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Interactive TV Test in Boston

Hearst-Argyle station WCVB Boston will test an interactive television program with a local tech firm called Backchannel Media, reports the Boston Globe

Writes Jenn Abelson: 

During an initial launch in May, the Boston company will test a new technology on WCVB-TV Channel 5 that allows viewers to use their remotes to tag - or bookmark - Internet sites and products that are featured on TV so they can check them out later on their computers. In future versions, Backchannelmedia expects viewers will be able to purchase the products and services they see during their favorite TV shows and commercial breaks.

Backchannel is testing the program in 100 Boston homes starting in May; it says 10,000 homes in the market will trial it this year. Viewers will see an icon, such as an arrow or shopping cart, during newscasts and ads on the bottom right of the screen. Viewers can click on the icons, which are then transferred to "consumer portal where viewers can find a list of all the saved downloads and websites."

"This is a solution for advertisers to get an immediate impact from television and not just rely on Nielsen ratings," said Bill Fine, general manager of WCVB. "We’re interested to see how quickly the marketplace can adapt and how quickly consumers will embrace the technology."

WCVB is a strong ABC affiliate in the #7 DMA

If the Boston pilot is successful, the Globe reports thatBackchannelmedia is negotiating with cable and satellite providers to get its software downloaded into their set-top boxes.

Backchannelmedia is chatting with WJAR Providence about testing in that market too.