BIAP helps TWC close iTV gap with sports applications

By Carrie Bowden

Time Warner Cable is looking to officially end the interactive TV edge that satellite services have enjoyed with a system-wide rollout of BIAP Systems interactive TV technology.

During the past two years the two companies have worked together on sports-related applications for fantasy football, baseball, and even the Olympics. But those trials were limited in scope: now Time Warner is taking it national.

The agreement covers a broad suite of applications created by BIAP such as eBay on TV, Fantasy Football Tracker, and PITV (personalized information television) which powers Time Warner Cable’s “Instant News and More,” a service that provides personalized news, sports, weather, stocks and hyper-local community information.

The BIAP Fantasy Football Tracker allowed fans in Green Bay, Wis. to punch their team, delivering on-screen updates of their performance. Another product, Fantasy Baseball Tracker, allows users to input their personal team roster and view updated game scores, leaderboards, roster updates, and player news without leaving their television. Users can choose a 3⁄4 screen, a Stats Line single ticker, or a full-screen display, all of which may be personalized to provide only the information that the baseball fan wants to see, when he wants to see it.

“Our initial usage and customer satisfaction results with the BIAP applications we have launched to-date have been excellent,” said Bob Benya, Senior Vice President of On Demand and ITV for Time Warner Cable. “The agreement signals our continued commitment to rolling out interactive television features that enhances our customer’s digital television viewing experience.”

“NBC Olympics Now”, another iTV app powered by BIAP Systems, allowed viewers to track the performance of the U.S. Olympics team via constantly refreshed medal counts, event telecast schedules, news and athlete bios. Viewers accessed the service by pressing “select” on their remotes while tuned to any of the NBC Universal channels that are covering the Olympics (i.e. NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, NBC HD and Universal HD): the service will then appear in three-quarter-screen format, allowing viewers to continue to watch regular linear TV while they use it.

The NBC Olympics NOW service had four elements: Medal Tracker, Team USA Report, Athlete Bios and Program Guide. The technology is the same one that Time Warner’s Green Bay, WI division experimented with during last fall’s NFL season.

“Time Warner Cable has led the industry in first experimenting with and now deploying various creative applications in the iTV world,” said Tim Peters, BIAP CEO. “The completion of this agreement not only will allow the many Time Warner Cable divisions around the country to begin deploying our existing applications, it will also augur dynamic new applications that we have been testing with them over the past months. They are great partners and we salute them.”

BIAP’s interactive TV platform is built on top of the existing cable infrastructure and is automatically loaded inside a digital subscriber’s set top box. Applications require minimal capital investment on the part of the cable provider and no additional headcount or channel capacity either. The consumer can access and use BIAP applications with their existing digital cable remote and nothing more.