News Round-Up: Interactive/Multiplatform TV Content

--Bravo in Partnership with Mobile Social Network, Foursquare
--Elisabeth Murdoch Stresses Importance of Social Media to Future of TV
--NBCU Unveils Plans for Measuring Multiplatform Viewing of its Olympics Coverage
--Sky Betting and Gaming Shifts Focus from Interactive TV to Online

Because the [itvt] editorial team is busy working on The TV of Tomorrow Show (March 3rd-4th in San Francisco) and on our new EBIF Intensive event (March 5th in San Francisco), we will be covering most stories in summary/round-up form over the next few weeks. Here is a round-up of interactive TV content news for the past few days:

  • Bravo is set to announce a partnership with mobile social networking service, Foursquare, to integrate its shows with the latter's game elements. According to an article in the New York Times, "starting Monday, Bravo will begin offering Foursquare players 'badges' and special prizes when viewers visit more than 500 Bravo locations. The locations will be picked by Bravo to correspond with select Bravo shows including 'The Real Housewives,' 'The Millionaire Matchmaker,' 'Top Chef,' 'Kell on Earth,' 'Top Chef Masters' and 'Shear Genius.' "The amazing part of Foursquare is the incentive of the game itself and we're going to offer a variety of badges for our viewers," Bravo's SVP of digital media, Lisa Hsia, told the Times, adding that Bravo hosts had "helped tag show-related locations with tips and the chance to win these new badges." According to the Times, Bravo also plans to organize a sweepstakes and offer various other awards in order to motivate viewers to play, and advertisers will be able to offer incentives of their own, including coupons.
  • In an address at NATPE last week, Elisabeth Murdoch, CEO of Shine and daughter of Rupert, stressed the importance of social media to the future of TV. "We in the TV business have to catch up with what our audience is doing," she stated. "We can no longer afford to be a one-screen business. Social networks are finally the interactive dimension of storytelling. We now need to evolve with our audience. To resist this would be like resisting Technicolor...Fans remain the best salesmen of our content, even if that behavior is on the borderline of piracy. The danger of the new world is that we must concede that we'll lose some control...[However] experimental media is a very potent vaccine against piracy. If our media is irreducible to a single file, we are far less likely to be ripped off."
  • NBC Universal has revealed its plan for measuring multiplatform (network and cable TV, VOD, online and mobile) viewing of its coverage of the Winter Olympics. The plan will see the broadcaster drawing on audience research from six companies: Arbitron, Omniture, comScore, Keller Fay, TiVo and iMMi. AdWeek has more.
  • In an interview with, managing director, Richard Flint, said that Sky Betting and Gaming is shifting its focus from interactive TV gambling to online gambling, until interactive TV technology improves. He also revealed that weekly unique users of Sky Betting and Gaming's four online gaming sites--SkyPoker, SkyBingo, SkyBet and SkyVegas--increased from 60,000 to 80,000 between 2008 and 2009, while weekly interactive TV users fell from 7,500 to 5,000. "Looking back, our focus was on interactive TV, but as technology hasn't moved as quickly as we would have liked, we have changed our focus to be an online company instead of a TV company," he explained.


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