BSkyB and ITV sign agreement for more interactive services

Following months of speculation, ITV and BSkyB have concluded a deal that will allow ITV to launch a range of interactive services on the digital satellite platform.

The deal, which covers both ITV1 and ITV2, allows ITV to enhance its programming on the platform by allowing viewers to interact with the content.

The deal will see Who Wants to be a Millionaire? become the first fully interactive ITV programme to run on the Sky digital platform.

The deal also allows ITV to run interactive advertising, which provides a new revenue stream for the network.

Agencies have welcomed ITV's arrival on the platform as it will drive interactive advertising forward. Estimates suggest that with ITV's inclusion, the number of interactive impacts will increase four-fold. On the old DTT platform, ITV ran more than 20 interactive ads, but the technology was not as sophisticated as it will be under the new arrangement with Sky.

Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was interactive on the now defunct ITV Digital platform, but did not have the benefits of the return path offered by digital satellite. Players in Sky's six million homes can now play along with the quiz in real time.

The final part of the deal allows ITV to develop gaming and betting services in partnership with Littlewoods Leisure.

Mick Desmond, the joint managing director of ITV, said: "As the biggest commercial broadcaster in the interactive space, ITV will play a key role in the development of the interactive advertising market. With our clients and their agencies we can now focus on taking interactive advertising from experimentation to the mainstream."