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