Two More TV Stations Trial Backchannelmedia's ITV Advertising Platform

--Ad Council Now Using the Platform for PSA's

Backchannelmedia--a Boston-based company which late last year announced that it had received an investment of $3 million, bringing the total raised by its initial funding round to $9.5 million--says that two LIN TV-owned television stations in Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, WTNH-TV ABC Channel 8 and WCTX-TV MyTV Channel 9, will participate in a trial of its TV-to-Internet click-through system (note: the system is also being trialed by WCVB-TV/DT Channel 5, Hearst-Argyle's digital ABC affiliate in Boston). According to the company, the trial will involve a "select group" of the two stations' viewers and advertisers.

Backchannelmedia's patent-pending technology is billed as allowing viewers to easily interact with TV ads and programs by bookmarking interesting content and advertiser offers to view at their convenience. According to the company, participants in the trial will be presented with small icons at the bottom of their TV screen that they can click on with their remote controls, in order to bookmark offers on items of interest in local news and entertainment programming. The bookmarked content will then be forwarded to a personal Web site that each participant will receive on WTNH.com (note: the sites will feature WTNH's branding); it will also be recorded at a data center, in order, Backchannelmedia says, to provide "valuable information for broadcasters and their advertisers." "We are interested in evaluating interactive television applications for our channels," Robb Richter, SVP of new media at LIN TV, said in a prepared statement. "Interactive TV creates unique opportunities for our new media business. Backchannelmedia's TV-to-Internet click through technology offers viewers a convenient way to interact with our popular television content, which opens the door to a myriad of more advanced marketing opportunities for our advertisers. We look forward to participating in the market trial and strategically evaluating Backchannel's cutting-edge technology." While Backchannelmedia's trial requires participants to use special set-top boxes, the company hopes to eventually load its software onto cable and satellite operators' existing set-tops.

In other Backchannelmedia news: The company said last month that the Ad Council--a non-profit organization that produces, distributes and promotes national PSA campaigns for non-profits and government agencies--is now using its technology to let viewers find out more information about the issues covered in its public service ad campaigns. The Ad Council is currently running four campaigns enabled by Backchannelmedia's TV-to-Internet click-through platform, during the ongoing trials of that technology in New England. The campaigns are devoted to obesity prevention, inspiring invention, adoption and autism awareness respectively. "Backchannelmedia's innovative technology is a wonderful way to connect our viewers with the important information available online on how they can get involved on behalf of the critical social issues addressed by our campaigns," Barbara Shimaitis, the Ad Council's SVP of interactive services, said in a prepared statement. "We are very grateful for Backchannelmedia's pro bono support."