The news that Static TV has been bought by OpenTV is not overly
surprising, but while the industry grunts and says it is an obvious move
in the interactive TV arena, the bigger picture has to be viewed.
For Static, it means that they have more money to play with and a higher
profile, and for the US-based OpenTV it means they can extract from
Static the experience and credibility the UK has in the market of
interactive TV, something the US clearly lacks. But will that matter in
the unenthusiastic US interactive TV market?
New media, in general, is a fairly wobbly bridge to be standing on, and
start talking about interactive TV and you're not guaranteed an
To many, the concept of people interacting with the box in a corner of
their living room seems alien, but to others the idea of interacting
with a computer is just as strange. It has to be realised that the
internet isn't dead, it's just resting, and although it is a valid
medium, it is not the world's saviour.
The internet will always be around, and will always be a medium for
marketing and advertising. But take into account that some 40 per cent
of the world's population are never going to be avid internet surfers,
and you're left with the realisation that for all your dhtml, skyscraper
banners and intersticials, it is not TV, radio or press. And Jupiter
MMXI's presentation stating such insights - at the global online
advertising forum in Cannes this week - was not really needed to point
The other big news in new media - the IPA and ISBA's launch of JICNET -
is as interesting as Static's buyout. For the internet to be taken
seriously as a medium, it has to have a regulated measuring system,
showing advertisers exactly who they can talk to and how they react.
There's far too much distrust in net measurement as it is, so two big
bodies joining forces is to be welcomed.
But to go back to interactive TV, despite Granada's lack of faith in the
medium - the media company has admitted it would welcome a partner in
ONdigital - the industry has a serious PR exercise to undertake. The
British public are interested in interactive TV, and research from
dotcoms such as Lastminute.com reveals that internet users are using
interactive TV, but until high-profile, high-street brands invest time,
money and publicity into their interactive TV offerings, it will remain
like the internet - a medium that's useless to advertisers if it has no