The future of interactive TV is under discussion in a number of developments this week.
The first, a survey by Fletcher Research, predicts that 13m British households will have access to interactive services through their TVs by 2004, approximating 18.5 million users.
Importantly for the future of on-screen design, Fletcher predicts growth in interactive TV use will complement, not replace, PC-based Internet access.
Furthermore, TV retailing will be worth £2.6bn by 2004, it says, suggesting the familiarity of TV will help overcome fears experienced by on-line shoppers using the Internet.
Fletcher also forecasts that growth in the number of users in the 15-34 year old age group will make BSkyB (and Sky Digital interactive service OPEN) the leading digital platform.
The Fletcher predictions coincide with the launch by digital consultancy Agency.com (formerly Online Magic in the UK) of its interactive TV Global Practice Area, headed by Jorgen Lembke.
The iTV Practice will be an international venture dedicated to building interactive brands.
The new scheme will aim to specialise in business planning, creative strategy, licence applications, platform selection and interactive marketing.
“Digital TV will be a big focus for Agency.com, as we believe our clients must offer their customers a range of transactional experiences over multiple digital channels,” says Chan Suh, chairman of Agency.com.