The U.S. is behind the world in iTV, except in the motel room....
As scholars like me try to understand how interactive television (including video on demand) will change the television viewing experience and beyond, there are precious few examples from the U.S. to examine. There are some previous trials and current rollouts, but corporate America operates in a sea of secrecy. In other words, the proprietary commercial research on how people are using, say, their TiVos, is not available to academia, although the data do exist. This is a pity.
There is an exception in the U.S. when it comes to interactive television: the hospitality industry. Movies-on-demand in motel and hotel rooms have been around for years, and the companies that provide the services once again have, presumably, wonderful data on how viewers use their services (which are now included on cruise ships). According to journalist and iTV expert Ken Freed (http://www.media-visions.com/itv-hoteltv.html), the two leading companies in the U.S. are On Command and LodgeNet. Old media enthusiasts will recognize the name Liberty Media, and they now own On Command. Ken's article is so well done, I don't need to repeat it here.
But what can we learn from in-room interactive television services where there is a captive audience? Do these companies attend annual conventions and talk about their research data? I wish to find this out, and will happily accept anyone's help.
You may use this content (better still, argue with me!), but please cite my ideas as © 2006, Dr. Bruce Klopfenstein. Best viewed in Firefox thanks to Microsoft going its own way.