Monday, October 15, 2007

BT Promoting ShapeShifted TV

BT is promoting what it calls New Media 2 (NM2), which permits viewers to change the story line. The idea is that producers will shoot multiple story lines, which the viewers can select and make the viewing experience more personal. The NM2 website provides more information on ShapeShifting.

BT has conducted a number of NM2 trials with broadcasters but has no firm plans to commercialise NM2 as part of BT’s own IPTV BT Vision. It is considering various ways to monetize the service, including pay-per-view, subscription and advertising-funded models.

The first ShapeShifted TV program was aired in Finland in December 2006. Viewers were able to affect the drama between two unlikely lovers by sending SMS text messages. Viewers saw their SMS text messages on the screen and heard the characters respond to their texts. Accidental Lovers was run four times in total, showing twelve different evolutions of the love affair – each of them different, so if viewers did not get what the wished for the first time, they could try again. News, drama, and documentary pilots using the same technology have also been tested.

This is an interesting form of interactivity that can enhance the IPTV experience. Clearly a two-way IPTV network can provide a higher level of interactivity than using SMS. It should even be possible to use it in conjunction with an on demand program to provide a purely personal rather than shared experience.

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