ROXi teams with major US broadcasters on interactive TV channels

Pearl TV, which represents several US broadcasters, has teamed with ROXi to develop interactive TV channels delivered on ATSC 3.0 signals. Sinclair is demonstrating an interactive news channel in Las Vegas during NAB 2024.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

April 15, 2024

4 Min Read
Roxi FastStream Interactive TV News Channel
Sinclair is demonstrating an interactive TV news channel in Las Vegas over ATSC 3.0 signals and ROXi's FastStream platform.(Source: ROXi)

ROXi continues to tune in to the future of broadcast TV.

ROXi, the company behind a platform called "FastStream," said it will launch a wave of interactive TV channels over next-gen ATSC 3.0-based signals in partnership with Pearl TV, a consortium of US broadcasters that operate more than 820 stations.

The partnership, announced in tandem with this week's NAB show in Las Vegas, will pave the way for Pearl TV members to roll out a range of interactive channels on ATSC 3.0, an IP-based broadcast signaling standard that carries the consumer branding of NextGenTV. Pearl TV's members include Cox Media Group, Graham Media Group, Gray Television, Hearst Television Inc., Nexstar Media Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the E.W. Scripps Company and TEGNA Inc.

Most Pearl TV stations will initially work with ROXi to launch interactive music channels, and later introduce interactive channels focused on other genres and categories, including news, entertainment and sports.

Sinclair is among ROXi's early adopters in the US. After demonstrating interactive music channels with ROXi at CES 2024 in January, the broadcaster will run a similar, live demo of an interactive news channel on KSNV-3 Interactive in Las Vegas. That demo, the companies said, will enable viewers with ATSC 3.0-capable TVs and receivers to access news segments on demand, along with the ability to pause and rewind shows, fast-forward through programming, and skip to the next news segment.

Related:ROXi's TV-centric music video streaming service enters US, tunes in ATSC 3.0

Sinclair's demo, which combines its own local programming with news syndicated from The National Desk, will enable viewers to jump into specific segments or areas of interest, including top news headlines, national and local news, investigative stories and local weather.

A key to this capability is FastStream, a tech platform from ROXi that effectively "hijacks" the broadcast transmission within the electronic program guide and downloads a temporary app in the background when the viewer tunes in a ROXi-enabled channel.

The Las Vegas interactive TV demo and the Pearl TV partnership enter the picture about four months after ROXi announced it was developing a music video streaming service for the US via connected TV platforms such as Comcast's EntertainmentOS, webOS (LG Electronics), Tizen (Samsung), Android TV, Roku and Fire TV (Amazon), alongside free, interactive music channels that ride on ATSC 3.0 signals.

The original plan was to launch those in the first quarter, but the updated plan is to launch the music video streaming service and the start of a national ATSC 3.0 interactive channel rollout simultaneously later this year, ROXi CEO Rob Lewis said.

Related:LG halts production of ATSC 3.0-compatible TVs over patent concerns

"It was worth having a slight wait to make sure we could deliver it everywhere," he said.

ROXi's ATSC 3.0-based offerings will be free and ad-supported. The company's coming music service for various streaming platforms will feature a free, ad-supported version and a premium offering that will sell for $8.99 per month. The premium version will bundle in a karaoke microphone for no added cost (ROXi also sells the mic for $29.99).

Targeting both broadcast TV and connected TV advertising models

Lewis believes the free interactive channels that ride ATSC 3.0 signals will help US broadcasters connect with younger viewers and give the broadcasters a way to supplement their traditional TV advertising business (which is under threat) and another centered on the connected TV ad model.

"From a broadcaster perspective, this is all about repurposing existing content that's already popular with viewers and simply making it available in a format for free on broadcast TV that appeals to younger customers and allows the content to be monetized with connected TV rather than broadcast advertising," Lewis said. "You basically get two bites of the cherry."

Related:Scripps retools Tablo and puts ATSC 3.0 on the roadmap

Regarding deployment, most local TV stations will integrate through an API (application programming interface) to their existing content management system, enabling ROXi to ingest their content and then repurpose it inside the new interactive TV channel. ROXi also will provide a content management suite for stations that don't have that capability in-house.

ROXi, which has licenses to more than 100 million music videos, counts Simon Cowell, Kylie Minogue, Sheryl Crow, Robbie Williams and U2's Adam Clayton among its backers.

The London-based company has raised about 35 million pounds sterling (US$43.59 million) and is in the process of raising additional funds for its US rollout strategy.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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