30 August 2005
Swisscom Fixnet has become the first company in the world to acquire a licence for the "Betty" interactive remote control service from Munich-based company Betty TV AG. Swisscom Fixnet will launch the new medium in Switzerland as an independent brand from the beginning of 2006.
Betty is a new interactive medium that makes television more appealing and exciting for viewers. It means that, for the first time, TV broadcasters can make contact with viewers directly and in real time. The core element of "Betty" technology is a new-generation TV remote control that is linked wirelessly to the programme being broadcast. Using the wireless feedback channel to the telephone access, Betty enables broadcasters and advertisers to get viewers involved in the programme. Betty features an integrated display providing not only editorial content, but also value-added services such as competitions, quizzes, voting, surveys and shopping. In addition, it allows direct marketing to TV audiences for the first time ever.
Unlike previous interactive TV concepts, Betty represents excellent value for money and is very user-friendly. The Betty system works with all modes of transmission (terrestrial, cable, satellite, etc.), does not need a set-top box and can be used with both analogue and digital TV reception. Betty also works with both analogue and ISDN telephone lines. The Betty remote control has its own display showing the services and applications that are available for the programme currently being broadcast.
The patented technology was developed by Munich-based company Betty TV AG, which is also responsible for the roll-out in Germany. A successful field test with more than 600 users was conducted in Germany last year. The test showed that Betty makes TV much more attractive for both viewers and broadcasters.
Swisscom Fixnet has begun work on setting up an organization, complete with its own editorial team, to produce Betty offers, provide support to broadcasters (including foreign companies broadcasting programme and advertising windows) and distribute Betty handsets in Switzerland. The ins and outs of the new technology will be presented live to Swiss TV industry experts at the "Screen-up 05" event to be held in Zurich on 25 October 2005.
The service will be launched on the Swiss market at the start of 2006, parallel to the launch in Germany. The possibility of introducing the service in the French and Italian-speaking regions of Switzerland is being examined.
Further information on our partner at:
Betty TV AG was set up in 2003 by the management of Fast TV Server AG, www.tv-server.de. It is a subsidiary of Betty Holding AG, Zurich, a company in which venture capital firms Target Partners and Cornerstone Capital have invested.
Swisscom Fixnet is the number one in fixed network communications in Switzerland, offering voice, data and Internet services and, since March 2005, TV services under the Bluewin brand (www.tv.bluewin.ch). Swisscom Fixnet distributes services and products to private clients and SMEs, operates and maintains a nationwide network infrastructure, and sells national and international network services.