[04/18/06 - 12:00 AM]
Viewers Becoming Increasingly More Interactive with NBC Universal Programming

[via press release from NBC Universal Television Studio]


"Deal Or No Deal" Receives Over 30 Million Total Votes This Year

NEW YORK -- April 18, 2006 -- Viewers are becoming increasingly more interactive with NBC Universal programming, from voting for their favorite Project Runway contestant on Bravo to guessing the lucky suitcase on NBC's "Deal or No Deal."

Viewers of "Deal or No Deal" are given the opportunity to win $10,000 by playing the "Lucky Case Game" via text messaging on their cell phones or by logging on to NBC.com. Since its return to NBC in March, the show has generated over 30 Million total Short Messaging Service (SMS) and online votes.

"Interactive television is clearly resonating with our audience," said Darren Feher, Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, NBC Universal. "It is a powerful tool, which not only brings value to the viewers, who are much more engaged in the programming, but also the advertisers who are seeking their attention."

"For the past decade, NBC has been a leading innovator of interactive services to enhance its programming for viewers," said Jon Dakss, Director of iTV Product Development, NBC Universal. "You will be seeing a lot more interactivity across all of our networks, across multiple platforms, in the coming year."

Time Warner Cable and BrightHouse Networks digital cable subscribers are able to interact with Bravo's new hit reality series "Top Chef" using their remote controls. Throughout each episode, viewers are prompted to answer amusing polls about food and which chef they want to send home. Additionally, viewers are given the unique chance to receive text messages during the program from the various cast members themselves. Based on its success with fans, NBC's "The Apprentice" is now offering a similar service for viewers.

"We are seeing a real interest from our affiliates on rolling out more interactive services," said Jean-Briac Perrette, Senior Vice President, New Media and Chief Financial Officer, NBC Universal Cable. "We will continue to explore unique and innovative ways for them to deliver a more robust television experience to their customers."

During the March 8th finale of Project Runway, viewers could interact through their cell phones, as well as online, answering show-related questions. The results were displayed throughout the episode. All participants were automatically qualified to be randomly selected to win one of ten video iPods. The show yielded Bravo's highest ratings to date, with BravoTV.com receiving a record 5 million page views and 225,000 unique visitors. Over 100,000 votes were received across web and SMS.

During CNBC's Suze Orman show, viewers had the opportunity to send text messages via their cell phones to the broadcast. These viewer messages appeared in a crawl at the bottom of the screen throughout the show. This marks the first time a mainstream network and program adopted this format in the US.

Interactivity was also a popular feature for viewers of the Olympics. For the first time in the US, NBC offered an immersive interactive application for the Olympics across three major cable and satellite providers simultaneously: DIRECTV, DISH Network and Time Warner Cable. The service allowed viewers to access medal counts, news and athlete bios. DIRECTV recorded one million unique households that used the 2006 Winter Olympic interactive features available through the DIRECTV Sports mix channel, with more than four million individual interactions. This averaged to approximately 4.5 customer interactions per DIRECTV household. Time Warner Cable reported a 23% average usage rate of iTV among the 700,000 subscriber homes where this application was available. In Green Bay Wisconsin alone, 45% of Time Warner subscriber's used the interactive application.

  [april 2006]  


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