BITE offers ‘truly’ interactive TV

Andy Warhol would be proud. Touted as the first 'truly' interactive television station, BITE, found on Rogers Cable channel 322, entered the crowded broadcast landscape in March offering its male target the chance to not only control their programming, but become part of it as well.

Andy Warhol would be proud. Touted as the first ‘truly’ interactive television station, BITE, found on Rogers Cable channel 322, entered the crowded broadcast landscape in March offering its male target the chance to not only control their programming, but become part of it as well.

President and CEO of BITE Television Jeffrey Elliot hopes to woo advertisers to the digital channel by bringing together everything the 19-34 guy is into: TV, Internet and mobile/wireless entertainment under one edgy, Jackass-the-movie-type format. Independent filmmakers and recent grads will be invited to submit their productions to the Mississauga, Ont.-based station.

But the real plus for marketers may be the ‘Make your own commercial’ idea that invites viewers to submit a spot for their favourite brand. Viewers then vote on the one they like the best either on the station’s Web site (www.bitetv.ca) or via text messaging. The winning commercial will then be broadcast on the station, pending client approval. Other opportunities for advertisers include five-second interstitials and long-format commercials which will be packaged for TV into branded blocks.

‘Advertisers are looking for something beyond 30s, 60s and billboards,’ says Elliot, who adds the station was four years in the making. BITE is being sold to subscribers through the Rogers More Movies Theme Pack. Elliot says he’s close to announcing deals with two other carriers and a third is in the works.

Molson Canadian is the primary sponsor of BITE, but there appears to be more interest: a major cellphone co, beverage and personal gaming companies are said to be in talks with the channel as well.