AirPlay to Launch Cellphone-Based Interactive TV Product

Mar 20, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Looking to take the notion of cellphone voting to the next level, AirPlay Networks, a California technology company, said Monday that it will introduce software that allows consumers to use their cellphones to pick winners and losers on reality television shows, awards shows and sporting events.

Starting this fall, Monterey, Calif.-based AirPlay said it will begin making available software that will enable cellphone users to compete in real time with friends, family and other audience members in interactive games tied to a variety of television shows.

The company also announced that it has secured $4 million in funding from Silicon Valley venture capital firm Redpoint Ventures and from wireless technology company Qualcomm.

With more than 200 million cellphones in the United States, and texting becoming an increasingly popular way for cellphone users to communicate, AirPlay is betting its product is best positioned to take advantage of the interest in interactive television.

“We’re going to offer carriers, broadcasters and advertisers new opportunities to connect television with wireless devices and transform TV from a passive pastime to an engaging, competitive experience,” said Morgan Guenther, AirPlay’s CEO.

The company will initially launch AirPlay Sports in conjunction with the start of this fall’s professional and college football seasons. The technology will allow users to make live game and play predictions from cellphones, competing directly against their friends. During the games, users will get live updates of their scores as well as real-time information on how they stack up against their friends.

The company said it will eventually launch AirPlay TV, which will be based on the same principle of predicting winners and losers but instead be geared toward reality shows, game and award shows and other kinds of live televised entertainment.

The company said owners of the shows will be able to easily integrate the technology into their programming, without having to make investments in technology or delivery infrastructure.