MegaPhone Labs Enhances DialPlay TV

MegaPhone Labs has upgraded its DialPlay TV interactive TV offering with mobile web and social media applications and announced that the application has been deployed by The Weather Channel and NBC 4 New York.

Previously, viewers would call an 800 number if they wanted to play along with the trivia games, respond to polls or interact with other games or features during live TV programs offered by DialPlay TV clients. With the enhancements, users can now access the games or other applications via smart phones, tablets and other connected devices using a mobile web browser and can interact with each other using a full range of social media applications.

Along with the upgrades, MegaPhone also announced for the first time some of the clients for the service, including both The Weather Channel and NBC 4 New York, which deployed the services about a year ago.

"The Weather Channel has a powerful brand presence on every platform, and we're always looking to deploy innovative content and advertising experiences that delight our audience and advertisers alike," said Ann Brown, senior vice president, client solutions for The Weather Channel Companies in a statement. "DialPlay TV allows us, in a turnkey fashion, to unite those experiences in real-time - using simply a telephone. We're the first national cable network to use DialPlay TV live on the air, and it offers another example of our cross-platform integration."

"We are impressed by the level of instant interactivity and feedback from viewers," added Meredith McGinn, director, news, NBC 4 New York in a statement. "The feedback we've received thus far from all demographics, ages and family types is extremely positive.  We are encouraged by the level of engagement and committed to utilizing DialPlay TV to expand our reach and creativity for our viewers."

The company originally offered a product designed to allow users to interact with large screens and signage at major events. Those products have since been widely deployed around the world and are currently available in 43 professional NFL, NBA and NHL stadiums in the U.S. and Canada.

More recently, the company has expanded from the out of home market into TV. Here viewers can access the games or features by calling a 800 number or using a mobile web browser. The cloud based systems allows users to play along with live TV programming using the keypad on their phone or device.

The systems initially used phones because these are widely available, allowing them to reach 100% of all U.S. homes, noted Mark Yackanich, CEO, MegaPhone Labs in an interview. It entirely cloud based, which means that programmers and clients don't have to purchase equipment, and doesn't require the development of expensive apps because it uses HTML 5.

Besides NBC 4 NY, which has been using the system for about a year, Yackanich noted that they've also been deployed at other stations and that the results show a great deal of user engagement.

"In one deployment we had 75% week on week retention," he noted. "About 36% of people who participate provide some kind of feedback to us."

"So in addition to improving ratings it has deepened their viewer engagement," he added.