, advertisers have traditionally never been sure whether consumers are watching ads or going to the kitchen or bathroom. As a result, the primary goal of an advertisement is to blitz viewers with a message and build brand awareness.

But iTV changes that model and makes the TV a direct marketing tool in the same way companies for years have used the postal service to target specific consumer groups.

That idea scared the major broadcast, cable and satellite TV networks only a couple of years ago because it would give advertisers information on exactly who was watching ads and whether they were interested in the products being sold.

Although privacy issues are still bound to arise, most companies and marketers are quick to say they will respect the consumer`s right to have their private information kept private.

And the intimate contact with the consumer is considered invaluable.

"The economics are such that the contact -- the name of the consumer -- is worth 100 times as much as a general impression," said Josh Bernoff, principal analyst with Forrester.


Personal video recorders from the likes of TiVo and Replay TV, which are having their software put inside the TV set-top boxes of many iTV systems, have so far proved that viewers are fed up with old-style advertising and often choose to skip commercials.

In common with others in the industry, Scott Sassa, President of NBC West Coast, said advertisers will have to create more exciting ads to keep viewers glued to their sets.

He likened the situation to magazines like "Vanity Fair" or "Fortune" to which people often subscribe for the sake of their advertisements.

For major networks in the United States, widespread iTV is probably more than five years away, as cable, satellite and broadcast TV operators upgrade systems to handle the prerequisite digital signals.

But the market is growing rapidly. Forrester expects about 4.9 million U.S. homes to have interactive video by the end of 2000, rising to 12.2 million in 2001 and 65.2 million in 2005.

And Europe is further down the road. Britain alone is expected to have more than four million interactive TV homes by end 2000.

Bernoff sees the amount of traditional ad money lost five years from now to be about $18 billion, whereas revenue gained from interactive video and other services would be about $23 billion, for a net gain around $5 billion.

As the market grows, TV networks are expected to be paid by advertisers on the basis of the number of customer contacts made when ads air. At a later stage, they will share in any t-commerce sales generated from a specific ad.

A question that remains is whether viewers want to sit up and work with the TV or recline on the couch and watch.

In Britain, where penetration of digital technology into homes far exceeds the U.S., iTV provider OpenTV launched its service in October last year and now reaches about one in six British homes.

More than 10 percent of those homes have bought a product over the system and of those, 35 percent are repeat buyers.

"The idea that the television was somehow not meant to be interactive is as silly as saying the PC wasn`t meant to be interactive," said RespondTV President Richard Fischer.

It was only about five or six years ago that the average PC was good for little more than word processing and spreadsheets -- and we all know the Net has changed all that.
December 1, 2000, 10:21 AM PST

Bertelsmann, RecordTV in Talks on Web-Based TV

In a possible video version of its Napster deal, the media powerhouse is considering a joint venture with the Internet video service.
By Rick Perera

Bertelsmann AG

Napster, Bertelsmann Scout Out More Players
Bertelsmann Rolls On

Bertelsmann Back on the Warpath

Content in Search of Profits
(December 4, 2000)
Dot-Com Fires Employees Amid Union Organizing Effort
(December 3, 2000)

Online Advertising`s Anxiety Attack
(December 3, 2000)

Bertelsmann, RecordTV in Talks on Web-Based TV
(December 1, 2000)

Alternative Internet Devices: Will Western Europeans Surf from the Sofa?
Media Brief

Content Out of Control

Smarter Television

Email to a Friend
Print Article
Write the Editor

BERLIN – For the second time in a month, a unit of German media giant Bertelsmann is exploring a cooperative venture with a controversial Internet-based company.

The Milan, Italy, office of the company`s Bertelsmann mediaSystems division is in talks with U.S.-based startup about offering an Internet-based broadcast video recording service in Europe, said Giovanni Giamminola, manager of e-business for the Italian subsidiary.

Giamminola said that under a planned cooperative venture, television and network companies will have the opportunity to make their programming available via the Internet to users, who can choose when they want to watch it.

RecordTV`s Web site originally enabled users to select from Los Angeles-area cable TV offerings and program the site to record them for later viewing. The company`s "virtual Internet VCR" was shut down in June, after 12 motion picture and entertainment companies filed suit for copyright infringement.

Giamminola said the planned new venture won`t run into similar legal problems.

"The fact is that [RecordTV founder] David Simon, the guy I`m working with, just had a good idea and put it on the Internet, but he didn`t realize all the impact by managing TV content copyright and so on. Here, the approach is totally different. The idea is to put together TV companies and Internet service providers and RecordTV, in order to have a product that makes everyone happy."

On Oct. 31, Bertelsmann surprised observers by announcing an alliance with Napster Inc. to develop a peer-to-peer file sharing service for music and other content. As part of the deal, Bertelsmann`s BMG record label will drop out of a copyright-infringement lawsuit by major recording companies against Napster.

Giamminola said the idea of a Bertelsmann cooperation with RecordTV comes from a "Funky Business" attitude, as encouraged by Swedish authors Kjell Nordström and Jonas Ridderstråle in their book of that title. "People in the company are trying to be more creative; they have space to develop their talent, and they cooperate for innovation. That`s basically the spirit we have, and I think that also Napster is a great opportunity to discover the new world we have in the digital age."

Rick Perera writes for the IDG News Service.
Habe gestern die ersten beiden englischen Artikel aus dem Thread gelesen und kann sie nur jedem wärmstens empfehlen, der sich mit der Materie iTV näher befassen möchte.

Besonders der zweite, von einem alten iTV-Veteranen, der seine Erfahrungen berichtet und reflektiert. Mit das Beste, was ich jemals dazu gelesen habe.

Gruß, JP
Als Metabox-Aktionär könnte man ja sagen, was interessiert
uns der Erfolg von iTV. Wenn die Boxen verkauft sind liegt
das Risiko bei den Konsortien.
Andererseits ist bei einem Erfolg von iTV der Erfolg von
Metabox viel grösser da es Folgeauftrag um Folgeauftrag erzeugt.


natürlich kann der Verkauf von Hardware eine recht
lukrative Sache sein. Wenn ich mich recht erinnere
geht es um eine Brutto Marge von ca. 20%.

Wesentlich höher könnten allerdings im Laufe der Zeit
die e-commerce Einnahmen werden. Wenn alles klappt
wird MBX an jedem Artikel mitverdienen, der über
die Phoenix Plattform verkauft wird. Auch wenn es
nur Bruchteile von einem Prozent pro Transaktion sein
werden (habe noch keine Zahl gehört).
Hier liegt m.M. nach die eigentliche Phantasie.


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