Virgin Media has acquired the Ark Technology platform from Two Way TV for use in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The Ark platform has been used to manage interactive services on cable services for the past six years in the United Kingdom. Virgin Media has also licensed skills-based games and fixed-odds interactive gaming channels from Two Way TV in a long-term deal.
It will enable the cable company to link the games and competitions through the red button from a number of third party broadcasters. Deals are already in place with ITV, Five, Challenge and Cartoon Network.
Virgin Media has also signed a long-term deal to carry The Winner Channel and The Roulette Channel that Two Way TV runs in association with Zone4Play.
The Ark is used to support the operational management of interactive television services delivered through the cable operator. The Ark Broadcaster manages scheduling and playout of enhanced television applications. Ark Collector captures and manages return path data and provides customer relationship management functions.
“Ark has been a fantastic interactive platform for us and it has become the lynchpin of Virgin Media’s interactive cable services, so it makes absolute sense that they take it on and develop it for their growing customer base,” said Jean de Fougerolles, the chief executive of Two Way TV. “We are continuing our close relationship with them through a highly strategic new content deal, and we’re excited about the market opportunities we can pursue with this new investment.”
Two Way TV will focus on expanding its content and formats business in Europe and the United States.
Peter Chapman, head of content acquisition at Virgin Media said the Two Way TV games and gaming channels have proved popular with cable audiences. “We’re very pleased that we are able to extend these interactive services and secure them for the long term.”
The acquisition of the Ark from Two Way TV for an undisclosed sum implies that Virgin Media will continue to use the browser-based Liberate platform for interactive services. The assets of Liberate outside North America were acquired by video-on-demand company SeaChange two years ago.