UK Interactive TV deal to offer iTV betting
By Paul
Two of the biggest players in UK TV, the Independent Television Network (ITV) and British Sky Broadcasting PLC (BskyB) signed an agreement last week that paves the way for interactive betting on BSkyB's digital satellite platform.

ITV, which is jointly owned by Granada PLC and Carlton Communications PLC, said the deal allows three principal areas of development.

The first is the launch of interactive applications to enhance ITV programming, providing opportunities for viewers to connect through applications such as voting, play-along games and access to additional program information. These services are being developed by ITV in conjunction with Sky Active.

The first fully interactive ITV1 program, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, will launch Feb. 15.

The second focus is interactive advertising. The third element is ITV's partnership with Sportech PLC's Littlewoods Leisure division to develop gaming and betting services linked to programming on the network. The partnership, announced in 2002, is based on a revenue sharing arrangement between ITV and Littlewoods and a range of applications is in development. Accountants KPMG forecast the market for iTV betting to be worth £2.8bn per year by 2006.

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