NTL’s interactive TV launch wins support of content providers

The cable television company, NTL, has unveiled its interactive television service with a wide range of shopping, news, sport and travel partners.

The cable television company, NTL, has unveiled its interactive

television service with a wide range of shopping, news, sport and travel

partners.



NTL’s is the first interactive TV service to be launched nationally in

the UK. At launch, it has 42 content partners, including ITN, Emap,

Tesco, and BBC Worldwide’s joint venture with ICL, beeb.



The service is offered initially as part of NTL’s TV Internet service

via a set-top box. At a later date, it will be offered via digital cable

and digital terrestrial TV.



Subscribers pay pounds 15 a month to gain access to both the ’walled

garden’ of interactive content and, through a gateway, access to the

world wide web. The service has been designed to be simple to use and

allows viewers to continue to watch TV while shopping or checking the

latest headlines.



NTL’s service is based on the internet HTML protocol, unlike Sky’s yet

to be launched service, Open ..., in a bid to make it as easy as

possible for partners to convert their existing internet content to run

on the service.



However, observers are questioning the likely take-up rate for such

subscription services at a time when free internet access is becoming

commonplace.



Andy Crossley, the marketing director of NTL interactive, said: ’By 2002

we are expecting to have at least a couple of million subscribers. At

pounds 15, it represents good value for money compared with the pounds

1,000 you have to pay for a PC which will be obsolete in a couple of

years.’



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