CAMPAIGN-I: Barb figures underline health of interactive TV

The first ever viewing figures for an interactive TV channel -

calculated by Barb - indicate that the popularity of the medium is

exceeding industry expectations.



PlayJam, the interactive gaming channel owned by the new-media agency

Static, recorded surprisingly high viewing figures on the Sky Digital

platform. For the week spanning 19 to 25 March, PlayJam attracted more

viewers than MTV, E4, Sky Sports One and the Box.



BBC1, ITV, BBC2 and Channel 4 were Sky Digital's four most popular

channels.



Barb's figures claim that an average of 0.25 per cent of adults aged

between 16 and 34 viewed PlayJam during that week. The daily reach of

the channel of 16- to 34-year-olds during that week was 6.5 per cent -

240,000 viewers. About 540,000 of Sky Digital's total audience (not just

16- to 34-year-olds) viewed the channel on a daily basis.



The Henley Centre has carried out additional research to the figures,

and in a PhoneBus survey found that more than 25 per cent of Sky Digital

subscribers have visited PlayJam.



Andrew Howells, the managing director of BMP TVi, said: 'This really is

a wake-up call to the industry. This is an audience and is interacting

and spending time on that channel. If you're watching PlayJam, you are

interacting with it - you haven't got it on while you're doing the

ironing.'



However, Phil Gullen, the managing director of Carat Insight, said:

'This is just a demonstration of media fragmentation - most of the

channels out there are viewed by a small number of people for a short

amount of time.



'All it takes is for 3 or 4 per cent of the audience to use PlayJam for

an hour or two each day and it gets into the top ten.'



The channel allows advertisers to sponsor games and place banner ads -

the Henley Centre found that 35 per cent of respondents recalled having

seen ads for the betting brand BlueSquare on the channel, and 44 per

cent remembered ads for the video games retailer Electronics Boutique.



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