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Gray TV Clicks With Backchannel

Interactive TV firm Backchannelmedia (BCM) has signed up Gray Television to test BCM's remote-click ad technology at Gray's 36 stations. Gray joins a handful of other station groups, including LIN TV, in testing the platform.

With BCM's new technology, viewers see an icon on the screen and can click a button on their remote to send more information about an ad or program to a personal Web account.

Similar to the Google model, advertisers pay for each click of the remote, and the revenue is split between the station and BCM.

“We are excited by the prospects of utilizing our digital spectrum to not only potentially launch a new revenue stream, but also to engage our viewers in such a powerful way,” says Gray TV President Robert Prather.

Interactive TV has long been seen as a vital, if elusive, next big hurdle for broadcasters, and BCM appears to have more staying power than past efforts. LIN kicked off a trial for its 29-station group in the fall, with Hartford stations WTNH and WCTX first up to take the plunge. Hearst-Argyle's WCVB Boston launched a test for staffers and friends last spring. “Everything on-air is working well—news, Chronicle and commercials,” says President/General Manager Bill Fine. “The feedback from the test has remained very positive.”

BCM co-CEO Michael Kokernak believes interactive TV becomes a viable option for stations as they shift to DTV. “We're confident that our interactive technology will help prepare Gray Television for the new digital age of television, provide their viewers with a useful and enjoyable experience, and help advertisers connect with viewers in new ways,” he says.