Tesco Selects Electra Trove Technology for Freeview Products

Monday, March 29th, 2010

LONDON — Electra Entertainment has partnered with the UK’s largest retailer Tesco (LSE:TSCO) to distribute its groundbreaking interactive technology via standard and high definition Freeview-ready TVs, set top boxes and PVRs, available in stores from June 2010 onwards.

Electra’s Trove™ software platform is a media player that seamlessly links broadcast and IP interactive services, unleashing a new and unparalleled interactive TV experience. Trove allows TV viewers to access a wealth of rich interactive apps, many of which will encourage consumers to connect their devices to the internet. Operating several times faster than traditional interactive TV platforms, Trove supports a wide range of content services including games, audio and video-on-demand.

Electra’s new interactive channel on Freeview is called Channel Zero and acts as a powerful gateway to premium content and apps. Easily accessible to the viewer, it is positioned as the first channel in the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) and as a dedicated button on the remote. Channel Zero will initially launch with apps such as Reuters news, Met Office weather, What’s On TV magazine and PlayJam games prior to more enhanced offerings from Q3 2010 onwards.

Uniquely, Channel Zero also offers retailers a richer and deeper on-screen branding and selling platform, allowing them to stay in daily in-home contact with their customers on an individual, regional or national basis.

The Trove platform is a hybrid / IP software solution that enables live, Over Air Downloads (OAD) to all Trove-enabled devices in the field. This allows firmware, applications and content to be managed and updated dynamically via Trove’s national DTT bandwidth. During the next 3 to 5 years whilst IP connectivity to such devices is not ubiquitous, OAD functionality provides Electra’s partners with the flexibility to upgrade software over air, mitigating the risk of returns caused by software failure whilst ensuring all consumers are offered a common user experience.

Electra is also in detailed discussions with other major retailers and distributors across Europe to offer Trove and Channel Zero. It is anticipated that Trove and Channel Zero will be available in the majority of DVB-T devices over the next few years, creating a vast, rich media network for both advertisers and content providers.

Channel Zero is operated by Electra’s sister company Static2358 Ltd, a pioneer in interactive TV content. With 12 years’ international operating experience, Static has managed interactive TV services for over 60 digital TV operators across the globe. Static owns and operates the world’s largest connected TV games network, PlayJam™, available in over 30 million homes via leading digital TV operators and consumer electronics manufacturers including BSkyB, Samsung and Sony. During the last 5 years, PlayJam has generated in excess of 8 billion transactions from its library of 550 games, giving it a wealth of operational experience and a detailed understanding of the customer.

Tesco is adopting Trove and Channel Zero across their entire range of Freeview devices from basic zapper set top boxes to high-end IPTV products.

Says Electra CEO Jasper Smith: “We’re delighted that Tesco – one of the world’s leading retailers – recognises the exceptional value our technology and services are able to deliver. The next generation of connected TV devices offer retailers and manufacturers unparalleled opportunities – however it is imperative that consumers are sufficiently motivated to connect. Trove is a platform that uniquely bridges the connected and non-connected worlds, whilst Channel Zero provides appealing incentives to entice users to connect, such as via games and catch up TV”.

Tesco’s James Crolla comments “As one of the UK’s largest retailers, we’re focused on ensuring that we’re ahead of the game in bringing new services and opportunities to our customers. The new “connected” world presents a number of significant challenges at this time, where the ability to address CE devices in the field over air is a key benefit, helping to deliver a flexible and future proof platform. in the short term, our partnership will deliver a unique content proposition on mass volume “non connected” devices, whilst laying the foundations for the next generation of “connected” devices “.