Valley Stream, N.Y.-based Zodiac Interactive today announced the general availability of TVLocalSearch. This application allows consumers to use the TV and search for local businesses without interrupting the viewing experience. Like its online counterpart, TVLocalSearch is, Zodiac says, free for consumers, easy to use, and gives viewers relevant information when they want it. TVLocalSearch is […]
Valley Stream, N.Y.-based Zodiac Interactive today announced the general availability of TVLocalSearch. This application allows consumers to use the TV and search for local businesses without interrupting the viewing experience. Like its online counterpart, TVLocalSearch is, Zodiac says, free for consumers, easy to use, and gives viewers relevant information when they want it.
TVLocalSearch is further enhanced by Zodiac’s TVCallME service, which allows viewers to be instantly connected to the local business by telephone with a click of the remote.
“While multichannel operators have historically been able to build interesting walled-garden consumer applications, Zodiac enables iTV experiences that are personalized, relevant, and free for viewers-we give viewers what they want, when they want it,” said Michael Rivkin, CEO of Zodiac Interactive. “TVLocalSearch marks the first time that a “best of Web” application has been ported to iTV as an application widget that just plugs into operators’ existing infrastructures.”
Zodiac makes this possible though its PowerUp and INSTA Frameworks that give iTV operators the ability to offer media center-type experiences monetized through paid search. Zodiac publicly demonstrated its INSTA Framework, as well as the TVLocalSearch application powered by TVCallME at last week’s CES International in Las Vegas.
With INSTA, TVLocalSearch and TVCallME, a viewer can click a single button on their standard TV remote control and pull up a media center-like menu that offers a variety of products and services—ranging from news, games, fantasy sports scores, traffic, shopping and entertainment to billing applications. From there, the viewer can select TVLocalSearch and quickly locate a business of interest in the area, either through a keyword or category search. Once the business is located, the viewer can click on the TVCallME button to speak to the local business. Zodiac’s TVCallME service calls the viewer first and then the business, instantly connecting them through voice over Internet protocol technology. This service can be further enhanced by enabling local businesses to display full showcases of their products, from restaurant menus to bank finance rates.
“Zodiac’s TVCallME allows iTV operators to offer paid search and hyper-localized advertising,” said Alexander Libkind, COO of Zodiac Interactive. “With TVCallME, viewers can simply find their favorite restaurants and click to receive a call from them immediately. As the service expands, viewers will have access to menus right on their TV. With Zodiac, cable operators will reinvent the TV Dinner.”
Libkind continued, “Operators can move beyond the traditional advertising CPM model and earn a transactional fee on every call. Unlike other transactional services that require deep integration with vendor’s back-end systems, TVCallME allows any vendor to display its services in a yellow pages-like environment with an immediate call to action—it’s a truly unique and instantly profitable advertising model for iTV operators and local businesses.”
The implementation of TVLocalSearch, as demonstrated at CES, was powered by YAHOO! Local Search. However, any local listing service can be connected to TVLocalSearch. Zodiac’s INSTA framework allows for integration of Web services into a sidebar framework that complements the TV experience, but does not interrupt it.
TVCallME can be used with any telephony provider and also comes with Zodiac’s Web service integration tools.