ITV to Offer Two-Screen Interactive TV Application, ITV Live, in Time for 2010 World Cup

--App's Social TV Elements Will Also Be Available through the Red Button
--Karaoke Channel Launches on Virgin Media's VOD Platform

UK commercial terrestrial broadcaster, ITV, last week launched a two-screen interactive TV service, called "ITV Live," that will reside on its Web site.

According to ITV, the service--which will initially be offered in conjunction with the broadcaster's coverage of the upcoming soccer World Cup--will be customizable, allowing each viewer to "take their pick of which interactive tools they use to enhance their viewing experience." Features of the service, which will be available for all World Cup games carried by ITV, include action replays from multiple camera angles, event highlights, real-time statistics (provided by OPTA), voting, polls, live video (including live streaming of games), expert commentary, and chat (with the option of sharing comments via Facebook), the broadcaster says.

The service, which is free and ad-supported, was designed and built in partnership with social TV specialist, Monterosa (which, among other things, has also developed a two-screen interactive TV service for Channel 4's new game show, "The Million Pound Drop"--see the article published on, May 23rd). "Dual-screen has been a priority for over the last 12 months and ITV Live is the exciting result of our exploration into how our users want to interact with big events simultaneously on the television and online," ITV's director of online and interactive, Ben McOwen Wilson, said in a prepared statement. "This is a real first and we are very proud that ITV is taking interactivity to a whole new level this summer. We think the ITV Live experience will not only be the definitive real-time experience of World Cup 2010 but also a platform that we plan to build on for all the live ITV television events for the future."

According to ITV, ITV Live will provide advertisers with a number of different opportunities, including "the ability to synchronize on-air and on-Live ad display, access to a powerful platform for new ad-formats, the ability for users to explore adverts without interrupting their enjoyment of the game and direct linking to consumer for advertising partners."

ITV Live is one of a number of interactive and new media services that ITV is offering around the 2010 World Cup. Other offerings, according to the broadcaster, include:

  • World Cup Extra, a red-button interactive TV application that will provide viewers with a video stream containing daily news bulletins produced by ITN productions, as well as interviews and commentary from the "ITV Camp." According to ITV, ITV Live's comment services will also be available through the red button, allowing viewers to read live comments while watching a game on TV (note: if they want to participate in the discussion, they will be able to text in their comments, ITV says). In addition, ITV World Cup 2010 joint sponsors, Lucozade and Hyundai, plan to offer several prizes through red-button promotions.
  • A free ITV World Cup iPhone app that will offer news, game highlights, a broadcast schedule, links to full simulcasts of games on ITV's new iPhone live mobile streaming service, daily World Cup podcasts, and a tournament guide.
  • Simulcasts of all World Cup games broadcast by ITV, as well as highlights from those games, on In addition, ITV says, all World Cup games will be available through its ITV Player catch-up service, along with daily podcasts, video blogs, press conference clips, player profiles, and post-game interviews. The site will also offer a game called "Free-Kick Frenzy" that ITV says will allow players to "take part in a free kick competition for either England or Brazil and share their scores with their friends via Facebook."

In other news from the UK: Cable operator, Virgin Media, said last week that it is bringing a "new and improved" version of The Karaoke Channel to its VOD platform. The channel, which will be available at no extra charge to Virgin Media's XL TV customers, is slated to provide over 100 karaoke videos, ranging from pop and country to rock and disco, with new videos added each month. It is provided by Stingray Digital. "The Karaoke Channel is a perfect fit for our on-demand TV line-up, promising great fun with an outstanding choice of the most popular songs," Aleks Habdank, Virgin Media's director of on-demand TV, said in a prepared statement. "With Hollywood blockbuster films, a choice of some must-see box sets and one of the best karaoke services around, Virgin Media's TV service offers the very best digital entertainment for a great night in."

Virgin Media claims that it garnered 200 million views of VOD content in the first three months of 2010, and that over 2.1 million of its customer homes are now regularly watching VOD--an increase of over a quarter of a million homes in a year.