Interactive weather channel on Sky next year

A Wellington company is developing an interactive weather channel and interactive advertising for Sky TV.

A Wellington company is developing an interactive weather channel for Sky TV.

Oktobor will offer the service when Sky's interactive services on digital TV is launched in the New Year.

It also plans interactive commercials and says it is working with advertising agencies on introducing the new technology.

The company was launched earlier this year as the new media division of Silverscreen Productions. Silverscreen produces animation and special effects for tv commercials such as e-Loan, Volvo and Sky Super 12, television and movies.

Oktobor spokeswoman Gillian Vosper says the weather service, in partnership with Metservice, will let people see weather reports, including satellite images and regional reports, when they want and skip over items they don't want. Viewers will also be able to bookmark specific favourites. Interactive adverts will allow people to click on a remote control and ask for more information to be sent to them. Similar technology will allow viewers of a rugby match to click on a player for background details, or enter a competition.

"Interactive technologies will also allow banking on the telly," says Vosper.

Oktobor claims to be the only New Zealand-based developer for OpenTV, the world's most prolific and popular iTV platform, with some 10 million households engaged worldwide.

The company, which employs just over 20 staff, says it is talking to other broadcasters and ad agencies about its services.

"Interactive commercials will give a new dimension to brand and retail campaigns and could change the way agencies plan their campaigns and buy media. Why spend a fortune on direct mail when you can reach viewers in their own living rooms, and they can instantaneously respond to your offer or request for more information?" says division head Nathan Price.

Sky TV already has its own digital service, using set top boxes, to convert normal tvs to receiving digital signals.

Interactive TV will not work on ordinary sets.

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