Bandies Award Ceremony Will Be Back

One exhibition returning to the Western Show this year is The Bandies, an awards show for interactive-television companies.

One of the more unique features of the ceremony, which debuted last year, is its backer. More-established awards shows, such as the Oscars, the Grammys or The Webby Awards, are run by industry associations. But The Bandies is organized by OpenTV Corp. senior vice president of worldwide marketing and business development Michael Collette.

Collette came up with the idea for The Bandies last year, when he worked at ICTV Inc., another ITV company. He now operates The Bandies through Mediatech Strategies LLC, a for-profit company he incorporated in April.

Although attendance at last year's initial Bandies ceremony was light, Collette said he thinks the awards ceremony could eventually develop into a significant enterprise.

"I think in a couple of years it'll be worth a lot," Collette said last week.

Multichannel News
parent Cahners Television Group is a sponsor of the ceremony. Other sponsors include AT&T Broadband, Game Show Network, ICTV, Interactive TV Today, Kagan Capital Management, Myers Reports and The Cable Channel.

Collette's employer, set-top middleware vendor OpenTV, is another sponsor. Collette also cut sponsorship deals with some competitors, such as Liberate Technologies Inc., Microsoft Corp. and WorldGate Communications Inc.

At the event, awards will be bestowed in several categories, including Best Two Screen Content or Application, Best Virtual Channel Content, Newest New Thing and Advanced Media Cable Operator Of The Year.

Collette said he handpicked a steering committee, which selected 34 judges for the ceremony. Judges include Home Box Office director of new media Mary Baumgartner, Liberty Livewire vice president Rosemary Danon, MetaTV CEO Andrew Lev, nCUBE Corp. CEO Michael Pohl and Interactive TV Today
editor Tracy Swedlow.

Unlike last year, the California Cable Television Association, which organizes the Western Show, will help promote The Bandies.

"We consider ourselves partners, and we're accommodating The Bandies," said CCTA spokesman Paul Fadelli, adding that CCTA sees promise in the event.

PowerTV vice president of marketing Chuck Kaplan said his company will submit entries in several categories, including Best Two-Screen Application.

"We're trying to raise value to the entire industry. This [The Bandies] really does that," Kaplan added.