Oracle and Austar interact on TV agreement

Regional player Austar United Broadband and Oracle have signed a deal that will see the first implementation of Oracle's interactive TV platform software, Oracle Media Interactive (OMI).

Austar's managing director, Dana Strong, was unavailable to comment on the value of the deal, however, Bruce Meagher, head of corporate affairs at Austar said details of the initial value of the deal have not been released, adding that there is no fixed figure with the value to increase over time as the subscriber and subscriber usage grows.

Austar currently has a number of one-way interactive TV services including weather, games and the Electronic program Guide, available to 250,000 of its 427,000 customers, with the OMI platform to provide the basis for two-way interactivity for Austar's customers.

The new services will include t-mail (e-mail on TV), home shopping, interactive advertising, interactive channel enhancements with impulse retails shopping, banking and tiered games.

Meagher said services will be rolled out from late April to early May, with t-mail to be first on offer.

"Then we will continue to add services, channel enhancements, more games, and we'd like to offer banking services- so we are in talks with the banks. There is no end, it is something that will continue to evolve." Meagher said.

The immediate beneficiaries include Austar's 250,000 PayTV customers in regional Australia that have software that enable them to receive the services. Meagher said Austar's total customer figure is 427,000.

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