OpenTV adds Tetris to PlayJam portfolio

OpenTV's games and entertainment channel, PlayJam, has won the exclusive rights from HiScoreTV to broadcast an interactive television version of the classic game Tetris throughout Continental Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Tetris launched on PlayJam on France's Canal Satellite platform on January 30th and is scheduled to go live on the rival TPS platform in early April.

Tetris, developed in Moscow by Russian computer engineer Alexey Pazhitnov in 1985-86, is the biggest selling electronic game of all time with instant consumer recognition amongst gamers and the general public alike. Inspired by an ancient Roman puzzle, Pentamino, it entails lining up stacks of shapes as they drop to the bottom of a screen.

Both OpenTV and HiScoreTV will share in the revenues generated from the game. When viewers confirm they want to play Tetris, a modem in each viewer's digital set-top box will dial a premium rate telephone number. Both OpenTV and HiScoreTV, which has licensed the rights to the game from The Tetris Company, will take a cut from the cost of every call.

In the UK's advanced interactive television market, Tetris has already become the most popular iTV game on Gamestar, BSkyB's own games channel. It has attracted more than 6.5 million paid-for plays over a two-year period on BSkyB's digital satellite television platform and has generated over $3.5M in consumer revenue. Mickey Kalifa, General Manager of PlayJam said, "Interactive gaming addresses the fundamental question of how to get people to pay for iTV. Gaming has become among the biggest revenue-generators for the PlayJam channel, particularly among the core demographic of 16 to 34-year-olds. We believe that the addition of Tetris to PlayJam's portfolio of games will help to increase the channel's popularity."

In Britain, half a million individuals visit PlayJam every day according to recent viewing statistics. In France, Canal Satellite now gets more than 5.4 million visits to its games portal each month, where PlayJam is one of the most popular services.

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