DirecTV Teams with The Weather Channel on New Interactive TV Services

--DirecTV Offers Multiscreen ITV App for US Presidential Election
--Renews ITV Advertising Deal with Media Storm

Satellite TV provider, DirecTV, has teamed with The Weather Channel (TWC) to launch a package of interactive TV services providing information on local weather conditions. The new services include:
--An "Alert Ticker" that appears at the bottom of the TV screen and provides information on current weather alerts, as well as a link to a new "Local On Demand" application (see below).
--A "Local on the 8's" application that allows viewers to see current weather conditions, radar maps, and one-day and seven-day forecasts for their local area, during TWC's "Local on the 8's" programming segments.
--A "Local on Demand" application that allows viewers to access various interactive weather features for their ZIP code, while watching TWC; those features include current conditions, a five-day forecast, regional radar maps, weather alerts, and weather for up to five other cities that they can save as favorites. Viewers can continue to watch TWC's broadcast feed while accessing the application. According to TWC, the app allows DirecTV customers to access localized weather information for more than 40,000 ZIP codes across the US.
--A version of the "Local on Demand" application for DirecTV's recently redesigned interactive TV portal, DirecTV Active. The portal and the new weather application are accessed by pressing the "Active" button on the DirecTV remote.

"Working with partners to provide up-to-the minute localized weather content through new technologies has been a hallmark of The Weather Channel," Becky Powhatan, TWC's EVP of distribution and business affairs and general counsel, said in a prepared statement. "DirecTV and its cutting-edge applications are a natural fit for TWC, and DirecTV viewers will reap the benefit, gaining access to the relevant weather information--including severe weather alerts--on TWC during 'Local on the 8s,' 'Local on Demand,' or through the DirecTV Active portal."

In other DirecTV news:
--The operator offered a multiscreen interactive TV service for the recent US presidential election. Dubbed the Election Mix Channel and available on the evening of November 4th, the service offered eight network feeds on one screen (including the four broadcast networks; news channels, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC; and alternating feeds of Comedy Central and BBC America), as well as a real-time election blog that tracked the announcements and analysis on each of the featured channels as votes were counted, exit polling data was evaluated, and electoral count projections were made. Viewers could highlight any one of the eight feeds to listen to its audio, and could then also select it to watch in full-screen mode. Posts from the real-time election blog appeared at the bottom of the Election Mix Channel's screen, below the various network feeds. "With record-setting voter turnout expected at the polls and tens of millions of viewers tuning in to watch the results of this historic election, the idea of offering the Election Mix as a service to our customers was a no-brainer," Eric Shanks, DirecTV's EVP of entertainment, said in a prepared statement. "The interactive Mix channels have proven value for fans of our sports subscription services, and we believe the Election Mix will serve the same purpose here, helping viewers navigate the mosaic of news coverage, analysis and commentary of the shifting drama." The Election Mix Channel, which was available in both standard- and high-definition, replaced the interactive News Mix service on DirecTV channels 102 and 352.
--The company has renewed what it describes as an "eight-figure" deal with interactive TV advertising agency, Media Storm, enabling the latter to continue to offer ITV advertising on its platform. Media Storm has produced ITV ad campaigns on the DirecTV platform for a roster of clients that includes Food Network, HGTV, Magnolia Pictures, NFL Network, Speed and WE tv. "Simply put, Media Storm is one of our strategic partners that truly gets ITV," Robert Riordan, SVP of advertising sales at DirecTV, said in a prepared statement. "It is impressive to see how Media Storm leverages DirecTV with new applications to reach our customers and connect with them like never before. We look forward to working with them on behalf of their clients in 2009." Added Media Storm co-founder and managing partner, Tim Williams: "Where there is ITV capability, you'll find Media Storm in a big way. DirecTV is one of several media platforms in which we are applying our five-plus years of ITV experience." Technologies and services available on the DirecTV platform that Media Storm has leveraged for its clients include the DirecTV Plus and TiVo DVR's (for product showcases), record reminds, dynamic and static ad units, RFI capabilities and long- and short-form content sampling. The agency says it also plans to test interactive advertising on new products that DirecTV launches next year.