Open launches interactive TV despite absence of ratecard

The interactive TV service Open went live last week, playing down the absence of a ratecard for advertisers.

The interactive TV service Open went live last week, playing down

the absence of a ratecard for advertisers.

The service, which is available to all BSkyB’s digital and satellite TV

subscribers, has signed up a number of retailers, including Woolworths,

WH Smith, Dixons, Carphone Warehouse, Domino’s Pizza and Going


They all rent a bandwidth, likened to renting a shop-floor space in a

mall, which provides a basic revenue stream for Open.

But Open will also take a commission - said to be between 5 and 10 per

cent - on every transaction conducted over the service, so providing a

second source of revenue.

Open’s third revenue stream is selling banner ads and interactive ads on

the various bandwidths. It has been criticised by a handful of

advertisers for failing to issue a ratecard, a decision that has led to

some confusion over the price of advertising on the service.

But sources inside the company pointed out that it was very early in the

service’s development, and that it was natural for Open to concentrate

on signing up retailers before it started pricing ads.

Matt Blackborne, executive media director at Starcom, understood the

delay in pricing ads. ’What is integral at the moment is which companies

are selling their goods and services on the site, and how many people

are using it, how often. The ratecard will depend on such factors.’

HSBC confirmed that 60,000 people have already used its service on


Viewers have been registering for loans and mortgage applications well

before the service was officially launched last week.

Open’s preview has been available in digital homes since the start of

August, and over 50 per cent of HSBC’s audience had already visited Open

before marketing went ahead in September.

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