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BSkyB Sells iTV Portal Codes System To Spin-Off Miniweb

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BSkyB (NYSE: BSY) has sold some of its interactive TV e-business assets to a startup spun out of the company, RapidTV says; the amount was not disclosed. Miniweb, formed last year when former BSkyB technical alliances director Ian Valentine left the broadcaster, has bought the SkyNet and SkyKeys services. Like the company’s own TV Key, SkyKeys let advertisers and programme producers buy words that, when keyed in to a remote control by viewers, call up corresponding text services – like a TinyURL for interactive TV, the SkyKey for “ROBERT” is 762378 and would cost £15,000 a year to rent. Once keyed in, a code calls up a TV-specific website built in the wTVML language and rendered in a TV web browser.

The idea is to unify the creation of sites for the internet and interactive TV and will be added to set-top boxes later this year. Valentine said the on-screen experience would allow broadcasters to operate interactive advertiser services without losing the viewer when they go and visit a client’s desktop website. But Miniweb will use the acquisitions to launch a “broadcaster-centric” service on the Sky Digital menu, suggesting tie-ins for programme content more than marketing.