IQ News: WorldGate to Launch U.S. Interactive TV Study

Pennsylvania-based WorldGate, a provider of interactive television services for analog and digital cable TV set-top converters, is expected to unveil its “Interactive Advertising Study 2000” this September. The study will involve 15,000 households in two as yet-unannounced markets.
A roster of national and local advertisers will test advertising using WorldGate’s Channel HyperLinking technology. Channel HyperLinking allows users to toggle between TV broadcasts and related Internet content, thereby granting advertisers simultaneous access to viewers of TV programming and Internet content.
Though WorldGate’s user interface supports TV-based Web surfing, consumers in the study, using a remote or wireless keyboard, will only be able to toggle from the on-air commercial to a relevant interactive site, one that allows them to respond to a call to action, such as a coupon or newsletter offer.
According to a WorldGate rep, the study will examine which commercials lead to interactivity, what type of programming leads to interactivity, how long will users stay on the interactive experience, among other parameters.
Last fall, WorldGate conducted a similar study in Massillon, Ohio, in conjunction with Nielsen Media Research and Massillon Cable Television. Results of that study indicated that approximately 79 percent of WorldGate subscribers used the Channel HyperLinking service.
A 1999 report from Jupiter Communications forecasts that by 2004, the U.S. interactive TV market will reach nearly 30 million households and produce $10 billion in annual revenue. Jupiter forecasts that by then the bulk of iTV’s revenue mix will comprise consumer shopping and financial services. ITV will also spawn new consumer behaviour such as instant messaging during televised events.