Backchannelmedia Says its Clickable TV Technology is Now in "Commercialization Stage"

--Michael Kokernak Resigns as Co-CEO, Will Head New Research Unit

Boston-based interactive TV advertising specialist, Backchannelmedia, said Monday that its flagship Clickable TV technology has been validated by over-the-air testing and is now in what the company calls "a new commercialization stage." The company also announced that its founder and co-CEO, Michael Kokernak, has resigned his co-CEO position and will now become president of a new unit, called BCM Research, that will "seek to develop the next cycle of major innovation for Backchannelmedia" and that will "be closely networked to ongoing innovations in the digital technology space and will have a long-term horizon" (note: Kokernak will continue to sit on the company's board of directors). Consequently, Dan Hassan, who has served as chairman and co-CEO since 2007, has now removed the "co-" from his title. Backchannelmedia also says that it plans to open a commercial office in the New York metropolitan region, in order to give it "proximity to the world's largest cluster of media enterprises" as it moves into its "commercialization stage."

According to Backchannelmedia, its Clickable TV platform presents viewers with a small, non-intrusive "bug" at the bottom of their TV screen alerting them to the availability of interactivity on the commercial or program they are watching (the company calls these opportunities to interact "clickable moments"). By clicking a button on their remote, they are then able to bookmark supplemental content to a personal Web portal, or have it sent to their email address. The company says that the technology works through over-the-air digital broadcast (with a special set-top box), cable, satellite and other platforms to "bring together the reach of television and the Internet to create a powerful digital platform." It claims that the new advertising and content inventory created by the "clickable moment" allows TV stations to sell "clickable moments" to advertisers on a per-click basis, in addition to impression-based commercial spots. It bills Clickable TV as being designed to be a "superior advertising vehicle to Internet search engines" that is free from behavioral targeting and that allows viewers to manage their opt-in data. It claims that all opt-in data is carefully managed and is spam- and click fraud-free.

Backchannelmedia claims that deployment of Clickable TV is currently underway at five TV stations in the northeast US (note: while it did not state in its latest press release which stations those are, it has previously announced deployments with Hearst-Argyle's WCVB and WMUR, Media General's WJAR; and LIN Television's WTNH and WCTX). It also says it has also reached agreements to deploy throughout all LIN Television, Gray Television and Fisher Communications stations, giving it a potential reach of 82 stations and markets and an audience reach of 20.6% of the US. (Note: for an in-depth overview of Backchannelmedia and its technology, see [itvt]'s interview with Dan Hassan in Issue 8.29.)

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