Funding for enhanced TV a big obstacle

LAS VEGAS — According to the NATPE interactive panel, a TV can be found in 98% of the country’s homes and, since TV is the prime delivery system for entertaiment and information, the time is right to discuss enhanced TV.

Rick Mandler, Walt Disney/ABC said, “The dog is the show, the tail is the interactivity.” He added that in 45 million U.S. homes, people are able to use their PC and watch TV at the same time. The hope is that the interactive element will bring viewers closer to the program, extend their viewing time span and create a community of around that show.

Michael Davies, producer of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,” believes that programs need to be developed from the very beginning with an interactive component. He agreed with Mandler, saying, “As technology develops in the programs that (auds) are passionate about, the number of 8- to 85-year-olds, given an easy opportunity to meet others who feel likewise, will increase.”

Panel agreed that funding for the interactive portion of program development is problematic at this time. “Our biggest challenge comes from the high value of airtime,” Mandler said.

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