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YooMedia trials iTV via mobile with Cartoon Network

LONDON - Interactive television and mobile phone company YooMedia is to pioneer the use of mobile phones to interact in real time with a TV programme, with a trial set to run next month on Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network.

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The eight-day trial will allow viewers to participate in a quiz, based on episodes of the cartoon 'The Powerpuff Girls'. Viewers who register will receive questions based on the show and will be able to vie for prizes using their mobile handsets.

The Trigger TV technology, which is exclusive to YooMedia and protected by a worldwide patent, broadens the reach of interactive TV as it allows viewers to interact in real time with programming by mobile phone, without needing a digital set-top box.

Ian McClelland, senior producer of Turner Broadcasting Systems, said: "We're always looking at ways in which cartoon fans can interact with the cartoon world. An increasing number of our audience are using mobiles and we see them as just another way into that special place that is cartoons."

YooMedia last year acquired the worldwide rights to the technology from Wap Along Ltd, the TV intellectual property developer. The patent covers real-time interactivity between a broadcast programme, TV or radio, and wireless devices such as mobile phones.

Under the banner Trigger TV, YooMedia is developing a range of entertainment and information services for simultaneous broadcast on television and mobile phone.

David Docherty, executive director of YooMedia, said: "This is a trial but it is a genuine world first. It is the equivalent of red-button play-along interactivity without the need for digital TV. Three-quarters of the population now have mobile phones and enabling them to interact with television programmes live, in real time, has huge potential."

He added: "Imagine using this technology with a major sporting or entertainment event broadcast on a terrestrial TV channel? People can play at home or in social settings such as the pub -- anywhere where there is a television set and a mobile signal."

Potential applications include unique TV programme enhancements, such as interactive games shows and sports programmes with synchronised live betting, all using the mobile phone. Revenue streams are expected from licensing, sub-licensing and mobile telephony charges.

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