Interactive TV gets boost


Advances in technology and the greater adoption of the Internet by consumers have made the phrase "interactive TV" fashionable again.

That is the conclusion of a study released Tuesday by Forrester Research, which attributed the resurgence in interest in ITV -- nearly pronounced dead by some awhile ago -- to the TV viewers' embracing of electronic programming guides, the prevalence of branded interactive TV games and such other small screen features as sports trackers and interactive polling and commerce.

Indeed, the simplest form of interactive behavior can be found in the basic way viewers use their program guides, according to the study.

The review found that 35% of viewers use their electronic program guide an average of 4.7 times per day. The application has become a training guide of sorts for further possible ITV usage, with its users 63% more likely to request next-generation features over viewers who don't use it.

Once feared that its interactive capabilities would only reduce the need for ITV, the study also showed that the Internet has actually contributed to ITV's resurrection.

Forrester found that the Web has not only trained consumers to use graphical interfaces but also has shown the relevancy to advertisers of reaching an audience through unique content online. The study noted that online advertising will reach nearly $20 billion by year's end, on par with radio and magazine promotion.