XML for Interactive Television
Leading Players In Interactive Television Introduce Open Standards for iTV Production
Standards to Increase Availability and Distribution of iTV Programming on All End-User Platforms
Las Vegas, NV, USA. National Association Of Broadcasters Convention. April 8, 2002.
At the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas today, a group of leading television and interactive production companies, programmers, and technology providers introduced open standards for producing iTV content. The standards enable producers and studios to write interactive content once for distribution on all major set-top box and personal computer platforms.
The production standards will increase the amount of iTV programming in the U.S. by making it more economical and efficient to produce and deploy interactive programming. This will create value for all companies with a stake in the industry, from producers and networks to middleware players and cable and satellite operators.
This is the first time in the industry that the content and producer community has come together to develop a standard way of producing iTV. Until recently, fragmentation and disparate middleware platforms, operating systems, and hardware devices stalled growth in the iTV industry. Recent consolidations, however, have created an opportunity for a group of key players to define a production standard that will streamline the creation and deployment of iTV programming.
The XML-based production standards, initially developed by two-way iTV provider GoldPocket Interactive, establish a method for presentation description and content production for interactive programs. In particular, the presentation description specifies the visual elements of the program, the location of these elements, and a method for mapping content to these locations. The content production description specifies the timing and content of interactive assets such as trivia games, polls, interactive advertising, leaderboards, and more.
XML was chosen for the standard because of its general acceptance as an open method for transferring data and its compatibility with all of the major iTV platforms. The standard will support the leading one- and two-screen platforms, including middleware from Liberate, OpenTV, Microsoft, and PowerTV; AOLTV, UltimateTV, and MSNTV/WebTV set-top boxes; and PCs and Macs.
Dozens of the leading television and iTV production companies, representing over 90% of all interactive content produced in the U.S., have come together as participants in the standards effort. Some of these include ANIMAX Interactive, ARTiFACT [+] iTV, Beyond Z Interactive Media, Chyron Corporation, Cylo, Inc., Final Draft, Inc., GIST Communications, Inc., grim.TV, H Design, Interspot, Inc., PushyBroad, and Zeek Interactive.
An advisory board of visionaries in the iTV space will provide strategic direction for the committee. The advisory board includes Carlos Silva Jr., Vice President for America Online, Inc.; John Roberts, Senior Vice President Interactive and Online Entertainment for Game Show Network; Chris Pizzurro, Vice President Multimedia for Turner Broadcasting; R. A. Clark, Senior Vice President, Television: Production and Programming for dick clark productions, inc.; Adrian Sexton, Direction, Business Development for Lions Gate Entertainment Corp.; Karen Lennon, CEO of Beyond Z Interactive Media; and Kirt Gunn, President of Cylo, Inc.
A working group with representatives from the committee will continue and expand the standards effort. The committee will be chaired by Martijn Lopes Cardozo, Vice President of Product Management for GoldPocket Interactive.
A white paper outlining the standards and information on participating in the effort is now available online at www.itvstandards.org, and a draft of the specification is available to current working group members. A more detailed release of the combined board's specifications will be made available at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association convention in May. There are no licensing fees collected for the use of the standards.
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Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See other references in the news item: "iTV Production Standards Initiative Creates XML Standards for Interactive Television."