Exclusive: TAG Interactive TV Games Channel Tops Major Linear Channels in Daily Viewing Averages

--TNS STB Data Show Channel Retains Viewers for Longer than Disney, CNN, Nickelodeon and Others

TAG Networks--an interactive TV games company that has developed a games-on-demand channel, called TAG, which it says integrates with existing VOD infrastructures (note: the company has a history of working closely with ActiveVideo Networks and is involved in the latter's deployments with Time Warner Cable and Cablevision)--contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know that new TNS data, measuring daily time spent viewing per set-top box, show that the TAG channel topped 43 linear channels available through Time Warner Cable's Hawaiian arm, Oceanic Time Warner Cable, for the most minutes viewers spent watching.

The TAG games-on-demand channel launched on Oceanic Time Warner Cable in October, 2008, and the TNS Average Daily Minutes (Viewed) data cited by TAG Networks covers the period from January, 2009 through December, 2009. Each month, TAG Networks says, the channel consistently rated highest for time spent viewing per day, beating out such high-profile linear-TV brands as Disney, CNN, USA Network, Discovery, Lifetime, TNT, AMC and Nickelodeon. Over the course of 2009, the company says, the average time spent watching per household was 116.5 minutes per day. "The data confirms what we've been seeing in the field: our subscribers are very happy with TAG and its games programming," Alan Pollock, Oceanic Time Warner Cable's VP of marketing, said in a statement emailed to [itvt]. "It has been proven to become a popular addition to our interactive services." Added TAG Networks founder and CEO, Sangita Verma: "It's gratifying to have independent third-party data corroborate the usage we've been seeing. But even more valuable is knowing where TAG fits into the television network ecosystem. There is some fantastic television programming available today and viewers have choices, so the fact that they are consistently choosing TAG as the network where they want to spend their time is exciting. If this was video, you'd see the big smile on my face." And added Mitch Oscar, EVP of televisual applications at MPG: "The numbers are certainly impressive when compared with passive linear TV channel viewing. But more compelling is the fact that TAG is interactive and has the ability through Acxiom data matching to deliver commercials to targeted players that are already engaged with its gaming content."

TAG, which is ad-supported and available to all Oceanic Time Warner Cable's digital subscribers, allows viewers to use their remotes to play a range of casual games, including branded games such as "Bejeweled 2," "Tetris," "Diner Dash" and "Barney," and classic games such as Texas Hold'Em, Sudoku and Checkers. The channel, which also offers community features, including multiplayer gaming across households and high scores, is powered by a platform for which TAG Networks has filed nine patents to date. According to the company, the platform is designed to address such operational concerns as limitations on headend space, power, air conditioning and bandwidth, and reduces environmental impact and running costs while providing mass reach and ease of deployment to digital cable and IPTV households by seamlessly integrating into operators' existing infrastructures. The company says that the TAG channel has been deployed to hundreds of households throughout the US via digital cable, and that additional deployments and trials are slated to take place over the next year.

North America