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ReacTV Set for Fla. Launch

ReacTV, the interactive gaming channel being created by Florida entrepreneur Frank Maggio, will launch on Bright House Networks’ Tampa, Fla., cable system Aug. 1.

“They’ve got a very robust digital-cable distribution system here, over 400,000 digital homes,” ReacTV founder and chairman Maggio said. “That’s the only system we’ve approved to carry ReacTV on cable.”

The network, which will essentially be simulcast on television and the Internet, allows viewers to compete for prizes by interacting, and playing along, with games and ads.

“Advertisers want engagement, and that’s what ReacTV is all about,” said Maggio.

At launch, ReacTV will also be available to more than 50 million homes via broadband, through its Web site, he added.

Ultimately, ReacTV will have viewers respond to its games and ads via its own universal wireless remote, the Reactive Remote. But that Wi-Fi remote, expected to sell for about $199, won’t be available until after Christmas.

In the interim, cable subscribers will have to use their computer to interact and play along with ReacTV programming and commercials, according to Maggio.

In addition, some operators are considering a scenario that would employ Goldpocket, or middleware, to allow subscribers to respond to ReacTV with existing remote controls and set-top boxes, Maggio said.

Maggio, who also owns the ratings service erinMedia, only plans to charge advertisers a fee for the exact number of viewers that watch their ads every second. The network will offer combined or “fused” viewership numbers for television and the Web, Maggio said.

ReacTV will initially air seven hours of live programming a night, starting at 7 p.m., and will run an ad every seven minutes. The rest of the day, it will run promos, practice games and repurposed content. The network plans to go with 24 hours of live programming in the next 12 to 15 months.

ReacTV plans to give away at least $1,000 an hour in prizes, basically 30% of its net ad revenue, Maggio said.

ReacTV is asking to get the channel 77 slot on programming lineups, and that’s where it will be on Bright House’s lineup.

Maggio, who is speaking with other carriers, declined to offer many specifics about how his deals will work with distributors, other to say that they will share in ReacTV’s revenue.