A survey of American viewers suggests that they are only mildly interested in playing along with game shows or voting on programmes, and not particularly interested in betting on sporting events.

The research involved over four hundred adults in the United States rating their level of interest in fifteen different functions and features possible with interactive television.

Playing along with game shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, followed by voting on questions such as favourite performer, scored 3.3 and 3.1 respectively on a scale of 1 to 5. These were followed by watching extra features on movies or programmes which rated 3, or neutral, on a five point scale of interest, with the same level of interest expressed in sending or receiving e-mail or instant messages.

Watching multiple channels and seeing additional information about songs played on programmes scored 2.9, while ordering pizza or food for delivery was rated 2.8.

Seeing information about products shown in advertisements or ordering such products scored 2.4, while placing bets on sporting events rated only 1.7. There was no indication of interest in staple genres such as news, sport or weather, although to be fair, respondents were not given these as an option.

“For companies developing iTV technology and for networks creating iTV shows, the immediate priority is often to pursue ambitious revenue-seeking opportunities,” said Steve Hoffenberg of Lyra, who conducted the research. He suggests that at this early stage of interactive television in the U.S. market, the survey indicates most consumers are still not ready to respond to their televisions. “Focusing on features that appeal the most to viewers, however, will foster consumer comfort with iTV—the revenue opportunities will follow.”