Two Way TV, a UK company offering an interactive games channel, has received an investment of GBP12 million from Swedish investor, Skandia Media Invest (SMI Media Invest). It has yet to be decided which of SMI’s directors will join the Two Way TV’s board or the size of SMI’s stake in Two Way TV, which is described as a significant minority interest.
The capital will be used to continue the rollout of Two Way TV across major broadcast platforms, including satellite. The company hopes to break even by the end of 2002.
SMI Media Investor was established last April with the specific focus of investing in digital television. The company now has seven European companies, including Two Way TV, in its portfolio.
Existing shareholders in Two Way TV, which initially launched its interactive entertainment service on Cable & Wireless in March 2000, include The Hilton Group plc and Vencom (a US venture capital fund). The UK cable operator ntl provides its customers with access to Two Way TV’s games and owns a 48.1% stake in the company thanks to its acquisition of Cable & Wireless’ consumer assets.
Last November Liberate Technologies, a US company which provides software for delivering Internet enhanced content and applications to television set-top boxes and games consoles, announced that it’s corporate venture fund would invest $7 million in Two Way TV.
Two Way TV’s services are currently available on a pay-per-play basis to almost one million cable viewers in the UK. In addition to the agreement with the cable network Telewest the company hopes to launch its service in the near future through the digital television company ONdigital. Additional revenues have been secured through advertising and sponsorship from the likes of Cadbury, Domino’s Pizza and sport’s website Sportal.
Two Way TV also has agreements with MTV and cable companies in Australia (Austar) and Portugal (TV Cabo).