Net Makes Interactive Move

May 29, 2006  •  Post A Comment

High-end shopping channel Ultimate Shopping Network has struck a deal with new Internet protocol TV provider Interactive Television Networks to deliver USN’s channel with one-screen interactive capability.

ITVN counts a mere 10,000 subscribers, but the shopping network said it plans to use the deal as the jumping-off point to enter the IPTV market in a big way. IPTV is an attractive delivery mechanism for USN because it enables interactivity via a remote, a service that cable operators have been sluggish to deploy.

“This is the first of many IPTV models we hope to launch,” said Michael Reinstein, founder of USN. “We really believe the future of shopping is about having an interactive experience,” he said.

USN is currently in 30 million homes through deals with DirecTV and EchoStar primarily. ITVN manufactures a set-top box that delivers via broadband content to the TV. The ITVN deal is unique because it’s the first the network has struck that will allow consumers to purchase its products instantly using only their remote control. The ITVN service allows consumers to navigate in a nonlinear fashion, rewinding the network and checking out related items.

For now, ITVN largely serves up movies, music and niche programming, such as karaoke and lacrosse on-demand, for $10 or more per month. That’s been attractive as a complementary service for satellite customers who don’t have VOD, said Charles Prast, CEO of ITVN. Mr. Prast is in talks with traditional networks to carry their channels too. In addition, ITVN is working with other networks to create one-screen interactive applications.

The ITVN service is available for purchase online and will soon be available from retail outlets.