BT Interactive TV begins to recruit customers for world-leading trial with more than 100 content providers.
All customers will be recruited by market research to allow BT to achieve a representative demographic sample of the UK population, and a wide range of data will be collected about them before service is connected.
BT Interactive TV will consist of nine main services: movies on demand; television programming on demand; children's TV; education; music videos; local life; and High Street, which incorporates home shopping and home banking.
In addition there will be two services, games on demand and Adland (an interactive advertising service), which were unveiled today.
All the services will be introduced progressively during the course of the trial.
Services are ordered and controlled via a standard remote control, and delivered to a normal television over copper telephone lines for the majority of homes and over fibre to the remainder.
BT Interactive TV will have more than one hundred service and content providers. In order to provide the movie service the company is working with European and Hollywood studios including Columbia/Tristar, Handmade Films, Lumiere, MCA, MGM/UA, PolyGram, Rank, Twentieth Century Fox, Walt Disney and Warner Brothers. BT is also working with Nintendo to finalize the games services.
The local life service will be supplied by more than 50 charities and local organizations, while more than 20 leading advertisers have already committed to participating in Adland with interactive advertisements.
A more detailed list of content and service suppliers is available, and additional suppliers will be announced during the course of the trial.
Rupert Gavin, Director of BT's Information Communication and Entertainment (ICE) program, said: "The aim of the BT Interactive TV trial is to find out what customers want and how much they are willing to pay for the various services.
"This is the leading trial in Europe and one of the world's leading interactive trials. We will therefore have some of the first evidence in the world of what customers really want from interactive television services.
"We have an initial pricing structure, but will be testing a number of pricing strategies during the trial in order to look at price elasticities.
"This will enable us to establish the demand for interactive multimedia services delivered over high bandwidth, in our case a 2Mbits/s signal.
"BT already offers low bandwidth interactive services through BTnet and medium bandwidth services via ISDN. It is important for us to understand what customers want of BT Interactive TV so we can begin to chart a migration path to these new services.
"This complements the work we have currently underway on video on demand with our subsidiary Westminster Cable. We are continuing to work with a number of leading companies to develop multimedia services."
BT is a leading provider of telecommunications services and operates one of the largest global networks in the world, offering a wide range of advanced global business communications services. BT has annual revenues of over US $24 billion, with more than 137,000 employees worldwide.
CONTACT: BT Corporate Communications, New York
Jim Barron, 212/418-7860
Burson-Marsteller, New York
Michael Fay, 212/614-4559