AGENCY.COM Brings Interactive TV to America

NEW YORK — Web consulting outfit AGENCY.COM Ltd. Tuesday finally took its interactive services division to the United States four years after rolling it out in Europe.

The firm feels it has honed its iTV services well enough overseas and will bring with it system operators, programming networks, content providers and advertisers.

AGENCY.COM’s iTV group in North America will be based in New York and will be lead by Tim Larcombe, formerly vice president of the firm’s global iTV practice office in Denmark.

Larcombe, who will position himself as regional president of AGENCY.COM’s North American iTV group, said the expansion makes sense because the “television occupies prime real estate in the home.”

“Interactive TV allows us to implement new combinations of content and commerce that are more relevant to consumers and of more value to advertisers,” Larcombe said. AGENCY.COM goes back a few years in Europe and Latin America, where it anchored portals, electronic program guides, information services (such as weather and news) and games channels.

Despite being a member of a the Web consulting field that has been derided and bullied by analysts in the past six months, AGENCY.COM is banking on the idea that scores of Americans will snap up set-top boxes in the next few years. Specifically, the company hopes analysts’ predictions that the hardware will have taken residence in 80 percent of peoples’ homes will ring true.

Accordingly, AGENCY.COM has partnered with hardware and software leaders in the digital TV field, including Microsoft TV, Liberate and OpenTV. The consulting firm has also been known to dip into the wireless well; it developed European wireless portal service Mviva and partnered with Phone.com last summer.

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