BARCELONA — Digital Fingertext, a new computer application created by Catalan pubcaster CCRTV’s high-tech arm Activa Multimedia Digital TV, won first prize at the Interactive Digital Television Congress held in Spain’s Palma de Mallorca.

The application “provides broadcasters with a publishing system for graphics and text that offers audiences an easy-to-use system for surfing TV screens. It’s teletext’s natural substitute,” said Xavier Cosculluela, director of Activa Multimedia.

Fingertext is now used not only by the Catalan pubcaster CCRTV, which broadcasts TV3 and Canal 33, but also by national pubcaster TVE and top commercial net Telecinco.

CCRTV is pushing forward with high-tech innovations, such as on demand TV, a mobile phone weather man, Sam, and a digitized TV program archive with capacity for 370,000 hours of broadcast-standard programming.

Today it will become Spain’s first broadcaster to air a movie — Rob Cohen’s “XXX” — in Dolby Digital 5.1.

But interactive applications are seeing little market takeup in Spain.

According to EGM General Media Study, only 12%-14% of Spanish households can access Digital Terrestrial Television in Spain. DTT’s audience share is languishing at around 3%, according to audience research company Sofres.

Even then, only one in 10 of DTT decoders sold have interactive functions, TV execs lament.

“We need better commercial backing for interactive decoders at retail outlets. Otherwise, all our research and activity will be for nothing,” said Cosculluela.