NBC UNIVERSAL INTERACTIVE TELEVISION HAS GROUND-BREAKING YEAR IN 2006
NEW YORK � December 19, 2006 � The television networks of NBC Universal had a ground breaking year in interactive television, launching a total of 40 iTV programs or events across 12 business units, and generating over 130 million web votes and SMS messages. The wide variety of iTV features ranged from choosing the "Lucky Case" for the chance to win $10,000 on NBC's "Deal or No Deal" to single-screen synchronous interaction with Bravo's "Top Chef" to in-show text alerts from the characters of USA Network's "The 4400."
"We need to find ways to engage consumers like never before," said Jeff Gaspin, President, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment, Digital Content and Cross-Network Strategy. "These interactive applications give us insight into our viewers' behavior and offer them opportunities to connect with their favorite programming."
"ITV is a huge area of growth for the company," said Jon Dakss, Director, iTV Product Development, NBC Universal. "It has significantly changed television viewing habits, making it a much more hands-on experience. Viewers are clearly responding in record numbers, and we are excited to launch a number of new interactive features in the coming year."
This year, NBCU achieved several milestones in the iTV universe. The company launched seven single-screen iTV applications, more than any media company in the U.S., reaching millions of viewers. In addition, NBCU's interactive programs, like "Deal or No Deal" and Bravo's "Project Runway" received over 100 million web votes and 30 million SMS messages. In February, NBC became the first U.S. network to deploy the same single-screen iTV application to multiple digital platforms simultaneously during the 2006 Winter Olympics.
NBCU's success in the iTV space has translated into several landmark sponsorship opportunities. Bravo's "Top Chef" and Sears Kenmore PRO accomplished three firsts for a U.S. network program by deploying the first sponsored 1-screen enhanced TV element over a digital cable network, the first 1-screen enhanced TV element for a show across multiple digital cable systems simultaneously, and the first sponsored cross-carrier video message to a cell phone. In Bravo's first season of "Top Chef," single-screen interactivity that was made available to Time Warner Cable digital subscribers culminated in a peak of an impressive 30% viewer participation.
NBCU's iTV department is part of a new NBC Universal division known as the Technology Growth Center, which continues to grow as NBCU's digital efforts expand. The iTV team has made two new hires further bolstering its team. Andy Castin joins from ABC/Disney as a Senior iTV Technical Producer, working with NBC's Sports and News divisions. Elena Ritchie from Motricity (formerly GoldPocket Wireless) also joins the group as an iTV Technical Producer and will focus on iTV initiatives for NBC's entertainment properties.
NBC Universal is one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.