Miniweb Taps MPP to Enable Secure Payment on its Interactive TV Platform

UK-based interactive TV company, Miniweb, said Wednesday that it has integrated MPP's iPay Developer payment solution into its platform, in order to enable network operators, TV manufacturers and content owners that use the platform to provide centralized, secure payment services to TV viewers equipped with broadband-connected set-top boxes and television sets. According to Miniweb, the integration of MPP's ecommerce solution into its platform will enable content owners and other companies to set up such payment services quickly and easily: viewers will be able to store their payment details securely before paying for goods and services, purchasing one-off or recurring subscriptions to video or music content, or taking part in pay-per-play competitions, the company says.

iPay Developer is an ecommerce payment gateway which Miniweb says will enable it to implement a range of payment and subscription tools. It is equipped with MPP's eWallet technology which the company bills as allowing consumers to make easy repeat purchases at the press of the button. Other features include a support console that is billed as facilitating management of customer inquiries, and an advanced management console that is billed as providing "instant snapshots" of account statistics, account histories, subscriber numbers and reporting for data mining and analysis. "Internet video and interactive content on the TV are becoming more and more prevalent and we are delighted to be involved at ground level as they become ecommerce-enabled," MPP CEO, Paul Johnson, said in a prepared statement. "Miniweb's platform enables a range of more enhanced content to be provided through the TV. The industry as a whole has been exploring methods of monetizing these additional services and we are looking forward to this partnership providing these opportunities." Added Miniweb CEO, Andrew Carver: "With broadcast and broadband converging, viewers will no longer have to go to a PC or phone to purchase something they've just seen on TV. Our consumer research shows that people want to make purchases directly via the remote control whilst still in front of their TV. It is therefore important for us to have a secure payment service that makes it easy for consumers to pay for entertainment services or buy products using their remote. We are pleased to include MPP's iPay Developer within our interactive services platform to provide new revenue opportunities for network operators and content owners, bringing consumer spending from the Web to the TV."

Miniweb's flagship offerings, TV Keys and Key & See, are predicated on the WTVML mark-up language that was developed by UK satellite-TV provider, BSkyB, and that is supported on around 9 million Sky set-top boxes (note: the company's founder, Ian Valentine, was previously a senior interactive TV executive at Sky). WTVML is billed as enabling broadcasters, advertisers and other parties to repurpose their existing Web sites as interactive TV services or develop new services from scratch, quickly and inexpensively. The phrase, "TV Keys," refers to numeric codes which Miniweb sells to its clients in order to enable access to WTVML-based interactive TV services through viewers' Internet-connected set-tops: they can spell out a brand name or simply a word describing the kinds of products and services sold by a company (for example, the TV Key, "46553297," would spell out "HOLIDAY" on the remote control keypad). When a TV Key appears on the screen (it is presented inside a small, key-shaped icon), viewers can punch it in via their remotes in order to trigger the associated WTVML-based interactive services or enhancements (note: they must first press the "interactive" button on their Sky remote and select "TV Keys" from a menu). Like a URL, TV Keys allow viewers to access interactive services at any time, and can therefore be used in print and other non-TV advertising, as well as in timeshifted/recorded video, in order to direct consumers to an advertiser's interactive content. Miniweb's "Key & See" technology, meanwhile, allows viewers to continue to see the channel from which they launched a TV Keys-based interactive TV service as they use it, and is therefore targeted at broadcasters that are seeking to launch ITV services in conjunction with their programming (note: for an example of a broadcaster using Miniweb's Key & See, see the article published on, April 23rd, on home shopping programmer JML's new tcommerce service).