ITV Network has signed a key agreement with BSkyB that will enable it to launch a range of interactive services on its rival’s digital satellite platform and to develop new revenue streams. The deal, which extends to all ITV branded channels, allows three principal areas of development.

The first is the imminent launch of interactive applications to enhance ITV programming, providing opportunities for viewers to connect with their favourite ITV programmes through applications such as voting, play-along games and access to additional programme information.

This will debut on Saturday February 15 with ITV1’s, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, sponsored by BT. Over six million Sky Digital homes will be able to play along with the quiz, answering questions put to the on-screen contestants in real time via their remote control.

The second development area is interactive advertising, a revenue stream previously unavailable to ITV, offering marketers new ways to engage with viewers, to provide more information on products and services and obtain immediate feedback and sales leads.

The third element is ITV’s partnership with Littlewoods Leisure division, announced last year, to develop gaming and betting services linked to programming on the network.

Says ITV joint managing director Mick Desmond: “ITV will play a key role in the development of the interactive advertising market. With our clients and their agencies we can now focus on taking interactive advertising from experimentation to the mainstream.”

BSkyB’s chief operating officer, Richard Freudenstein, was equally euphoric: “Over twenty channels and 250 advertising campaigns have used this technology so far to enhance their offering, and I am sure ITV and its viewers will benefit from it too.”

Data sourced from: ITV Network (UK); additional content by WARC staff