SES Astra’s interactive technology Blucom is to launch in the Middle East and North Africa this October. MBC will use Blucom for voting, greeting and downloads on flagship channel MBC1, its news channel Al Arabiya, and its Saudi Arabian radio channel MBC FM. Astra Platform Services and affiliated company 5Cast are deploying the technology.
Blucom effectively synchronises traditional TV content with a Bluetooth enabled mobile phone. The phone displays additional content and then provides a back channel to the broadcaster over SMS.
In Germany, where Astra has contracts with MTV Networks and TV Gusto, Blucom is able to take advantage of the lack of a fixed line return path. In the Middle East the problem is more complicated because broadcasters would otherwise need to establish partnerships with a series of regional telecom providers.