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OpenTV going global

Sun, 02/11/2001 - 7:00pm
Karen Kessler-Tanaka

OpenTV has made several international alliances which are paying off well for the company.

OpenTV and French interactive applications company MiniSAT are jointly developing an interactive television application that could give millions of viewers worldwide access to classified advertisements from the convenience of their televisions.

This way of scanning the classifieds is designed to help network operators hold the interest of existing customers, as well as attract the attention of new subscribers. Network operators may also find additional revenue streams through the creation of promotional links to local and regional real estate agents, recruitment companies and car dealerships.

According to OpenTV, more than 30 million people change jobs in Europe each year, with up to 2 million looking for jobs on the Internet every month. And according to Datamonitor, 97 percent of the European population own a color TV, which they watch five times longer than they spend online.

OpenTV will offer the classified ads application to network operators in developing digital TV markets including Spain, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Possible deals with South Africa and Australia are still in the future. MiniSAT's applications are already available on the Noos and TPS OpenTV-enabled interactive TV networks in France.

OpenTV is also enjoying good feedback from a project launched in Spain. Customers of Spanish digital television broadcaster Quiero TV (www.quiero.com) are signing up for new e-mail and Web-browsing services based on OpenTV's platform.

Quiero TV can provide Internet access on television via a set-top box and the OpenTV interactive television platform. According to the network, up to 80 percent of Quiero customers have activated the Internet access facility, which allows them to surf the World Wide Web from their televisions, and more than half access the Internet at least once a week. Quiero has an average of 10,000 daily hits to its TV portal.

Quiero customers are sending an average total of 6,000 e-mails from their televisions per day, and in December sent more than 118,455 messages to mobile phones. Customers are using an average of two e-mail accounts per household.

"Fast Internet access and the ability to send e-mail from your television is [what differentiates us] as we expand our customer base in Spain's digital TV market," said Quiero General Manager Ildefonso de Miguel.

In more OpenTV news, the company is planning on developing and implementing a customized, TV-based e-mail application for international television, Internet and technology group MIH Ltd.

MIH provides digital satellite, cable and analogue terrestrial services to more than 2 million households in Africa, the Mediterranean and Asia through network operator Multichoice. MIH is also the controlling shareholder of Silicon Valley-based OpenTV.

The company will use OpenTV e-mail to provide "t-mail'' services on its platform. The new services, developed by OpenTV Interactive, OpenTV's content-development and delivery solution center, are expected to begin in June.

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